Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened. -- Winston Churchill

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. -- Galileo Galilei

I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it's hell. -- Harry Truman

Location: Wichita, Kansas

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Monday, March 20, 2006

Political Correctness is Killing African-Americans

AIDS is a racial issue. In the United States as of July, 2004, according to the Census Bureau, Whites account for 67% of the population, Hispanics 14%, and Blacks 13%. In 2004 the CDC reported new AIDS cases by race were Whites 28.4%, Hispanics 20.5%, and Blacks 49.5%. That is around 13% of the population of this country having 50% of all the new AIDS cases.

We don't have enough research to say why these rates vary so drastically between races, we only can say with certainty that they do. The question is why leaders – both in general and in particular African-American, are not making this a high visibility issue. The numbers are so dramatic that it is clear targeted awareness and prevention campaigns are needed.

The reason for the lack of public attention seems to be related to political correctness, a phenomena that has turned discussion of many subjects in a meaningful and honest manner into taboo in American culture. The implications of allowing political correctness to govern over the health of blacks are serious – deadly serious. In his last State of the Union Address, President Bush tried to point out the problem.

“Half of all AIDS cases occur among African Americans...We will also lead a nationwide effort, working closely with African American churches and faith-based groups, to deliver rapid HIV tests to millions” – George W. Bush, State of the Union 1/31/2006.

Air America’s Randi Rhodes attacked his remarks for what she described as his incredible racism for making the overt connection of the Black community with AIDS. That is the standard tactic of those who view themselves as the enforcers of the political correctness ethos – call anyone who speaks to race related problems bigots and racists. That they are trying to save the lives of those they are accused of discriminating against does not matter to these nitwits and race demagogues.

The impact of political correctness is going far beyond left wing pundits. It is effecting the public health field, which is responsible for getting factual information out to us. Not many physicians seem to have the courage to speak out frankly on the problem, but a few voices are trying to be heard.

Elizabeth Whelan, ScD, MPH, president of the American Council on Science and Health, says ideology and science are becoming more intertwined in public health and, in fact, "the ideology is starting to take over the science." The news that many more gay black men than white men are infected with HIV should set off alarms in the public health community that messages on safe sex are not getting through, says Dr. Whelan. Instead, she is concerned that the more sweeping issue of discrimination will be raised, and that attention as well as resources will be diverted from the problem at hand.

“Many in the public health elite are putting more passion into the promotion of political doctrine than into direct efforts to improve health," Dr. Satel writes in her book, PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness is Corrupting Medicine. She documents the negative effects of allowing the tenets of political correctness to enter medicine.

Concern about appearances, image, and sensitivity in the superficial and insincere form of political correctness has become a dangerous enemy of truth.

African-Americans should not be an accepted casualty of those who care more about promoting their political agendas than people. Treatment for AIDS has made some progress, but there is still no effective vaccine or cure. Until that day, the only viable approach to saving lives is changing behavior.

Infectious disease does not care about which political party you claim, or the color of your skin. It just seeks the opportunity to spread by vectors of transmission, which for AIDS is primarily unprotected sex and injection drug use. Tell the PC's to go to hell, spread the truth, not disease.

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