Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"Positive" - Or Negative?

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November 7th is my friend Jamal's birthday. It's also the day that New York elected it's first black mayor, David Dinkins. This is also the day of the fiasco that occurred between George Bush, Al Gore, and the Sunny state of Florida, home of fresh squeezed orange juice, Jeb Bush, and shady polling places.

Those are some of the things that happened on November 07. But what happened on November 07, 1991, - well most of us remember when we were when we heard this - just like knowing where we were when the OJ Verdict and the Rodney King Verdicts, when we heard about the Aaliyah, and when we heard about Tupac Being Shot.

It was Ervin "Magic" Johnson, basketball player extraordinary, face of the Lakers, personality to die for (pun intended), one who adored the ladies and won the admiration of men - it was this Magic Johnson that stunned, paralyzed, and sent shock waves that reverberated through out the world as he announced that he was retiring after testing positive for the "HIV" virus.

We were all stunned. Not stunned in the since that we didn't know how he contracted it, but stunned in the since of:

- Oh, so you CAN get this by heterosexual contact, and not just homosexual relations, dirty IV's, and blood transfusions?

- This is a man, a black man, a strong black man, who got it. Just from being a FREAK

- He's going to DIE. He won't make it to see the hall of fame.

And any other combination thereof.

It made the men of this world take stock - of what they had been doing - who they were doing it TO, and when. It made women's minds race, wondering how much that third drink 'really' may have cost them. The sale of prophylactics skyrocketed; everyone was playing it safe and keeping their noses clean.

Ah the good old days. Are we back in the nosebleed section, now?

With a resurgence increase in sexuality, (both teens and adults alike), and the hedonistic attitudes that pervade our culture, I believe that the message has been lost regarding abstinence, safe sex, or any other practice that is deemed appropriate for your respective lifestyle. It is difficult enough to swallow (no pun intended) the fact that many teens don't consider oral sex 'sex'. Now whether they got that message from Bill's spiel on his relationship with Monica Lewinsky is another story; the fact is, it is so. It is equally difficult to know that there are now more people trapped in the closet than an R. Kelly Video.

This is no gender blaming incident - we are all responsible for our behaviors and actions. Nor is this particularly the forum to discuss whether or not people are 'going to do it anyway', even though you are open to discuss anything you wish. The bigger, prevalent issue that I see here, is that so many people get 'caught up' in what they doing, indicating "Well, it only happened once", or "I've been with them for so long", that there is an ongoing game of Russian Roulette playing, and that the bullet has pieced many who have sung that mantra, and more often than, not, it was that time that "It only happened once".

Most of what we see now endorse sexuality. Videos. . .Songs. . .and everything in between. 16 year old Keisha Castle Hughes, the sister in whale rider, is expecting a baby with her boyfriend of three years. We can go on and on with that but I don't want to overlap messages.

I want to turn it over to you. . .

Do you think that both adults and children have returned to the days of old, being careless and reckless in their sexual escapades?


16 comments:

Terry said...

Humm... good question. Ya know I’d like to say no “P’. I’d like to say that everyone is as careful as they used to be. But fact is I don’t think they are. They look at your aforementioned Magic Johnson, read the papers, and see that drugs have made it possible to live with such disease as HIV.

Unless of course you live in Africa.

Most people don’t see sexually transmitted disease including AIDS as the deterrent they once were. And oddly its women who are the ones contracting AIDS the fastest. How they get it is the scary part.

From ABC News:

“It's not because more women are engaging in unprotected casual sex, Lori Heise of the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS told ABC News."

"That's the biggest myth out there right now," said Heise. "Most women are getting infected in long-term relationships."

One of the reasons women are fast becoming the largest segment of the AIDS population is because, although most women are willing to take precautions against sexually transmitted diseases in new relationships, they become less cautious as the relationship evolves, according to Heise.”

Scary thing huh?

Unruly Brown said...

Heyyyy, P! *waving*

Yes, I do think the world is full of promiscuous HSFs who think they're safe as long as they use condoms--as well as those who just think they're safe whether they use condoms or not, regardless of which sex they bed (or both, as the case may be). Even if based solely on my observations and conversations I've had since last year, I believe more every day that they make up the majority. Careless and reckless may be putting it mildly.

DP said...

People need to stop the madness.

I will go to my grave believing that Magic Johnson got HIV from another man.

The very fact that he felt compelled to console us by saying that he got it from a woman spoke volumes to me.

At the end of the day, almost 20 years later, people STILL walk around here conveniently forgetting it is FAR easier to pass HIV from Male to female than it is from female to male.

The numbers don't lie.

SOMEONE around here is fuckin without condoms OR committment...still.

Lots of Someones.

and thats sad.

Miss Ahmad said...

once again you pose a great question. as someone who is a great proponent of abstinence and often looked upon as a martian as a result i really don't know that things are worse and better.

most women i know my age aren't really giving it up too much.

most men i know my age are still getting while and how they can.

when these two parties collide usually they have enuff sense to do it the best way they can, but i don't want to be naive enuff to believe that unsafe sex isn't happening.

i know people have have died of aids and been infected with HIV but i would say as a whole most of the people i know are navigating their way thru their sexuality safely enuf...

African girl, American world said...

of course. The fear lasted for a hot minute like every other serious thing. 9/11....angry for a hot minute then bam same ol, same ol.

And seeing Magic doing so well gives people hope. Yeah I canget 'the AIDS' but I'm not gonna die for another 10 years.

