AIDS in Black America
August 24, 2006 7:49 PM   Subscribe

Shortly before his cancer diagnosis, Peter Jennings started work on a one-hour documentary devoted solely to the issue of AIDS in Black America. ABC News has now finished his work in a one-hour Special Edition of "Primetime," reported by Terry Moran. "In America today, AIDS is virtually a black disease, by any measure," says Phill Wilson, executive director of The Black AIDS Institute in Los Angeles. Black Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population but account for over 50 percent of all new cases of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. That infection rate is eight times the rate of whites. Among women, the numbers are even more shocking—- almost 70 percent of all newly diagnosed HIV-positive women in the United States are black women. Black women are 23 times more likely to be diagnosed with AIDS than white women, with heterosexual contact being the overwhelming method of infection in black America.
posted by jennababy (50 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:52 PM on August 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

This is on TV as I post
posted by TedW at 7:55 PM on August 24, 2006

You mean "this was posted when the show was 90% over".

Hope for a repeat, I guess.
posted by intermod at 8:02 PM on August 24, 2006

Sorry intermod, I didn't catch it until it was almost over. But most of the information is in the article and there are a few video clips.
posted by jennababy at 8:11 PM on August 24, 2006

I'm already up too late at night, but I want to watch this.

One aspect of "the down low" that I've wondered about is, with black male incarceration rates as high as they are, whether black men in prisons and jails are engaging in unsafe gay sex as inmates and reverting to hetero sex -- but unprotected hetero sex -- when they get out, increasing the incidence of AIDS transmission. I don't really know how to go about trying to document this with any statistics; it's just something I've pondered.
posted by pax digita at 8:23 PM on August 24, 2006

I grew up in Birmingham, AL. I go there at least once a year. Black people, especially women, have been in this situation for several years now, but it has been really difficult getting much media attention about it, nothing like the coverage you would see if straight white women were getting it from their SOs. Maybe that's finally changing. I hope so.

However, what is up with that nonsense about the down low? Don't white men have sex with other men and fail to inform their partners? And when did white men abolish the closet? Isn't it possible that there is some non-social factor at work here?

On preview: pax digita, you are on to something. I wonder how the ratios of black men getting incarcerated and getting HIV compare.
posted by owhydididoit at 8:35 PM on August 24, 2006

Kudos to Peter Jennings (R.I.P.).
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:36 PM on August 24, 2006

Peter Jennings was a shill. Just watch his JFK program that was on ABC a few years ago - it towed the line of the warren commission almost 40 years later even in light of incontrovertible evidence.

No, I do not find Jennings to be an authoritative voice on AIDS in Black America. He was an intellectually dishonest neerdowell with a penchant for truthiness.

As for AIDS in Black America? Mark Twain once said:

Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."

African Americans test false-positive on WB and ELISA HIV tests quite often because the original HIV test was created with a dilution threshold based on an anglo blood cross section.

African Americans (and blacks around the world) have naturally higher incidence of antibodies in their blood - in fact, in their genetic makeup. Sickle Cell Anemia is a direct biological response to disease, and is one piece of proof that blacks have a complex disease response mechanism at work (sickle cell anemia makes catching malaria nearly impossible).

But I digress..
posted by Milliken at 9:38 PM on August 24, 2006

Milliken, I'm confused. How do they have antibodies if they haven't been exposed?
posted by owhydididoit at 10:41 PM on August 24, 2006

I'm afraid Milliken is the one that's confused here.
posted by mert at 10:53 PM on August 24, 2006

Milliken, please elaborate. Are you saying that there's an unusually high proportion of blacks who think they have AIDS but in actuality are suffering from nothing more than a false HIV test result?
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:54 PM on August 24, 2006

No, I do not find Jennings to be an authoritative voice on AIDS in Black America. He was an intellectually dishonest neerdowell with a penchant for truthiness.

Of course he is, but that doesn't mean he's lying about the statistics. There's also underreporting of HIV/AIDS infections and diagnoses among all minority groups for a wide variety of reasons, some cultural, and some just part of the general lack of healthcare and insurance for 40 million plus Americans. People who only have emergency rooms to go to don't usually get tested for any disease, let alone a disease that still carries enormous social baggage.

