The Opposite of The Tuskegee Experiment?

Some may wonder why there appears to be an inherent distrust of the government by many Black Americans.

According to some pundits and studies, this long-standing sentiment is partially responsible for the disparity in the percentage of Black Americans that are vaccinated against Covid-19 vis a vis all others. Others still refer to the Tuskegee Experiment, a government sanctioned program in which hundreds of Black men were used as guinea pigs in order to study how syphilis, left untreated, would affect the body.

What then, do we make of yesterday’s announcement that the FDA is banning the sale of menthol cigarettes, a flavor whose consumers are overwhelmingly Black? Unlike the aforementioned incident, prima facie, the beneficiaries of such a ban would be Black people. One could (and likely will) argue that there are more clandestine reasons for this action.

I remember about 30 years or so ago when Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, Jr., the long-standing pastor of Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church, led protests during which he and others painted over billboard ads that appeared to glorify the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes. Perhaps this a long delayed reaction to those and similar protests and concerns.

Time will tell…

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