Why The AIDS Epidemic Matters To Black Lives

February 7, 2015 2:17 PM

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Why The AIDS Epidemic Matters To Black Lives

About a year ago I attended a gathering of activists who focus on issues for Black men related to mass incarceration, the war on drugs, police brutality, and stop-and-frisk issues, shape notions of masculinity for Black men and boys. I was asked on the last day to jump in and talk specifically about how homophobic violence and notions of masculinity impact Black men, particularly gay and bisexual men, and the alarming rates of HIV infection. After I discussed these issues, one attendee, a young straight Black man seemed annoyed that I was bringing HIV into the discussion, and offered, "We already know HIV is genocide against the Black community, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was man made."

This isn't the first time I've gotten this response. Like HIV, many Black people view the policing and prison institutions as being intentional in their efforts to commit violence against people of African descent, and to destroy communities. Yet, unlike police and prisons, understanding government ...

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