Should We Stop Dating Black Men?

Weekly, I have a conversation with my friend about the sociological dynamics of black SGL men, food, and trash television.  One day through discussing the crazy antics of Kenya Moore on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” and me bashing Sandra Lee and her post-racial recipes of struggle and strife, we found ourselves discussing a future panel on UCLA’s campus discussing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the community and how we need to combat the stigma, as well as keeping our young men and women healthy. A question was posed to a group of young, black SGL men asking how and what ways would be effective to stop the spread of the virus. A whole list of statistics and data was presented to the group demonstrating that, by and large, the African-American community was hit the hardest in terms of HIV/AIDS rates in the country, and more specifically in Los Angeles County. To answer the question, a young gentleman responded, “It seems like the only way to stop the virus is to stop dating black men.” Have we given up on our own so much that in order to save ourselves, we have to date outside of our race?

In an effort to unpack this all, I tried to figure out where the young man was coming from. How did he even get to this point of thinking such a thing? I began to think about the dating profiles I’ve seen that advertise raw sex. Often disguised by “anything goes,” there seems to be a haphazard approach when it comes to how we take care of ourselves. There are plenty “positive4positive” profiles out there who like to engage in unprotected sex, and I guess in their world that if both parties are infected then it wouldn’t really matter. Research, however, has taught us that is not the correct way about going and leading a healthy lifestyle (and if you’re unsure, Google it.).

Too, in struggling with our sexuality as black SGL men, a lot of us don’t consider ourselves to be homosexual; and, by using a condom while engaging in sexual relations, it would provide a greater verisimilitude than one would like to realize.  In other words, having to put on a condom makes us realize that we are accepting the idea and notion that same-gender sex is happening…and that’s a lot for some of us to handle. Even the government recognizes the struggle with implementing the “men who have sex with men” identifier when going to donate blood. The verbiage is inclusive to recognize the idea that there are men who don’t acknowledge their sexuality.  Furthermore, there’s also an element of apathy in the way we try to de-stigmatize HIV/AIDS in our community.

Often, health is the primary tier of action when it comes to the black gay agenda. We focus our community centers and support groups around sexual safety and awareness. It almost seems the organizations are cramming this down our throats with no room to breathe or process. This can, or may have had, an adverse effect on fighting or lowering the community viral load. Essentially, if someone keeps telling you something is bad for you, one’s natural desire will be to rebel; in this particular case, we see a lot of young men subscribing to this “YOLO,” or “I’m going to die anyway, so fuck it” mentality and behavior while risking their lives and others’. The focus on advertising safe sex and proper health is also a possible contributing factor. In essence, if modern science is allowing us to believe that HIV/AIDS isn’t a death sentence as it once was and can be treated and contained with a couple of pills a day, we can see that taking the risk of having unprotected sex would be lowered because “we can (seemingly) be cured anyhow.”

There are so many layers and complexities associated with unpacking this idea and what modern scientists have been trying to figure out for decades. However, I refuse to allow us to demonize our own people. I disagree with that young man’s statement, and while I understand from where their outcry derived, it seems that there is a racial superiority/inferiority dichotomy that I’m uncomfortable with. A statement that reads “We should just stop dating black men because they’re essentially bad to our health” implies that white or any other race or ethnicity is right, and we all know…

XD is a famed blogger and digital media strategist. He also hosts his own radio show every Thursday through his website TheXDExperience.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

X. D. is a blogger, social commentator, and digital content creator from New York City by way of the San Francisco Bay Area. He writes and vlogs about the everyday musings of what it is to be a black male who just happens to be same-gender loving in a large city at TheXDExperience.com.

  • Justin

    The problem is how we approach relationships with each other. I wouldn’t say white is right at all but definitely there are complications when it comes to dating black dudes. I haven’t dated a black dude since I was in college. I just find the stigmas and attitudes to be true. I
    rather avoid it by dating outside of my race. I feel it gives me a variety. If I wanted on a black man, I’ll still be single and not knowing what love is. We never want to tell the truth about STD and HIV rates. We are in trouble as black men and if I can find me someone
    “safer,” then fault me.

    • http://musedmagonline.com/ Neo Huxtable

      The same “complications” exist with white men and any other ethnicity. When pointing the finger at “black dudes,” realize that your other fingers are pointing right back at you, and that those you presume to be “safer” are thinking the same thing about you that you think of your brethren, because you are “a black dude.” I would encourage you to step outside your box for a minute and realize that the same stereotype you’re perpetuating to others can easily be applied to you. You’re not exempted just because you date outside of your race. With that said, be safe(r).

    • http://twitter.com/TheXDExperience X. D.

