Moral Relativism is Bias

An Inconvenient Truth is the name of Al Gore's book and documentary on the evidence of Global Warming.

An Inconvenient Truth is the name of Al Gore’s book and documentary on the evidence of Global Warming.

Moral relativism is the act of not taking a stand, or in other instances, pushing others to accept that there’s not a correct way to do things. Sometimes things are relative, but there are limits to this and it’s trendy to ignore that reality. Consequently moral relativism becomes bias when it ignores the impact of not taking a stand. Relativism can be paralyzing, not due to fear or ignorance, but due to confusion. Relativism becomes a tactic to negotiate for one’s real point of view, lack of interest, or not knowing how to act. For example, for a teacher to say “Can’t we all just get along” when a kid is being bullied, fails to hold the classroom bully accountable. Later, the kid who was bullied brings a gun to school since respect, love, and even life have all become relative.

Another aspect of relativism is it’s negative impact on diversity. To say there is no such thing as race denigrates the struggle of others, to say all religions preach the same thing diminishes each one, to say all cultures are the same denies the value of difference.

Relativism attacks anything that dares to say “No”. Are Americans spoiled? Why are we so desperate to push limits? Is this the by-product of a century of dominance and wealth? Morality deemed wrong even if it benefits society.

Relativism has its limits as I said, but it has been a way to challenge some archaic ideas. “Do no harm” is a mantra used to limit the extremes of relativism and dictatorship. Religion provides some good examples of “Do no harm” considerations. Circumcision is a useful test case for archaic rituals.  This is not an assault on the portion of Jews who circumcise males or the few Muslims who circumcise women, but is it our place to cut off a piece of a child? If the foreskin is removed with a Rabbi’s teeth, I would think so. If the surgery is botched and the child dies, definitely. But something so literally core to their religion must have some compromise, such as requiring a trained physician to perform it. Then again, if you could have aborted the boy 8 days before when they were in the womb, is it our place to say? (relativism) Now it’s different with women. To circumcise women does great harm, and not just during the act. It causes pain during sex and additional pain during childbirth for a lifetime. And I’ve read the Koran but not seen anything about cutting up a woman nor  interpretations that justify it. Male circumcision may be sad but can moral relativists make a strong enough argument if they also support abortion? And why are we so focused on things like this when the sex slave trade is still so prolific? Because moral relativists have carte blanche to do whatever they want, literally. It’s cover for self-interest. Is this the 21st century version of America’s Rugged Individualism?

Relativism has even handcuffed the police. Many don’t enforce unpopular laws from what I have witnessed. Even when I’ve been attacked by a known delinquent, it’s he said she said. They are hesitant to fill out a report, though my understanding is they must if requested. Then again if they don’t enforce some laws, why would they follow this rule? So I’ve gone down and filed reports myself. Should we support pay increases for police if they fail to abandon extreme relativism and at least enforce the laws still in place. You can’t pick and choose which laws to enforce. We saw that in battling Jim Crow in the South and oppression nationwide.

Moral relativism affects all of us. I am not immune. Let’s look inside ourselves to examine our own actions; how have we used relativism to trample on the beliefs of others; as well as our own? Or if we do believe something is relative, why do we think so?

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The Decision on Gay Marriage and its ripple effect on other Identities

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Prop 8 measure banning marriage between same-sex couples. One of many useful summaries can be found online; here’s one from the Wall Street Journal.

It’s intriguing to listen how the tax laws, inheritance rights, hospital visitation,  immigration, religious liberties, and even financial aid for college students will be changed. I’m kind of interested in the last three as they overlap with other identities.

Immigration
The 1917 Immigration and Nationality Act included provisions to exclude mentally or physically defected persons. This had various connotations, particularly since the label of homosexual had recently been coined just 25 years earlier in 1892. An amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965 specifically excluded immigrants “afflicted with … sexual deviation.”

It wasn’t until the 1990 Immigration Act that the provision to exclude homosexual immigrants was removed. By 1994 the US granted its first asylum to a Cuban immigrant due to his homosexuality. It was granted based on his identity not the sexual behavior (since sodomy was still illegal in many states then). There could have been side benefits to this since Castro was still running communist Cuba.

Religious Freedom
Many religious institutions are fighting the HHS mandate to provide abortions to their employees on demand. They will likely resist providing dependent care coverage to LGBT couples. I can only speak in depth about my religion. I can tell you it will be a lost cause for the Catholic Church in the current culture. Let me explain why.

