Category Archives: Political

Podcast AIDS, Black Women and Black Prisoners

Today, women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. Women of color are especially affected by HIV infection and AIDS according to the CDC*. HIV infection was the leading cause of death for black women (including African American women) aged 25–34.

Given that condoms are not given out in prison, injectable drugs and tattoos are also present, and after release prisoners are likely to have goo health care and are in “communities of denial” it is very likely that the higher incarceration of people of color will lead to a disproportionate rate of HIV infection in women of color. This is also a function of the fact that men seeking men for sex have no counterpart in women.

AIDS, Black Women and Black Prisoners

Today, women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. Women of color are especially affected by HIV infection and AIDS according to the CDC*. HIV infection was the leading cause of death for black women (including African American women) aged 25–34.

African-Americans aret 12 percent of the United States’ population, but are about half of all new infections and deaths from H.I.V./AIDS. In a recent speech deemed to be true by On the Issues* Hillary Clinton said, “If HIV/AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34, there would be an outraged outcry in this country.”

The New York Times reported*** “Given that men who have sex with men account for a majority of H.I.V. cases among both black and white men, the spike in H.I.V. infections among black women has perplexed public health officials” . Is it because of drugs? The article goes on to suggest that “higher rates of H.I.V. among men who have been in prison may raise the risk of infection in their community”. The NAACP**** reports that together, African American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one quarter of the US population.

Given that condoms are not given out in prison, injectable drugs and tattoos are also present, and after release prisoners are likely to have goo health care and are in “communities of denial” it is very likely that the higher incarceration of people of color will lead to a disproportionate rate of HIV infection in women of color. This is also a function of the fact that men seeking men for sex have no counterpart in women.

So, the homophobic and racist “blame the victim” attitudes, which have no roots in facts, since blacks are no more prevalent than others to have bisexual encounters or riskier health actions, dorve are wrong and steroprofiles.

So whats to be done? Some legislation has adressed the rapes and assaults in prison but are not enforced.

The “New Jim Crow” criminal justice outrages should be adressed sooner than later for this and other attacks on people of color.

The mission of the NA is to “resist racism” and the problems described here is part of our raison d’entre!

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Sources:
*http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/pdf/women.pdf
**http://www.ontheissues.org/2016/More_Hillary_Clinton_Health_Care.htm
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/12/opinion/why-are-so-many-black-women-dying-of-aids.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0
****http://www.naacp.org/pages/criminal-justice-fact-sheet

Racism in the LGBT world

Now Is the Time to Start Talking About Racism in the LGBT Community

The LGBT community endorses — marriage equality for all — perhaps the next major issue to address: LGBT representation has been dominated by cisgender gay white men.
Gay black men like my husband experience racism as a “double-minority” in stores, clubs, and work. Our “Gayborhood” includes West Hollywood but is bereft of black and queer folks,

In the Huffington Post Ernest Owens (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ernest-owens looked at the problem that people of color are often portrayed as drag-ballroom performers or hyper-sexual eye-candy.

He goes on to say: “take the fight for marriage equality for example, where have people of color been individually called on to take up that fight? Who sets that agenda? And where are LGBT allies when it comes to the racial injustices we face outside of queer politics. When other human rights groups were at Ferguson or Baltimore — many LGBT organizations said nothing about the queer people of color who might have been afflicted”.

Yes, the black community has homophobic views. But the current LGBT movement lacks recognizing variety and sympathy for people of color in general. And this does NOT distract from other social causes we are trying to achieve.

As the Supreme Court consiiders marriage equality and perhaps ends the fight we should move on to the next LGBT movement which ismore diverse and colorful.

Because the constant recycling of Dan Savage and many other white, cisgender men like him turns off aspiring LGBT members of color to come out and align themselves within the movement.

That means more queer events fundraising not for white queer but, for example, black transgender atrocities or the “Undocuqueer” people of color denied citizenship.

As Owens says “It’s time to start addressing the racial setbacks in the current LGBT movement. If we don’t now, we are never going to obtain that pot of gold equality on the other side of the diverse rainbow”.

Immigration Reform Part 2 : LGBT Immigrants

So far, so good. President Obama has given opportunity to immigrants to “come out” (see earlier blog), but how about those that have to come out as immigrants and queer? As a gay man and a first generation immigrant I applaud him. LGBT people who were deported and returned to the US will not have to fear being stuck in a revolving door. 