As for Prisons, this Illinois data from 05 is shocking: ... According to the Illinois state health department, African-Americans account for 15% of the state’s population but make up 51% of its HIV cases. About 65% of all prisoners in Illinois are African-American. The HIV prevalence rate in Illinois jails is estimated to be five times the rate among the general population. ...
posted by amberglow at 4:36 AM on August 25, 2006

A study from 2005:

Nearly half of all African-American men who have sex with men tested HIV-positive
posted by ibeji at 6:19 AM on August 25, 2006

Nearly half of all African-American men who have sex with men tested HIV-positive

Perhaps one reason there is such high infection rates of heterosexual black women is because of the hatred of gay and bisexual men in the African-American community, which drives them to secrecy about their lives and about their HIV status with their female sex partners. Just one more way in which homophobia kills people.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:38 AM on August 25, 2006

what is up with that nonsense about the down low? Don't white men have sex with other men and fail to inform their partners? And when did white men abolish the closet?
"Bro," he said, "I'm on the Down Low."

"Dude," I said, "You're white. You can't be on the Down Low!"

"Bro," he said. "All kinds of white people are saying they're on the Down Low now."

"That's ridiculous," I protested. "Why don't you just say you're in the closet?"

"Because the closet sounds stupid," he said.
Can you be white and "on the Down Low"?
(Maybe, maybe not. But stop saying "'bro." Other commentary on this article: White Folks Won't Even Let Black People Have Their Own Secret Shame and Whitey Co-Opts the Down Low.)

The down low got a lot of attention because of this New York Times article in August 2003 (MetaFilter thread).
posted by kirkaracha at 6:44 AM on August 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

The issue of "the down low" is problematic. On the one hand I do think that the AA community has a very conflicted attitude toward homosexuality. Unfortunately that's less conflicted and more condemnatory in some of the institutions that are the strongest (AA churches) in the community. There is some defensive closeting that goes on. But there's also a real conflict for young African American gay men who grow up in communities where virility and manliness is in part measured by reproduction (unfortunately not by actual parenting). I talk with a lot of young black gay men who really want kids, for all kinds of good and not so good reasons. I hear that a lot less from young white gay men.

On the other hand, the "down low" scare pushes HIV back to being some kind of gay disease. It's just another gay scare, and it doesn't accord with the way I see infection working on the street. What I find anecdotally in the HIV clinic where I work is that most hetero women who are infected are infected through hetero sex with a IV drug user. It's a very prevalent infection pattern here in Baltimore, even here, where most of the gay AA men are on the down low. It goes with a shocking willingness to rationalize substance abuse, a general attitude (and I realize the limits of speaking here from personal experience) that allows people to accept truly self-destructive behavior from their lovers.
posted by OmieWise at 7:00 AM on August 25, 2006

Also, Milliken is an idiot. The Elisa used to test for HIV antibody presence is tuned so that there is a very low rate of false positives, which is almost completely done away with by having multiple bands present on the Western Blot. That's why both tests are necessary to confirm a dx of HIV. In all my years of working with HIV I've never seen a false positive, only positives that were later also confirmed by the presence of the actual HIV in the patient's blood.

This isn't by way of reponse to Milliken, because s/he's an idiot, but just to clear up any confusion for anyone else.
posted by OmieWise at 7:04 AM on August 25, 2006

what was astounding, for me, more than anything else, was when it was brought up to those in power. In particular, Gwen Eiffel asked about this in the 2004 VP debate. Cheney straight up said he had no idea and Edwards obviously had no idea so decided to talk about Africa.

More interesting, more so because the interviewer, Terry Moran, I guess, pretty much calls out Jesse Jackson. He interviews him, asks him how he can teach kids not to sleep around when he has, and then asks him about why he has not stepped to lead on this incredible issue. Jessie looks pretty much braindead. He has no answer, mumbles a few things, then starts talking about AIDS in Africa.

All in all it was a good viewing.