Much like the Supreme Court ruling, there will be technicalities that lead to the undoing of the Church’s resistance. For the plethora of religious non-profits that feed, shelter, and educate millions, they already grant spousal benefits to straight couples whose marriage would neither be valid nor allowed in the Church. Straight couples who were married for a second time when the first one was not annulled according to Church doctrine would not have a real marriage from a religious standpoint. Yet the Church accepts the state definition of marriage; they resisted this but lost that battle too. If they accept the state definition it would be difficult to say the Church could deny the same spousal benefits to other marriages it considers invalid.

Financial Aid
Same-sex marriage may provide LGBT couples the benefit of filing joint tax returns, but now both their incomes will count as a resource for the child going to college. Many children of LGBT couples will lose Federal grants because the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will spike.

For graduate students, their spouse’s income and assets will now be considered in their FAFSA. I know that I consider it already for our institutional need-based scholarships. For state grants, it will seem to be dependent on whether that state recognizes same-sex marriage. Then again if they use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for state grants they would in effect be utilizing the same-sex spouse’s information.

The ED (Department of Education has already decided to use more gender neutral language beginning on the 2014-15 FAFSA and to collect information on both legal parents regardless of gender.

This Supreme Court decision has been very historic but it will surely take years to apply the decision to the countless details of our law, culture, and society. That is, if the ruling sticks.

Warsaw LGBT Pride parade 2013

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A Priest’s Article about Coming out as Gay

The following article “Coming out as gay” appeared in Catholic San Francisco May 31, 2013. I’m always intrigued by areas of multisectionality, when multiple identities become salient. What convinced me to post this was that it tackles the mainstream view that homosexuality and faith must be a contradiction. (It also reminds me of the mainstream impression that Catholicism and Science must also be at odds.)

National Basketball Association veteran center Jason Collins and professional soccer player Robbie Rogers recently announced they are gay. Some commentators called these revelations “pedestrian” and “extremely normal” as this same scene is played out millions of times in homes, families and workplaces across the world.

Collins, a Stanford University graduate, decided to tell his story in a thoughtful and dispassionate first-person narrative in the May 6 issue of Sports Illustrated. He did not glamorize his decision or elevate himself above those who opt to make a different choice. He said that “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.” He named his announcement as a “journey of self-discovery and self-acknowledgment” and indicated that he wanted to be “genuine, authentic, and truthful.”

Collins first revealed himself to his aunt Teri, a Superior Court judge in San Francisco. Her supportive response brought him “relief ” and finally “comfort- able in my own skin.” Teri simply responded with love: “I’ve known you were gay for years.” When he told his brother Jarron, he was “downright astounded” but “full of brotherly love.”

Each time he tells his story, he feels stronger. He wrote, “When I acknowledged my sexuality, I felt whole for the first time.” Collins believes that he has finally “embraced the puzzle that is me (but) I don’t let my race define me anymore than I want my sexual orientation to.” He concluded, “Being gay is not a choice. This is a tough road and at times the lonely road (but) being genuine and honest makes me happy. I’m glad I can stop hiding.”

Collins feels that he forged solidarity with other gay people by wearing jersey number 98 with the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards. In 1998, in a contemptible anti-gay crime, Matthew Shepard was kid- napped, tortured and lashed to a prairie fence. He died five days after he was found. The Trevor Project was founded this same year, an organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention to kids struggling with their sexual identity. Collins said that “when I put on my jersey I was making a statement to myself, my family, and my friends.”

Robbie Rogers’ announcement mirrors in many ways the unadorned story by Collins. Rogers comes from a close-knit conservative Catholic family. An American soccer player, he represented the U.S. 18 times in the Olympics, including the 2008 games in Beijing. Entitled “The Next Chapter,” he made his announcement via a heartfelt, crisp entry on his blog. He wrote, “For the past 25 years I have been afraid to show who I really was because of fear that judgment and rejection would hold me back from my dreams and aspirations.”

On an emotional level, he wrote, “Try convincing yourself that your creator has the most wonderful purpose for you even though you were taught differently.”

He feared that those closest to him would abandon him if they knew his secret. He then writes, “Life is simple when your secret is gone. Gone is the pain that lurks in the stomach at work, the pain from avoiding questions, and at last the pain from hiding such a deep secret.” At age 25, he retired from professional soccer on Feb. 15. He wrote, “It’s time to discover myself away from soccer.”