The president has previously given Deferred Action to Childhood Arrivals (DACA). At least 200,000 undocumented LGBT immigrants are now eligible for legal status.  An estimated 10 percent of DACA recipients identify as LGBT. The President’s new plan will make an estimated 300,000 more people eligible for DACA. LGBT citizens and lawful permanent residents no longer need to live in fear that their parents will be deported. This is particularly risky for same-sex couples since nearly 80 countries criminalize being LGBT. (see for example, NABWMT Board Press Release). It also saves same-sex binational couples from years of painful separation.


The President’s plan is temporary during his last years in office and would be subject to possible rejection afterwards. Long term policies should recognize LGBT folk and their families, in immigration and also in our asylum and refugee systems.


The action also ends Secure Communities and prevents police profiling of LGBT people from ending in deportation. 73 percent of LGBT people report encountering police in the last 5 years.

The President took the first step, but it’s up to Congress to pass legislation to fully protect LGBT immigrants.


Source: LGBT Progress.

Immigration Reform: Chance for Blacks to Form Political Coalitions With Other People of Color

Why Blacks Should Support Immigration     

— because it is about their political survival.

There are 44 million blacks and 52 million Hispanics. Although white Hispanics are the most visible, many immigrants from Mexico, Cuba, Columbia, Peru and other Latin countries self identify as black and will contribute to the “browning” of America. For African Americans, it’s an opportunity to create political coalitions with other people of color.

Facing a high unemployment rate, most African Americans falsely believe that the absence of foreigners who “take jobs” will benefit them in the current labor market. They may be unaware that the black unemployment rate since 1970 has always been twice that of their white counterparts. Very often African Americans have adopted the attitudes of early-19th-century whites who wanted to send Africans back to Africa.

The tragic death of Trayvon Martin and its aftermath is perhaps one of the lowest points for the black community since the civil rights movement. During that era, it was necessary to find commonality with people of different races and ethnicities who powered that social movement.

As Dr. King stated in his Letter from Birmingham Jail (in part):  
“Migrants who have entered the country without inspection or have overstayed their visas lack lawful immigration status. Because of legal changes over the past decade, they often have no way to normalize their status.[[23]] As long as the law remains unchanged, these individuals will be forced to live in the shadows of society — illegally.”

This is a “wedge” issue that comes up pitting blacks against browns. But a comprehensive analysis of Census data from hundreds of U.S. metropolitan areas indicate that immigration from Latin America improves wages and job opportunities for African Americans. This analysis shows, in fact, that Latino immigrants and African Americans fill complementary roles in the labor market. Cities with greater immigration from Latin America experience higher wages for African Americans, lower shares of African Americans in poverty and lower African American unemployment.

As President Obama prepares to address the nation on his Deferred Action consider his message and actions.

(Sources: The Root, Media Matters for America, American Immigration Council) 

Supreme Court Delivers Tacit Win to Gay Marriage

Supreme Court and Marriage Equality

The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) surprised us yesterday and let stand appeals court rulings allowing same-sex marriage in five more states.(In, OK, UT, VA and WI). 

SCOTUS increased the number of states allowing same-sex marriage to 24, along with the District of Columbia, up from 19 and the decision could expand same-sex marriage to 30 states. Hence, nearly two-thirds of same-sex couples in the US will soon live in states where they can marry.

Source – NYTimes.com

The Law and People of Color Gabfest

Last night the chapter had a great Gabfest on the topic of Legislation affecting people of color at the US  border*, California and the Nation.

Slides were presented that tackled these three subjects and offered the prognoses for the outcome of these laws.

The first topic which brought out a lot of discussion involved the current surge of undocumented chidden from Central America (57,000 of them) that have overwhelmed the judicial system in the southern borders. These recent developments cast doubt on the chance of fundamental reform over the next years,
prognoses

The second topic looked at the militarization of our police forces brought about in part by the Department of Defense program to make available surplus equipment and arms to these authorities. Discussion led to the general opinion that pending legislation is unlikely to be brought up in the US House of Representatives soon.

On a more optimistic note, enthusiasm was shown for the success of a law in California to roll back sentences of some minor misdemeanors to lower the incidence of jailing of minorities.

The Black and White Men Together of Southern California’s rap sessions (Gabfests) are one of it’s banner events highlighting current events and issues. See our calendar for details.