Quickies: Smart isn’t beautiful, Kevin Trudeau’s estate sale, the Alan Turing Institute, and medical conspiracy theories

  • Smart isn’t beautiful – “We shouldn’t have to reassure girls that smarts won’t make them ugly. It’s an absurd idea, but it also implicitly prioritizes looks over books, as though our advice would be different if, in fact, studying did make girls ugly.” From Daniela.
  • Not a saint: How I bought con man Kevin Trudeau’s belongings – An entertaining article by Carrie Poppy, complete with photos of the very special coffee tumblr she bought. From Amy.
  • Alan Turing institute to be set up to research big data – “The Alan Turing Institute will focus on new ways of collecting, organising and analysing large sets of data – commonly known as big data.” From Donnie.
  • About half of Americans believe in medical conspiracies – “The survey results suggest people who believe in medical conspiracy theories may approach their own health differently, the researchers said. For example, while 13 percent of people who did not believe in any conspiracies took herbal supplements, 35 percent of those who believed in three or more theories took supplements.” From Brian.


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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    1. Not to mention the Indian Health Service’s sterilization programs in the 20th century.

      But just because Vioxx is crap doesn’t mean homeopathy works. It’s one thing to say that you can get an appendectomy and get a free, mandatory hysterectomy with it, but it’s quite another to say there’s a conspiracy to suppress evidence that oscillococcinum 50X cures AIDS.

      1. I was pointing out the difference between actual conspiracies and the conspiracies that fester only in minds of those who don’t understand (or refuse to believe) the science.

        The ones I listed and the one you added (and many more, unfortunately) are part of the former, “western medicine” refusing to acknowledge the true power of alternative medicine would be part of the latter. I wasn’t trying to link the two, just pointing out that conspiracies do happen, they are usually far uglier then even the fevered minds come up with.

        1. Actually, the coercive sterilization of Indian women, the government even copped to it in 1976. Unfortunately, it’s become a favorite of the usual rogues to say “Look at how evil mainstream medicine is!” Never mind that IHS in those days was generally not filled with the best doctors.

          The other one, oscillo 50X blah blah blah, well, that was just what came to mind. I saw an ad for oscillo, homeopathy is the first thing I think of when I think of alternative medicine (and you know alties are always trying to sell you something), and The Dallas Buyers’ Club at the Oscars. (The protagonist was an HIV denialist.)

          The strangest AIDS conspiracy theory I’ve ever heard of was from one Daniel Halperin. That all of us who promote the mainstream line of “abstain from sex if you can, or be faithful to your partner; if you can do neither, use a condom” are secretly gay men with a thing for “docking”. Really?

    2. From the first page of the study, the table of “Medical Conspiracy Theories”:
      The Food and Drug Administration is deliberately preventing the public from getting natural cures for cancer and other diseases because of pressure from drug companies.
      Health officials know that cell phones cause cancer but are doing nothing to stop it because large corporations won’t let them.
      The CIA deliberately infected large numbers of African Americans with HIV under the guise of a hepatitis inoculation program.
      The global dissemination of genetically modified foods by Monsanto Inc is part of a secret program, called Agenda 21, launched by the Rockefeller and Ford foundations to shrink the world’s population.
      Doctors and the government still want to vaccinate chilren even though they know these vaccines cause autism and other psychological disorders.
      Public water fluoridation is really just a secret way for chemical companies to dump the dangerous byproducts of phosphate mines into the environment.

  1. On ‘smart as beautiful’, it’s funny, I actually prefer a romantic partner who’s my intellectual equal. That said, I also prefer a romantic partner who won’t prioritize romance over everything else in her life. ;)

    1. Well, yes, a long time ago I worked out that I preferred girls who wore jeans and tee shirts and wanted to smash the hegemonic bloc.

        1. Amanda, Marilove, you are of course right to correct me for making a gross generalisation – and you have both proven that you are forces to be reckoned with in that regard. More power to you both.

          1. It just seems not-very-feminist to judge a woman’s intelligence or worth based on her fashion choices. I know a lot of really intelligent women who are also very into fashion and makeup and all that fun stuff.

            Unless you’re in Phoenix in January and it’s 72 degrees out and you’re wearing Ugg boots and a skirt. THEN I WILL JUDGE. *side eyes* :)

            Also, please note I am wearing slip-on Sketcher bike shoes with my dress and berry-colored tights. ;)

          2. Marilove, you FACED DOWN John McCain in real life!
            To me you are awesome and even ugg boots could never detract from that, whatever you want is fine.

