I like the statement “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re NOT out to get you!” It has become my “motto”.
My family is both black and white, so I feel like I’ve got a stake in this. My grandchildren will be referred to as black. Cabs might pass them by, and security guards might follow them in stores.
The corporations have used the psychology of keeping us leaping at each other’s throats for so long (hundreds of years, with the clergy and the ‘company store’ cashing in on it), that I think we hardly know whose thoughts they are which keep floating to the surface of our minds. The media constantly reinforces this sense of separation.
In my life, I have lost several beautiful friends to AIDS, they were white homosexual men, and I still miss their dear friendship.
The AIDS virus IS decimating Africa, the “black continent”, as well as generations and communities everywhere.
But meanwhile, it is the “black-on-black” violence (which includes most of the military conflict south of the equator), which is the leading cause of death for younger men. Millions have died in Africa in the last five years, and there have been hundreds of pointless deaths in our own inner cities.
Then there is the peril of “racial profiling” from sheriffs and cops nationwide, with the laws themselves stacked like “crack” versus “coke”, with a black man’s penalties receiving the greater degree of punishment, and in capital cases, the greater likelihood of being executed.
I feel the need to speak up in behalf of young black males about the brutality of the system toward them. The occasional athlete, singer or comedian does not reflect the fate of most American blacks, especially if born poor. As young black men, they are prey for dope dealers, quick money schemes, murder, whatever…they aren’t seen as a meaningful factor in society or politics besides the “cost” of subduing them. I always notice the presence of extra cops in black frequented areas and I feel disgusted.
A bunch of young black inmates have recently “committed suicide” in Pennsylvania penitentiaries, the state that “houses” Mumia Abu Jamal. Earlier this year, some dumb cop in Oakland drove up on some black kids, grabbed one kid by the dreadlocks, tried to beat him, and shot him in the back when he ran away. And Sean Bell of Jamaica Queens, New York just wanted to have his “Stag Party” before his next-day’s wedding, when undercover cops murdered him and injured his friends.
In my opinion, violence feeds fear and creates more violence. I think we need to remove our trust and the investment of our precious consciousness from the error that the use of force or the threat of force equals safety. I even feel that some well-intended “ideas” of more cops (and more weapons) on the scene will somehow make us safe.
If you call the cops when a relative is freaking out they might come around and tazer him, put a choke hold on him, or actually shoot him (especially if he’s black, in which case even a comb, wallet or cell phone can be mistaken for a weapon).
This article is very helpful, not just because we all want to live longer. The issue of an older man’s health being the result of what his younger years contributed to it, is a very valuable insight.
Poor whites suffer from premature death and serious impairment for many of the same reasons as blacks. The low cost of poor quality processed food sold in these communities, and the availability of booze and cigarettes, plus other cheap escapes from the drudgery of low-wage work or spells of unemployment, are all factors. The commercial grid which delivers every destructive “vice” as a guilty pleasure, contributes to the death-trip which wears down the body as it makes the spirit bitter.
As jobs dry up with our ruined economy, the media tells us to blame immigrants, not the bosses who spent up all our money. I can only imagine things will get worse when our poor, battered veterans return from war.
My thought is that we all are victims of what is pushing the statistic down for black males: the system is generally toxic, but for that particular group, it has become deadly. By valuing one another we can begin to heal this situation; I certainly would have appreciated having such great souls as Dr. Martin Luther King and Mumia Abu Jamal in our midst a little longer.
So I think it will take a growing awareness of how to stay well, and the guidance of some genuine public health experts, to assist our healthy survival. We need the powers that be to prioritize every one of us before the demands of the drug industry, the weapons makers, the insurance parasites, or the corporate food industry.
The victims of the system as it is, are proof it is dangerously imbalanced, and not friendly to healthy aging. Our task is to create the healthy environment we all deserve, to include black men in the right to enjoy it, and not to demonize them for embodying its present failings.