Theory & Essay

White People Really F*cked Some Sh*t Up, Didn’t They?

Colonialism is a motherf*cker, ain’t it? We all know that the “man’s” intrusion into Africa royally screwed up the world. But maaaaaaaaan, everybody in DC should look at the closest white person and just be mad like we all collectively decided to watch Rosewood. On a jumbotron. At the White House. On a Tuesday.

See, according to a recent book by Craig Timberg and Daniel Halpern called “Tinderbox” imperialist douchebags came in the door (we said it before), and took HIV/AIDS from its closely knit community at its point of origin and sent that ho travelling around the world. First Christopher Columbus “discovered” America, then pilgrims handed over blankets of death to unsuspecting non-ticket scalpers (that was f*cked up…Hail To The Redskins), and then random ass slave trader dudes come to the Congo, run into the one mothertrucker who had HIV who had smanged somebody else and next thing you know we’ve created the AIDS epidemic in the early 1900s because the man couldn’t keep it in his pants.

I’m paraphrasing of course, but this recent story – actually a reprint from the book – published in the Washington Post entitled “Colonialism in Africa helped launch the HIV epidemic a century ago” was interesting for so many reasons. Here are some excerpts (in case you miraculously hadn’t heard about this yesterday somehow):

So HIV’s first journey looked something like this: A hunter killed an infected chimp in the southeastern Cameroonian forest, and a simian virus entered his body through a cut during the butchering, mutating into HIV.

This probably had happened many times before, during the centuries when the region had little contact with the outside world. But now thousands of porters — both men and women — were crossing through the area regularly, creating more opportunities for the virus to travel onward to a riverside trading station such as Moloundou.

One of the first victims — whether a hunter, a porter or an ivory collector — gave HIV to a sexual partner. There may have been a small outbreak around the trading station before the virus found its way aboard a steamship headed down the Sangha River.

For this fateful journey south, HIV could have ridden in the body of these first victims, or it could have been somebody infected later: a soldier or a laborer. Or it could have been carried by a woman: a concubine, a trader.

It’s also possible that the virus moved down the river in a series of steps, maybe from Moloundou to Ouesso, then onward to Bolobo on the Congo River itself.

There might even have been a series of infections at trading towns along the entire route downriver. Yet even within these riverside trading posts HIV would have struggled to create anything more than a short-lived, localized outbreak.

Most of this colonial world didn’t have enough potential victims for such a fragile virus to start a major epidemic. HIV is harder to transmit than many other infections. People can have sex hundreds of times without passing the virus on. To spread widely, HIV requires a population large enough to sustain an outbreak and a sexual culture in which people often have more than one partner, creating networks of interaction that propel the virus onward.

To fulfill its grim destiny, HIV needed a kind of place never before seen in Central Africa but one that now was rising in the heart of the region: a big, thriving, hectic place jammed with people and energy, where old rules were cast aside amid the tumult of new commerce.

It needed Kinshasa. It was here, hundreds of miles downriver from Cameroon, that HIV began to grow beyond a mere outbreak. It was here that AIDS grew into an epidemic.

It really is an interesting article. Mostly because much like everything else negative that happens in the world, there’s a plausible link to slavery, imperialism, and colonialism here as well. Most people think that HIV made its mark in the 1980s and while its true that’s where mankind collectively began to notice it, apparently HIV was traversing the Central African plains for decades.

Anyway, I don’t have much else to add here aside from the fact that you can probably now say that if something’s wrong, it’s probably white people’s fault. And no, not individual white people…but the institution of whiteness. That institution that refuses to move off the sidewalk when I’m walking towards it. Or just move out the way.

I wanted to share this article for those who hadn’t seen it. What do you think? Is it surprising? More of the same? Or Does it even matter?

Personally, my only thought was one of, “that sounds about right”. And for some reason, that disappointed me. I shall delve into that.



Filed Under:
Damon Young

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. He believes the children are our future and is waiting to find out if he is the 2nd most interesting man in the world.

  • naturalista88

    After napping off a migraine & struggling through my French homework, I read this and now I am more depressed than earlier. Ugh, #minuswell go to bed *shuffles off*.

    • That Ugly Kid

      Well see there’s your problem right there miss. You took French. Everyone knows you have to take Spanish. Tis the easy way out.

      • naturalista88

        *Lol*, by the time I registered for my classes Spanish was full, plus it’s a goal of mine to live in France for a few years, gotta know the language of the people there otherwise I’ll probably say something to get myself strung on a tree like some Christmas lights.

