The Down Low on The Down Low

There’s been loads of chatter about “straight” black men who blow their loads over other men, but some researchers claim the phenomenon of “Down Low Brothers” has been overblown. What’s more, they say that misrepresentation of this subculture may be doing more harm than good by leading men into riskier behavior.

The idea of the down low brother has led to endless speculation and investigation into the spread of HIV among black communities, with many people to conclude that black men’s shady behavior increased infection rate among black women. Dr. Chandra L. Ford of Columbia University insists that the down low behavior is not exclusive to black men and, what’s more, the myth of the DL rests on some tried and true discrimination.

Scientific America reports:

…Ford notes [that] while black men and women have higher rates of HIV infection than other ethnic groups, they also report fewer risk behaviors, suggesting researchers should look elsewhere to understand the disparity.

For example, she adds, having a bacterial sexually transmitted infection can increase the risk of both transmitting and contracting HIV, and it is possible such infections may be more common among blacks than whites due to poorer access to health care.

The view of black sexuality as deviant and diseased has deep roots, Ford noted, pointing to the way the public and the medical community viewed syphilis in the early 20th century as a disease of the black community.

So, does this mean the down low myth’s totally debunked. Racially, yes, but certainly not in reality.