            I don’t think my naive preferences in 1972 matter one iota. No I was not a good feminist then, maybe not even now. We were talking about what is attractive. I think that becomes more complex and multifaceted with time.

            For the record I do not believe at all that one can judge peoples intelligence or worth by appearance. At the time though, I think there was a bit of a uniform attached to the various subcultures. But perhaps I was wrong.

          3. You know, marilove, when I was a kid, after being molested, I dressed like it was winter, even when it was 90 degrees out.

          4. Jack, I was mostly just making a joke about Ugg boots, while worn with a tank top and a short skirt. Because they do that here and it’s just weird. YOU GUYS IT IS 80, AREN’T YOUR TOES AND CALVES SWEATING? This is also a very dated joke. And a pretty shitty one. But it was more specific to … Ugg boots.

          5. We all have done and thought dumb things when we were young. That said, cliquishness isn’t really helpful either, imo, and making judgments about a woman’s intelligence just because she is, say, a cheerleader and likes to wear makeup and hang out with the football team. Not criticizing your young self for that at all. Just saying that the world would be a far better place if we didn’t say, “Well, she’s a cheerleader. She’s probably not very smart.” It’s not any better than, “Well, she’s really into science. What an unattractive nerd.”

          6. ““Well, she’s a cheerleader. She’s probably not very smart. *And therefore not attractive to me.”

            I forgot that last sentence, and it’s important. And I’m not sure why, when this sort of subject comes up, even when it’s not specifically talking about relationships or sex, someone (usually a guy) has to come in here and say something like what you said. You know, it’s not the first time a guy, someone I’ve otherwise really liked, has come in here and said something like that? It’s not. It’s not the first time I’ve had to correct someone about some random dude telling us how they “prefer” (aka, find more attractive) woman who “don’t wear this, or who wear this, or who don’t like makeup, etc.” So the more I think about this, the more I realize it’s not really about your young self. Why is it that you had to state which “type” of girl you found attractive, when it wasn’t about that at all?

          7. In other words… why the fuck is that important, and why the fuck should I or anyone else reading this thread care? Ya dig?

            It’s like, not relevant, and yet guys keep doing it. And then we have to say, “Well, no, that’s not true, or a very nice thing, or a very feminist thing.” And then they apologize but it’s usually, “Well, you’re right! You can still be attractive if you’re smart AND wear skirts and like makeup!” Okay? Thanks.

            Toootally not any better!

          8. Marilove – is it wrong then to respond to a thread titled “Smart isn’t beautiful” with “I find smart is attractive” ?
            I don’t even know that I was talking about dating and relationships as such but more about people who were interesting to hang out with, although I suppose in the end it may amount to the same thing.

          9. It’s not helpful and I have to tell you … we don’t really care what you find attractive. And it SHOULDN”T amount to the same thing. Do you consider the same for the MEN you hang out with? “I don’t find that man attractive, so I won’t hang out with him.” I know you’re straight (I’m pretty sure you’re straight, anyway). So doesn’t that seem funny?

      1. Yeaaaah. I’m wearing a dress with tights right now. Berry tights! Along with my “Made of Star Stuff” Surly necklace. Just sayin’

      2. Marilove, also, I think you are beginning to overthink this a bit.
        It was a throwaway one liner not a manifesto.

        Do you really think I think all that about cheerleaders being not very smart and “if you are smart and wear makeup and skirts you can still be attractive”? I do not and would not.

        Maybe you should pick apart the idea that left wing activism correlates with smartness or beauty (was that implied or was that a separate idea? I forget now.) – that is loaded with assumptions that may or may not be true. (I do think there is a correlation but probably not as strong as we might think.)

        1. I’m not over thinking anything.

          Whenever we get a post in here about something like this — in this case, that we shouldn’t have to reassure that being intelligent doesn’t make a woman or girl ugly — a man comes in here to reassure us that he finds smart women attractive (what’s not stated outright generally is “sexually” but it’s there). IT MISSES THE POINT ENTIRELY, and it still makes it clear that you’re assessing a woman’s worth by how attractive you find her. It’s not okay.

          It’s fine for you to find smart women attractive, but I have to tell you, I am sick and tired of men taking over that conversation. You totally missed the point. It really has NOTHING AT ALL to do with what YOU find attractive or don’t find attractive.