Oh, the one thing I found to be unconvincing was the aspect of the black activists who said that when it was a white issue (homosexual) people took notice and stood up. To me it just seemed like those with AIDS stood up and acted out, protested, called attention to it. Granted those in power should lead on this, but I find it hard to see it as a racial thing if the community itself does not designate it as an emergency.
posted by 8 Bit at 7:56 AM on August 25, 2006

one of the things that struck me about the program was the end, when the anchor pointed out that the american media had dropped the ball on this issue -- and he also called out the black community for certain pernicious aspects of our culture and for a failure of leadership.

like some in this thread have said earlier, i used to wonder why there were no ribbons and 5k's for the issue of AIDS in the black community. then i realized that the ribbons, magnets, and runs/walks/marathons didn't just materialize out of the aether: a group of people got together and took action.

i didn't see all of the program, but i wonder if they brought up the distrust blacks feel for the medical establishment in general. i think the tuskegee incident created a rift that might never completely heal; and i think studies have shown that the prevalence of the belief that AIDS is a human-created disease purposefully introduced to certain populations is far, far, far greater among blacks than it is among non-blacks.

is there too much damage already done for me to retain a sense of hope?
posted by lord_wolf at 8:47 AM on August 25, 2006

"George Bush doesn't care about black people"
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 9:01 AM on August 25, 2006

is there too much damage already done for me to retain a sense of hope?

Hope lies in deliberately ignorant people dying out before they infect too many others with their nonsense.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:02 AM on August 25, 2006

i think the tuskegee incident created a rift that might never completely heal

Enough about the Tuskegee incident, already. Is there anyone alive in 2006 who can truthfully look another person in the face and say, "I know I have some worrisome symptoms, but I'm leery about visiting a physician. As you know, some 60 years ago, physicians infected some African American prisoners with syphilis as part of an experiment. I'm worried that if I go to see a physician about my symptoms, I might be similarly infected." Or any variation, thereof? Either you take responsibility for your health or you don't.
posted by Faze at 9:51 AM on August 25, 2006


Im not an idiot. How do you measure what is or is not a "false positive" by anything other than symptoms? Since you consider the ELISA and WB to be gold standards, there is nothing else.

Secondly, there is a *direct* parallel between AIDS deaths in the mid/late 80's and early 90's with the use of cocktails - e.g. the toxicity of the antiviral cocktails was relegated to "AIDS" rather than toxicity.

Even today, gay men in this country are dying in droves from heart disease, kidney and liver failure and other horrible effects from HIV drugs.

In all of your "work" with HIV (please, extrapolate - are you a doctor, nurse, social worker?) you have probably only seen those HIV positives that take the cocktails and come in for their monthly or quarterly blood work (on the drugs) right?

Did you know that the rate of disease progression has been shifted further and further back over the years, and while it has been constantly attributed to the use of better and better cocktails, the true numbers show that the HIV positives who are NOT taking the cocktails are almost entirely responsible for the statistical lengthening in terms of years of the average disease progression timeline.

Before you call other people morons, idiots, etc., remember that you just *might* be leaning on a logical fallacy, and while I might be completely batshit crazy, you just might be completely misinformed.

Frankly, your credentials (whatever they may be) do not give you cart blanch in the field of HIV research and medicine. In fact, if you are a doctor, you have a certain set of protocols that you *must* follow -or- you risk disciplinary actions and castigation by the medical community.

The point, as it pertains to blacks in america with HIV, is that blacks have much higher levels of IgG, for instance, which is one cause of false positive results in *any* viral test.

Secondly, blacks do have a higher incidence of antibodies than whites or latinos. These higher levels of antibodies cause all sorts of diagnostic problems for them, as blood titers and diagnostics are measured against a gold standard highly leaning towards anglo thresholds.

Call me a moron or go do some reading. Either one. Just dismissing that which you don't agree with as moronic or idiotic strikes me as ignorant. If you aren't willing to discuss the issues, keep your mouth shut.

Again, what are your qualifications?
posted by Milliken at 9:54 AM on August 25, 2006

Oh, the one thing I found to be unconvincing was the aspect of the black activists who said that when it was a white issue (homosexual) people took notice and stood up. To me it just seemed like those with AIDS stood up and acted out, protested, called attention to it. Granted those in power should lead on this, but I find it hard to see it as a racial thing if the community itself does not designate it as an emergency.

