They told you. Brand Spankin new! I am a vivacious African American woman. I am currently single. I play golf. I am a writer and…
I have ambivalent feelings about transgender, straight, gay and lesbianism. What is most startling is that because of the media attention now everywhere you look there is some reference to gay issues, rights, etc. But almost nothing about mass incarceration in African American communities. While gay issues are certainly worthy of affirmation and attention, as a black woman, I don't see the gay issue as being nearly as devastating to African American communities as the issue of criminal justice policies being supplanted in these communities as social policies. One study showed an alarming 25% of black men in communities as being involved in the criminal justice system during some point in their lives. The wide arching ramifications of the negative credentials of a criminal record cripples entire communities. And will have a more pervasive impact on the families in these communities and our society at large. If we want to undergird the gay rights issue the clarion call for mass incarceration needs to be just as shrill. As one young gay man put it, 'He is proud of who he is because he is not a drug addict.' Drug addiction, is a mental health disorder and should be addressed from a public health standpoint. Not stigmatized, even by gay people. Its time we put our priorities in order. Young African American men deserve every bit of opportunity to grow and prosper in this society as anyone else. I have a hard time championing gay rights when so very many young viable men, straight and gay sit rotting in jails and prisons for non-violent crimes making a small majority of private jailers and their stockholders extremely rich. The independent has championed the underdog for so very long, I would like to see a story on mass incarceration's impact on the African American community in the Independent one of these days. Perhaps people could then begin to fathom the hegemony as it relates to gay rights and the prison industrial complex.
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