          And I don’t care if it’s a “throwaway” comment. It was STILL the very first thing you thought to reply when you read that article (or just the title). “Oh, well, I find smart woman attractive! I must reassure them of that!” And then you comment that you find smart woman attractive, with the strong implication that women who wear skirts and dresses probably aren’t smart and therefore not attractive to you. As if it is an important part of the conversation. It’s not.

          And this happens every time we have a discussion about smart women. “I find smart woman attractive!” some random man says.


          1. Marilove, thanks for the reply, and I do appreciate your patience and the time you have spent, because there is obviously some fundamental and probably quite obvious point that I (and clearly others as well) am still not getting.
            What about if I wrote something like this:
            “The article suggests that many women think that men find intelligent women unattractive. While there are some men like this there are also many, myself included, who feel that intelligence enhances attractiveness and makes a person more beautiful.”
            Is that still problematic? To point out that the womens’ feelings of unattractiveness were based on false information?

            If somebody said “I feel unattractive” and I say “But you are beautiful” and they say “I still feel unattractive” I could totally get that because it is logical and internally self consistent (though sad and fucked up).

            OTOH I somebody says “I feel unattractive” and I say “Why” and they say “Because I am intelligent and men dislike intelligent women” and I say “That information is DEMONSTRABLY incorrect (because me and others)” and they say “I still feel unattractive” I do not get that at all because it is not logical and internally consistent. The expected reaction would be “So my fears were unfounded? Maybe I need to enrol in that University course…” Maybe even “Thanks, I feel a lot better”

            And look if a woman wants to look and be attractive for herself only, or to care less about being attractive at all that is totally fine by me. But that was NOT the premise of this article.

          2. Jack, the point that you’re missing is that all of your proposed responses are still “inside the box” so to speak, with the box being “women must be attractive to men.” Don’t look for logic when you’re operating inside this box, because the parameters are illogical. Why must women be attractive to men? Why is a woman’s self-worth weighted so heavily on the side of how attractive she is (in looks or personality or what-have-you)?

            When a woman bemoans that men don’t find her attractive (for whatever reason) your instinct here is to reassure her that yes! she’s attractive! but that’s just keeping her inside the box. This reassurance is actually not reassuring at all, because it does not challenge the assumption that her attractiveness is ultra-important.

            The reality is that whether or not you, a man, finds a woman attractive is IRRELEVANT. She is an entire person, a full human being, even if you don’t exist. She may be attractive to you, or she may be unattractive to you – her value as a person is not actually affected by your feelings about her. That’s what you’re missing.

            Look again at the potion of the article that is quoted in this one:

            “We shouldn’t have to reassure girls that smarts won’t make them ugly. It’s an absurd idea, but it also implicitly prioritizes looks over books, as though our advice would be different if, in fact, studying did make girls ugly.”

            What you’re missing is that if studying did make girls ugly, they should still do it, because men finding a woman ugly doesn’t change anything about her. The fact that she =thinks= it’s going to change something about her is the problem. And when you sail in to reassure her that she’s still pretty if she’s smart, that reinforces that male opinion is of paramount importance and reinforces the problem.

          3. I am just going to point to skeith’s reply, because it is spot on, and far better than anything I would have come up with (skeith, you’re a favorite commenter of mine, thank you again!!).

          4. But I must repeat: What you find attractive is 100% irrelevant to this decisions, Jack99. It’s not about you and what you find personally attractive. Hell, it’s not about men and what they find attractive, as a whole. This study was about how being called smart makes WOMEN feel. And yet, you made it all about you and what YOU find attractive (smart ladies who wear jeans, apparently). Your comment on what you find attractive was irrelevant and added nothing important to the discussion. Great, now we know what YOU find attractive! How nice. I don’t really care.

          5. “(skeith, you’re a favorite commenter of mine, thank you again!!).”

            That’s interesting. I thought you hated me.