Even with all that we know, so many believe the little voice that convinces them that it won't happen to them.

And lil whale rider girl been getting some since she was 13? Wow. I gotta believe its cultural cause ain't no way that would fly here.

Cool AC said...

Careless! You hit the nail on the head with that word. Most people don't care. They see and know of people living with the disease so they don't care if they get it becasue they believe they can live with it too. You notice they never show the negative side of the disease. All the people we see on Oprah and in commercials are healthy looking and doing ok. So, while we know it is incurable it is portrayed as something that we can live with. Once they chronicle the life of something living with it (hows that for REALITY TV) and the struggles they face, good/bad/terrible days, the attitude will not change.

Miss Ahmad said...

by the way magic is a culprit and not a hero of his disease i happen to know from a first hand experience that he was still seeking extra martial sex immediately after he announced his infection.

i think those that continue to spread the disease should be shot like lame horses for the betterment of the society, or locked up in a mental ward seriously.

T. Cas said...

I think people are better about talking about safe sex, but not really practicing it. That's how come everybody and they mama got got kids. You may not know they have STD's, but the kids lets you know that people are not as safe as they say they are.

P said...

@ Terry: I would love to say that everyone is as careful, but more often than not, many people believe that familiarity breeds comfort. And in that, they often take risks that are unnecessary.

@ A.I.N.T: In your graceful harshness (hehe) - you are one hundred percent correct. I witness it. I hear it. In conversations from friends and co-workers alike. A very scary world indeed.

@ the D.P: That too, what you said about Magic, is urban legend that was swirling through the streets of LA even BEFORE he announced his diagnosis. Moreover, we had him 'wif' Isaiah from Deee-TROIT, how bout dat? And you are doubly (is that a word?) correct when you say: SOMEONE around here is fuckin without condoms OR committment...still.

@ Glam: I am a huge proponent of abstinence - when and if that decision is right for you. Unlike some, I realize that the personal decisions that people make for this can be spiritual, emotional, or anything in between. It can be done, and in some instances should be done, depending on circumstance. And re: Magic - even those of us who are not inbred into the entertainment/sports culture as you heard that as well. We knew and know that he was a big time hound and didn't skip a beat after the diagnosis. The worse part about it was, he was still getting major play!!!

@ Mwabi: The mantra "I never believe it could happen to me" is sometimes taken lightly" Even in hearing it many people don't believe that anything - whatever it may be. Can - and COULD happen to them.

@ the AC: You know as well as I that most of the shock factor comes from the fact that "Oh, well he/she doesn't LOOK like they have it. That's like saying someone looks like a sexual predator, or a stalker, or jealous maniac. Even I look normal, and I'm a nut! :P

@ Cas: You make an excellent point. It's so watered down now to talk about it, I don't even believe people are putting it into action, even as the words pervade our airwaves.

Anonymous said...

I was shocked as shit by the Whale Rider girl too, she looks like a baby! How do people not know the rules about birth control and general sexual safety?
HIV/AIDS really has taken a back burner in our society today because of all of the advances they've made in medicine. While it is still an enormous horrible problem in Africa, in America people can live for many years because of medication, so people aren't as scared of it as we all should be.
I myself, rarely give it up, and when I do it's to people that I know, and trust. I certainly am not a slut giving it out every time I get the urge.
But, there are a lot of slutty slut sluts out there.

The Mistress said...

Wow, I was only 11 when this went down back in 1991!

Anyway,the unprotected sex thing is out of control these days. Especially with women. It shocks me...we are at such a higher risk! Do you know how rare it is for a man to contract HIV from a woman during unprotected sex? There's a reason they're so cavalier. Female to male transmission happens in only a small percentage of cases...it's mostly male to male and male to female. All the more reason we should take responsibility for our own sexual health. But people are hardheaded as fuck so I don't see a big revolution for change coming any time soon.

The Sarccastik Variable Why said...

good question...i don't think people will go back to that "free love" type of mentality...i don't see people doing "rambo" anymore....that's wishful thinking....i would like people to stop thinking "rambo" is cool....rambo is raw (interpretation)

Peach said...

"Do you think that both adults and children have returned to the days of old, being careless and reckless in their sexual escapades?" I think that back in the old days, people were wreckless because they were unaware of all the diseased, and NOW people arent just wreckless but STUPID. To know the possibilities of contracting an STD or Raising a child on your own (like myself) to know that and still be wreckless is STUPID. lol or just simply a cry for attention. BTW thank you for what you said on my blog. It was much appriciated.

Miz JJ said...

I do not know if people are careless as much as they are scared. HIV is the number 1 killer of young black women? How is this possible? Because they are too scared or embarassed to tell their partners you need to wear a condom. It makes it seem like they do not trust the dude or they think he is dirty. Also, it is hard to demand condom use in a long-term relationship. It assumes that cheating. There are a multitude of factors. I just hope the black community gets it together...and soon.

Isha said...

I think that out of fear of having the man walk away, women are afraid to make the best choices for their health.

It's sad, hard to take and a situation that is not going to go away soon. Cause as long as a woman will not speak up for herself, she puts herself at risk.

P said...

I just wanted to thank everybody for their comments. But ultimately, women AND men are responsible for their sexual behaviors and patterns.

I want everyone's lives to be preserved, both men and women, and that starts with accepting responsibility for your actions and the risks that come along with that, and that's men and women.