“Your Silence Will Not Protect You”

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A powerful call at “Diary of An Anxious Black Woman” to get radical about HIV/AIDS. Below is a short excerpt:

… Unlike gay men in the ’80s, who broke the silences surrounding their sexuality – promoting condom use through newsletters and even in gay porn (even though gay porn and personal relationships of late have dangerously resorted back to “bareback sex”) – black women, who now comprise 70% of new AIDS cases and, if aged between 19 and 44, will most likely die by this disease, have not rallied publicly through collective rage (I’m very angry to see such high statistics among my sisters, aren’t you?). We have not promoted, in TLC fashion (remember when they used to sport those condoms in their clothing?), condom use among women and girls through our erotic fiction, music, and videos (I know at least one porn star who gave out “goodies” at the Harlem Book Fair last summer but didn’t bother to distribute condoms) nor have we staged walkouts at various church services when they promote violent homophobia and “wives submit” type sermons. We have not stormed through the Stock Exchange to demand affordable drugs for black women here and overseas, nor have we staged sit-ins at various corrections facilities and hospitals and schools, which have all colluded in the silent devastation of our communities through the spread of HIV/AIDS.

We have not figured out, as the gay men of the ’80s did, that there is an insidious agenda to let us die. Make no mistake about it: The feminization of HIV/AIDS is femicide, pure and simple. And, just like Hutu rebels deliberately targeted Tutsi women by unleashing HIV+ men on them in acts of mass rape during the Rwanda genocide, just as what is currently going on in the Congo, do not – for one minute – doubt that the same mass rape occurs on our bodies. From the miseducation of low-income black women and girls (many of whom comprise the majority of HIV/AIDS cases) to the high rates of sexual violence (which often occur without “safe sex”) to the continued spread of corporate pornography, which has taken to selling black female bodies in everything from hip-hop music videos to urban fiction in Barnes-n-Nobles to hardcore pornography. …

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