R.I.P. Black Heterosexual America.
It pains me on many levels, to have to write your obituary here in 2012. I feared it would be coming at some point in my lifetime, but never expected the realization to hit me right after my 38th birthday. I read an article by Dr. Boyce Watkins today entitled, "African American Female HIV Rates Now Rival Africa" online at www.newsone.com, in which Dr Watkins laid out, with impressive detail, the latest statistics regarding black heterosexual women contracting HIV at 5 times the rate previously thought, according to the CDC(Centers for Disease Control). The article also pointed out that 1 in 32 black women will contract HIV during their lifetime. I was wondering when these types of numbers would occur, and yet at the same time, I was alarmed because I knew that by the time scientists arrived at these figures, it may already be too late to stem the tide of increasing infections.
Why would you say this, Brother Hassan?
I will outline a few reasons for my statement, and then deliver the obituary as promised.
1). In nearly 32 years of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, HIV activists have tried their level best to make substantive inroads into educating poor and "minority" communities of the need for increased sexual awareness and responsibility for their sexual health. Black heterosexual America does not seem to be getting the message. In fact, so firmly entrenched is the idea among black heterosexual men in particular, that HIV is a gay man's disease, that the notion of regular HIV testing among this group is adverse to their perception of their own heterosexuality. After all, why do I need to get tested when I don't stick a man up the butt, or have a man plunge my sphincter into a pulp?
2). Adding to this point, the culture of both benign and malignant homophobia( or for those heterosexuals that worm their way out of that by claiming they cannot be homophobic because they are not technically"afraid" of gays), or anti same-gender loving bigotry within both religious circles and institutions, and within black male and female secular society, will make proper education of HIV impossible going forward. We are regressing, not progressing. While interviewing for my book, "When The Lights Go Out: The Truth About Black Male Prison Sexuality" , I encountered hundreds and hundreds of black men who swore up and down that they were fine because they not into "that gay shit", so they are "clean". This Neanderthal level of ignorance is too common among black heterosexual men, and among the women, it may be even worse.
3). With the release of the now infamous book, "On The Down Low", By J.L. King in 2004, and the subsequent appearance on Oprah that same year, black heterosexual America was given what it needed: a boogey man... a villian...a missing link to "explain" to them why so many among the ranks of the black woman were contracting HIV. "Aha!" so many black women exclaimed. "So that's how we are getting it. These fags are ON THE DOWN LOW giving it to us. I knew it was a gay disease. This explains how so many of us are now getting it." . All over America, millions of black women filled up airwaves, chatrooms, hair salons, churches and other places to warn each other about the sinister, evil, diabolical machinations of this lying, deceitful segment of men who Trojan Horsed them into a positive HIV status.
Meanwhile, we would learn that the problem of "DL" men was not as serious as first thought, that it was largely way over hyped by media, and although there are definite cases of it all over, it did not explain the major reason for black women having HIV in the numbers they did.
That was not mentioned nearly as loudly, or with as much excitement.
No "juicy" story for black radio to blow up into oblivion for ratings, if it was discovered that "plain old" heterosexual men have a large role in HIV infection with black women. No $$$ for J.L. King to peddle his narrative to keep those coins coming in(he allegedly brags, according to reports I have received, that he made $10 million off of that book). That brings the "boogeyman" to black heterosexual America's doorstep, instead of those "abominations" who act like a "real man" but in fact engage in....wait for it...homosexual sex ........(speaks in shameful whisper, while looking around to see if anyone can hear us)...
Gay sex sells big time it appears.
4). The Church does not help matters much either. In the 1980's and 1990's, when HIV/AIDS hit the LGBT (or same-gender loving, if you prefer) community like a Tsunami, many black churches not only stayed silent, some echoed the talking points of Jerry Falwell type preachers who proclaimed that AIDS was God's curse on Homosexuality. Now that black, heterosexual women are being hit by the virus ( at a time when medicine is 100 times better at treating HIV than it was in the 80's and 90's), I hear calls from black sistas for gays to join forces with them to fight the disease.
Sounds good, right????
Where were these women when 13 of my friends and associates between 1995-2001 passed away from AIDS related illnesses? To have to find other places besides a church to hold a service, because the preacher did not want an "AIDS infested corpse" in his church. To see the look of disdain on so many black women's faces when you mentioned that you were a FRIEND of someone with HIV/AIDS. The seething hate. The disgust. Being made to feel sub-human because you were gay, and your friend died of this terrible disease. Ever had to do 13 funerals in 6 years, all for the same virus, with all of your friends dying, and be treated with such venom, as from black heterosexual, Bible thumping, judgmental church and non church women?
This is why the calls for unity will take some prayer from me before I leap in to help folks that I know would not give two fucks about me, or lift a finger, if I were in their shoes. Those are my issues, and I do not expect others to feel the same.
RIP, Black Heterosexual America.
It isn't as though HIV itself will kill you if you get treated and make lifestyle choices to prolong your life. It is your ignorance that will do you in. So many millions of black men not getting tested(and lets face it; never will begin to get tested twice a year to stay on top of their sexual health), and black women taking zero responsibility for their sexual health, "trusting" the man they barely know, or clearly do not know well enough, and have not been tested with to care for their bodies as they should, will sign the death warrant on these descendants of a great and mighty people. In the Old Testament(you know, the book black heterosexuals dust off to condemn gays with), there is a verse of scripture in Hosea 4:6 that reads,"My people are destroyed, for the lack of knowledge, and because you have rejected knowledge, so also will I reject thee..."
So, it was nice knowing you, black heterosexual America. Take care. Hope Heaven is as good as that Bible you quote from says it is. You may get to see it sooner than you imagine.
Your Friend and Brother,