quote:quote:In 1932, four hundred illiterate and semi-literate black sharecroppers in Alabama who were diagnosed with syphilis were selected for an experiment sponsored by the U.S. Health Service, whose purport was to demonstrate that the course of untreated syphilis runs differently in blacks as opposed to whites. It was "race medicine" of the worst kind and, as a newspaper editorial stated when the experiment finally came to light 40 years later, it was ethically on a par with the medical experiments in the Nazi death camps. The men selected for the study were for the most part uneducated (only one man had reached the eighth grade and none had gone to high school), they were never explained the purpose of the study, and they were given no medicine to help their advancing symptoms. Even after penicillin was found in the 1940s to halt or significantly reduce the symptoms of the disease, it was withheld from the patients, who were left to die of advanced syphilis one by one. In 1972 the experiment was finally brought into the open by a young law student who passed the information to the Associated Press, and when the story broke on Page One of newspapers across the country, it caused a national firestorm. Journalists, public officials, and ordinary citizens were outraged by the news accounts. Incredibly, when the doctors involved in the experiment were asked for an accountability, their response was a collective shrug and a "so what?" The most explosive reaction, needless to say, was in the nation's black communities, which maintained that the government would never have run such an experiment on 400 white test subjects. The bitter legacy left by the Tuskegee Experiment is the fear and mistrust among many African-Americans of the entire medical establishment, and the suspicion that AIDS is a man-made disease created by the government with the express purpose of killing off blacks and gays; the holders of this belief, when asked why they think the government would do such a thing, invariably point to the Tuskegee Experiment as an example of what the government is capable of. The legacy of suspicion and mistrust generated by the Tuskegee Experiment may take generations to undo, and all of us, black and white, will be the losers.
That's an Amazon.com Customer Review of the book [color=darkblue]Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. For me, it begs some interesting questions:
Will It Take Generations To Undo The "BAD BLOOD" Created Between The Subjects Of Acts Like The Tuskegee Experiment And Those Who Conducted, Condone Or Were Otherwise Complicit In Those Types Of Acts (read: Racist Acts)?
What about those who respond similar to those doctors with collective shrugs and "so what's?" when it comes to dealing with the ramifications of acts, past and present, that have effects, targeted or unintentional, similar to the Tuskegee Experiment (racially disparate and harmful)?
The Danish issue over the controversial caricatures of Islam's Prophet Mohammed? How does the BAD BLOOD that's flowing and destined to continuing flowing from acts like that get resolved/reconciled? Will it take generations to undo them? Are they and other things referenced here undoable?
MORE ON THE TUSKEGEE EXPERIMENT:
The study was not the product of a mad scientist working alone in a secret laboratory. Nor was it the playing out of some gruesome fantasy of people who hated blacks and poor people. The doctors involved were in fact among the progressives of their day. They were the first to conduct large scale syphilis treatment programs for blacks. They worked hard to draw national attention and support for improving the health and economic conditions of blacks. When money for treatment ran out during the Depression the study was proposed as an alternative preferable to doing nothing at all. Jones shows, however, that the relatively liberal attitudes of these PHS doctors were rooted in prevailing attitudes about race and-class. Blacks were to be helped because they were a "weaker race;" if they were not treated their "degeneracies" might spread to the rest of society.