TALK TO THE DADDY

Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Monday, December 1, 2008

Aids, black women, and down-low men

A while back, the daddy wrote an article commenting on the book, "On the Down Low," the down-low mentality and its dangerous affect on the black community.

On the down low
or just low down?
by Mac Walton, aka, the daddy

"In these bloody days and frightful nights
When an urban warrior can find no face
more despicable than his own, no ammunition
more deadly than self-hate and no target more
deserving of his true aim than his brother,
we must wonder how we came so late and lonely to this place.
--Maya Angelou, “I Dare to Hope”

J. L. King, author of On the Down Low: A Journey into the Lives of “Straight” Black Men Who Sleep with Men(Broadway Books, New York, 2004), allows us to borrow his eyes and peer into the minds of Down Low (DL) men: Black men who sleep with other men at the same time they are sleeping with women. And here’s what we see:

* Men (some, not all) who often have unprotected sex with men and then engaged in unprotected sex with women, thinking it will be okay because their male lovers are “clean.”

* Men who keep their sexual activity with other men hidden no matter how much and how often they have to lie to their female partners

* Men that seek to distinguish themselves from gay or bisexual men. Gay men, says King, know what they want in another man and can talk about it like women.“Look, baby, I like a little spice in my life,” or “I am open. I don’t have any hang-ups with sex." But DL men want it all too, but they want other men in secrecy.
DL men, says King, are so secretive, “so undercover, so in denial, so ‘on the low,’ that they are the closet.”

* Men that are nothing if not deceptive. They “front” with women at the clubs while secretly making plans to “hook up” with men later in the evening. But they will not be associated with any activity that may call into question their secretive sexual activity. No gay parades for them.

* Men that, in fact, resist the concept of being gay like a crackhead resists advice. Though they sleep with men, they adamantly resist the notion of being gay and say they want nothing to do with gay people, stereotyping gays as men that dress up like Ru Paul, go to gay bars and march in gay parades. Mr. King himself refuses to consider that he may be gay or bisexual.

* Men that feel they would not have to be so secretive if they had more support from the Black church. While providing important information about the DL men and courageously confessing his own risky behavior, Mr. King fails to go farther and speak directly to DL men, imploring them to get tested, to immediately stop having unprotected sex with men or women and to get help. For example, he could have provided a listing of clinics in each state where men can go to get tested. He also failed to identify the implications of individual DL men’s risky sexual and deceptive behavior to the fragile Black communities. Since truth appears to be the first casualty of DL relationships, here are just a few truths for them and their potential partners to consider:

1. DL men stereotype gays, including gays in the Black community who act responsibly in the community and do not dress Ru Paul. king gives the impression that all DL men’s behavior, though dishonest, is somehow superior to gay people when, as King admits, gay and bisexual men are more honest than DL men. So who are DL men to criticize gay people?

2. DL men stereotype the Black church. Yes, the Black church could be more welcoming to the gay people. In fact, Blacks, as individuals, could be more welcoming. But this notion hardly justifies King placing the blame for his and other DL “lifestyle” at the doorstep of Black church. First, there is a thing called individual responsibility. Second, some Black churches, predominantly Black colleges (e.g., Morehouse), community centers, drug counseling agencies and others do provide services to gay people (despite cuts in such services by federal and state agencies). So stereotyping and blaming Black churches and other Black institutions to rationalize irresponsible individual behavior just doesn’t cut it.

3. DL men’s risky sexual behavior of having unprotected sex with men and infecting female partners is literally killing Black people (see data at the end of this article).

4.Though a serious concern in Black neighborhoods across the country, HIV and STD infections are especially problematic in the South. In a recent report, The Southern States AIDS and STD Directors Work Group concluded, “AIDS is out of out of control in the South...In essence we’re declaring a state of emergency…Unless some crucial steps are taken, the epidemic will get worse.”

Why does this epidemic persist? Besides the usual suspects of poverty, ignorance and needle injections, the CDC offers two other major reasons: Denial and Partners at Risk. About denial the CDC states: “…a significant number of African-American men who have sex with men identify themselves as heterosexual. As a result, they may not relate to prevention messages crafted for openly gay men.” As for partners at risk, CDC says it suspects that some women are reluctant to negotiate condom usage with men “out of fear that the man will leave them or withdraw financial support.”