Rogers blogged that “secrets can cause so much internal damage. I always thought I could hide this secret. Soccer was my escape, my purpose, my identity. My secret is now gone (and) I am a free man.” He wrote that he realized he was gay when he was about 14 years old and felt he was an “outcast … I just couldn’t tell anyone because high school in the states is brutal. You’re going through puberty and kids can be vicious.”

When Rogers told his mother, “she made me cry (as) she was so loving and positive. She just said, ‘I love you so much.’”

In “Always Our Children” (1997), the U.S. bishops wrote that same-sex attraction “cannot be considered sinful, for morality presumes the freedom to choose. God loves every person as a unique individual. Sexual identity helps to define the unique persons we are, and one component of our sexual identity is sexual orientation.”

When a person chooses to reveal that he or she is gay/ lesbian, sometimes at great personal risk, that person deserves the respect and support of others. Speaking the truth about one’s sexual identity is consonant with, and not opposed to, a life of integrity and faith. No one should be pressured to reveal his or her sexual orientation, but no one should be ashamed to do so either.

Collins and Rogers received an overwhelming amount of positive and supportive responses. They also received negative reaction. Writing in USA Today, NBA insider Chris Broussard translated the Collins/Rogers announcements as approval of “an openly homosexual lifestyle.” He cites the Bible and concludes that openly living such a lifestyle “is a sin … If you’re living in unrepentant sin, I think that’s walking in open rebel- lion to God and to Jesus Christ.” The Christian Science Monitor wrote that these announcements will “likely put wind in the sails of the trend of acceptance of gay rights in U.S. public opinion.”

These reactions demonstrate the moral and pastoral necessity to distinguish support and respect for gay and lesbian persons and an automatic approval of an agenda that avows the overturn of the traditional meaning of marriage by support of same-sex marriage. The church teaches that homosexual persons exist and deserve our respect and support. In the case of Collins and Rogers, courage defeated fear, acceptance trumped self-doubt, and truth overcame shame.

These achievements can be duplicated by our acceptance of homosexual persons and our understanding of the burden they bear when their sexual identity is jeopardized due to fear, rejection or violence.

SULPICIAN FATHER COLEMAN is vice president, corporate ethics for the Daughters of Charity Health System.

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Anti-Gentrification

I see all kinds of transplants come to my city with their idea of what it means to be a San Franciscan. Growing up here I can tell you it is a mix of things. We are a city of contrasts and anyone who tries to meld its people as belonging only to liberals, or only gentrified whites and Indians, or only the opposite, is living in a bubble where they wish everyone was like them. I was reminded of this recently after hearing about an anti-gentrification piñata party. They beat a piñata shaped like a Google bus. Seeing the image of men with sticks hitting something tied to a rope calls forth images of anything but progressive anti-gentrification. Again, a city of contrasts.

I compare hatred for gentrification to my own nativist tendencies. I see people who aren’t from here who don’t conform, not only to my personal style but more importantly to my basic mores and civic mindedness. I’ve had to learn that my city is not for any one group, nor is it for everyone. Of course there are limits, we need to be considerate of others and protect the weak. It becomes clear once again that you can deconstruct so much bias and hatred down to a dislike for “the other.”

Gentrification is a change in demographics. It often refers to a neighborhood where middle-income singles, couples, and small families (two kids or less) move into a neighborhood that is predominantly low income. Gentrification also refers to the impact those people have on a neighborhood. Laundromats are replaced with upscale restaurants, a struggling business may be bought out and replaced with a bank. These are not necessarily negative things. However, it can cause rents to increase (not significantly in SF due to rent control). It can change the former homogeneous community into a diverse one, only to replace the former community entirely who must now move to areas that have amenities they demand at the price point they can pay. It is sometimes a “white flock” phenomenon versus “white flight”. This is my own phrasing; there could be more standard terms out there. Gentrification is not a bad word. It is a mixed bag. Maybe folks hate the idea of being mixed.

I am not a fan of all the company busses navigating slowly through the streets, but they do help the environment by cutting down on the need for cars and it helps employees maintain work-life balance. We can debate the good and bad side of these Silicon Valley corporations, but what strikes me is how trendy it can be to hate gentrification. And what’s funny is transplants that are so vocal about it. Perhaps they are feeling what I sometimes feel when I see them. Perhaps they are claiming San Francisco as their own by telling what it means for them. I can relate.

