UC Berkeley Bake Sale – where you Pay By Race

On the campus of Berkeley a student group identified as a republican group initiated a bake sale and the prices depend on where you fall on the race spectrum.  The bake sale sign reads: white $2.00, Asian $1.50, Latino $1.00, Black $0.75 and Native American $.025, And all women $0.25 off.

The bake sale is to draw attention to pending legislation that would allow California universities to consider race, gender, ethnicity and national origin during the admissions process.  Kudos to the universities in California in developing legislation that would gives those that are born without the privilege of being white a chance at a high education.  Many folks feel its racist but let’s be real, if you are white you are born with the privilege of being part of the ruling class.  Life is not going to be as difficult for you as it would be for other nationalities.  Even in the  pricing structure you see how whites feel about the Native Americans.

Dick Gregory, comedian and activist , had an album called “Kent State” but he starts out talking about the cowboy (white man) who always needs an Indian.  When he was through with the Indian he turned his attention to the Black man (slave) and then others.  Finally,  the cowboy turns his children into the Indian and 4 laid dead at Kent State.  The cowboy always needs someone to be the Indian.  So even in this student groups thinking of sale prices the Indian is regarded less than women.  This bake sale is suppose to represent a negative note but it represents what the white man hates about giving us anything including a chance at a better life.

Racial Bias Seen in Study of Lead Dust and Children (New York Times)

New York Times headlines shocking.

The New York Times reported that the Kennedy Krieger Institute is involved in a class action  law suit filed in Baltimore for knowingly exposing young Black children between the age of 12 months to 5 years old. The incident goes back to the 1990’s and definitely reminds me of the Tuskegee Experiment where Black men were exposed to Syphilis for research purpose and never given the cure.

How sad, present day we are still experiencing the same behavior.  Why are we expendable? I’m sorry, experimenting on our babies is going too far.  I remember when we received a notice about my grandson’s lead levels being high.  I ask the question, “Why are they contacting you about this?  Did you have him tested?”  The answer was no.  So now I’m wondering, did these experiments happen in other places?  I don’t remember there being any meds prescribed.  Other than, have the landlord paint again.  Now, I’m real curious.

They say this occurred in poor families in poor neighborhoods with the cooperation of landlords to not completely clean up the lead levels.  Kennedy Krieger offered no treatment. 

The Root reported that, “Children were enticed into living in lead-tainted housing and subjected to a research program which intentionally exposed them to lead poisoning in order for the extent of the contamination of these children’s blood to be used by scientific researchers to assess the success of lead paint or lead dust abatement measures,” said the suit, filed in state court in Baltimore, according to the Times. “Nothing about the research was designed to treat the subject children for lead poisoning.”

“According to the lawsuit, Kennedy Krieger helped landlords get public financing for lead abatements and helped select families with young children to rent apartments where lead dust problems had been only partly eliminated so that the children’s blood could be measured for lead over a two-year period, according to the lawsuit.”(New York Times)

Science has already determined that lead poisoning causes permanent neurological damages to young children.  So, what was the real reason to expose our Black children?  I feel a conspiracy to do our seed harm.  Was this done in your community?

Black Males and Gun Violence

Charleston Heston

I couldn’t resist the Charleston Heston quote, “… you can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.” 

Below are statistics on Black Males and gun violence as reported by government agencies and experts. 

Young African-American males have the most elevated homicide victimization rate of any race or gender group. Homicides involving firearms have been the leading cause of death for African-American males ages 15 to 19 since 1969.5

The number of youth who report that they carry weapons is significant. In 1997, 14 percent, or 1 in 7 male juveniles, reported carrying a gun outside the home in the previous 30-day period.9 In the inner city, the problem is more severe. One study involving 800 inner-city high school students reported that 22 percent said they carried weapons.10 An even greater number of convicted juvenile offenders reported carrying guns — 88 percent, according to another study.11

Firearms are readily available on the illegal gun market, and those who are most likely to possess guns are drug sellers and gang members — overwhelmingly young and male.12 More than two-thirds of the respondents in one study of urban arrestees stated that the primary reason for owning and carrying a weapon is self-protection — a small number also reported using the weapon for drug trafficking or other illegal activities. Among arrestees overall, 23 percent of those who owned a gun said they had used one to commit a crime. Among juvenile drug sellers who owned a firearm, 42 percent reported using a gun in a crime; among gang members, 50 percent reported using a gun.

The drug market is a major contributor to the Nation’s homicide rate. Indeed, the peak in homicides during the mid-1980’s was directly related to the saturation of urban areas with the crack cocaine drug trade. Methamphetamine — more powerful, more addictive, and easier to produce than crack cocaine — is becoming a major drug of choice in urban, suburban, and rural communities. If the methamphetamine trade results in drug wars on the same scale as those of the 1980’s, it is possible that homicide rates will begin to climb once more, as drug dealers are among those most likely to carry weapons.21

Long-term solutions to address the problem of gun violence must include a comprehensive approach to reducing the number of youth involved in gangs.