The problem with DL men is, in part, about homophobia and denial. But, ultimately, it’s about a high level of risky behavior that is putting not only Black women but the entire Black community at risk. It’s not about a new lifestyle. It's about dangerous behavior, behavior that represents a full-scale disconnect from a Black heritage based on a collective ethic borne of an ongoing struggle to survive and even thrive against oppression. True, it is not the only risky behavior in our community. High rates of crime, drug usage, homicides, suicide, death from AIDS due to unprotected sex by both male and females—it’s all there. But the difference today is the exceedingly high levels of HIV and STD infections engendered by the unnecessarily risky and deadly behavior by some DL men.

Given this disastrous behavior, the daddy has a right to ask: "Brother, are you keeping it on the down low or just being plain low down— low down as in betraying the trust of your female partner? Betraying struggle of countless numbers of black fathers and mother who worked two and sometimes three jobs so you wouldn’t have to work as hard as they did? Betraying the love of untold mothers who made up white families’ beds (and occasionally got raped in them) and scrubbed hospital floors so you could go to college? Betraying the untold number of activists and regular black folk who preached, shouted, lectured, marched and went to jail so you could have the civil and human rights of which they could only dream?

The daddy just has to ask you, "Black man, how did you come so late and lonely to this place?”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: "Black America is currently facing what is perhaps one of the greatest threats to our existence since slavery, AIDS. The public opinion that the HIV/AIDS crisis is stabilizing is wrong; it is getting worse for people of color. African-Americans make up 13% of the U. S. population, but comprise nearly 60% of those infected with HIV/AID. African-American women are infected with HIV 16 times more than White women and nearly 70% of the children infected with HIV/AIDS in this country are Black. The stigma HIV/AIDS carries in black America has only increased since researchers became aware of the prominent role played by bisexual black men in transmitting the virus."
--The African American Registry

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I saw that King guy on Oprah. I bet he made good money off that one.

nicki nicki tembo said...

Very relevant, everyday. I just worry about causes and how they are often lost or diminished when relegated to a particular day or month.

Anonymous said...

Daddy, I think you're wrong on this. I think you a middle class guy that never went to prison or faced serious hard times. And black churches just think people who do this are gross. you too.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

"Brother, are you keeping it on the down low or just being plain low down — low down as in betraying the trust of your female partner?"

Excellent post. The betrayal goes three ways, too: to the women and men they lay down with, and to themselves.

To Anonymous 7:19 - MacDaddy ain't wrong. Class, prison and churches ain't the point. The point is use mahfuckin' condoms so you won't won't be playing Russian roulette with your dick or using it as lethal weapon. You dig?

SagaciousHillbilly said...

"Black man, how did you come so late and lonely to this place?"

Daddy, That is so Baldwinesque. I wish I knew what it meant.

I get the rest though and concur. No matter how bad it is or has been, we can act like decent human beings and have at least a modicum of respect for other human beings

CurvyGurl said...

Whew, there's so much I could say about this but it would take an entire page. I think my buddy, Kit, sums most of it up. I don't care what the cliche says...ignorance is rarely bliss.

Good post, MacDaddy.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hey there!

I am a sexually free black woman who has taken the vow of celibacy as a clergywoman. (Yes, there ARE still clergywomen - and clergymen - who take The Vow who are not Catholics!!)

I should say that I use the term "sexually free" much differently than society does. My use of that term is not the same as the common use of that term!

I have known men who were having sex with other men...and TRUST ME...they are not that secretive.

Something profound changes in a man's constitution when he has been sexually active with another man.

These women who CLAIM to be "duped"...well...perhaps some have chosen to be blind. I'd like to go into the nitty gritty but this is a PG-13 blog!!

Any man who objects to being physically examined by a person he wants trust from has something to hide. Ladies just need to be blunt and tell a man, "look, I am not a medical doctor but if you want a sexual relationship, I need to get my flashlight and examine something."

I am serious!

This will surely weed out the down low brothas!!

Trust me on that.

I want to also mention that I don't think that black women are contracting AIDS at the outrageously high rates that they are because of unprotected sex with men on the down low.