The public beating of a symbol of the commuters to Silicon Valley at 16th and Mission by hipsters in a traditionally Latino working class neighborhood reminds me too of white Nativists resisting the Irish from immigrating after clearing away peaceful Native Americans. (I use peaceful as a qualifier because many were, but I will not lump all the ethnicities classified as Native American as one idyllic stereotype.) Gentrification triggers so many contrasts.

We need to look more closely at gentrification and not use it as a catch-all for a stereotype. We need to ask why a small taqueria is going out of business just because people with more expendable income move in down the street. You would think they would eat out more, right? Why does one group flee? Why do some remain? Why can’t we have a diverse neighborhood?

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Art Show and Identity

Artist Ramekon O’Arwisters revealed a series of simple yet powerful pieces during the April 2013 Open Studios. This is an opportunity for artists to display their work, whether the medium is paint, craft, sculpture, or other visual, aural, tactile experience.

The art he presented was titled Fugitive Memories, 2013. His work deconstructs identity, or rather as I like to think of it, his work opens up identity for analysis through visual abstraction and visual art. Having an interest in genealogy I was even more lured to his latest pieces. Fugitive Memories takes old 19th century black and white photographs, known to genealogists and others as cabinet cards (see one here). He postulates personalities by covering the faces of the photos in various tchotchkes or physical markers of culture. One face was covered with a lucky rabbit’s foot. Another had a collection of decorative pins. Another had what looked like a little mask. Each seemed to represent the unknown by literally attaching upon them a hobby, or a penchant, or what looked to me like a secret life.

It was also interesting that these photos must have been discarded at some point in history, or photos of people whose identity had been lost to time. So in a way, these faces were faceless. I see these everywhere, at antique stores, estate sales, and sadly one or two unidentifiable photographs in our more obscure family albums.

As someone who by personal taste is not generally attracted to non-traditional / non-western forms of art, I couldn’t help but stare and digest these pieces. The use of crafts seemed to complement the reclaiming of these old photographs. Yet you could feel a break with traditional forms of art. How could you perceive someone from another era or culture based on how they have represented themselves? What is hidden or revealed? How do we conform or fail to fit in with our own society?

Ramekon art 2

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Demographics and Race in the Bay Area

Artist Carlo Abruzzese has graphically revealed a series on demographics and race in the bay area from 2010 census data. It was most recently displayed during the April 2013 Open Studios. There were two related collections. One was “Geography. Place. Culture. Fifty-six States of Diversity” and another was “Mapping: The Bay Area 9”. For both he took actual census data and using 7 colors to represent different ethnic/racial categories as defined by the government, he visualized that demographic in a grid pattern by census tract.

San Francisco, Cal.

San Francisco, Cal.

One of the things I like about his representation is the subtlety of the spectrum of actual colors yet the stark divisions in some regions of the Bay Area. This is immediately striking to me, while the details create a sense of pause as I digest the data. The most provoking moment is when you look at his piece on Marin county and learn that there is  one specific area with a significant African American population and it’s where the prison is located. About 30% of Marin’s black population resides in San Quentin. So much for diversity. This reflects so much more in our society than I can fit in this post. However here is some information about racism within San Quentin Prison. To be fair to Marin, from what I’ve gathered, high school graduation rates for African Americans there are above average.

To look at Carlo’s work abstractly and in a larger context, we can recall the difference between diversity and multiculturalism. A classroom of 50 students can be diverse, with equal amounts of white, Middle Eastern, Indian, East Asian, Pacific Islander, Latino, or black students, but if those groups only sit with themselves and never interact, there is no multiculturalism. Thus with a superficial effort to create diversity, you only create balkanization. You actual accentuate the division by making it visual. And sometimes you need someone to point it out.

So what is the right mix? There is no formula for that. The seven groups I listed aren’t the same seven Carlo used. Thus even defining what groups exist is subjective. To start, we must look at ourselves. What do we have to contribute to diversity? What in our own identity have we rejected or retained? What do we seek out in others? What can others teach us? Until we can answer some of these questions, ask some ourselves, and keep the discourse going, we need to see these images as a reminder.

Marin and San Francisco Counties

Marin and San Francisco Counties

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Inclusive Language

I briefly attended the one-day UC Berkeley Institute on Social Justice (ISJ) in December 2012 for a talk on inclusive language. It was sponsored by the UC Berkeley Multicultural Education Program (MEP) and other campus offices whose official scope includes issues of Diversity. The theme for 2012 was  “Self-Reflection, Intersection & Activism: Deconstructing the Myth of Single Issue Struggles”. I only could sneak away from the office for one session which was “Intent vs. Impact: Utilizing inclusive Language” facilitated on short notice though successfully by Kelly Lough.

