photo by federico_ferrari via Flickr

This is a is a crime: this story only has three links to it according to Technorati. That must change right now. The writer is one I’ve respected since coming across his Village Voice pieces. Quoting:

A Low Down Crying Shame

The Down Low theory, as an overarching explanation for the spread of HIV, has been debunked several times over (see here and to greater effect here). Last week, an article in the Annals of Epidemiology took the measure of available research in the field and concluded that “the DL was neither new nor limited to blacks and sufficient data linking it to HIV/AIDS disparities currently are lacking.” Researchers don’t deny the existence of closeted black men in committed relationships with women or that some of these men infect their spouses. But they’re skeptical about the Down Low as a primary explanation for the high rates of HIV among black women. And they also don’t think black men in relationships with women are more likely than other men to have closeted sex with men.


Coates goes on to offer possible explanations for why the myth of prevalent Down Low brothers persists despite contradictions from science. Possibilities include

  • It’s catchy, secret and “carnal” phraseology
  • Conservatives’ ability to use it as another way to attack “inherent black amoraility”
  • Liberals’ ability to attack black homophobia
  • “In short, shaking your head over the DL is the perfect way to shake your head over how awful it is to be black.”
  • Finally, it’s a conspiracy theory which conveniently explains why it’s awful to be black

You’ve got to read the article. It’s short and sweet and, I believe, dead on.

To me, it also is part of the Crisis of Black Men story which looks at various “statistics of failure” from imprisonment rates to college admissions to drug use, unemployment and downright thugishness.

(p.s. I’ve been on the road and will be for the next week or so. This is a test of my mobile blogging abilities. Hopefully, we can keep the flow here at JJP. Appreciating all the comments yall)

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