It’s great to see the FDA’s ban on gay blood donations make the rounds on The View. It’s too bad Sherri Shepherd is an absolute moron and completely unqualified to discuss it.
We quite enjoyed William Saletan’s Slate piece discussing how, if the FDA was basing its decisions purely on statistical risks and not on homophobia, then black women should, theoretically, also be eliminated from the donor pool. The View‘s panel evidently enjoyed it too, with guest host DL Hughley bringing up the subject.
Cut out from the above (official ABC) clip was this part of the conversation:
Both DL and Sherri argued black women are contracting HIV because they are sleeping with black “downlow” men (you love that term!), who aren’t using condoms and are becoming positive, then spreading it to their unknowing straight lady friends. You know what that lazy explanation does? Places the onus of responsibility for having safe sex on black men — and completely removes black women from the equation. Wrong. Both parties are responsible for keeping their orifices protected. And when black women move from one sexual partner to the next, without using condoms, then they become part of the transmission problem.
Are closeted gay black men responsible for HIV transmission? Yes. Are they, as Sherri proposes, the ones completely at fault? No. Thankfully Thomas Roberts, the gay former CNN anchor, was also on the panel to inject some sense into this debate. Missing from this conversation are the implications of drug users and sharing needles, and how that risk is disproportionately higher among blacks.
As the blog BlackGayGossip.com notes, “According to the CDC, although African-Americans make up only 13% of the U.S. population, we account for about half (49%) of the people who get HIV/AIDS. Not to bust your bubble, but it’s not THAT MUCH down low sex going on.”
Once again we see the problem in letting such poorly informed persons have the platform of a daytime talk show with millions of viewers: They are paid to have an opinion. They are not paid to be educated in their assertions. Shepherd, let’s all recall, is a woman who did not understand the world is round. She is, plainly, an uneducated person, and somebody who cannot grasp third-grade concepts is certainly not qualified to discuss statistical data about HIV rates among specific demographics.
Even Joy Behar, the most gay friendly of the bunch, who often addresses gay topics on her own HLN show, didn’t have the good sense to step in. Because she too falls into the trap of over-indulged show host; producers fill her note cards with talking points, but it’s often evident from her mishandling of conversations that she doesn’t have the first-hand knowledge. It’s problematic. And it’s unacceptable.
And it leaves us wondering, How many times has Sherri Shepherd had unprotected sex with a man? Outside of a secure monogamous relationship, if the answer is even just one, then she needs to raise her hand and volunteer her name. And if all those rumors about her husband cheating on her are true, then their unprotected heterosexual relationship puts future partners at risk.
We’re all responsible for staying safe. Blaming the gays, blaming black men, and blaming black women gets us nowhere.