      That’s….that’s real. I don’t think anyone would fault anyone over who they choose to love based on what they prefer. There is something problematic by thinking that a man from another race is safer than the community in which they belong. There’s no way someone who considers themselves to be Black, and assuming self-respecting, to actually demonize their brethren. I’ve said plenty in pieces on here before that yes, we have issues as Black SGL men that we have to work through. We’re working through them each day, but we also need to set example to those if we want our people to do better and be better. Abandoning them/us is not the answer. Subscribing to stigmas and attitudes of Black SGL men that have been bestowed upon us against our will by people who, systematically, essentially don’t give a country fried fuck about who we are and what we’re about is equally as problematic and troubling. Yes, we’re in trouble, but that doesn’t mean to jump ship. It just means for us to wake the fuck up.

  • http://twitter.com/Exhibit_REY The Chosen One ~♏~

    wow…..just…..wow! Granted, I fully understand what he meant by saying “It seems like the only way to stop the virus is to stop dating black men.” however, I get annoyed when African Americans get the sole blame in regards to HIV/AIDS even though the numbers point in our direction. Sometimes I feel like because I’m black, gay, and HIV negative, that I’m automatically presumed HIV positive for the simple fact that I’ black and gay! In my opinion, sex needs to be discussed more frankly in the black community and we need to stop beating around the bush about it. In an age where sex is literally everywhere around us, the topic shouldn’t be that hard to bring up and discuss. We need to realize that we’re our own worst enemy because we’re to scared to be open with each other about sex of all topics. I will say this though; my fear is that if we eventually discover a cure for this disease, it won’t help because people will have the mentality of “well there’s a cure for it anyway so I can go ahead and bareback!” Could it be that we’re possibly in a lose/lose situation?

    • http://twitter.com/TheXDExperience X. D.

      I agree and understand what you’re saying. A lot of it which I said in the post, but to answer your question, I don’t think we’re in a lose/lose situation. We will be in that type of scenario if we don’t make a paradigm shift in our structure as a people. It’s going to take a long time for us to collectively understand and make the necessary adjustments to our lives, family, and overal culture to lower the community viral load, because it’s not purely sexual. It’s behavioral/psychological, etc.

    • KC, Toronto.

      I definitely agree to the idea of becoming more open to talk about securing and remaining safe as we engage sexually. I strongly believe that our failure to talk about sexual health has let to this dilemma of whether to continue dating our brothers or turn to other races. But is this the answer? Like this individual, others may interpreted as part of the solution. But what cna bring about a full change or realization of the actual facts? Where do we go for the facts? Are the facts available somewhere, and if so, where? Perhaps primary-base, but more specific, family-based interventions could help curtail the spread of HIV amongst Black gay, bisexual and transgender men. Family-based interventions would help parents and youths to develop languages to talk more confortable about HIV and sexual health related issues. Too much time has been spent designing and implementing seconary and tertiary intervention with too little focus on primary preventions. The research indicates primary interventions focus on doing something now to prevent or forestall something unpleasant or undesirable from happening in the future, or doing something that will increase desirable outcomes. These intervention strategies are usually designed to better educate the public at large, or to intervene before the onset of a crisis.

      Perpahs, it is time more conversations begin in homes, churches, workplaces, academic institutions, and in other places where Black people gather for extended or short periods.

  • Rudy

    I
    think it’s telling that most of the HIV positive men that I know are
    actually white men. It’s also telling that I don’t know know hardly any
    black men that are positive, which means it’s a SERIOUS silent problem
    for us. In regards to the article, it was poorly written in that it
    almost makes it sound as if no other group has to deal with HIV other
    than black guys, which is a disservice to everyone.

    • http://twitter.com/TheXDExperience X. D.

      I disagree with the idea of you saying that it’s poorly written, because in fact, it’s not. The focus of the piece and everything else on this site has everything to do with all things Black and has nothing to do with everybody else. Any one with intelligence should know and realize that HIV/AIDS affects everyone regardless of the color of their skin. The idea behind this piece is a conversation starter, by one of which you pointed out, that you possibly can’t think of anyone of color who has HIV/AIDS. Think of this as a issue that is grander than our neighborhoods and what we know, because honestly, the numbers show and prove that Black men are…well, we’re at the top of the “we might could be doomed” list. So, I’m not doing a disservice to anyone who reads this one bit.

  • Dre B.

    I actually thought this article was going to go another route.. Many times, I have heard black men state that they would discontinue dating other black men because they feel they would be better appreciated by other races. As someone who has dated across the spectrum, I can say that I’ve been treated well by blacks, whites, and latino’s, however, some men have only dated within their race and then look to other couples, of a different race whose relationship may be less tumultuous and think that to get that, they must date outside their race.. My thought process has always been as such: it’s hard to find a decent gay man. It’s even harder to find a decent gay man that I’m compatible with. It’s harder still finding a gay man that I feel I can settle with. All those things included assist me in shaping my thought process that it would behoove me to keep an open mind in dating and would be remiss to to otherwise.. This is kinda where I thought this artel was going and probably should have gone as opposed to putting it back on the concept that those in the AA community are the only ones who do not practice safe sex. Ijs..