December 31, 2015

By Tony Wafford

 

Brothers, we have a duty, a duty to take care of our women. We need to accept responsibility for the rising numbers of HIV/AIDS and STDs in black women. These rising numbers are such a prevalent part of our communities now; that a conversation needs to be expanded to include everyone in the community, straight and gay. We men have to be committed partners in the care of our women. Many would ask what does a committed partnership looks like. I’d say it consists of a genuine care and concern for their wellbeing. As caregivers, partners and friends, the black woman has served as the cornerstone of the black family and she should be recognized and treated as such. By not having this discussion in an open environment, we are failing our sisters and I don’t want that to happen.

 

Being that I am a heterosexual man, I don’t pretend to know the feelings of homosexual men. I do, however, trust and believe that they love their mothers, sisters, cousins, and female friends. So, when I am confronted with the truth about men living on the “down low,” sleeping with men and potentially spreading HIV and STDs to women, I become worried. Worried that men both hetero and homo have not lived up to what the “traditional tenets” of manhood have always been; honesty, loyalty, and protection. We have failed in all of those regards but the question should be posed to my homosexual brothers as to the reasons why the spread of these diseases are becoming more and more frequent. Is it out of fear of being recognized as a homosexual? Or fear of being ostracized by the community? Anecdotal evidence would say that our communities have always had homosexuals as part of them. If that is the case, why would men knowingly infect women just to keep their “cover”? I think that everyone can and should play a part in that discussion.

 

How do we as heterosexual black men address this issue effectively without being perceived as homophobic? As I attempt to approach this specific question I can say that the only answers are education and communication. Black men need to educate ourselves about HIV and STDs and how they affect our communities. What are the leading factors regarding the spread of HIV and STDs and how can we align ourselves to work to diminish the factors that lead to these issues?

 

Heterosexual men are not getting a pass from me. We have behaved irresponsibly with regard to our promiscuity; having multiple sexual partners increase the chances of the spread of disease. Black men should be more mature in the dealings with potential sex partners. Sleeping with women for the sake of sleeping with them shows an inconsistency of emotion and feelings that I discussed above. Being overly promiscuous leads me to ask the same questions of heterosexual men that I asked of homosexual men. Do we care for our women and are we being honest, loyal and protecting them? The answer would be no to all of those questions.

 

In closing, all Brothers need to pay more attention to our actions and how they will affect the cornerstone of our communities; the black woman. For without her we are destined to see more calamity and confusion than we already have.

Category: Opinion



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