      • Panama Jackson

        French is where its at. And I’m not saying that b/c I’m French.

        okay. i’m mostly saying it b/c i’m French.

        • That Ugly Kid

          Wait, so you’re part Surrenderer? Tell me, how does that work out for you? In a way, I envy you. It’s probably easy as f*ck to walk away from possible domestic disputes given that running away from conflict is somewhere in your blood.

          • veryaveragebrotha

            ….because black people have never ever ever ever ever been known to surrender???

            • That Ugly Kid

              Nope. The French are known for and often made fun of for surrendering/running away from fights A LOT. Moreso than anyone else apparently. So while other races have surrendered before, they haven’t done so a much as the French. So to classify those of a French bloodline as surrenders/lovers-not-fighters is an old (and rather common) history joke.

              The fact that I have to explain this joke makes me mad at the American school system. Like, I want to axe kick Dakota Fanning right now (how old is she anyway, hasn’t she been 12 years old for like the past 5 years?).

              • veryaveragebrotha


                Perhaps you should have taken a little more time to understand my joke….

                BTW, you do realize the French that you’re ridiculing punked a significant portion of west Africa right? People in glass houses…people in glass houses…

        • Zara

          Lol un peu biased eh?
          I studied french and even did the study abroad thing… and years later I now work in the Bronx and I kick myself everyday for not studying espagnol!

    • Starita34

      As long as you’re depressed, look up Japanese Internment camps in the United States. I know many may already be aware, but I didn’t really understand what happened until yesterday. The title of this post captured my thoughts almost perfectly.

  • African Mami

    HIV/AIDS is a disease made by the white man to eliminate black people. It is not a secret. We know whats up! The endemic in Africa is a carefully orchestrated strategy to wipe an entire continent. Oh well, we have fallen into their trap, and now through sheer ignorance-on some people’s part and a lack of education and access to proper resources are actually making the white man’s dream come true.

    • nillalatte

      Only problem with that theory is that HIV/AIDS does not know if you are black or white. Just saying.

      • African Mami

        duh!-It does not, BUT if we look at FACTS-who are the most marginalized and affected…BLACK PEOPLE!

        • DG

          Not trying to play devil’s advocate or anything, but last I checked…transmission of HIV is directly related to one’s behavior, not one’s race. I’ve NEVER heard of an incident where a white man held a gun on two black ppl and forced them to engage in unprotected s3x or other risky behavior(s)…I’m just saying.

          Regardless of what you believe to be the origins of the disease, we gotta hold ourselves accountable for its continued transmission within our communities. That sh#t is on us.

          • African Mami

            @ DG

            Of course we have to hold ourselves accountable….I did allude to this in my ignorance, lack of education blah blah statement…..

            -If we are being used as GUINEA PIGS by pharmaceutical manufacturers over in the motherland as I’m talking, the menace that is HIV/AIDS should not come as a surprise. It was concocted in some lab!

            • A Woman’s Eyes

              Yet AIDS is the #1 killer of young Black people globally.

              Even though AIDS doesn’t discriminate by race, we have to question why it has spread through countries in Africa, killing whole communities of Black people. And we have to question why its the #1 killer of Black people 15 to 45 here in the U.S.

              Two years ago, it was revealed that the 1940s, the United States conducted experiments in Guatamela where populations of people were injected with STDs and other viruses.


              The possibilities of viruses being created in research laboratories and then released into the human population either by accident or on purpose is real.


              In 2005, it was revealed that the U.S. government tested AIDS drugs on foster children who are HIV positive without consideration for the risks of such testing on their already compromised immune system.


              Given medicine’s history of experimentation and drug testing on people of color, children, women, it is not such a great leap to ponder if the AIDS virus was created in laboratories and then released to a target population to observe how the virus attacks their bodies.

              We should question the origin of the AIDS virus and ask what DNA evidence exists to prove the monkey was infected and killed theory for the origins of AIDS.

              Given that we are living in times where any and all types of viruses are created and mutated in a laboratory, I’m not so quick to believe an infected monkey in the wild theory.

              • randomeffery

                yay for facts.

