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Not In My Family: AIDS in the African American Community [Paperback]

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Item description for Not In My Family: AIDS in the African American Community by IV Gil L. Robertson...

In this landmark collection of personal essays, stories, brief memoirs, and polemics, a broad swath of black Americans unite to bear witness to the devastation AIDS has wrought on their community.  Not in My Family marks a new willingness on the part of black Americans—whether prominent figures from the worlds of politics, entertainment, or sports, or just ordinary folks with extraordinary stories — to face the scourge that has affected them disproportionately for years. Editor Gil Robertson has enlisted a remarkable group of contributors, including performers like Patti LaBelle, Mo'Nique, and Hill Harper; bestselling authors like Randall Robinson and Omar Tyree; political leaders like Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders; religious leaders like Rev. Calvin Butts, and many, many more.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   321
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 2006
Publisher   Agate
ISBN  1932841245  
ISBN13  9781932841244  

Availability  0 units.

More About IV Gil L. Robertson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Gil L. Robertson, IV is a veteran journalist whose syndicated column, "The Robertson Treatment," appears in more than 30 newspapers and reaches more than 2 million readers around the country. He is also the editor of Family Affair: What It Means to be African American Today (Agate Bolden, 2009) and Not In My Family: AIDS in the African-American Community (Agate Bolden, 2006).

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > History > United States
2Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Disorders & Diseases > AIDS
3Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > 20th Century > General
4Books > Subjects > Medicine > Administration & Policy > Health Care Delivery
5Books > Subjects > Medicine > Administration & Policy > Public Health
6Books > Subjects > Medicine > General
7Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Current Events > Poverty > Social Services & Welfare
8Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Special Groups > African American Studies
9Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Medical > Administration & Medicine Economics > Health Care Delivery

Reviews - What do customers think about Not In My Family: AIDS in the African American Community?

Invaluable Book for The Times!  Mar 20, 2008
I loved what this book represented - a large variety of voices from many walks of life in the African American community to address a disease that has been silent within the community. Each piece was short as well as engaging and held my attention. I feel that the format can be useful for engaging many ages and gender within the community. It lends itself to be a great tool for educating the community.
Pamela Payne Foster, author of "is there a balm in Black America?"
Makes you sit up and take notice  Mar 27, 2007
Have you ever heard an unpleasant story or watched a horrific event on the TV newscast and thought "Oh no, not me?" Most of us have at one time or another. "Not in my Family," a collection of observations by various African Americans, examines this response in the context of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and HIV infection. Edited by journalist Gil L. Robertson IV, contributors to this compilation include celebrities such as Mo'nique and Hill Harper, activists such as Reverend Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson, and ordinary folk whose names we would not recognize. Each contributor shares with the reader his or her perception of AIDS and HIV infection, usually through an essay, but sometimes through a poem or a speech.
[...] This is enough to make one sit up and take notice. Although the book contains much statistical data on AIDS and HIV, it also contains many stories of individuals who are living with this disease or have personally felt its impact. Some of the contributors share their stories of how they contracted HIV, and the manner in which they or their families coped. Others share how they first became conscious of the disease when it first came to the fore in the early 1980's.
The book examines many of the deep seated prejudices we hold about HIV and AIDS, and the way these prejudices have aided the escalation of the disease in the African American community. The issues most frequently discussed were people's perception of HIV/AIDS as a "gay" disease, and the still widely held belief that one can be infected by casual contact such as a hug or a handshake. Since HIV/AIDS is sexually transmitted, the issue of sex also looms large throughout the book.
For me, the most poignant story was that of a [...]Many contributors to the book discuss society's perceptions of "the kind of people" that contract the disease, and the factors in our community which have most impact on its spread. Among the factors discussed is the "down low" phenomenon, and the black church's position regarding homosexuality and sex outside of marriage.
Be warned! Although the book is well written and well edited, it sometimes contains adult language as the editor apparently sought to maintain the authenticity of the contributors' feelings and expressions. The "in your face" language of some of the contributors seems geared to shock. It seems their justification for this is to rouse the reader out of complacency into at least awareness if not activism.
Overall, the book will cause you to examine your attitudes toward the disease and toward people who are living with the disease. For example, one contributor questions, would you date someone who was HIV positive? Well, would you? It will also make you pay more attention to the impact the disease is having on our people here in the United States as well as in the Diaspora. The views expressed by the contributors range from conservative to ultra liberal, from conspiracy theory to punishment by the almighty for too much free love. One thing on which all of the contributors seem to agree is that a cure must be found, and it must be found very soon.
I highly recommend this book because it is bound to heighten awareness and empathy with regard to HIV/AIDS and its victims. It is also quite likely to raise levels of awareness of the impact this disease has been having on black women in particular. It certainly did that for me.

