Attention to the black community: Don’t be naive

Marchae` Grair

If I die within the next two decades of my life, it will probably be because I contracted HIV.

I am not the only one who could be victim to such unfavorable statistics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AIDS is the No. 1 cause of death among black women between the ages of 25-34. The fatal disease is one of the leading causes of death in the entire black community.

Year after year, the number of African-American AIDS cases never gets more encouraging, yet the black community continually ignores this epidemic.

It seems like 13 percent of the American population would care if it made up 50 percent of AIDS cases in the United States. The black community, however, is hesitant to admit AIDS exists and even more hesitant to address some of the disease’s less than flattering causes in the black community.

Sadly, the leading causes of AIDS contracted by African-Americans revolve around the African-American fear of addressing social taboos. Most times, blacks take the “ignorance is bliss” approach when it comes to social change and cling to traditional ways of life.

Homosexuality, sexual activity outside of marriage and multiple sexual partners are topics not discussed in the black community. African-American churches dictate the social standards of most black families. Most religious doctrines supported by blacks do not support being homosexual or having sex before committing to a monogamous marriage.

Gay or sexually active blacks are forced into a life of secrecy and shame. Although many members of the black community are homosexual or have pre-marital sex with multiple partners, African-Americans pretend these people do not exist.

Unfortunately, pretending people do not exist does not eliminate them or the problems they may face. The black community is killing itself by ignoring sexuality and the issues that accompany it. African-Americans need to stop trying to cleanse the black community by excluding some of its members. Those who are homosexual and sexually active should not feel as though they have no place within the African-American race.

When these people ignore and hide their sexual habits, they inevitably ignore sexual consequences.

The No. 1 cause of AIDS in black men is male-to-male sexual contact. The number one cause of AIDS in black women is heterosexual relations.

Pretending gay men have no place among African-Americans isn’t saving them from contracting AIDS. Likewise, pretending women are not sexually active isn’t saving them from contracting AIDS.

If homosexuals and those who are sexually active felt more accepted among blacks, they would not feel as ashamed to ask questions about sexual protection. Sex might be a safer experience if blacks didn’t ignore sexual freedom.

I understand those who advocate abstinence or don’t encourage certain practices because of their beliefs. I grew up in one of the black religious families of which I speak; however, I cannot condone those who allow religion to impede their sense of practicality.

Blacks lead Americans in the number of all cases of sexually transmitted diseases, and it’s time to stop this unnecessary spread of disease.

Attention to the black community: Stop the homophobia. Stop pretending every person in the black community is a virgin until marriage. Stop pretending teens aren’t having sex.

African-Americans need to get informed and get tested. It’s a life or death situation.

Marchae` Grair is a freshman broadcast news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].