From Publishers Weekly
In the past year, J.L. King's On the Down Low: A Journey into the Lives of "Straight" Black Men Who Sleep with Men
, a New York Times Magazine
piece and Oprah
attention helped make a cultural phenomenon out of life "on the DL." Here, writer and activist Boykin (One More River to Cross
) addresses what he sees as the implicitly racist and homophobic undertones of the media's coverage. He offers a point-by-point refutation of King's take on the DL - King's book, Boykin says, suffers from overgeneralizations, inconsistencies and distortions - and accuses King of serving up another "stereotypical image of black men as pathological liars, surreptitiously satisfying their primitive sexual cravings by cheating on their wives." But the heart of Boykin's argument is that the media, which often blame closeted black men for transmitting HIV to their female partners, are avoiding the opportunity to responsibly discuss the realities of sexuality, gender, race and AIDS. Boykin lucidly draws on science as well as personal experience in this important book. And while many of the cultural manifestations of black sexuality that Boykin documents here are fascinating - e.g., references to the DL (which Boykin defines as cheating on a partner regardless of one's sexuality) in popular music - the power of his book comes from his impassioned call to examine the real facts of sexual behavior and HIV transmission. (Feb.)
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About the Author
Keith Boykin is one of America's leading commentators on race and sexual orientation. He has appeared on CNN, Fox News, and NPR, and been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today, among many other publications. Boykin is currently a contestant in the Showtime reality show American Candidate, which airs nationally in Fall 2004. A graduate of Harvard Law School, the author served as special assistant to President Clinton on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues. Today Boykin is president of the National Black Justice Coalition, an organization established in 2003 to marshal African-American support for same-sex marriage rights. He is the author of One More River to Cross: Black and Gay in America and Respecting the Soul: Daily Reflections for Black Lesbians and Gays. He lives in New York City.
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