Clay Cane is a New York City-based writer who is recognized for his contributions in journalism. Clay is a regular contributor for various print and online publications such as The Advocate and BET.com. He is the author of the highly anticipated novel Ball-Shaped World, which is a fictionalized account of the black and Latino ballroom scene. Also, he is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com and a member of New York Film Critics Online. He can be reached at claycane@gmail.com.


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    Friday, July 25, 2008

    I was not expecting a whole segment on the gays, but I figured there would be some mention of homophobia at least for a millisecond in CNN’s four-hour Black in America special.

    Black in America, which aired this past Wednesday and Thursday, focused solely on the straights and it seemed its solution for all problems was to go back to the nuclear family: "We need more marriage!" "We need a man and woman in the house!" "Go back to church!"

    Marriage is not going to save the black family, marriage isn't for everyone. What will save the black community is education, policy (Amazing how CNN barely mentioned policies that are destroying black schools and neighborhoods. Some of these predicaments are completely out of our control.), and condoms. Yes, as Dorothy from The Golden Girls said, “Condoms! Condoms! Condoms!

    Jumpin’ jehosafats! The straights are f*ckin' and saying f*ck it to condoms! One young girl had a baby by a young man who already had another baby by a different woman, and the young girl was pregnant with TWINS by a different man. In another segment, a 31 year-old man had two kids, lived in the projects and quit college because he had to care for his children. One man had ten children and didn’t raise any of them—damn! All that f*ckin' and obviously no one is using a condom. You know what happens when gay men don't use condoms and contract HIV? They are criminalized for being dirty, sinful, and getting what they deserve. The straights don’t use condoms, they pop out a few kids, and they are victims of poverty.

    No wonder the HIV/AIDS rate is so high among black women, they aren't using condoms... Black in America didn't have one segment on contraception just, "Get married! Go to church! Stay out of jail!"

    I know this might be hard for some of the straights and the self-hating gays to understand, but it’s peculiar to me when the topic of HIV/AIDS is addressed in the black community, but sexuality is not mentioned. In one segment, Soledad O'Brien was grilling a black preacher on why his church is not directly dealing with HIV/AIDS, even when people in his congregation are infected. The preacher looked dumbfounded saying that was something they needed to work on. I was waiting for O'Brien to say something to the effect of "Is it because if you talked about HIV/AIDS you might have to talk about sexuality?" Considering some of the shadefest questions O'Brien was throwing at people, I’m surprised she didn’t.

    The reason why the black church isn't discussing HIV/AIDS isn't because it accidentally fell off the list after donating money for the annual gospel choir church trip to Atlanta, D.C., and New York (where absolutely NO homosexuals would be… uh-huh)—it’s because of sexuality! If the Jim Crow Jesus preachers didn’t view HIV/AIDS as a gay issue, it would be topic number one. The black church is as criminal as President Ronald Reagan for ignoring the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

    Whether or not the straights get it, there are many results of homophobia. Families being torn a part, delusional black women who think the reason why they don't have a man is because of gays, and ignorant assumptions about HIV/AIDS. Of course HIV/AIDS isn't a gay thing, but I think if the black community were accepting of the gay community, who are queening up in church every week, we could get a stronger grip on the disease. History has proved, it’s been gay people who have made strides with HIV/AIDS. The black community needs the gay community to combat this disease.

    Well, there was one gay person in Black in America. Just for a few seconds, there was a quick image of a young man dancing in a hot pink dancer's suit. However, looks like the family pulled a Dick Cheney and didn't allow him to be shown to the public. All of their other kids were interviewed except for him.

    Overall, I thought Black in America was a good special. I loved the segments on Michael Eric Dyson, how challenging it is for a black man to find a job, and the lengths single mothers go to take care of their kids. I would argue black folks need to stop thinking the solutions to our problems are marriage and church. Maybe if we let go of some of the archaic values of the church, focused more on contraception, owning our businesses, challenging policy, and accepting every faction of the black community, we would effectively progress.

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    Posted by Clay :: 9:00 AM :: 22 comments

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