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A number of conspiracy theories have sprung up alleging that certain ethnic groups are secretly being subjected to a genocide: one belief is that a race war has already started, but is being carried out by covert means (often through government programs hiding some secret agenda). These ideas are the product of a gigantic persecution complex, and the ones that gain the most media coverage are neo-fascists.
Contrary to you may see in YouTube comments, there is not, in fact, an active campaign to end white lives in Western nations.[citation NOT needed]
Conspiracy theorizing in the African-American community usually takes the form of a hypothesized "black genocide" in which whites (and sometimes Jews as well) are covertly killing off the black population en masse. This often takes the form of tainted food or medical supplies intended to spread disease or induce sterility among the black population, a la Tuskegee syphilis experiment.
The Post-Bellum South and urban areas
Many of the elements of these conspiracy theories can be found among the more extremist black charismatic preachers of the South and urban North of the United States after that country's Civil War. One of the most popular was F.S. Cherry of the Black Hebrew Israelite sect. Cherry laid out a sort of prototypical version of Afrocentrism as well as introducing aspects of anti-Semitism and apocalyptic visions of a race war (which he prophesied would occur in the year 2000) into extremist black ideology.
While the historical oppression of blacks has been at the heart of these conspiracy theories, two incidents of real conspiracies in particular in the US seem to drive many of them. The first is the aforementioned Tuskegee experiment, in which hundreds of black men were unwittingly recruited into a secretive study of syphilis in return for free health care and food. They were already infected with syphilis but not told this, while being assured that the "treatment" would cure or prevent a made-up ailment the examiners diagnosed them with. Meanwhile, when penicillin, an actual proven cure for syphilis came along, they were not given it. Nearly all of the men went on to die from the disease, but not before infecting others, including their spouses and children. The second was the discovery of COINTELPRO, an FBI program that infiltrated civil rights groups such as the NAACP, among others.
AIDS conspiracy theories and denialism
AIDS denialism and related conspiracies are probably one of the most popular components of the "black genocide" theory. The disproportionate effect that AIDS has had on the black population has led to conspiracy theories that the disease was introduced by the CIA or some other infamous organization in an attempt to kill off blacks. This conspiracy theory has had severe effects in Africa. There, it often cross-pollinates with Big Pharma-related conspiracy theories. The most infamous case of this was South Africa's Thabo Mbeki's denial of the HIV/AIDS connection, which led to over 300,000 preventable deaths.
Inducing sterility in black men is another common theme. One of the more well-known incidents of this idea gaining popular traction was the "Tropical Fantasy scare" of the early 1990s. Rumors and fliers were passed around claiming that the soft drink Tropical Fantasy contained a secret ingredient that would cause sterility in blacks and that the beverage was actually bottled by the Ku Klux Klan.
Abortion as an alleged tool of black genocide is a conspiracy theory generally specific to pro-life activists (as well as some black supremacist and black nationalist groups, including the Nation of Islam). This one works backward from the data showing that black women are more likely to have abortions than white women. Therefore, abortion is secretly a eugenics plan to eliminate the black population, no matter if the black population has progressively increased!
This probably has something to do with the fact that Planned Parenthood's founder Margaret Sanger endorsed eugenics (as did many American intellectuals at the time), although she insisted that it be voluntary and not based on race (something omitted by most critics). In any case, the group as it currently exists certainly no longer endorses these beliefs.
Black supremacists such as Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam and the New Black Panther Party throw anti-Semitic conspiracies into the stew as well. This often involves ripping off ideas from older sects such as the Black Hebrew Israelites as well as recycling ideas popular among neo-Nazis and shoehorning Jews into the historical narrative as the "real" perpetrators behind instances of oppression of blacks, such as the idea that the Jews masterminded the slave trade.
International Jewish conspiracy
A conspiracy by the Jews of the world is a common theme among general anti-Semites and neo-Nazis as well as some black supremacist groups. Most of this form of bullshit is based on stereotypes of the Evil Jew in addition to material recycled from The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.
- David Lane, author of works such as the "White Genocide Manifesto"
- Sharon Parsons, William Simmons, Frankie Shinhoster, John Kilburn. A Test of the Grapevine: An empirical examination of conspiracy theories among African-Americans. Sociological Spectrum, Volume 19, Issue 2, 1999.
- Benjamin Sevitch. When Black Gods Preached on Earth: The Heavenly Appeals of Prophet Cherry, Daddy Grace, and Father Divine. Journal of Communications and Religion.
- "Disease denial devastating for African Americans", SF Gate
- Study: Many Blacks Cite AIDS Conspiracy, Washington Post
- Didier Fassin and Helen Schneider. The politics of AIDS in South Africa: beyond the controversies. BMJ 326: 495, 1 March 2003.
- These conspiracy theories are brilliantly parodied in the blaxploitation spoof Black Dynamite.
- Tropical Storm, Snopes
- Abortion's Racial Gap, The Atlantic
- Conspiracy Watch: Is Abortion Black Genocide?, Mother Jones
- Abortion as "Black Genocide", Political Research Associates
- See the Wikipedia article on African American#Demographics.
- For a full treatment of this particular idea, see Jews, Slaves, and the Slave Trade: Setting the Record Straight by Eli Farber.