I think that the black community as a whole has to be willing to look at the formation of sexual ethics and the reinforcement of illegitimacy and promiscuity that is rampant.

Now even as I typed that, I should say that I lived in an all-white former sundown town and went to all-white schools and NEVER saw the level of whorishness outside of those settings that I did INSIDE of those settings.

Whorishness occurs in all races and in all classes, let's not get that twisted!

Still...I think if we talk about AIDS, we really can't speak of it in terms of some disease that walks up and just JUMPS ON a person. No. It is a disease that MOST people have gotten because of their sexual behavior.

The majority of AIDS cases are not those persons who contracted it from unfaithful spouses and blood transfusions or rapes.

Thank you for this post, MacDaddy.

MacDaddy said...

Anon1 said, "I saw that king guy on Oprah." Good. What did he say about living on the down-low, especially about the problem it caused with his wife or girlfriend?

Nicki: "I just worry about causes when they are relegated to a day or month." Me too, Nicki.

Anon2 said: "I think you a middle class guy that never went to prison or faced serious hard times." You know: You remind me of a gangbanger who told he had "to do some rollin'" to get some street cred among his buddies.Faulty thinking, bro. You don't have to twirl a gun around in a club like New York Giant wide receiver Plexico Burress to know that, if you're caught with it, it's a MANDATORY 3 and 1/2 years. You don't have to get AIDS to know about it. And, as for hard times, I could write a book about it. In fact, I did write a book about it. But that's for another day. But the point is this: I don't use the fact that I've had hard times to rationalize irresponsible behavior. How about you?

But you know what, anon? You probably have more to say. So hit me back on this blog, and you can have the last word. This is your blog, too. Blessings, my brother.

Kit: Isn't that the essence of this? You're betraying, living a lie with your partner? Okay, forget the amorphous "black community." You're living a lie with your partner. And when/if she finds out, how can she ever trust you again? If she knows already, is their any trust left?

Sagacious: You shouldn't have said that. You know how much I love Baldwin. Keep talking like that and I'm going to wind up with a big head. And I agree: Being on the down-low does not show one's partner even a modicum of respect.

CurvyGurl said, "Ignorance is rarely bliss." Well said. And it can get you killed.

Lisa said: "I think that the black community as a whole has to be willing to look at the formation of sexual ethics and the reinforcement of illegitimacy and promiscuity that is rampant." Yes!

December 2, 2008 8:29 AM
Delete

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Daddy, It really was. I wasn't kidding. Startling when it hit me.
Were you going for that?

MacDaddy said...

Sagacious: Since he is my favorite essayist, since I read him a lot, I'm sure it influences my writing. In this case, I think I was impressed with the quote by Maya Angelou and wanted to reference it at the end of the story. Thanks.

CurvyGurl said...

MacDaddy, I forgot to mention something...

My friend, who's a health educator, told me to always ask potential partners if they've EVER had sex with a man. Straight no chaser because there seems to be some ignorance around who can and how easy it is to acquire HIV.

Off the soapbox for now...:-).

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

@ Curvy Girl

I hear you on that...but....

How many heterosexually-appearing men who are trying to have the sexual interest of a woman would answer "yes" if a woman asked if he had ever had sex with a man?

Except for maybe P. Diddy or Dennis Rodman or Johnnie Gill or Chris Tucker, I can't imagine any brotha freely admitting that. Not early in the relationship when such a disclosure could be used against him later on.

Even Eddie Murphy didn't admit his (alleged) "stuff" to Tracey Edmonds. Men won't talk about it.

Remember the drama on Oprah between Terry McMillan and her Jamaican youngin' who confessed to her that he was gay AFTER the marriage?

I tell women at church ALL THE TIME...."if you do not choose to be celibate then demand the right to give an exam or leave that man ALONE!" They are floored that I say those things to them.

So many women do not understand that their life should not be gambled with.

CurvyGurl said...

Hey Lisa! Yep, I agree with you. People are so dishonest that it's unwise to leave your health (and possibly life) in the hands of another.

Vigilante said...

Please forgive me for this intrusion. I would like to take just a moment to acknowledge the life and love together of Dr Rajasekar Sham & Lucila Sham. I thank you for your indulgence.

