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Deconstructing “down low” discourse: The politics of sexuality, gender, race, AIDS, and anxiety

Abstract

Discourse regarding Black men “on the down low,” also known as “the DL,” is deconstructed to reveal public anxieties around sexuality, gender, race, and HIV/AIDS. After presenting a definition of the down low, ten basic facts are advanced: a) The down low is not new; b) the down low isn’t just Black; c) the down low isn’t just men; d) the down low discourse contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS; e) the down low discourse feeds a neo-racist agenda; f) the down low discourse obscures the link between HIV/AIDS and poverty; g) the down low discourse contributes to homophobia in the Black community; h) the down low phenomenon suggests that there is more to sexual orientation than is currently acknowledged; i) the down low phenomenon demonstrates the need to decouple sexuality and gender; j) the down low discourse provides a new opportunity to consider questions of sexual freedom and choice.

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Phillips, L. Deconstructing “down low” discourse: The politics of sexuality, gender, race, AIDS, and anxiety. Journal of African American Studies 9, 3–15 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12111-005-1018-4

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Keywords

  • Sexual Orientation
  • Black Woman
  • Black Community
  • Black People
  • Electronic Version