Thursday, November 01, 2007
After reading so much on alleged black inferiority, coming on the heels of DNA guru James Watson’s meltdown and exit, I decide to revisit one of my research interests. The role of Vitamin D has a heretofore-missing voice in the discussion of intelligence. The gap in the debate looms in a way that should remind us of what went on in Tuskegee 75 years ago, when black men with syphilis became part of a gruesome research experiment.
If you recall, it was in Tuskegee, Alabama from 1932 until 1972, that white government doctors looking to extend the known science of the impact of syphilis on humans, secretly ‘captured’ undiagnosed black men with the disease. They sought this knowledge about the impact on blacks even after penicillin had been proven effective as a cure, beginning with laboratory rabbits. The 399 men were denied knowledge of their infections or access to the medicine that would have cured them. Instead, the disease was left to progress untreated. The fate of these men at the hands of these doctors-without-souls was horrendous. It was only their skin color that made them akin to laboratory animals, and undeserving in the name of science.
So the question today is what have we learned in all these years since Tuskegee? Answer; ‘plausible deniability’, it would seem. If one can somehow credibly deny knowledge of a potential negative impact, then they are not responsible, or so it goes.
Research tells us that the link between Vitamin D and brain development in humans is practically irrefutable. The research on laboratory rats is certain that Vitamin D deficiency leads to under developed brains. But who in their right mind would run this experiment on humans, with the permanent damage guaranteed to follow? The sad answer is that this is exactly what is happening in this country. The Center for Disease Control pegs Vitamin D deficiency in US black women at 42% (8.8 million), with 12 percent (2.4 million) of those women classified as severely deficient. Severe deficiency guarantees that black newborns suffer disproportionate intelligence-stealing neuro-development challenges, prior to higher cancer rates later as adults. When we see black kid’s under performance in school and continuing into working adulthood, we are looking, in part, at the results of this continuing experiment - an experiment where the cure is a $.10 pill each day.
To be clear, our government is not repeating Tuskegee per se, but by refusing to address such a significant and known public health challenge, it is no less culpable in the diminished lives of black citizens who will suffer as surely as did those 399 black men in Tuskegee, not so long ago.
James C. Collier
READ MORE ACTING WHITE...
Technorati Tags: Acting White: Shades of Tuskegee, Syphilis, Racism, Intelligence, Vitamin D, Acting White