 
 

You Feel Me Now

D. L. Hughley was here this weekend and I was driving and listening to the radio, the radio station is new, and the DJs are not familiar at all.  The only Black station in town sold it to a religious entity.  I know as an urban dweller use to a diverse environment, I was missing something I hardly listened to, a hip hop station that but it also did gospels on Sunday and R&B on Saturday.  So, now we have a different number on the FM dial and we are starting to get news of happenings in the city for Black folks.  And, the DJ announces D. L. Hughley on the air.  Wow, an interview the station is starting to spread its wings a little now instead of non-stop music.

Hughley is not new to the city. After all, this performance at the local comedy club is not his first venue here.  The DJ asks about his stay here and then it begins.  Hughley described relaxing at a local bar talking to a couple of local guys.  And, this is a perfect example why you should not  discuss  politics in mixed company.  Well, the one guy says he voted twice for Bush and he is not voting for another Texan and he ain’t going to vote for a “jig.”  Haven’t heard the word in a while.

Hughley asked him what is a “jig” but he tried to side-step the question. Hughley would not be denied his answer and the guy’s buddy said, “He didn’t mean anything by it.” Subsequently, he offered to buy Hughley a drink.  Hughley responded, “No, I’ll go to a jig’s place and get a free drink.” 

Hughley said it reminds you know that you are near the Allegheny Mountains.

Health Matters

 fruit

The Ten  Leading Causes of death in the U.S.(2001) Black Americans

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Unintentional injuries
  • Diabetes
  • Homicide
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Chronic lower respiratory disease
  • Nephritis, Nephrotic syndrome and Nephrosis
  • Septicemia

The last two “leading causes” I had to look up. Nephritis, Nephrotic syndrome and Nephrosis is the various disorders that damage the kidneys.  Something we should definitely strive to maintain healthy kidneys.  When you have diagnoses of diabetes and/or high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol you are high risk of an event.  I use and/or because most Black folks I know have more than one diagnosis. 

Septicemia is a serious, life-threatening infection that gets worse very quickly. It can arise from infections throughout the body, including infections in the lungs, abdomen, and urinary tract. It may come before or at the same time as infections of the bone (osteomyelitis), central nervous system (meningitis), heart (endocarditis), or other tissues. (MedlinePlus – NIH)

Black women are not fairing well at all in the national statistics produced by the CDC.(Center for Disease Control and Prevention) 

  • Percent of men 20 years and over who are obese: 37%
    (2005-2008)
  • Percent of women 20 years and over who are obese: 51%
    (2005-2008)
  • Percent of men 20 years and over with hypertension: 39%
    (2005-2008)
  • Percent of women 20 years and over with hypertension: 44%
    (2005-2008)

These kind of statistics show that Black women are fatter and worry a lot more than men.  We know why we have high blood pressure.  Some of us are carrying a lot on our shoulders because we are head of household.  And to hear the stats on marriage for Black women makes you cry for your daughters.  Our sons fair even worst because of the stats on incarceration not to mention some Black mothers struggling to keep their sons alive.  Unfortunately, Black men are labeled as not likely to use healthcare.  So why is that? Could be that they don’t have healthcare that’s why they don’t use it.

Recently, National Institute of Health is concerned about the health ofAmericaand especially the Black population. Our poor health stats has created the need for  research projects for public health.  It has become popular to reach out to Black churches and barbershops as venues for health fares to attract Black participants.  That’s how serious it is folks.  We are dying and our bad habits are killing us.  We Blacks inAmericahave to be diligent in taking care of ourselves and that means educating ourselves on a healthy diet and exercise for our children as well.  Michelle Obama has given us a new guide and its a plate to guide us in planning health meals.  The plate was created by the Agriculture Department with advice from the Michelle’s anti-obesity team and federal health officials. The “plate” replaces the “pyramid” model. Let’s support Michelle’s effort to become a much more healthierAmerica.

 

the plate

September 11th: Ten Years Later

Being an American

Americais home and I love home. Americais like a family, you can disagree and fight amongst each other but when trouble comes we all unite.

When I think of September 11th, I remember being at work receiving the news a plane flew into one of the twin towers of the world trade center.  Hence, I work at a television station and went to a department who had TV screens in their area.  About the time I got there I witnessed the 2nd plane hit the other tower of the twin towers.  Shock!  Fear! Confusion!  In my little mind, I heard a voice “what the hell is going on this is not an accident.”  I have heard of attacks on this building before and the fear that this could be a terrorist attack shattered my world.  Oh no, there is a report of a plane near-by not responding to traffic control request.