          6. smhill, thanks for that lucid explanation.
            I took your advice to reread the article and was able to analyse my mixed reactions as follows.
            First of all, the article did not discuss “the worth of a woman”. I wish it had, as I would no doubt have agreed with it.
            After a promising start I grew increasingly frustrated with the author’s narrow focus on physical beauty.
            The word was used almost exclusively in that context 16 times in 6 paragraphs.
            Infuriatingly the fact that intelligence could be a positive influence on beauty was explicitly rejected because of that narrow focus.
            This is a lie which seems to cause needless distress in the form of lost careers and other side effects to countless women.
            The word “attractive” appeared a couple of times, one of which touched on the idea that financial success is attractive in a man.
            The concept of attractiveness could have been developed further, and even provided a better solution than the one finally offered.
            Think about it. Attractiveness subsumes appearance and represents the whole package, the totality of a person. It includes not only intelligence but one’s entire personality and more.
            Think of Stephen Fry. He may be no oil painting but the charm, the charisma, the formidable humour, the wit, the intelligence, the humanity of the man would make him somebody that anyone would want to spend time with.
            Attractiveness is something that everybody wants and that anybody can develop to some degree.
            It would seem to carry minimal baggage in terms of patriarchy or oppression, although I am no expert of course.
            It is generally useful to an individual in all aspects of life, such as in one’s career.
            I think attractiveness, as a replacement for beauty as a goal, is a concept that feminism could use to great advantage if properly presented.
            In short, I was hoping for something more sophisticated than just banging on about appearance.
            “Pretty” was used once, but could have been used throughout, because that is all the author meant.
            By the last paragraph I was so disappointed at the shallow treatment of this subject that I tended to overlook the rather weak conclusion.

          7. Sorry, that was for skeith of course. Unforgivable to get somebody’s name wrong.
            While I’m at it, the author herself is well and truly “in the box”
            She admits to struggling constantly with conventional standards of beauty, and is clearly obsessed with physical appearance in her limited interpretation of beauty.
            Yet her solution is for Everybody to abandon caring about such. Something she herself cannot do.

            That solution will work for some, not all people. What about the others ? Are they to be abandoned? Can’t they be told about the lie, or does that not fit the script? Is salvation only for the true believers?
            I would hope feminism was better than that.

          8. I don’t think I hate you, Skeith! Maybe I am thinking of someone else. WELL NOW YOU HAVE ME QUESTIONING MYSELF! :P We’ll just go with it. Embrace the love. I have more to say but I’m late. So late.

          9. Jack:

            “First of all, the article did not discuss “the worth of a woman”. I wish it had, as I would no doubt have agreed with it.”

            That’s because it’s not a Feminism 101 article. You can’t expect every article you read to lay out the Feminism 101 background for you. Feministing articles sort of assume you know and are on board with some basic feminist principles. Let me rephrase the point of the article and maybe this will help you:

            The Betabrand ad campaign is good interim feminism, because it attempts to show that smart women can also be beautiful, which is actually something that many girls and young women have to be explicitly told. If that seems like bizarro-world logic to you (that studying might make a woman less attractive) that’s because you aren’t the target of the unrelenting media nightmare telling women that they must be less intelligent, educated and/or informed than the men in their lives. You know, that men have fragile egos and can’t handle a better-educated woman. Therefore, ladies, if you want a mate (and YOU MUST HAVE A MATE THIS IS NOT TO BE QUESTIONED) you must hide your smarts or decide not to develop them. This ad campaign attempts to counter this cultural meme.

            However, it is hardly subversive, for two reasons. First: the models are all conventionally attractive and thin, leaving no affirmation for any girl whose body shape is not developing into a thin, conventionally-attractive form. I hope it’s obvious why this is a problem.

            Second, and more serious: it does not challenge the meme that beauty is super-important. The ad campaign says it’s possible to be beautiful as well as intelligent, but does not question that beauty is still important. “All this and pretty too!” is not actually a feminist standard, because “pretty” is always the hinge. As long as you’re pretty, whatever else you might be is going to be OK, but if you’re not pretty you can be a Ph.D. with a Nobel Prize, or an Olympic gold-medalist, and people will still devalue you. This is not acceptable, partially because it’s just inhumane, and partially because men are not held to this standard. For men, being attractive is a big plus, but a physically unattractive Nobel Prize winner is still going to be highly valued. Women are held to a different standard, because they are seen as adjuncts to men, not as whole people in their own right. A woman must be “attractive” (TO MEN) in order to be fully valued, but attractiveness is not an innate trait. it is a trait that is imposed upon a woman by other people and is therefore something she can only influence and not actually control. The value of a man is drawn from his innate traits, because he is seen as a whole person, entire in himself. Women are not whole people unless men are around to assign values to them based on their (perceived) attractive qualities.

            So this is good interim feminism, because its message is important and it’s one that our culture is ready to hear, but we shouldn’t mistake this for the goal. The goal is for women to not be measured by their attractiveness.

