11 Colossal American Scandals That You Should Know

Most Americans are familiar with famous scandals like Watergate, but many lesser-known scandals will blow your mind and make you wonder, “Why didn’t I learn about this in high school?”

1. The Failure of the Foster Care System

The foster care system in the United States is broken, and some commenters on a popular internet forum believe it should be considered an American scandal. One user shared their experience growing up in foster care and said that while there are some fantastic foster parents out there, there are just as many, if not more, who “only see the children as paychecks or outlets for their abuse.”
Social workers must be emotionally intense to work in this messed up system, and many great social workers quit because the job is too mentally taxing.

2. The Tulsa Race Massacre

One of the most harrowing incidences of racism in America occurred in the spring of 1921 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Angry white crowds descended on Greenwood, a neighborhood in Tulsa known as the Black Wall Street because of its flourishing and prosperous black community.
There, the angry mobs destroyed buildings, burnt down homes, and killed upwards of 300 black community members. The racist mob tore apart the prosperous Greenwood community in a matter of hours, and the government did nothing to punish the white perpetrators.

3. The DuPont Scandal

DuPont knowingly poisoned the waterways and rivers in Parkersburg, West Virginia, for years as they dumped a toxic material known as PFOA into the rivers. Not only is this an environmental hazard, but it also impacts livestock and humans. The chemical is known to cause congenital disabilities and cancer.

4. The Jack Abramoff Scandals

Federal lobbyist Jack Abramoff was involved in the gambling industry and Native American tribal law in the U.S. In 2005, Abramoff was exposed for defrauding Indian Tribal Councils, overcharging them tens of millions of dollars. In early 2006, Abramoff pled guilty to fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy.

5. Gary Webb and the C.I.A.

When Gary Webb exposed the CIA’s connection to the distribution of Crack Cocaine in the U.S., the media destroyed his career by attempting to dismantle his journalistic integrity. Webb was found dead in his apartment in late 2004. His official cause of death was suicide, but medical examiners found two bullets in his skull.

6. The Tuskegee Syphilis Study

In 1932, the U.S. Public Health Service began a wildly unethical study on 400 African American men. First, scientists injected these men with syphilis through a fake vaccine and never disclosed the infection to the test subjects. For forty years, these men lived with syphilis without knowing what they suffered from as scientists studied the progression of the disease in their bodies.
Doctors knew these men were suffering and why they were suffering, but for the sake of the experiment, they refused to help them.

7. The Turpin Family Case

The Turpin House of Horrors became a famous case of disturbing child abuse and imprisonment in 2018 when the family’s eldest daughter escaped the home’s terrible conditions and told the police what she and her siblings endured.
But after the system separated these kids from their original abusers, six were placed in an equally abusive foster home. The state now faces a lawsuit because of claims that it knowingly placed these six children in an abusive foster home.

8. D.E.S. Pregnancy Scandal

In 1940, doctors began prescribing pregnant women a synthetic form of estrogen called D.E.S. to help reduce the risk of miscarriages. The problem was that D.E.S. was never adequately tested and was FDA-approved after one non-blind study. Doctors gave the drug to pregnant patients up through 1971.
D.E.S. causes severe congenital disabilities such as a higher risk of cancer, issues with genital development, low immune system functioning, and more. These genetic issues are heritable, meaning people hurt by D.E.S. can pass the defects down to their children.

9. Wall Street’s Attempted Coup on F.D.R.

Did you know that Wall Street almost overthrew F.D.R.’s government and was only stopped by a simple secretarial mistake? Some businessmen on Wall Street approached Smedley Butler and proposed a coup with Butler as the leader. They planned to create an army of 500,000 men to take over the White House. When the government later investigated the plot, they discovered that the plan was highly close to fruition.

10. Unit 731 Cover Up

During World War II in Imperial Japan, Japanese soldiers and physicians worked together to conduct some of the vilest and most disturbing experiments known to man. Unit 731 was one specific center for human experimentation against primarily Chinese victims. The victims underwent brutal torture in the name of science to gather data on biological warfare.
At the war’s end, the U.S. granted immunity to the physicians who conducted the torture at Unit 731 and justified it by gaining access to the data collected there. Yet the data was hardly up to scientific standards, causing many people to be outraged that the torturers got off scot-free.

11. Elizabeth Holmes & Theranos

The Theranos scandal broke when journalist John Carreyrou wrote his investigative account in the Wall Street Journal in 2015. Holmes’s company, Theranos, a blood-testing startup, pitched a so-called revolutionary technology using a single pinprick of blood instead of one vial for many diagnostic tests. Theranos and Holmes claimed they could use this technology for hundreds of tests more quickly and at less cost, knowing it wasn’t true.
The company’s Board of Directors, including Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, David Boies, and Jim Mattis, gave credibility to the troubled technology. Safeway and Walgreens believed in the technology, offering it to customers through partnerships with the company. Holmes was found guilty of fraud and serving an 11-year term.
This thread inspired this post.
This article appeared first on The Cents of Money.

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