Whether it is Benghazi, birth certificates, Bigfoot, the Illuminati or an unseen VHS tape of Russian sex workers emptying vodka-filled bladders onto a marmalade-colored man who would eventually become the president of the United States, America loves a good conspiracy theory. Anna Merlan, a reporter at Gizmodo Media Group’s special projects desk and author of a forthcoming book on conspiracy theories, describes a conspiracy theory thus: “A belief that a small group of people is working in secret against the common good, to create harm, to effect some negative change in society, to seize power for themselves, or to hide some deadly or consequential secret.” “And a ‘conspiracy,’” Merlan adds, “is when they actually are doing that.” While wildly imagined plots often sound crazy, they sometimes turn out to be true, especially when it comes to African Americans. The idea that the United States government repeatedly conspires against its black citizens sounds like hyperbole until you read about the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, a four-decade plot to study the sexually transmitted infection in poor black farmers. If you heard a barbershop conversation about a racist government eugenics scheme, you might dismiss it until you realized that the state of North Carolina forcibly… Read full this story
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