            Does this clear some of it up for you?

            “Infuriatingly the fact that intelligence could be a positive influence on beauty was explicitly rejected because of that narrow focus.”

            You’ve misread it. The article isn’t saying that intelligence cannot add to beauty; it’s saying that when you look at a model’s picture on a page, her intelligence is not what you’re seeing. You’re seeing her physical appearance, and whatever she might have in her brain is not communicated to you in the slightest.

            “Think about it. Attractiveness subsumes appearance and represents the whole package, the totality of a person. It includes not only intelligence but one’s entire personality and more.”

            You can’t be serious. A printed, 2-D representation of a model wearing clothes does not convey any kind of intelligence, personality, or anything other than PHYSICAL APPEARANCE. The model is attractive because she LOOKS attractive. Her LOOKS are the only thing presented to you.

            And, again, you’re missing the point. A woman’s “attractiveness” (TO YOU, A MAN) is a social construct that you are superimposing onto her. It’s an entirely unnecessary one, and yet you are talking about what you find attractive over and over like it matters in any way. You are stuck “in the box” of thinking that what you (or anyone) thinks is attractive is IN ANY WAY important or something anyone should care about.

            “I think smart women are attractive!” The answer to this is, “Who cares?” And that’s not meant to be dismissive of you – it’s a serious question. Why should a woman care what you think of her attractiveness? Why should she care about anyone’s? I mean, seriously think about that and give me a serious answer for it: why should I care what you think of my attractiveness?

            If a woman is diminishing her self-worth because she thinks she’s unattractive, the correct response is not to tell her that you find her attractive (because: why should she care?) The correct answer is to ask her why being attractive (TO MEN) is so important to her, and assure her that she is valuable and valid regardless of what men think about her. Attractive and unattractive are things outside of her, not innate to her.

            “Yet her solution is for Everybody to abandon caring about such. Something she herself cannot do.”

            I hope you’re not seriously claiming that people are not allowed to talk about the solution to a problem before they have, personally, attained perfect Platonic implementation of that solution.

            tl;dr – stop telling women they are attractive (or unattractive), because what you think on that front is completely irrelevant. Give up this notion that anyone should care what you think about a person’s attractiveness. What you think is not important so stop treating it like it is. If a woman thinks it’s important, tell her instead that it’s not.

          10. Skeith, thanks for that reply.
            The concept of attractiveness that I hold is non gendered and very much broader than you realise. It includes everything that makes a person, any person, pleasant to be with. There is a lot more to it, evolved over a lifetime of bull sessions with many people, both men and women. I do not expect everybody to buy it, But I don’t expect everybody to abandon caring about attractiveness either.

            There is no need to keep saying that my opinion does not matter. I said the same thing myself in my second comment.

          11. “There is no need to keep saying that my opinion does not matter. I said the same thing myself in my second comment.”

            If you agree with that, why do you keep bringing up your opinion, as though it is of high importance? Why is your instinct, when confronted with a woman who believes herself to be unattractive, to say that actually you find her attractive, as though that should soothe her?

            (Incidentally, your imagined scripts of a woman complaining that she feels unattractive and your thoughts about how that might play out are disturbing. It’s not that the premise is unsound – real women in real life do sometimes have insecurities about their attractiveness and sometimes express this to the men in their lives. However, you frame this as a problem that it’s your responsibility to solve. I would like you to consider the possibility that treating a woman’s concerns as a problem for you, a man, to resolve infantalizes her by framing her into a position of helplessness and you into a position to rescue her from that. You should know that “sharing troubles” is a common way that many women forge and strengthen emotional bonds with the people around them. A woman expressing some negative feeling to you is not necessarily, or even likely, asking for you to solve that and make her feel better. It’s very likely that she is inviting you to reciprocate with your own feelings and thus show that you understand her and are, yourself, a human being with problems. Just something you should consider going forward.)

  2. The conspiracy theory on the study list that jumped out at me was the one about the HIV and African Americans.

    There is good reason to believe conspiracy theories like this, because =this is not that far removed from documented medical experiments performed on unwilling African American subjects.= The Tuskagee syphilis experiment is only the most infamous. It was not unique.

    People (who are in my experience generally white) dismiss this as “oh, that was then, we are better now” but are we? There is still a lot of pain around scientists acknowledging that there is skeeviness in the HeLa cell line and how everyone is making boatloads of money off it except the family of the (African American) woman who “contributed” the cells without her knowledge or permission. As in, scientists typically don’t want to acknowledge that, or talk about it at all, or try to convince themselves and everyone else that because this was =legal= it is also =ethical= and nothing unethical whatsoever was done there, and so we should all just forget about that and look forward to the future.