Well, many many people of color have been extraordinarily active in trying to get safe-sex messages out, and have done heroic work in face of opposition from churches and others, but for heterosexual transmission there's comparatively far less--for white or black or hispanic people. For drug users there's been a lot of outreach and education too, compared to the regular hetero population.
When AIDS first came out, there was no one speaking except for us gays and only a very few public heath people (Krim, Shilts, Fauci), and we had to create new organizations and structures and networks from scratch to reach our communities (everywhere from bars to bathhouses to community centers, etc), and to force the FDA to pay attention. We united behind it all, and one problem for minority communities is that they still won't bring it to the forefront as an emergency--i wish every church, every school in minority districts, every single family and community organization, etc, all would start yellling about this--we can't depend on the media nor elected officials to do anything until they're forced to.
posted by amberglow at 10:31 AM on August 25, 2006

I'm gonna laugh when OmieWise busts out with "I'm the chief of research at $biggest_university_on_earth" or something like that.
posted by drstein at 10:36 AM on August 25, 2006

Enough about the Tuskegee incident, already.

try reading up on the tuskegee syphils study sometime. you might learn that:

1) the study lasted from 1932 - 1972
2) the story didn't appear in the press until 1972
3) the study's subjects were not prisoners

fallout from the study included the establishment of the national nommission for the protection of human subjects of biomedical and behavioral research to prevent this kind of shite from happening again.

additionally, within the black community, there's very much a feeling of "that's just the one we know about" with regard to the tss.

if you understand anything about trust, you should realize it's very hard to regain once it's been breached as horribly as it was in the tss -- especially when there wasn't all that much of it to begin with.
posted by lord_wolf at 10:45 AM on August 25, 2006


If he was, I seriously doubt he would call anybody an idiot for talking about the problems that exist in the AIDS paradigm.

As a head researcher he would be well aware of these controversies and issues with AIDS diagnosis and progression. Even some lowly doctors are aware of the problematic correlation between a positive test result and a magical progression of the disease itself (via cocktails).

Many may say "boo" or whatever, but please look into it - don't just say "he's an idiot, bla bla". It's counterproductive, and you can truly do your research and find out that there are truths on both sides of the issue.

My personal belief, from what I have seen and read is that, while there exists HIV and AIDS in black americans, it is not nearly at the rate that it exists in statistics.
posted by Milliken at 10:48 AM on August 25, 2006

You're an idiot, a moron, a fool, a wacko, a conspiracy-theory believing dolt, an intellectually dishonest bullshitter, a rube, a sophist, a brain-addled ninny.

I'm nobody's expert, nor do I present myself as such, but I appear to know a lot more about this than do you, you idiot, and to have more experience as well. Go back and read my clarification of your first stupid comment: I've never seen a positive ELISA and Western Blot (that's two tests, not one, dummy**) that was not in turn confirmed by the presence of HIV in the blood (measured by a third test, PCR, which measures the amount of virus in the blood). In all but one of my many hundreds of patients I've also seen a concomitant drop in CD4 cells over time, which some might consider, in light of the first three test, a (fourth) kind of circumstancial evidence.

Provide cites of the lengthening of disease progression. No one I know who works in HIV has seen anything like that. Similarly for the confusion over HAART drug toxicity (that's what the informed actually call them--Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy--not "the cocktail") and deaths from AIDS. The fact that the rates of HIV resistance were poorly understood when AZT was first introduced, and that there is, indeed, toxicity, combined with late diagnosis of a disease which progesses silently, do not add up to the meds killing people. Provide cites or shut the fuck up.

Oh, and until you provide your credentials, the ones that don't start with I AM AN IDIOT like your posts here, you won't be getting mine.

**Since you don't appear to know the first thing about how these tests work, for all your research, let me lay it out for you: patients are tested with an Elisa, which is deliberately made less sensitive than it might otherwise be in order to limit the number of false positives. The Elisa measures anti-bodies to HIV in the blood, but also some other types of anti-bodies can make it positive. Hence, the Western Blot. This is not a general test, it is HIV specific. The Western Blot measures the presence of HIV protiens in the blood. Not anything else, not the body's reaction to HIV, the HIV itself. It takes positives on both tests, tests of different sorts measuring different things, at least one of which (the presence of, you know, actual HIV in the blood) should be unaffected by the differences in "African American responses to disease," to be diagnosed with HIV, you dolt.
posted by OmieWise at 11:19 AM on August 25, 2006 [2 favorites]


I am not a conspiracy theorist or a wacko. I have not disparaged you, yet you continue to disparage me.

I don't have the burden of proof on me to flash my credentials OmieWise - you do at this point. For all the namecalling and anger, I strongly suggest that you at least LIE TO US and give us your qualifications for the hundreds of HIV patients you have seen must have been in direct corellation with some sort of qualification that you posess.

