Thursday, April 22, 2010

Women, Minorities and Gays Are Unfairly Targeted By Syphilis, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea

Here is an excerpt from an article in today's Miami Herald:

• Syphilis up 53 percent, from 204 reported cases in 2006 to 313 cases in 2009, with 73 percent of such cases in men who self-identify as men who have sex with men.

• Chlamydia up 64 percent, from 5,069 to 8,330 cases, with 71 percent of cases among women, mostly between 15 and 24 years of age.

• Gonorrhea up 24 percent, from 1,892 to 2,350 cases, with African Americans and Hispanics several times as likely to be infected as non-Hispanic whites.

Here is the link to the entire article:

When I saw this article, it reminded me of an article that I read in an Iowa newspaper several years ago. That article made the point that black high school students were disproportionately targeted for suspensions and expulsions. That article went on to blame racism for this disparity, despite the fact that most suspensions and expulsions were for carrying weapons, committing violence and for drug crimes. The evidence was not in dispute. I was suprised to learn that criminal behavior could infect a specific race, just like I am surprised to learn today that STDs are very sexist, racist and homophobic when choosing their victims.

Obviously individual behaviors are responsible for these disparities, not racism, sexism and homophobia. Those who falsely make charges of bigotry, are bigots themselves and should be stigmatized just as strongly as true bigots are. The consequences of false charges of racism can be very severe. The principals in Iowa schools could lose their job because of false charges of racism. Also the students and teachers could be victims of violent crimes if the principal fails to act because of the fear of false charges of racism.

Why are we including race in statistical studies? Race is irrelevant if we are striving toward a color-blind society. Martin Luther King said that all people should be judged by their character [as manifested in their behavior]. People should not be categorized by their race, sex or sexual preference. We should be judged solely by our behavior. After all, isn't that what STDs really do?

No comments: