Sunday, March 26, 2006

BET NEWS Presents The Down Low Exposed 03/28/06

From "Corey J."

Will you be tuning into the show? What are your comments on the "Down Low" lifestyle with men in general?

For perspective, I am also posting the reflections of Kenneth Winfrey on the topic of the "Down Low" lifestyle:

It is so sad that more and more black media outlets are perpetuating this hyperbole. Despite the CDC's overt detachment from the DL as a prevention paradigm, black women are still being told that they should be more concerned about a man's sexual orientation, rather than his sexual health. After all, safe sex is safe sex regardless of gender.

The contrast between the hyper-masculinity prevalent in our male culture, and the femininity associated with homosexuality, makes this a media favorite. As we affirm the image of black men as King Kong-like reckless dangerous hyper-sexed aggressors, the "gay" element allows us (as black folk) to continue our lethal disassociation with HIV into the domain of the "sexually perverse" and even the wrath of God...

What bothers me most, as a gay man, is the perpetuation of the myth that homosexuality is "responsible" for HIV. No new term has been coined to describe men who cheat with female prostitutes, men who use IV drugs, or even women who cheat on their male partners. Yet, we get the infamous "Down Low." The black man is, again, the poster child for what is wrong with the world. The black woman is, again, the poster child for victimization. The gay man is also, again, portrayed as a deviant element of the community that should be avoided at all costs.

...and we forget that a good reason these men are so "down low" and not "up high" or " 'out' and about" is that the black church has been obsessively emphatic in its stance that homosexuality is a greater sin, or even a disease itself. The drug slingin', crotch-grabbin', pimp-walkin', misogynistic Mandingo, with countless unprovided-for children by various women in his wake, is still more acceptable to us than a homosexual with just one significant other/life partner/lover. As we struggle for the cause of diversity as black people, we are actually very oppressive among ourselves when it comes to operating outside the stereotypes that were actually byproducts of the slavery that brought us here.

It's ironic that we talk about how same-sex marriage is a threat to the family, but I can't help but wonder what a threat the question of sexual orientation poses. Imagine a black wife waiting anxiously to put the kids to bed, or that rushes home from work, to do the unthinkable. That is, to question her black man's heterosexuality. [gasp!] Given that the matter is one that many black men work hard to evade all their lives, it's bound to create conflict. In a culture where men don't cross their legs, talk with their hands, or float too far above that bass-line in voice, to have the woman with whom you make love ask if you are gay must seem nearly surreal, as it should be...

Black America, let's get a grip

Kenneth Winfrey


No4real4real said...

i am watching this tonight

Anonymous said...

same-sex marriages and confusion of sexual orientation will ultimately present more problems.