No, the Tuskegee Study Is Not the Top Reason Some Black Americans Question the COVID-19 Vaccine

Source: KQED.

The object lessons of this piece can be extended to the broader issue of our assumptions about the lingering effects of slavery. The message is entirely positive: It is most useful to examine present realities, if understanding them is your objective.

33 thoughts on “No, the Tuskegee Study Is Not the Top Reason Some Black Americans Question the COVID-19 Vaccine

  1. I hadnt heard of anyone making that claim to begin with and I certainly don’t find any credibility in Karen Lincoln’s racism nonsense. If any blacks are hesitant, it’s likely they just don’t trust the emergency rollout because the FDA labeled as such. The hidden message from the FDA is take at your own risk. I would suspect many whites are suspicious for the same reason. However most will get it when it’s available.


    1. “Hadn’t heard”? Naw, not a FUAX news talking point.

      You whitesplaining what “black” people think and believe is hardly surprising.

      If your knuckles ever come off the ground you might use a keyboard to delve into reality (history books ARE a thing) and pull your pants back up from your ankles….

      Liked by 2 people

    2. RE: “I hadn’t heard of anyone making that claim to begin with and I certainly don’t find any credibility in Karen Lincoln’s racism nonsense.”

      Lincoln’s comments are OK by me. What interests me most about the story is the fallacy of using the past to explain the present. I think white liberals often make this mistake, but we can all be careful to avoid it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Too bad I don’t have that time machine.

    If I did, I’d go back a month and ask 1000 random Black Americans what they knew of the Tuskegee Study.

    I’d bet a house not 10% had heard of the Tuskegee Study, and 90% of those who had would think it had something to do with airplanes.

    It is ludicrous to think that horrible experience is widely remembered and a motivator today.

    (BTW, it was run by Democrats)


    1. “ (BTW, it was run by Democrats)”

      But starting after the Civil Rights era, Republicans have taken the mantra of minority suppression. Just like LBJ predicted.

      And now the almost tragicomic rush to change voting laws furiously to prevent any losses by the Republicans.

      Can’t have too much voter participation among “those” people.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Nope.

        The Democrats who ran the Tuskegee Study were ideologically identical to the Democrats of today.

        They would be right at home in Northam’s Dept of Health, sitting in their Ivory Towers like gods, manipulating the health of people for their own ends.

        Like today, they discounted the individual in favor of their ideological “greater good” no matter how much suffering they caused.

        Democrats through and through


          1. The needle hit a nerve.

            Personally, whether you are upset or not is your prerogative to be sure.

            It just seems that your attacks on the VA governor are pretty consistently based on your assumption that he put others in front of you for votes.

            Of course, that is a bit odd since he cannot run as an incumbent.

            Since VA deaths per capita are among the lowest in the nation it may be that not all decisions are bad.


            Liked by 1 person

          2. The day a VA Governor is inaugurated, he starts his run for Federal office, usually in the Senate.

            I am vaccinated. He is putting people who are at much lesser risk ahead of you and others I do not want to see die needlessly.

            Northam is a doctor, I expect his decisions to be guided by science, yet he fails in that regard both on the virus and the environment.

            Certainly not every decision has been bad, much of his social distancing policy has been helpful.

            But on the vaccine, he remains a corrupt monster.


          3. …”he starts his run for Federal office, usually in the Senate.”

            McAuliffe looked but didn’t jump and Northam won’t. McConnel suffers form similar issues Northam does as to running.

            A single term governor who has no desire to unseat the sitting Senators is NOT running for federal office as soon as he is inaugurated.


    2. RE: “It is ludicrous to think that horrible experience is widely remembered and a motivator today.”

      I think the point of the KQED story is that the Tuskogee syphilis study is NOT remembered as a motivator today. Not among African Americans, anyway.

      Interestingly, our government has sponsored much uglier programs (MK-Ultra, for example), but only when there is a racial narrative is it acceptable to talk about them in public.


      1. There is good reason for the lack of trust in the minority communities. Conspiracies abound that including CIA introducing crack to urban populations. Or contrails raining birth control. Or Planned Parenthood trying to exterminate black fetuses.