              • Justmetheguy

                @ A Woman’s Eyes- I really appreciate you bringing that perspective to the conversation and not backing down. The ABSOLUTE most irritating and (imo) dangerous thing I see black individuals in the blogosphere and real life do is write people off with a convenient label folks as “conspiracy nutjobs” or discredit someone’s explanation as a “conspiracy theory”. The truth is any theory you here and it’s “proof” is all only to be taken as a possibility. So why is their side of the story seen as a “theory” while the other side is seen as a credible historical account? We’ve seen time and time again that our government, our media, and our (public) history books can’t always be trusted. More importantly we’ve been given proof time and time again for centuries (or if you do some real research into black history) millenia that those same three entities I just mentioned will go out of their way to harm us as a community (even when it doesn’t directly benefit them). I rember seeing a youtube clip in college when we used to watch felony fights and whatnot that involved a dude getting knocked out. Dude hit buddy so hard that he fell to the ground and in an unconscious involuntary move he reached his arm up for help getting up. Ironically the person he was reaching for help from was the one that knocked him out in the first place. So naturally he pushed his arm back to the ground and continued taunting him in order to prove his superiority. I swear that’s a direct parallel to what i see between white and black people today. I can’t for the life of me understand why the default way of thinking for so many black people is to trust these same people that knocked you down continuously before you trust anyone else about what’s going on and how to avoid it. I mean, I’m not saying every conspiracy you hear is true or that some of these “youtube intellectuals” don’t exaggerate or take it two steps too far sometimes, cause they definitely do. I get that it comes off as shock value information and phony academia, but I honestly don’t see many of those theories as anything more than another side of the story. I’m intelligent enough to say that I don’t know the truth about many things that have happened. I think the truth usually lies somewhere between the story that the mainstream gives and the story the radicals that are hyper-sensitive to conspiracies give. Depending on the subject and how much motive/incentive people have to conspire (usually money, status ,and power are a helluva motive to human beings and their egos) it’s not as outrageous and unlikely as so many intellectuals (black ones for crying out loud) tend to assume. Corporations, investors, and banks conspire ALL THE TIME. Why? Because they are exponentially more powerful when they work together. It’s common sense really. This is all about money and power, and some level of deception by omission is needed when you want to feed off of unsuspecting victims/customers. That’s all the radicals are trying so enthusiastically to demonstrate to you otherwise very smart brothas and sisters. The truth is never that convenient, especially when the stakes are so high. Remember who the enemies have been and what people/families/entities stand to gain from certain epidemics/crises. Good comment A Woman’s Eyes

                • Justmetheguy

                  Smh, sorry for all the run- on sentences, grammatical mistakes (and whatever you call the mistake of saying here when I meant hear) and the long-windedness (it’s a word now d*mmit lol)

                  • A Woman’s Eyes


                    I read everything you wrote, so no worries.

                    ” I can’t for the life of me understand why the default way of thinking for so many black people is to trust these same people that knocked you down continuously before you trust anyone else about what’s going on and how to avoid it.”

                    Yes — I hate to get Oprah-ish but when we know better, we do better.

                    Just recently, there was news coming out of North Carolina where Black people, and/or people with disabilities had testified in court on how they discovered they had been sterilized without their knowledge by the government. The last year of the program? 1974


                    I imagine that any of those people speaking up about having learned they had been sterilized back in the day would have garnered strange silence and strange looks from people until the truth came out. People don’t want to believe such a systematic effort would exist to harm anyone who looks like them or their family.

                    • Justmetheguy

                      ” People don’t want to believe such a systematic effort would exist to harm anyone who looks like them or their family.”

                      Yep…that’s a pretty sad story. It’s expected at this point though.

              • Vanity in Peril

                I read all that with an 80′s laugh track playing in my mind. Not because one iota of that was in any way funny. It was not. But because it frightened the hell out of me and I would like to sleep somewhat soundly tonight. Thanks for the info.

              • Brian

                It’s all in the science journals. Read them.

    • Panama Jackson

      I’m all for a good conspiracy theory on occasion. I’m just not sure I buy into this one.

      • MsPackyetti

        Part of me thinks this may absolutely be true, but at the end of the day, I think it’s hardly the point.

        Is it critical for us to find the historical truth lest we repeat it? Absolutely, but what we should be spending MUCH more time on is ensuring people have access to correct information, education to change habits, and the medication to save lives.

        We need to be dispelling myths like those that say you can be cured of HIV by having sex with a virgin-which has increased rape and child molestation to epid proportions and means death sentences for so many young girls internationally. We need to be correcting people when they imply or explicitly state that the only way to get it is if you’re gay or if your man is on the down low. We need to be providing clean needles for addicts, free condoms for all and the education that should come with both.

        Simply, we need to empower people to create the healthy habits that help them avoid the disease. The more time we spend talking about the past, the more time we spend ignoring what’s most important: Saving lives NOW.