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Category Archives: The Post-Racial Life

The Obsolete Fictitious Concept of Race

The below is a picture of one of my cousins as a child. He considers himself black, and married a black woman. He could very easily have been a 50’s poster child  for middle class white America in Life or Look Magazine.

Barry

What Scientists Mean When They Say ‘Race’ Is Not Genetic

A new paper explains why it can be dangerous to think otherwise.

If a team of scientists in Philadelphia and New York have their way, using race to categorize groups of people in biological and genetic research will be forever discontinued.

The concept of race in such research is “problematic at best and harmful at worst,” the researchers argued in a new paper published in the journal Science on Friday.

However, they also said that social scientists should continue to study race as a social construct to better understand the impact of racism on health.

So what does all this mean? HuffPost Science recently posed that question and others to the paper’s co-author, Michael Yudell, who is associate professor and chair of community health and prevention at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Why is it problematic to view race as a biological concept?

For more than a century, natural and social scientists have been arguing about whether race is a useful classificatory tool in the biological sciences — can it elucidate the relationship between humans and their evolutionary history, between humans and their health. In the wake of the U.S. Human Genome Project, the answer seemed to be a pretty resounding “no.”

In 2004, for example, Francis Collins, then head of the National Human Genome Research Institute and now director of the National Institutes of Health, called race a “flawed” and “weak” concept and argued that science needed to move beyond race. Yet, as our paper highlights, the use of race persist in genetics, despite voices like Collins, like Craig Venter — leaders in the field of genomics — who have called on the field to move beyond it.

We believe it is time to revisit this century-long debate and bring biologists, social scientists and scholars from the humanities together in a constructive way to find better ways to study the ever-important subject of human diversity.

The race concept should be removed from genetics research for the following reasons: Genetic methods do not support the classification of humans into discrete races, [and] racial assumptions are not good biological guideposts. Races are not genetically homogenous and lack clear-cut genetic boundaries. And because of this, using race as a proxy to make clinical predictions is about probability.

Of course, medicine can be about best guesses, but are we serving patients well if medical decisions are made because a patient identifies as part of a certain racial group or are identified as belonging to a specific race? What if, for example, the probability is that if you are white you are 90 percent likely to have a beneficial or at least non-harmful reaction to a particular drug? That sounds pretty good, but what if you are that 1 in 10 that is likely to have a harmful reaction? That doesn’t sound so good, and that is the problem with most race-based predictions. They are best guesses for an individual.

We also believe that a variable so mired in historical and contemporary controversy has no place in modern genetics. Race has both scientific and social meanings that are impossible to tease apart, and we worry that using such a concept in modern genetics does not serve the field well….Read the Rest Here

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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The US Senate’s Diversity Problem…

No real surprise here in America’s Last Plantation. Not much has changed since the 70’s when “The Hill” was one of my assigned accounts and I had reason to frequent the Capital and Office buildings.

The invisible folks of color who actually make the physical machinery of the Capital run

The Senate Has Plenty Of Racial Diversity, But Not The Kind You Brag About

High-level Senate staffers are overwhelmingly white. Low-level service workers are overwhelmingly black and Latino.

To a casual observer, the halls of Congress look pretty white. But according to Anthony Thomas, people of color abound there, so long as you know where to find them.

“It’s all black and Hispanic people downstairs,” said Thomas, a 23-year-old African-American from the suburb of New Carrollton, Maryland.

Thomas works as a dishwasher in the Senate cafeteria in the basement of the Dirksen building. His duties include catering special parties held in the Capitol and the Senate office buildings, where lawmakers and staff rub elbows with lobbyists and other power brokers. Though there are exceptions, it’s mostly white people drinking and dining, and people of color like Thomas cleaning up after them, he said.

A report released in December by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies found that the most influential Senate staffers are disproportionately white. Among senior-level Senate staff — chiefs of staff, legislative directors and other folks who ultimately shape the laws we all live by — a mere 7.1 percent are people of color, researchers found. Yet people of color comprise 36 percent of the U.S. public at large. (There may well be more diversity among mid- and low-level Senate staff, but no such numbers are available.)

So where is all the Senate’s diversity? Apparently, much of it is concentrated at the opposite end of the power structure.

For the past year and a half, a group called Good Jobs Nation, funded by the Change to Win federation of labor unions, has been organizing janitorial and food workers in the Senate offices and the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. The group compiled a database of 160 rank-and-file employees it assumes would be eligible to vote if workers filed for a union election. (SEIU, a member of Change to Win, lost a union election among Senate dining employees three years ago, though the union could file for another election.)

