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Opinion

HIV testing and the role of the Black Church

HIV testing and the role of the Black Church
With the backdrop of National HIV Testing Day (June 27th) – the Black Church must step up and remind our congregations of what’s at stake.
The numbers don’t lie: African Americans experience the most severe burden of this terrible disease, making up 12 percent of the U.S. population yet account for 44 percent of new HIV infections.
 
Our young people are tragically often the most affected: according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 25 percent of new HIV infections are among adolescents and young adults ages 13-24. Many are these youth are unaware of their status and are not being treated, which places themselves and others at risk. The CDC estimates that overall as many as one in six Americans infected with HIV do not even know it.

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Mississippi? ‘I’ll go as far as Memphis’

Mississippi? ‘I’ll go as far as Memphis’
The 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer is being commemorated this week in Mississippi and it provides the perfect backdrop to reflect on the transformation of not only Mississippi, then the deadliest state in the nation, but the entire region.
 
As I have written in the space before, there was a popular joke about Mississippi making the rounds during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.  Supposedly, a Chicago seminary student was awakened at 3 a.m. by a voice imploring him: “Go to Mississippi! Go to Mississippi!! Go to Mississippi!!!” The seminary student said, “Lord, you said that you will be with me always, even until the end of the earth. If I go to Mississippi, will you go with me?” The heavenly voice replied, “I’ll go as far as Memphis.”

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Blacks need more racists

Blacks need more racists
A few weeks ago, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) made a stunning announcement that caused a lot of consternation in the Black community.
UNCF had accepted a $ 25 million contribution from Koch Industries and the Charles Koch Foundation.
 
Under normal circumstances, David and Charles Koch – the brothers who control the two entities – would be applauded for their generosity.  But some blacks have labeled the Koch brothers as racist simply because they are white, conservative, and libertarians who believe in smaller government, lower taxes and ballot integrity.

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Black men and white women leapfrog over black women

Black men and white women leapfrog over black women
Beginning in 1945, as a black male child, I spent my early years in a small southern town where everything was “black” and “white.”  As a black child, I stood on the oppressed side of the fence as I experienced the injustices imposed upon black folk by a culture of white supremacy.  But, as a male child, I stood on the oppressor’s side of the fence as I witnessed the injustices imposed upon women by a culture of male privilege.
 
While I chaffed under the oppression to which I was subjected as a black person, I was indifferent to the oppression suffered by women – an oppression that was particularly harsh on black women.  I grew up in a world where I felt wronged by a culture that asserted that I had less value and “had a place” on the lower rungs of society as a black person.  But I saw no injustice in a culture that asserted that women were on a lower rung than that upon which the men were placed.  This was true, even though I knew that the place allocated to women had fewer benefits than those allocated to men.

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Anti-effeminacy in the black community

Anti-effeminacy in the black community
Words like sissy and f** can often be heard in the black community to describe a man who falls outside the comparatively restrictive confounds of black male masculinity.  However, why black men in particular focus on masculinity more than their other racial counterparts is often misunderstood. Two theories seek to explain the culture of anti-effeminacy in the black community. 
 
Sexism is something that pervades our country and society.  With the average woman making about four to seven percent, according to the U.S. Labor Department, less than her male counterparts when accounting for differences in total hours worked, job position, and total unpaid hours leave taken during the year.

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Are Republicans serious about courting African Americans?

Are Republicans serious about courting African Americans?
The biggest complaints I get from black journalists when it comes to Republican officeholders and Party leaders is that they can’t get their calls returned. I used to think this was because of the reporters’ race or that some represented small, black media outlets.
Over the years, I have spent many hours reflecting on this dilemma and have concluded two things. First, the problem has nothing to do with race or racism; it has more to do with the lack of relationships with black journalists. People return calls of people they know or have a relationship with first; then and only then will they return calls of those they don’t know.
 
Second, there is no bridge between Republican members of Congress and other party leaders to the black media. Over the years, I have tried to bridge that gap, so to speak, but with limited success.

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Black girls are also victims of gun violence

Black girls are also victims of gun violence
In 1999, when I was 19 years old, I was arrested and charged with first degree murder, several counts of attempted murder, attempted robbery, and several counts of criminal use of a weapon. I was convicted of first-degree assault and third-degree weapons possession, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2002. 
 
Twelve years later, 17-year-old Gakirah Barnes, known on twitter as @tyquanassassin, was gunned down by a barrage of bullets in Chicago’s West Woodlawn neighborhood on Good Friday 2014.  Gakirah, also known as K I, was said to have been a part of a younger branch of the Gangster Disciples called the STL-EBT crew. Gakirah was said to have been responsible for the death of rival gang members from a nearby housing project. 

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