Immigration and Human Rights Law Review


The human right to education and health are inherently interrelated, both key in ensuring the health and development of an equitable and just society.1 Yet, the series of bills currently threatening the inclusion of essential conversations about race, sexuality, and sexual orientation is an overt attempt to obscure the honest history of the United States and further supplant the current social hierarchy. The United States’ failure to acknowledge the essential role representational education plays in undermining the disparate outcomes that afflict vulnerable communities in the country deserves more attention than it has garnered. Here, the disparate health status of Black men who have sex with men (Black MSM)2 in relation to HIV infection rates is illustrative of the impact of non-representational education’s relation to health. I set forth here that 1) the United States’ failure to provide its citizenry with representational education creates disparate outcomes for vulnerable communities, 2) the current “divisive concepts” regime is reflective of historical discrimination that has disadvantaged people from vulnerable communities, and 3) the United States’ failure to recognize an inclusive conception of the human right to education and health adds to the systemic failures that reproduce discrimination. This analysis attempts to tread thestrings that help explain how the intersectional3 experiences of Black men who have sex with men are amplified by interrelated regimes of systemic racism and homophobia. These regimes continue to go unaddressed despite the overwhelming evidence of Black MSM’s overrepresentation in adverse health outcomes – a violation of both the human right to health and education. At the core of this analysis is the role of intersectionality, systemic racism, and homophobia’s role in perpetuating disparate outcomes for historically marginalized groups like Black MSM in the United States and how those same concepts could sponsor an informed response to marginalization.