When the group examined demographics, it found the makeup of the service workforce to be the exact opposite of the senior-level Senate staff.

The low-wage workers were almost exclusively people of color — a whopping 97 percent, according to a demographic breakdown Good Jobs Nation provided to The Huffington Post (the breakdown did not identify individual workers). That number shouldn’t be all the surprising, given the demographics of D.C. — a majority of residents are people of color — and the way low-wage food and janitorial jobsalready skew heavily toward minorities in the U.S. at large, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A caveat: This was not a scientific study. The database was compiled through on-the-ground outreach done by the group’s organizers, not through government records or an official survey. And since the group is only organizing rank-and-file employees, the numbers don’t account for middle management, where the workforce appears more mixed. Yet the figures should ring true for anyone who’s taken a close look at the workers cleaning the dishes and mopping the floors in the Senate.

“I think what’s happening at the Capitol reflects a larger trend in our economy — the gap between the knowledge economy workers and the service-sector workers,” said Joseph Geevarghese, director of Good Jobs Nation. “You’ve got a class of workers who are higher paid, and then you have an underclass of service workers who are low-paid and struggling to make ends meet.”…More

A fairly representative sample of the higher level staff, this one from Iowa

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Teen Shake Up How New Jersey Counsels Teen Abuse Victims

Wow…Making it better for Teen abuse victims…

These Teens Just Made It A Lot Easier For New Jersey Kids To Get Counseling

When one young man was let down by the system, he decided things had to change.

It all started three years ago, when Jordan Thomas, then 16, decided he needed to talk to a counselor.

At the time, Thomas was experiencing emotional and physical abuse at home, and he wanted to talk to a professional. Because Thomas was a minor, New Jersey law said he needed the consent of a guardian to do so. But when Thomas asked his mother for permission, she said no.

“I have no idea why she would say no,” said Thomas, now a freshman at Rutgers University. “All I know is that she did say that.”

Thomas, now 19, was never able to get his mother’s permission, but his experience ignited in him a desire to fix the system. Working with his peers at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County, Thomas helped fix the law that had stopped him from accessing mental health services.

Thomas and the BGCHC were the driving forces behind the Boys & Girls Clubs Keystone Law, which passed this month in New Jersey. Thanks to their efforts, New Jersey minors no longer need permission from a guardian to receive therapy.

Not every teen experiencing abuse is as lucky as Thomas, who had a support system of peers and adults in the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hudson County, of which he was president in 2014. He ended up entering the foster care system just a few months after his request for counseling was rejected.

At the same time that Thomas was struggling to find help, the Keystone Club — the service branch of the BGCHC — was looking for ways to address the problem of teen suicide. In 2014, the National Keystone Project called on participants to address the issue. Jordan shared his story with Keystone members, leading others to speak up about their own experiences.

“A parent might not want to give consent to a kid seeking mental health services… because sometimes they might not want outside people to know what’s going on in their house,” said Damiya Critten, 19, a member of BGCHC’s Keystone Club. “They might say, ‘What happens in the house stays in the house.'”

The teens met with the family of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University student who took his own life in 2010 after being cyberbullied. They also met with state Assemblymen Carmelo Garcia and Raj Mukherji, who agreed to sponsor a bill on the topic. In October 2014, four members of the BGCHC testified before the New Jersey Legislature.

“[Thomas] ended his testimony saying that he easily could have become another teen suicide statistic had it not been for the Boys and Girls [Clubs] and the support he got here,” said Janet Wallach, director of program development and teen services at BGCHC. “But not every child in New Jersey has that support, and he wants to make sure there are not other young people in that situation.”

The teens said the two-year process of getting the bill passed was a lesson in civics for all of them….More

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2016 in Giant Negros, The Post-Racial Life

 

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Cam Newton’s Historic Blindness

Cam Newton is a great quarterback, and he has led the Carolina Panthers to the Superbowl. He may wind up to be one of the best ever to play the position. Only time will tell.

Along the way, there has been some media flack about his touchdown dance and other sports related bar talk. To which he has responded …

“I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare me to,” Newton told The Charlotte Observer yesterday (January 27). 