It began with ground rules established based on consensus of those in the room. It was tied to some disclaimers that broke down the presumption of political correctness while maintaining the need for respect. Disclaimers included items such as:

  • This is not a G-rated session
  • what is discussed is not always our own beliefs
  • emotions can lead to growth.

This allowed candor in order to tackle and then deconstruct language. Language is ever-changing. How has language adapted, or failed to adapt, to today’s world? How has it changed when it shouldn’t?

Berkeley Equity and InclusionWe identified  why this topic is important which is because as campus leaders we need to set the example, we need to know our audience, and we need to work together to get things done in life. The facilitator shared a story of an ‘intent versus impact’ mishap. Simple statements like “Did you man the desk” can become politically charged versus saying “Did you staff the desk”. We asked ourselves, at what point is it nitpicking, at what point is it too far? To me it’s too far when people lose sense of reality. Herstory is cute but it’s not called history because it means ‘his story’.  No need to confuse the etymology of our language for a political agenda. As long as people realize that, herstory is acceptable.

A second example is the word Easter, derived from a pagan festival and now the word in English for the Resurrection of Christ. It’s not necessary to call this term inappropriate or to change it, because the semantics have changed. It doesn’t mean worship Ishtar any more, just like Thursday doesn’t mean we actually consider it to be the Norse god Thor’s day. Another example are words that were narrow before, like mankind. We now say humanity quite easily. So now let’s challenge humanity, which has the word man in it. I think this is an ‘Easter example’. Though the etymology comes from what centuries ago meant “of or belonging to men”, it no longer means men only. So out with the obvious and gendered mankind and let’s keep humanity. These were my notes during the session. Most of the terms were gendered like guys v. folks, oneself v. himself, and actor v. actress.

Then we delved deeper. One problem with relativism is eventually you can say everything is subjective, and morality is based on an individual’s civil right to live life however s/he wants. (I see this with extreme progressives and unapologetic racists, two normally opposing groups.) But when you participate regularly in deconstructing culture you learn that it doesn’t mean embracing relativism but rather expanding your perspective while maintaining a fundamental objective of “do no harm”.

As we wrapped up this deconstruction of language, we were reminded to not be so sensitive that become offensive. We saw a video that put it all out there with Jay Smooth’s YouTube clip on a slang term called GotNoSensitive.

In summary, these were my take-aways:

  • Take time for self-reflection
  • Challenge the status quo
  • Don’t worship relativism
  • And do no harm
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my favorite foreign words

An aspect of identity includes the language we use. Subcultures and slang and multi-lingual societies reveal other aspects of identity, which can become most apparent when we communicate. Re-blogged with permission.

trickybrit

typewriter

When I was a kid and an application needed to be filled out in my name that required the listing of all languages spoken, my mother used to always write: American, the Queen’s English, and some French. These days I speak little French, and my Queen’s English is restricted to impressions of my mother or speaking poshly about posh things (sometimes, one in the same). I studied English at school and have made a career of realizing that one tiny little word, as insignificant as it may seem, can have big implications (I was once on a negotiation where both legal teams argued for twenty minutes over the use of the word “shall”); but despite the beauty of the English language, I still have dreams of speaking other languages that pick up where English drops off. The ability to engage in side conversations at key moments without anyone around…

View original post 480 more words

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More Genealogy Tips and Tricks

Here are some more genealogy tips and tricks for your family history research. Click Ancestry & Genealogy on the right under Categories for similar posts.

