A recent message on one of the e-mail bulletin boards sent by a college student read, “I believe that the AIDS virus was developed in government labs for the purpose of controlling black folks.” In September 1990, Essence, an African American magazine with a circulation of 900,000, had as a lead article “AIDS: Is It Genocide?” In 1991, the New York Times quoted Clarence Page, African American columnist and Pulitzer prize winner: “You could call conspiracy theories about AIDS and drugs fringe ideas, but they seem, to have a large following among the black intelligentsia. … [And] you find it at all levels.” In April 1992, Lorene Gary explained in Newsweek “Why it's not just paranoia.” In that same month, another New York Times article reported: “Bizarre as it may seem to most people, many black Americans believe that AIDS and the health measures used against it are part of a conspiracy to wipe out the black race.”4 In February 1992, Science quoted Peter Breggin, director of the Center for the Study of Psychiatry in Bethesda, Maryland, as saying that research on violence “cloaks the intention to identify problem black children and then … prescribe pacifying drugs.”
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