CDC Director Rochelle Walensky was blasted on Twitter after she celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Tuskegee experiments by commemorating the “sacrifice” of the black men who were involuntarily subjected to human experimentation.
“This year marks the 50th anniversary of the end of the Tuskegee syphilis study,” Walensky tweeted Tuesday, adding, “Tomorrow, I will be joined by colleagues & #PublicHealth leaders as we honor the 623 African American men, their suffering & sacrifice, and our commitment to ethical research and practice.”
The irony is the black men who took part in the experiments weren’t trying to “sacrifice” anything because they weren’t informed they’d be subjected to human experimentation where they’d be unknowingly injected with a sexually-transmitted disease.
Walensky was lit up on Twitter for making it seem like the human test subjects voluntarily agreed to the experimentation.
Wow, just wow. To think someone approved the wording for this tweet. Distasteful and very misleading. What those men suffered was horrible.
— taria ✝️🇺🇸+🇹🇹 (@tdfrancois) November 30, 2022
Since it’s the official account I am pretty sure @CDCDirector herself had to approve it. Absolutely disgusting! Whitewashing history to call non-consensual experimentation on humans a “sacrifice” that they made.
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) November 30, 2022
This is disgusting and you should be ashamed of yourself
— Mobley 🏴 (@mobleywho) November 30, 2022
Her tweet is so outrageous. Those men had no say in what happened and didn’t consent to anything. It was Josef Mengele level cruelty.
Just incredible that she wrote that.
— Cherry “Freedom For All” Davis (@DACDAC4DAC) November 30, 2022
What media intern thought this phrasing was a good idea?! This grosses me out… how do you still have a job having this type of attitude?
— R. Roz 🐊 (@reeseonable) November 30, 2022
please delete this- ‘sacrifice’?- they didn’t voluntarily participate to suffer, die from, and have their children develop congenital syphilis… they were sacrificed to the altar of racism and white supremacy with no consent- treated like guinea pigs. ffs.
— Dr. Deepti Gurdasani (@dgurdasani1) November 30, 2022
JFC I say as an Indigenous person you need to delete this. Heroizing research subjects who couldn’t give consent cause they didn’t know they were in a trial.
Next tell me how much you respect the sacrifice of the children in the nutrition/dental in Canadian Residential Schools.
— Matthew Oliver (@sameo416) December 1, 2022
This is fucking disgusting.
— Clifton Duncan. (@cliftonaduncan) November 30, 2022
The CDC director casually mentioning human experimentation without alluding to its horror feels like Balenciaga’s normalizing of pedophilia. Eventually people become numb and don’t pay attention and/or just accept it.
— Josh Stylman (@jstylman) November 30, 2022
At least now you guys experiment on all races.
True equal opportunity murderers.
— Marc Lobliner – IFBB Pro (@MarcLobliner) November 30, 2022
They did not sacrifice. They WERE sacrificed. Words matter.
— LawyerLady (@LawyerLady4) November 30, 2022
Either you don’t understand how evil you are. Or you do. pic.twitter.com/7576X8xgOh
— Viva Frei (@thevivafrei) November 30, 2022
Imagine honoring Dr. Mengele’s victims for their “sacrifice.” You might want to delete this tweet and express it more appropriately.
— Denise Dewald, MD 🗽 (@denise_dewald) November 30, 2022
OMG! You are commemorating one immoral medical experimentation on human beings at the same time as you are committing another immoral medical experiment on humans on a far grander scale.
This tweet is abhorrent and you are a disgraceful human being. We will NOT forget this.
— Roy Nathanson (@roy_nathanson) November 30, 2022
“Sacrifice” is not the right word. They were lied to. “Suffering” is correct.
— Myron B. Pitts (@FOmyronpitts) November 30, 2022
This is an astonishing tweet. You have got to be kidding. Those men were victims. 🤦♂️
— — (@MB05076) November 30, 2022
You really reframed that as a positive thing? pic.twitter.com/SOIMVqUoxF
— Maverick (@Maverick_LIVE_) November 30, 2022
During the Tuskegee experiments, the US Public Health Service, from 1932 to 1972, conducted illegal testing of syphilis on human subjects.
“In that experiment,” wrote Farid Zakaria of The People’s Blog for the Constitution, “some 600 impoverished African-American men were observed in a study on the progression of untreated syphilis. Some of the men were intentionally infected with the disease and all of them were denied the cure. Regrettably, the report notes, no one was held accountable for this crime against humanity.”
Even after penicillin became the prescribed treatment of choice for syphilis in the 1940s, victims duped into the study were denied the cure.
More on the treatment of black men at the time via Planned Parenthood:
Researchers told them that they were being treated for “bad blood,” a term used to describe syphilis and a variety of other health issues, including anemia and fatigue (it’s unclear whether the participants understood what this term meant). The men, most of whom had never seen a doctor before, were persuaded to participate in the study with the promise of free medical exams, transportation, meals, and burial insurance.
Some of the men with syphilis were given treatments available at the time — including arsenic and mercury — which ranged from mildly effective to toxic. The other infected men in the study received no treatment for syphilis at all. When syphilis isn’t treated, it can cause permanent organ damage, paralysis, blindness, severe mental illness, and even death.
In 1947, penicillin became widely available as a treatment for syphilis, but it was never offered to the men at any point during the remaining 25 years of the study. Because of their race, the men in the study were viewed and treated as less-than human. They were used as research subjects, much like rats, whose sole purpose was to reveal the long-term effects of this potentially deadly disease.
[…] It wasn’t until 1972 that [USPHS whistleblower Peter] Buxtun leaked documents to an Associated Press reporter, who made the Tuskegee Study public. In addition to revealing the corrupt details of the study itself, the news report also revealed the heinous fact that the infected Black men in the study didn’t know they were putting their lives at risk by participating in it, weren’t receiving treatment, or that they were spreading syphilis to their sexual partners.
Indeed the illegal experiments aren’t something the CDC should be commemorating, but instead condemning as a prime example of how the US government used American citizens as guinea pigs without informed consent.
Follow the author on Truth Social: @adansalazarwins