Otherwise, fuck off and go read up on the issues. Oh, and I can read wikipedia too.
posted by Milliken at 11:40 AM on August 25, 2006


Writing articles on AIDS drugs for the NYT, taken from press releases put out by big pharma is not a qualification.

Stop with this head up the ass thing.
posted by Milliken at 11:48 AM on August 25, 2006

You found the wrong pollock, nimrod.

And way to address the issues. Sterling. Really. I mean that.
posted by OmieWise at 11:50 AM on August 25, 2006

come on then, what are your qualifications

you'll have to excuse that I assumed that you were the same Andrew Pollock. For that I do apologize - sincerely.

Seriously though, your anecdotes of hundreds of HIV patients implies lab technician or doctor. Which is it.

Just answer the question.

Or are you just going to call me some more names?
posted by Milliken at 11:54 AM on August 25, 2006

I won't call you more names, but I'm also not going to provide my qualifications. I'll tell you why:

You haven't addressed any of the issues I've raised which suggest that you have a (very) incomplete understanding of how HIV testing works. My guess is that whatever credentials I provide, you're just going to say that they aren't good enough; when, in fact, if you're serious about this issue you've first got to address why your version of things is more acceptable (or should be) than the current science behind HIV testing. If you can't do that then even if you don't want to think of yourself as a conspiracy theorist, you are, because your conviction that you're right exceeds your willingness to look at the facts. As it is, I've provided plenty of stuff (all directly from my own understanding, no Wikipedia here) for you to either refute or ignore. So far it looks like you're interested in ignoring it, which, I've got to say, does not make you look like you've got a solid argument.
posted by OmieWise at 12:15 PM on August 25, 2006

There would have been a far smaller or possibly even non-existent HIV epidemic in the black community in America if we'd done needle exchange early on like the UK and Holland did. In the UK, infection rates never went over 1% even amongst IVDU's and they had no hetero epidemic. In the U.S., in NY, the capital of AIDS here, we went to 50% infection in IVDU's and early in the epidemic, 80% of hetero and pediatric HIV resulted from sex with addicts.

And, of course, since it's easier to get an addict to use a clean needle than it is to get a man to use a condom (hint: clean needle = easier to hit vein = better high), early availability of clean needles gives the opportunity to stop an epidemic dead in its tracks.

But in the U.S., some of the biggest opponents of needle exchange came from the black community--some of the so-called activists on this program like Debra Frasier-Howse-- actually actively campaigned *against* needle exchange and availability. They called it genocide and wanted treatment instead (even though most addicts will relapse at least once and many don't want treatment and it takes years to add new treatment slots) and blocked implementation in NYC for years.

I didn't see the show and don't know if this was brought up, but the "down low" only become an important source of transmission because the opportunity to prevent needle-spread HIV early was missed (and of course, because we concentrated the addicts in prisons without recourse to either clean needles or condoms).

The media has done a totally crap job on covering the IV aspect of the epidemic and this is especially so when it covers AIDS in the black community.
posted by Maias at 12:40 PM on August 25, 2006

If OmieJive would stop dragging the discussion into the mud with his invective, I'd appreciate it.

For everyone else, I might pose a question:

Has anyone here actually looked at the actual research surrounding the 'Men on the Down Low' phenomena?

I'm looking for peer-reviewed statistical data here.

posted by snakey at 6:25 PM on August 25, 2006

How come we are so busy talking about black men on the down low and not talking about the astounding rate of HIV among black women between 25 and 45? The women are mothers - and this is the population I see in my work - the children of mother's with HIV. Some living, some already dead.
That's the crying shame of the this whole mess.
posted by trii at 7:58 PM on August 25, 2006

We saw this coming 20 years ago, and tried to work with the local black community leaders (translation, pastors, ministers, etc.). They told us to get lost. We didn't have the energy or the money to fight both Reagan and the local black political structure. Hell, too many days, we barely had the energy to stay alive ourselves.

It is just very sad. I buried way too many of my friends, and hate to think of anyone else going through what we went through.

It's a virus, people. Not a moral issue. Not a racial issue. Not a gay issue. Not a gender issue. A damned virus.
posted by QIbHom at 9:53 PM on August 25, 2006

There's no real stats on the "down low" thing--for obvious reasons i guess. It's just like there are only estimates and not hard stats for how many American men or women are gay in general--as long as there are closets and not everyone comes out, real stats can't be obtained.
posted by amberglow at 8:27 AM on August 26, 2006

We Are a Part of You-- new campaign with billboards, from New York State Black Gay Network.
posted by amberglow at 8:33 AM on August 26, 2006

How come we are so busy talking about black men on the down low and not talking about the astounding rate of HIV among black women between 25 and 45?

Well, isn't that the official story? The explanation here is that (black) men on the DL are the ones infecting black women, right? I mean, that's what I keep hearing. If there's an alternative theory, I'd be fascinated to hear it as well.

I'm just looking for some honest research to back up this 'Men on the Down Low" phenomenon. It sounds kinda fishy to me.
As ohwhydididoit pointed out -- surely there are white men who have sex with other men and don't inform their partners.
posted by snakey at 11:58 AM on August 26, 2006

Wikipedia actually has a good definition of the "down low." The article cites Keith Boykin's work. Boykin states that "the down-low has numerous meanings, is not specific to African Americans, is not specific to bisexual or homosexual behavior, and is not the cause of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in black America. [He] also argues that the down-low debate demonizes black men, stigmatizes black women and encourages an unhealthy 'battle of the sexes' between black men and black women that distracts the community's attention from the issue of HIV prevention, personal responsibility and condom use."
posted by jennababy at 2:22 PM on August 26, 2006

Milliken, Robert Anton Wilson would be so proud of you! At the start of this thread you spouted unfounded claims and dismissed statistics outright but nothing you said could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt either. Then when others question your statements, you get on the defensive and demand they show their qualifications. What are your qualifications? You don't have any. Why? Cuz you're purposefully inserting dubious evidence to further muddy the waters and keep everyone uncertain about anything. That's so Discordian of you! I could kiss you!

As for the whole AIDS thing, I think the movie Liquid Sky was just prophetic. It's the fault of aliens from outer space and we're all just gonna have to suck it up and die. Well. You guys will. I stopped having sex around Nine Eleven. Why risk impregnating a woman, thus inadvertently subjecting the world to a mini-me? There's enough bullshit on this planet already.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:35 PM on August 26, 2006

Oh, hey, snakey. Good to see you. Rational as always, I see. Idiot.
posted by OmieWise at 5:50 AM on August 28, 2006

Hey! There's Omie with the names again. No real research though. Top class analysis of the issue, man. Your input really convinced me!
posted by snakey at 8:15 PM on August 28, 2006

snakey, snakey, your black withered science denying soul certainly lights up these here internets. Idiot.
posted by OmieWise at 4:39 AM on August 29, 2006

snakey, you coward, I forgot to ask why you never agreed to be infected with HIV. I'd love an answer to that question, you turd.
posted by OmieWise at 5:51 AM on August 29, 2006

I guess I'll have to be the one to point out that Omie is as guilty of making assertions without any citations as Milliken is -- but if nobody's going to call him on it, it's hard to really call this a fair discussion.
posted by snakey at 7:56 PM on August 30, 2006

btw Omie, you've got some foam on your chin. Very unbecoming.
posted by snakey at 8:08 PM on August 30, 2006

USA Today oped: ... The fight for gay rights is like our civil rights struggle, however, and it's hypocritical for groups that have had to fight long and hard to win their own constitutional rights to turn around and try to deny them to the next group. We're seeing this in the descendants of immigrant groups that were despised and vilified during their early days in this country, and that now want to deny recent immigrants the means to become lawful citizens.
This hypocrisy was apparent to me as I was growing up in a black Baptist church. I routinely heard ministers condemn gays from the pulpit, even though half the male choir members, the choir director, the flower arranger and plenty of other male church members were obviously gay. The church would have had difficulty functioning without them.
Because it's difficult enough to be black in this country, I know that black communities would prefer not to have to deal with the added stigma society attaches to homosexuals, and the obvious link to HIV and AIDS. And with stable heterosexual marriages rare enough in black communities, some African-Americans think that encouraging same-sex marriage would only complicate the situation. ...

posted by amberglow at 4:44 PM on September 7, 2006

I actually want to learn more about this but the emotional name calling is ruining the discussion. Obviously when you're talking about life and death issues people get really heated, but if the facts could be debated and not the qualifications or name calling it would really help.
posted by cell divide at 4:54 PM on September 7, 2006

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