Between Reality and Tales - From the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment to the Atlanta Child Murders

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GRIN Verlag, 2011 - 40 pages
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Seminar paper from the year 2011 in the subject American Studies - Culture and Applied Geography, grade: 1,3, LMU Munich (Amerika-Institut), course: Trust No One? Conspiracy Theories in American Political Culture, language: English, abstract: African-American conspiracies are very unusual in comparison to other conspiracies. African-American conspiracy theories are unlike 'classical' conspiracy theories, which one could describe as bewilderingly real or even regard as fact. There are no written documents in existence, no elaborate theories on black conspiracies, hence there are no serious conspiracy theorists working in this conspiracy-niche. African-American conspiracies could be seen as plain rumors and gossip. Those rumors are easily spread within black communities and the most popular ones manage it to circulate those communities for years and eventually become legends. If one asked a member of a particular community for any further details concerning a specific theory, nobody would be able to explain or qualify them, as it is the case with rumors. One could even claim that there is no such thing as African-American conspiracy theory, because mostly there is only gossip and rumor about conspiracies, which is spread in public and private places. Those gossips and rumors are told, heard and retold in schools, bars, groceries, prisons, senior citizen centers, beauty salons, on parties and miscellaneous places, which eventually leads to a whisper down the lane effect. The book I Heard It Through The Grapevine by Patricia A. Turner, a study on African-American conspiracies, explains this effect very well and already implicates this usual and more or less natural process within its title. African-American rumors are mostly "unverified orally transmitted stories circulating in African-American communities" and their topics are "not in-group discord, but rather conflict between the races" (Turner 1). There is actually an existence of strong conspiratorial motifs and mot

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