Lee Daniels: I Saw So Many Black Women And Kids At AIDS Center I Thought I Was At The Welfare Office

August 21, 2013  |  

Lia Toby/WENN.com

If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s when one minority attempts to to marginalize another for the sake of their own personal cause and that is exactly what “The Butler” director Lee Daniels did in a recent interview with Larry King.

In discussing his experience growing up gay and coming into his sexuality, Daniels made a very sharp left in what could have been a productive discussion. Apparently in a previous interview he had remarked that gay people are third class citizens and when asked to expound on this idea by King, Daniels threw this dagger:

“I think they are prejudiced upon even from the African Americans too. I think that the reason we have AIDS…I did a movie called ‘Previous’ and when I was doing the research for ‘Precious,’ I walked into the gay mens health crisis center in New York City and I expected to see studying [of] AIDS and HIV, I expected to see a room full of gay men, but there are nothing but women that are there – black women with kids, I thought I had walked into the welfare office – but they service black women with AIDS, why?

“Because black men can’t come out. Why? Because you simply can’t do it. Your family says it, your church says it, your teachers say it, your parents say it, your friends say it, your work says it. And so you’re living on this DL thing and you’re infecting black women.”

And that has what to do with black women being on welfare?

Look, I won’t pretend to know the struggle of being a homosexual black male, or to be an expert on the bureaucracy of AIDS research and treatment when it comes to the black community. However, if black women are getting services in a gay men’s clinic, that’s a systematic issue, not one that has to do with prejudice from the black community. Furthermore, a man’s inability to live his life freely as an openly homosexual male has no bearing, in my mind, on his inability to be sexually responsible. Being chastised for your sexual orientation is not an excuse to one, play with a woman’s heart and pretend to be heterosexual when you’re not, and two, sleep around indiscriminately, particularity when you’re aware that there may be these biases in sexual health care as it relates to gay men.

And again I find myself asking what the hell does any of this have to do with black women being on welfare?

I don’t think I’m too far off when I say there was just a slight, if not overt, element of bitterness to Daniels’ narrative which no doubt stems back to his childhood and being beat by his father for being gay. But that’s not black women’s fault, nor is it their fault they’ve found some place to be serviced for sexual health issues. There is equal responsibility to be had amongst black men and women when it comes to the rapid spread of AIDS, and finger pointing and excusing just won’t cut it if we really want to stop this epidemic and neither will stereotyping. Being the double minority that he is, Daniels should know this more than anyone else.

Check out the video of his interview below. What do you think?


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