banner.jpg (5045 bytes)

Home   |  Articles   |   More Deep Thoughts   |   Deep Groove Encyclopedia   |   Reviews
Mixes and Tunes   |   Links   |   Store   |   Contact

Old and New School Activism

In an interactive world where Twitter, Facebook, and blogs have been heralded as new forms of activism, some feel that pre-Internet activities like boycotts and marches are “so 20th century” and should be discarded, resulting in a generational split among activists.     As much as humans love to be associated with The Latest Thing, one story from last week shows how the old and new forms of protest can be combined with great effectiveness. Reggae singer Buju Banton recently announced an October tour where he would be performing in House of Blues venues around the country.  Banton is notorious among gay activists for advocating violence against LGBTs since the late 1980s.  His most infamous song, 1988’s “Boom Bye Bye,” contains the lyric “If a guy comes near me, then his skin must peel. Burn him up bad like an old tire wheel.”  He was also accused of assaulting a group of gay men in Jamaica in 2006.  While he was acquitted of those charges, it reinforced his reputation as a homophobe. LGBT blogs picked up news about his tour and suggested that people contact Live Nation, the company that was promoting the shows.  Within days, the company announced that the shows were cancelled, although their statement did not mention how LGBTs influenced the company to drop the singer. The Banton episode is an instance of using current technology to facilitate an old school activity.  In the past, people would have probably formed a picket line at Live Nation’s headquarters.  Pickets are great, very visible forms of protest, but participation is limited to individuals who can travel to the location, which can minimize the impact.  Organizing an online campaign allowed people from around the world to express their views to Live Nation, which may have taken the threat of a potential global boycott of their business into account when deciding that Banton was not worth the trouble.   Speaking of public protest, momentum seems to be gathering for the National Equality March that is scheduled for October 10 and 11 in Washington, DC.   The event is the brainchild of longtime political strategist David Mixner and activist Cleve Jones, who was affiliated with Harvey Milk and created the AIDS Memorial Quilt, which currently weighs over 50 tons.     I will admit that I’m surprised to see an increase in support for the march.  When they first called for the march, some people were skeptical for a wide range of reasons, including the difficult economic situations many of us find ourselves struggling with, the fact that Congress will be in recess during those days, and the desire to prioritize upcoming fights for gay marriage and domestic partnerships in California, Maine and Washington state. Despite these concerns, national leaders like Michaelangelo Signorile and the Human Rights Campaign have reversed their previous opinions and come out in favor of the Equality March. I wonder if this change of heart is the result of their realizing that the event was going to happen with or without them and deciding it was better to be on board than to be seen as a “hater,” much like the LGBT organizations that initially spoke out against the Olson-Boies lawsuit challenging Proposition 8, only to try to join the case in recent weeks.    Finally, some disturbing statistics were released during the National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta last week.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that gay and bisexual men have AIDS at a rate 50 times greater than women or straight men.  This is believed to be the first time that the CDC has put a precise figure on the disparity between bisexual and gay men and other groups in terms of AIDS.   Gay and bisexual men are also the only risk group with an increase in HIV infections. The numbers confirm what was already assumed by most people, yet this major gap in HIV rates means that gay and bisexual men need to have some serious discussions about our behavior and choices.  Since we know that unprotected anal sex is the most common form of transmission, we must investigate why we consistently engage in this high risk activity.  While talking with some friends about sex, I was surprised to learn most of their encounters were unprotected, and they described using condoms as not having “real sex.”  If we are approaching thirty years of AIDS and still viewing unprotected sex as superior and worth the risk, our ability and willingness to effectively combat HIV may be less developed than I thought. 

From “Blackout” for 8/31/09 by Anthony Rucker

 

Copyright 2001-2017 AllThingsDeep.com.  All rights reserved.

Home   |  Articles   |   More Deep Thoughts   |   Deep Groove Encyclopedia   |   Reviews
Mixes and Tunes   |   Links   |   Store   |   Contact