  1. Formatting a Tree: Once you get further back in your family research it feels satisfying to see it all on one page. At one point I wanted to see seven generations from both sides represented on a one-page tree. This is not an easy task. Other than printing on legal size paper, I found that sports playoff brackets work great, whether the FIFA World Cup or The World Series! I adapted them for genealogy and then traced out my own. www.chiff.com/recreation/sports/world-series.htm (Go Giants!)
  2. Adoptions: I don’t have any experience researching adoptions, but I have a couple of cousins sprinkled here and there who are adopted. I think it’s important to make a note in some way in the comments section where you might put blood type or eye color. Related to this, let me give heart to those who are adopted. Your family tree is just as important. And it’s not that you don’t have a family tree, you have two. You are twice blessed. Your biological father may have given you blue eyes, but your adopted father gave you a love of baseball or architecture or what have you. They are both part of your heritage and who you are.
  3. Outside the Internet Box: It is now considered normal to search online for your roots, but don’t forget old fashioned sources. I enjoyed the significant collection of San Francisco address directories at the California Genealogical Society as well as their in-depth collection of newspaper obituaries. These are not readily available online as they are much more local in nature. Yet this is where the good stuff, the meat, the story of the family, can be found. I learned of a great great-grandfather who was laid off from his job as a stevedore, likely had a few drinks, and washed up the next morning in Oakland. Not the proudest moment but insightful nonetheless.
  4. Fires, Earthquakes, and Natural Disasters: For the most part, the 1890 U.S. census burned before copies of census records were being kept in separate locations. However sometimes records are salvaged and then relocated. For example, regarding church records, I found my grandparents marriage certificate at St. Emydius Church even though they were married at St. Michael’s. They are neighboring parishes. A construction project at St. Michel’s and its later conversion to a Korean Catholic Church resulted in the records remaining at St. Emydius until I found it. Fortunately this was known by the church secretary, but sometimes you will need to know the history of the archives to get the history of your ancestor.
  5. Record Keeping: I highly recommend some organized filing system for your research, even if you don’t expect genealogy to become a full-on hobby. As a teenager I developed a simple way to group research using colored folders: green for the Irish, blue for the Scottish, red for the Danish, and purple for the Italian. I roughly followed the colors of the flag and went Roman purple since the green and red were taken. You may want a binder with the following sections: family records, active research notes, family worksheets, and family trees. You can also file by surname or generation; just pick something that works for you. This way if you take a break for a few months between research you will not have to start all over again.
64-Team-Single-Elimination

Sample Sports Bracket

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Blood Drive Discrimination

Should it be illegal for black people to donate blood? It’s illegal for gay men to do so, or rather it’s a Federal mandate. The executive branch seems to have a lot of mandates regarding health care. Next time you see a blood drive asking if you want to be a hero and donate blood, please remember that gay men do not qualify to be heroes. The government officially believes that men who have sex with men are unclean. We are a risk.

Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Ribbon

Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Ribbon

This stems from the AIDS crisis of the 1980’s when for the first time in documented human history it was not heterosexuals who carried the majority of sexual diseases. The government began testing blood for HIV in 1986, but the law is still on the books that if you are a man who had sex with a man since 1977 you are filthy, you cannot donate blood, you are not a hero. Teen suicide is so prolific among young gay men. Here is just another way LGBT people are told they are second-class citizens. Let’s not pretend there isn’t a connection.

So HIV infection from what I understand is just as high among African Americans as it is among gay men. Why not make it illegal for African Americans, who have had sex, from donating blood? Can you imagine the protest? Can you imagine the rioting, the infuriated masses? Can you imagine the reaction of Congress to rectify such discrimination immediately? I can. For statistics on HIV in the American population see the Center for Disease Control.

My kindergarten teacher was the first nun to die of AIDS. She got infected through a tainted blood transfusion in 1984. She had gone in for hip surgery and at her age probably needed additional blood. It took her rather quickly, or maybe I just didn’t know what was happening until it was done. I was 8 years old and saw our priest on the local news.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was this past week on February 7, 2013. So why not act as if the law says black people are dirty and can’t donate blood? We can’t, culturally it’s not in us yet.  Even my analogy of African Americans bothers me more than the discrimination against gay men, my own group. How else have we internalized hatred for the LGBT community? Until 1973 psychiatrists officially believed homosexuality was a disease. It is much too prolific statistically to be considered a disease. Otherwise a sixth finger or green eyes would be a disease too. Others say it is morally wrong, but it is consensual, not like rape.

Other say it’s a sin, but despite that it does not preclude faith, hope, or love. Some say it will lead to the fall of society, but to me that’s more communist propaganda. We have always had single parents, orphans, and “confirmed bachelors”. Gay uncles have supported nieces and nephews providing valuable support to family. Gay children have had the time to care for ill parents more than the straight children understandably busy raising the next generation.

America, please don’t make it illegal for blacks to donate blood. If we all refused to donate blood until the law was changed to allow gay men to donate, it could work. The only heartbreak that prevents us from doing so is that others needing the blood or the bone marrow will die in the fight for equality. What alternatives are out there? Write to your Congresswoman? I’m open to ideas.

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