Dear Barbara Walters and Host of The View,
Today I viewed a clip from The View where hosts of the show and D.L. Hughley were discussing men who are DL (on the “down-low”) and men who have had gay sex in the last 30 years not being able to donate blood. While I do, to some degree, agree with the FDA’s decision to bar potentially dangerous blood donors from contributing to national blood banks, provided there is proven substantiated risk to those who would receive this blood donation. I can never agree with information being disseminated through the media via Television or any other means that is incorrect. African-American women are contracting the virus in the African-American community at an alarming rate, but it is not solely because DL men are infecting them with the virus, but do to the fact that they are having unprotected sex with multiple partners at an alarming rate, which can be confirmed by the CDC, who incidentally, also disagrees with the misinformation. And what is even more alarming and horrific is the fact that when made aware of the true facts and statistics, D.L. Hughley and Sherri Shepherd refused to retract or recant their statements.
What irritates me even more is the fact that people constantly talk about men living on the “down-low” in the African-American Community but never get to the root of the problem (which was lightly touched upon in their conversation).The root cause in my opinion) is that the African-American heterosexual community is equally to blame for the spread of the epidemic and the perpetuation of the “DL LIFESTYLE” because of their adamant refusal to allow people be who they were created to be. Until we are willing to face the fact that there are millions of same-gender-loving people of color in our churches and communities, and embrace them by allowing them to be who they really are, we will continue to die at disproportionate rates.
In order to combat this horrific pandemic which has claimed the lives of multiple millions, we must make sure that information shared in public arenas is accurate, for if we don’t, incorrect statistics shared by individuals who are not experts in this field will continue to perpetuate fear, discrimination, ignorance, and intolerance. I cannot tell you how many innocent children, teenagers, and young adults have been brutally murdered in our community (at the hands of homophobic abusers) because someone has shared information that is inaccurate; others heard it, did not verify it, and acted upon that false information in violent ways, as stated previously, by prematurely ending the lives of same-gender-loving people.
As an internationally acclaimed author, pastor, and a person who is infected with HIV virus, I know personally, how this virus impacts a life, and I also know how misinformation and denial is killing not only individuals in the African-American community by the millions, but also countless numbers in the global community! I have attached some pertinent information about myself and my recent global endeavors and would welcome the opportunity to discuss with you personally and/or the hosts of The View in greater detail more about these topics to ensure that we get the correct information out to the millions of viewers who watch this telecast. As a Civil Rights/HIV Activist and humanitarian, I cannot emphasize enough, the importance of taking immediate action to correct the wrong information that Mr. Hughley shared, for not to do so, would be harmful in ways that we might never be able to recover from as a community. As a pastor, it is my prayer that you would also agree that
with great power comes great responsibility and in this case the responsibility is to the truth!
- “Sherri Shepherd and D.L. Hughley’s claim that African American gay and bisexual men are ‘primarily’ responsible for increased HIV rates among African American women is inaccurate and dangerous,” said Robinson. “Medical experts, including the Centers for Disease Control have dispelled that myth and ABC has a responsibility to its viewers to correct the information. Shepherd and Hughley’s comments fuel a climate of homophobia and racism.”
- To that end, GLAAD is absolutely right. The Centers for Disease Control have completely dispelled the myth that ‘down low’ men are responsible for increased HIV rates among African American women. Dr. Kevin Fenton, a doctor with the CDC, said as much in an interview with BlackPressUsa.com.
- “In fact, we have looked to see what proportion of infections is coming from male partners who are bisexual and found there are actually relatively few. More are male partners who are having female partners and are injecting drugs or using drugs or have some other risks that may put those female partners at risk of acquiring HIV,” Fenton said.
- Perhaps someone should put that on a postcard, and slip it under Sherri Shepherd’s dressing room door.
Below is the videoof Shepherd’s and Hughley’s segment, where they’re speaking with journalist Thomas Roberts.
Yes, The View is an entertainment show. It’s not Nova, by a mile. But at the same time, issues pertaining to the FDA’s ban on gay blood, and HIV/AIDS in the African American community get scant media coverage. The four minutes this week on The View were quite possibly the most prominent segment yet tying all of these issues together.
- It’s just a shame that they couldn’t get their facts right, and instead reinforced some damning and dangerous stereotypes.
- Michael Jones is a Change.org Editor. He has worked in the field of human rights communications for a decade, most recently for Harvard Law School.
Submitted By: Terry Angel Mason
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