    It is hardly irrational to believe the HIV conspiracy theory in light of the history of medical experimentation on African Americans in the United States.

    1. No, there’s not really good reason to believe it, because there’s no evidence that it’s true. What you have described is not in any way unique to this conspiracy theory, and could be used to support the rationality of anything else on the list. Companies have irresponsibly disposed of waste in ways that harmed people before, ergo the fluoride conspiracy is rational; cigarettes caused cancer but the government didn’t do anything, ergo cell phones cause cancer and the government won’t do anything; etc., etc. That is how conspiracy theories operate. There’s nothing special or more rational about this one, just because it involves African Americans.

      1. While I can’t speak for skeith, what I think they were getting at is there is good reason to suspect that it might be true. There is plenty of evidence to the contrary, and if someone were to continue to believe it after being given that contrary evidence you of course would be right that it would be because of bad reasoning. But that’s part of how so many conspiracy theories gain purchase, they play on things that sound like they might be true.
        That doesn’t make it good reasoning but then since when are people known to be very good at reasoning, especially when they find an “explanation” that so justifies their suspicions?

        1. Yes, but as you say, that’s common to many conspiracy theories, and skeith was claiming that only the one was made more rational by it. It’s not so. People use the same reasoning to support other conspiracy theories, as you say (and as I said!), and we acknowledge that those are irrational. It doesn’t become any less irrational for this one conspiracy theory.

          1. Where exactly did I say that this particular conspiracy theory is less irrational than the others? Where did I even mention the others?

          2. You singled out exactly one conspiracy theory and claimed “there is good reason to believe” it specifically because of the history involved in that one case.

          3. And that supports your assertion that I said this one “less irrational” than the others in what way? Since the only person making comparison with the others is you?

      2. I didn’t say it was true, or that there was any evidence for it being true. I’m saying it is =not irrational= for a person to believe it to be true. IOW, you should not think that a person who believes in this particular conspiracy theory is a loon. Which is what so many non-conspiracy-theorists believe about conspiracy theorists. The article even carries this advice:

        “Instead of viewing patients who believe in conspiracy theories as crazy, he said doctors should realize those patients may be less likely to follow a prescription regimen.”

        Of course that is bad reasoning, because those two options are not in opposition, and plenty of people fail to follow a prescription regimen for reasons unrelated to medical conspiracy theories, for instance money. However, the first clause of that sentence says a lot doesn’t it?

          1. LOL you are so funny. There are reasons to believe things that go beyond affirmative evidence. Pattern-recognition, for instance. A, B, and C create a pattern, and D fits that pattern. That’s a good reason to believe it could be true, and you believe that things are true that merely fit patterns every day. You believe that if you turn your computer switch to “on” it will turn on, because it always has, even though you have =no evidence= one way or the other until you actually push the switch. And if you run Movie Maker and your computer overheats, then you run it again and your computer overheats again, you are going to believe that running Movie Maker is going to make your computer overheat =even though you have no clue why this is= until you do more investigation as to why these things are linked.

            In fact, you have no incontrovertible evidence that your computer exists at all, yet that does not prevent you from using it to post to this site (the existence of which you also cannot prove).

            Are you really unaware of this? Do you not understand how things like “knowledge” and “belief” operate?

    2. There is an element of self-awareness in this, though. Like, even with the aforementioned IHS eugenics, the typical ndn response to anti-vaxxers and other alties on Facebook has been “Get your first-world problems the [expletive deleted] off my wall!” In general, POC are smart enough to separate actual conspiracies from conspiracy theories promoted with the intent to sell you stuff.

      1. All things being equal, you are correct. But all things are not equal. POC as a group are less educated than white Americans, and that’s not an accident or a thing that POC choose. An educated POC is going to be just as capable as an educated white person to distinguish between a real conspiracy and a conspiracy theory, and it’s weird that I had to type that out because that should be dead obvious. The problem is with poor, poorly-educated POC, who are poor and poorly-educated as a result of deliberate policies enacted by governments at all levels, who are left without access to information and therefore have to make judgment calls about the truth/falsity of the things they hear.

        Poor, poorly-educated whites have this problem, too, but poor whites were not the lab subjects of choice, historically.

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