It seems everybody has an opinion on CNN's two-night special Black In America. Last week I posted a review of journalist Clay Cane's thoughts that ended up being pretty controversial and this week NBJC's Chief Executive Officer H. Alexander Robinson is blasting the news network for having the audacity to examine HIV/AIDS with no mention of black gay men, lesbians, or transgender individuals. I'm just glad somebody is speaking out and that it's coming from NBJC.
I have heard the arguments that one CNN special could not be all things to all people, or cover all the aspects of the complex issues facing America and her Black citizens. However, when it comes to their presentation of the Black family and HIV/AIDS, their efforts were an exercise in journalistic malpractice.
How could you possibly have an honest exposé on HIV and AIDS in Black America and fail to mention Black gay men?
HIV respects neither race, gender, class or sexual orientation, but Black gay men remain the most heavily impacted by the disease and we have largely carried the weight of the HIV prevention message on our backs from the beginning until now. Of course we had allies and partners but let's get real- it was Black gay men who led on Black AIDS--and we are still leading.
What was the thinking of the documentary's editors which allowed the series to side-step the issue of men who have sex with men and women without disclosing their sexual practices with their partners? What of the ravages of drug use and addition left unchecked during our endless war on drugs? The disproportionate numbers of HIV infections in Washington, DC noted in the series can be traced in no small part to our failure to adequately address the drug use and needle sharing habits of addicts.
When addressing the issue of the many Black children who are being raised by single parents, CNN seem to suggest first that only Black women were raising our children alone- ignoring the significant number of Black men both gay and non-gay who are raising children. CNN renders invisible the thousands of children being raised by two loving parents in same-sex couples.
...In almost every segment there was an opportunity to bring Black gay men, lesbian women, bisexuals and transgender men and women into the discussion.
Yet there was nothing, not even a suggestion that we exist.
Read the entire article here via The Bilerico Project.