 A plane circled back from heading west and was assumed to be heading for our nation’s capital.  Our traffic control tower was evacuated. Then, the news report that a plane went down 80 miles from where we were.  This set the tone of fear for the rest of the day.  We stayed glued to the TV news.  Eyes and mind fixed on the latest news that a plane has also hit the Pentagon.  For God sakes, what is going on!  The Pentagon, home to our nation’s military and national defense has taken a hit. Are we defenseless to stop this insanity.

By the time I got home from work it was determined that it was a terrorist attack and all air traffic has ceased.  Folks were stranded where ever they found themselves.  I had two cousins who lived on the east coast but one was on vacation in Las Vegasand the other on business in New Mexico.  Both had difficulty in getting back to their families.  After calls of concern to family members near and far, I settled down for an evening of watching non-stop news coverage.  Finally, at 11:30pm I settled down and got ready for bed.  Unfortunately, my sleep was interrupted a half hour later with physical discomfort.  My entire body is hot.  So, I tried drinking ice cold water and using a cold wash cloth to wipe myself down and now I hear my heart racing.  My heart is racing so fast I realize I must try to slow it down by taking deep breathes.  It doesn’t work.  Now, I feel like I’m suffering from shortness of breath.  Time to call 911, I need the paramedics, could this be a heart attack.  I unlock the front door in case I need someone to be able to get in to find me.  One more thing before I call the paramedics, in case I live through this experience, my health insurance requires me to call my doctor first.  The on-call doctor happens to be my primary care physician.  I tell him what’s going on, I am about to die from a heart attack.  He calmly explains, “Dear, you are having an anxiety attack.  Take Tylenol and lay down.”  I have always trusted my doctor and I did what I was told but I left the front door unlocked just in case.  The next morning, I felt relief that I had lived and September 11th was over.  But my life was never the same.

Ten years later, a plane in the sky takes on a different meaning.  What kind of plane is it? How low is it?  And, at the airport I find myself profiling and treating those around me like I work for TSA (Transportation Security Administration).  Osama Bin Laden (al Qaeda) took credit for September 11th and he was killed this year in Pakistan by Special Forces.  And as an American, I still don’t feel safe.

Education: A Way Out

My family has always preached education.  In my youth, the big deal was get your high school diploma.  My mother and father had their high school diploma. I noticed amongst my relatives, my aunts and uncles, they pushed their kids to do well in school in hopes of a scholarship for college.  So, their goal was college and mine was get the high school diploma and find a job. I was an ugly acting teenager and my mother just wanted me out of her house.  Unfortunately, my mother didn’t push us towards college even-though my brother was gifted.  All kinds of programs wanted him to participate.  Programs like upward bound, Junior Achievement and honors society.  My mother ignored those programs and had no interest in education beyond high school for us.  I chalked this up to poverty that put us at-risk.  The term at-risk refers to children who are likely to fail in school or in life because of their life’s social circumstances. It does not appear that any one single factor places a child at-risk. Rather, when more than one factor is present, there is a compounding effect and the likelihood for failure increases significantly. Poverty is considered a major at-risk factor (Leroy & Symes, 2001).  My mother’s only concern was putting food on the table, affording winter clothing and, keeping a roof over our heads because we were poor.  How did my mother not get the same message her siblings did, education is a way out. 

 It breaks my heart that our youth do not realize how fortunate they are to receive a free education (public) and opportunities to further their education beyond high school. The latest statistics show our youth, Black males in particular, in deep trouble.  Our male youths have a high rate of death, incarceration and unemployment. As a Black mother, I suspect there is a conspiracy against Black males in general.  I find it absurd the amount of guns our youth can get their hands on.  I ask a 40 year old white man; at the age of 15 could he get his hands on a gun.  His answer was yes his father’s gun.  That’s not the answer for some young Black males because a lot of their homes are single parent homes where mom doesn’t have one.  One mother told me her 15 year old son came home with a gun and she took it off him and he left to return with another one. Young Black males are killing each other at an unbelievable rate.  A Judge told a Black mother of a 14 year old, “I know you got your hands full just trying to keep him alive.” 

 Then there are the Bill Cosby’s of the world who believe the lower wrung is not doing their part to uplift the race.  I’m sorry Cosby is talking to the choir.  The very folks that are his audience are not the folks who need to hear his message. And, is it too late for the message?  The poverty programs that followed the civil rights movement helped a lot of folks get on their feet.  Once they did get on their feet, some folks left the community and took the opportunity to make a difference with them.  Do you remember President Johnson’s Great Society and poverty programs? The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 signed by President Johnson gave us a great boost in areas of health, education, and general welfare of the impoverished. Although most of the initiatives in the Act have since been modified, weakened, or altogether rolled back, its remaining programs include Head Start and that recently took a hit economically and Job Corps.  Were we ready as a people to continue the strides made in the late 60’s and early 70’s?  After the centuries of  slavery and being told we are less than human, I think Cosby expects a lot from a race that are beaten down and their history being untold because it’s embarrassing and guilt- ridden to the powers that be. 

 Sankofa. (We should learn from the past and move forward into the future.)