A heart-wrenching collection of very moving AIDS memoirs  Dec 18, 2006
"Black America, we have a problem.
HIV/AIDS is running rampant through our communities. Many of us are sick and dying and living in fear and shame, and many of us who aren't afflicted are living in denial, detachment, ignorant, and glass houses. Worse yet, too many people in our communities act as if they are immune to the problem altogether.
`Not me.' `Not in my family!' And that's the problem.
Not in My Family is a weapon of warfare, a tool of empowerment, and a manual on friendship. It includes lessons before dying, lessons on living, lessons on love, and lessons on letting go. It is a collection of colorful stories, hard truths, and differing opinions from people of various lifestyles strung together to teach us not only how to survive, but how to thrive in the face of HIV and AIDS.
It is a dose of truth to our community. And hopefully, the truth will make us free."
-- Excerpted from the Introduction

In the United States, AIDS is increasingly an African-American epidemic, taking a disproportionate toll on the black community where someone is ten times as likely to contract the disease as in a white neighborhood. According to Gil Robertson, many factors have contributed to the explosion of this frightening phenomenon, including "dysfunction, fear, poverty, and lack of information." In fact, he suggests, that upon close inspection, we find the causes to be almost as plentiful as the number of individuals infected.
For this reason, Robertson, decided to edit an anthology of essays by folks touched by the disease, whether they might having a loved one coping with the ailment, be personally infected, on the front lines as an activist, or modestly ministering to patients. In Gil's case, his brother, Jeffrey, was diagnosed as HIV-positive over 20 years ago, and the fallout visited upon the family in the form of "shock, fear and regret" has taken the Robertsons years to overcome.
Fortunately, Gil, a gifted, syndicated journalist whose work has appeared in Essence, Billboard, Black Enterprise and The Los Angeles Times, had the wherewithal to channel his energy positively in terms of tackling a subject which has heretofore been left woefully unaddressed. For AIDS is a scourge likely to ravage the black community exponentially unless it wakes up and faces the fact that Silence = Death.
Thus, Not in My Family: AIDS in the African-American Family is an urgent, informative, groundbreaking book because it takes AIDS out of the inner-city closet by initiating an intelligent dialogue designed to shake both brothers and sisters out of their complacency and thereby inspire everyone to action. Among the sixty or so contributors to this timely text are entertainers, such as Patti LaBelle, Jasmine Guy, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Mo'Nique and Hill Harper; physicians, including Dr. Donna Christensen, DR. James Benton and Dr. Joycelyn Elders; AIDS activists Phill Wilson and Christopher Cathcart; ministers, like Reverend Al Sharpton and Calvin Butts; best-selling authors, such as Randall Robinson and Omar Tyree; and Congressmen Barbara Lee, Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Gregory Meeks.
But just as moving as the clarion call sounded by any of these celebs, are the heartfelt stories related by relative unknowns with out any pedigree. For instance, 22 year-old Marvelyn Brown talks about how having AIDS has taught her the true meaning of friendship. Jaded judge Ivory Brown waxes poetic about her late friend and hairdresser who, before he expired, inspired her to overhaul her life by seizing the day.
Dena Gray starts her chapter with an entry from her diary which describes December 20, 1991 as "the worst day of my life," because "I found out today that I'm HIV-positive." Such a powerfully simple, straightforward, and sobering statement can't help but halt a reader in his or her tracks. Shawna Ervin, meanwhile, recounts how she reacted, at the tender age of 11, to learning that her best friend had contracted the illness via a blood transfusion, and how they remained close, in spite of the stigma, till Andrea's demise ten years later.
Filled to overflowing with such almost sacred moments, Not in My Family is a must read, but not merely as a heart-wrenching collection of moving AIDS memoirs. For perhaps more significantly, this seminal work simultaneously serves as the means of kickstarting candid dialogue about an array of pressing, collateral topics, ranging from homophobia to incarceration to brothers on the down low to low self-esteem to the use of condoms to the role of the Church in combating this virtually-invisible genocide quietly claiming African-Americana.
A Lesson Learned  Dec 18, 2006
This AIDS awareness books is a great way for people to learn about the horrors of AIDS what they can do to help stop this epidemic. Robertson calls on many African American figures like Patti LaBelle, Mo'Nique, and Al Sharpton and others. There were stories from everyday figures and I could honestly feel their pain. There was a poem from a poet in the beginning of the book and it was well fit to open this kind of book. Kudos to Gil for this effort, we need to support!!

Not in My Family: AIDS in the African American Community grips its readers form the opening words. This collection of personal essay by numerous celebrities including Mo'Nique, Byron Cage, Patti LaBelle and Sheryl Lee Ralph, Randall Robison, Omar Tyree, Hill Harper, Jasmine Guy and Rev. Al Sharpton is edited by Gil L. Robertson IV and explores the debilitating disease that has quietly ravage countless families in the black community.

This candid compilation pokes its head into the darkest corners of the African-American psyche and experience. A black woman faced with the infection of her beloved drug-abusing bisexual husband and a swinging corporate America nephew recalls the connection, crisis and journey of those within his own family. The account of Mr. Marcus,, the highly popular adult film star, who feel compelled to have sex on camera after being recruited in Las Vegas, reveals the historical wounds that his family's legacy inflicted upon him.

Robertson weaves personal and heart-wrenching experiences that shed light on the dire need that exists throughout the African Diaspora. This anthology should be "used to stop the enemy in his tracks," as Robertson prescribes. Not in My Family is a guide and an icebreaker. It is thought provoking, sincere and heartfelt. It is necessary.


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