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

U know i do HIV and infectious disease research. Mainly among inmates. The truth is that down low men is not accurate. Most gay men dont even have women inn their lives and mainly refere to men in the closet

MacDaddy said...

Lisa, CuryGurl: I wouldn't mind a woman asking me that. It shows that she is careful about what she does. Good discussion.

"Herbert Chavkin, 87, a 55-year resident of Flower Hill and the couple's neighbor, said he respected Sham's decision. "Evidently they loved each other that much that neither wanted to continue without the other," he said.
Vigilante: Tragic but loving. I respect his decision. Thanks for sharing the story.

MacDaddy said...

Torrance said: "The truth is that down low men is not accurate. Most gay men dont even have women inn their lives and mainly refer to men in the closet.'
Hey, bro. I actually agree with you that the term "down-low" is accurate. The report I read from the CDC agrees. They say these men are gay or bi-sexual. But as they mentioned, the men didn't view themselves as gay or bi-sexual. This is why they felt that ads to try to connect to this population failed.

On a more personal note, I hear you live in Atlanta. I was wondering if a soul food cafe called Gloria's is still operating. I'm coming to ATL soon and would like to go there. Blessings.

Somebodies Friend said...

Good post McDaddy,

There is a lot of dishonest people out there, that is a fact.

Many people only care about what is in it for them right now, they aren't thinkin' bout you, or even about what is in store for them tomorrow. Many are even infected and have unprotected sex with others without their knowledge, it really is scarry if you think about it.

I was at a brothas place a few years ago, and this friend of his brought a young lady over and when in the other room and they did their thang, when they finished and the young lady left I heard another guy ask the one that just did his thing 'I hope you used a condom' and the brother shook his head 'no' with a BIG smile on his face. Then the other brother started laughing and said 'You done give her AIDS and shit' and then they both started laughing.

This was a beautiful young black woman, around 18 nor 19 years old, and this nigga is infected and goes and screws her without protection, then him and his 'bro' are laughing like crazy, they thought it was real cool.

I didn't, I left and never went back over to their crib again.

I was appalled, words can not describe how horriffied I was. There really wasn't much I could do, the girl was gone and these bros were crazy, so I wasn't gonna say anything to them, they'da capped me and threw me in the alley.

I'm just sayin', a brother and a sister just can't be to careful.

MacDaddy said...

Somebody: I agree totally. And I think you exercised good judgment in the situation.

2sweetnsaxy said...

Such a sad state of affairs. So much of what went undercover for so long is now on the surface. Personally I think if you go around thinking you can just "do" any and everybody you're asking for trouble. They say "just say no to drugs". Sometimes people just need to say no to sex.

People need to stop and get a reality check. Not having sex isn't the end of the world but having sex with the wrong person could be. Common sense would say if the person doesn't want to use a condom, aren't they not using a condom with everyone else? Hello!!?

apostle said...

THE CURE for HIV/AIDS.......AMBUSH

THE IDEA that AMBUSH cures AIDS
is being proven by the more than 400 individuals who have taken a dose of 60 ml three times daily for 21 days. The result is that AMBUSH 'KILLS' the virus by causing the protein envelope to rupture and the viral particles are discarded by the white blood cells. AMBUSH is able to 'KILL' the virus that are 'hiding' in the lymph system by its 'natural radioactive' properties. This process allows the body to 'return to normal health' with a corresponding immunity to that or those strains of the virus.

What is AMBUSH ?
AMBUSH is a radioactive isotope of uranium that is found in the 'palm' plant of which there are more than 3000 species. When ingested, AMBUSH causes the body temperature in the trunk area to rise to about 102 degrees when the individual is sleeping. The preparation takes four hours per batch, which is then given to the individuals for consumption 60 ml three times daily for 21 days. AMBUSH is a herbal preparation in this form but it contains an active ingredient which is a 'NEW' crystalline substance, a drug from the 'palm plant' similarly to ASPIRIN originating from the willow tree bark

RESULTS:
After 21 days on AMBUSH, ALL the individuals experienced a decrease in viral load to undetectable, an increase in cd4, increase in RBC, an improvement in general health such as more color to the face, decrease in Buffalo hump, an increase in gluteal muscles, a decrease to having no joint pains whereby individuals can bend to touch their toes, and walk up steps are but a few examples. There is also a dramatic increase in their sexual appetite beginning after the first week of therapy

DISCUSSION:
In any plant concoction such as percolated 'tea', there are 30-40,000 compounds, whi ch would take the scientific community twenty years to isolate one particular ingredient if they knew what they were looking for. The LORD GOD has given me seven steps to isolate the active ingredient, which is soft and metallic in nature and has a carbon- uranium-sulfur-(classified)-phentolamine configuration or structure. This is similar to Federick Kekule and the discovery of the benzene ring where he dreamt the structure.