        NC legislators got slapped down by a federal judge because their new voting restrictions targeted minority voters with “surgical precision”.

        Driving While Black is a classic reason why parents teach their sons to be extra careful when approached by police.

        A black citizens who are in their 60’s and 70’s grew up in second class citizenship enforced by violence as well as law. They pass on those values, traits and cautions to their children and grandchildren.

        Trust is a two way street and it has to be earned over time. Tuskegee may not be top of mind for some, but it was also just one egregious reason among many to erode trust in tight knit communities.

        And here is the real irony. All the incidents and behaviors that I listed actually happened.
        Yet, 75% of Republicans still think that suitcases with fraudulent votes were hidden under a table. Or the Dominion rigged the machines. So they don’t trust the election results based on the say so of the ex-president in just the last election. Never mind 4 centuries of cultural mistrust based on fear, violence, patronization and segregation.

        It ain’t rocket science.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. RE: “And here is the real irony. All the incidents and behaviors that I listed actually happened.”

          OK, fine. Your challenge is to answer the question, So what?

          I’ll give you an example. You claim, “There is good reason for the lack of trust in the minority communities,” but the point of the KQED story is that the Tuskogee syphilus study isn’t one of them. Only YOU, a white man, think it might be.

          The idea that you and the black people in your community might have the same experience of living in America would appear to be impossible for you to credit. You insist for no good reason that the black experience is different from your own.


          1. Comparing my experience to others is not what I was saying. It was a simple observation as to the lack of trust among the minorities.

            And you missed the irony regarding trust.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. RE: “And you missed the irony regarding trust.”

            Did I? You apparently think the Tuskogee syphilus study is a good reason for African Americans to distrust the government, but not a good reason for people with white skin, like you, to distrust the government.


    3. “Motivator”

      You’re probably correct in that regard and could( (maybe) win the bet. I think it’s just a trotted out example of shameful and egregious behavior that represents the treating of “other” as lab animals….

      NOT the only example that certainly could lead to a significant level of trepidation. IMO

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So the Tuskegee study isn’t the reason for mistrust of the vaccine. It is a bad use of poorly understood history of the study. The KQED article does a good job of revealing that. Well done for calling out those who wrongly use the comparison.

    However, what seems to be missing for our conversation is the facts of today that some here ignore because of political payback or some other Democratically controlled narrative.

    Parts of the reporting include “It’s the health inequities of today that Maxine Toler, 72, hears about when she talks to her friends and neighbors in LA about the vaccine. Toler is president of her city’s senior advocacy council and her neighborhood block club. She and most of the other Black seniors she talks to want the vaccine, but are having trouble getting it, she says, and that alone is sowing mistrust.”

    And this tidbit “Those who don’t want the vaccine have very modern reasons for not wanting it. They tell Toler it’s because of religious beliefs, safety concerns or distrust for the former U.S. president and his relationship to science.”

    Distrust of the former U.S. President? Really? Who woulda thought that the previous President deserves not to be trusted?

    So its not Tuskegee causing Black hesitancy; it is mistrust based on racist rhetoric covering as patriotism. And the long term effects of racism in our society.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. BS on your racism claims. Everyone is having trouble getting shots due to lack of supply. Many seniors of all races have mobility issues getting to a vaccination site. Where does this phony racism come into play? I don’t trust Biden as far as I can spit into the wind because of his pandering racist rhetoric, so what? What did Trump have to do with the science? Hint: absolutely nothing. You cant explain everything by claiming racism so please stop trying. It’s long past its usefulness.


      1. I may no claims of racism. I only pointed out that there is a racist component to this country’s history. To deny that is to show your complete lack of understanding of history.

        The most ironic thing you said was this. “What did T**** have to do with the science? Hint: absolutely nothing.”

        He ignored science and always has.

        Again, I did not claim racism; I only pointed out that Black Americans have a history of not trusting the government because of policies that have held them back and dnot fully recognize them as citizens.


      1. Perhaps; an analysis I’d not want to undertake. Projection, in general, is typically a manifestation of a person knowing they are wrong, but unable to face it.

        The ‘projection” makes it the other person/perspective’s “fault” and allows the “projector” to feel better/vindicated.

        I guess I did “undertake” it….


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