As an antiviral and 'natural radioactivity' producing agent, AMBUSH is also effective against leukemia, lupus and HPV. Here I am saying that I have 'GIVEN' AMBUSH in the same 'strength' and dosage to patients with leukemia, lupus and HPV. A 35 year old male with HIV found it difficult to impossible to urinate was put on 'green tea' and water while the doctors contemplated prostrate surgery. One of the doctors gave him my number , I sent him a supply of AMBUSH an d he has not been given any more ARV's, since taking AMBUSH 18 months ago, is in 'good' health and has expressed a willingness to be examined by HIV investigators like many others who have taken AMBUSH.

I have sent this 'IDEA' to most HIV research agencies, scientist of the field, universities, hospitals, clinics, politicians and news agencies to which it is REJECTED because the name of THE LORD GOD is mentioned. He has steered me scientifically through the processes such as which plant and how to produce the active ingredient. What are the odds of a Florida Pharmacist picking a plant would contain the CURE for HIV/AIDS ?
I have never charged any of the people for their supply of AMBUSH but a life saving has been spent on the project with NO renumeration from any sources because AMBUSH falls outside the walls of modern medicine and research.

PROPOSAL:

My proposal is that I PROVE that AMBUSH CURES HIV/AIDS by giving it to a number of END-STAGE or DRUG-RESISTANT people and the scientific community watches their recovery. This proposal addresses the problem in that I have already outlaid the results to be obtained.

This IDEA is unconventional in that the scientific community has rejected AMBUSH because I say it is GOD given. Secondly if I wrote it according to certain standards, then it might be peer reviewed. However, THE LORD GOD has also shown me that there are five enzyme systems associated with the virus, reverse transcriptase, protease, fusion and two more of which causes the virus to be AIRBOURNE. This means that without DIVINE intervention mankind and ALL warm- blooded mammals will be extinct in a number of years.

The PROOF of what I am saying is found in scientific papers wherein it is found that when the protease cuts the viral strands, it cuts it at DIFFERENT lengths EVERY time, to which it should always be a valine at the end but is a different amino acid every time. This is why it is IMPOSSIBLE to produce a VACCINE.

Since this is NOT a hypothesis but there are about 400 individuals who have taken AMBUSH, here lies a vast area in which to check, recheck and confirm that AMBUSH CURES AIDS. Let it be mentioned that during the HIV reproductive cycle, reverse transcriptase converts viral RNA into DNA compatible to human genetic materials. Thus the human DNA has been 'hijacked' and since each person has a DIFFERENT DNA, then the new viral copy is unique to that person which shows that each individual has a DIFFERENT STRAIN of the virus. Consider two HIV positive people swapping viral strains and increasing its complexity with multiple partners.
It can also be proposed that they be revisited as proof that the strain or strains that they had were 'killed' at the time of taking AMBUSH considering that a person can catch as many different strains as there are people who are infected by HIV.
I am also willing to work with the scientific community in identifying those individuals who took AMBUSH and wish to be identified with this process notwithstanding that some are stigmatized while others are jubilant,

Once AMBUSH is verified as being able to accomplish that which is aforementioned then the next stage might be the natural and artificial synthesis of the substance.

Finally, if this is accepted or not, believed or not, THE LORD GOD always wins and this is the heavenly truth to which AMBUSH was divinely given to mankind for the CURE of HIV/AIDS and it will be here forever. Apostle Shada Mishe.

apostleshadamishe@gmail.com

Here is a video taped presentation that I gave at t he Martin Luther King library in Washington

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8V53D1w__Po
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPwuwlVBOV0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZejptOwMTzQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqcTgIAhrhc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7HPKcT_iwY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9iQfgiYAnw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3RzRS6tJDM