Uhhhh Cam…Doug Williams ring a bell? The primary storyline surrounding Super Bowl XXII was that Washington’s Doug Williams was the first African-American quarterback ever to start in a NFL league championship game, let alone a Super Bowl. He became the first player in Super Bowl history to pass for four touchdowns in a single quarter, and four in a half. Williams was the first black starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl in 1988, and the only one until Russell Wilson won Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014. Just to jog your memory, Cam…

And Russell Wilson isn’t anyone’s slouch.

And he (Williams) did that on one good leg, after being injured in the first quarter. .

They ain’t scared because you are black, Cam. And you ain’t Doug Williams…Yet. A guy who played for years on some crappy Tamp Bay Teams with mediocre receivers until he was traded to he Redskins, and lit things up with what was then one of the best receiver corps in the league. And Doug went through weekly crap about black players “not being smart enough” to play the position, and left Washington after winning the Superbowl.

The Carolina Panthers quarterback dropped hard truths during a recent interview. 

Even as he lead the Carolina Panthers on a steady march toward this year’s Super Bowl, star quarterback Cam Newton caught flack for his unapologetic self-assurance and penchant for celebratory “dabbing.” In a new interview, Newton spoke frankly about why he has gotten more scrutiny and criticism than most other NFL players.

“I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare me to,” Newton told The Charlotte Observer yesterday (January 27). He then added, “People are going to judge and have their own opinion on certain things that I don’t have control over, nor does anybody else.”

Newton has faced this kind of criticism from journalists, commentators and football fans alike ever since he was drafted to the Panthers in 2011—all of it focused on behavior that doesn’t draw nearly as much scrutiny for White  players. One Seattle Seahawks fan even petitioned to ban Newton from CenturyLink Field, calling him “one of the most unprofessional, unsportsmanlike individual [sic] on the face of the planet.” We need not spell out the subtext behind much of this criticism.

Besides his legions of fans, Newton has an ally in Doug Williams, who in 1988 was first Black quarterback to play in the Super Bowl. Williams won the MVP award (for which Newton is considered a front-runner) during that game after leading theWashington NFL Team to a 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos—the same team that Newton and the Panthers will face in the 50th Super Bowl on February 7. Speaking to USA Today, Williams discussed the culture of denial surrounding criticsm of Newton:

“I’m not going to be the one who says what my thinking is, because sometimes it don’t matter what I think,” Williams said. “It ain’t going to matter what he thinks. Because at the end of the day you’ve got a lot of people denying [racism is behind the criticism of Newton], that that’s not true. Even if it’s true, they’re going to deny it.”

When Newton squares off against the Broncos’ veteran QB Peyton Manning in San Francisco, he will be only the sixth Black quarterback to start in the Super Bowl.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Outdoor Afro

Analysis of visitor data has shown that black folks are among the lest likely to enjoy our National Parks system, and to engage in outdoor activities. Getting out and doing activities is one of the most important things in terms of long term health. Doesn’t men you have to zipline Grand Canyon or scale El Capitan – but moderate hiking has great cardio benefits. Not to mention the psychic benefits of just seeing something wonderful.

One of my hobbies for years has been Landscape Photography. Backpacking gear into the wilderness to photograph the scenery, wildlife, and beauty in the mountains, desert, or coastlines. Walking through the 2000 year old Old Grove trees in the Pacific Northwest can be a religious experience, as can the silence of the Desert. Many of these places are located within a few hours drive of a city – some are so remote only a few people even get to them a year.

 

This Woman Wants To Encourage More Black People To Embrace The Outdoors

“There’s something so dynamic about a forest environment,” she said

One woman wants to inspire more black people to participate in outdoor activities, so she created a network where “black people and nature meet.”

Rue Mapp is the founder of Outdoor Afro, an organization that encourages black people to embrace the outdoors and all the activities it has to offer.

“I found that in the nature experiences I had, I was far too often the only one who looked like me,” Mapp said in a video by Facebook Stories. “So I decided to do something about it.”

The nationwide network was created in 2009 and started out as a Facebook group Mapp made to help connect black nature-lovers everywhere. The social media platform and its offerings has become a useful tool for many organizations. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced Wednesday that now one billion people are using Facebook Groups every month.

“Outdoor Afro is a perfect example of how people can use Facebook groups to build relationships around the things they care about,” Alex Deve, a product manager on Facebook Groups, said in a statement to HuffPost.

Since its launch, Outdoor Afro has grown significantly and now has over a dozen chapters across the country with more than 13,000 members. According to a 2015 report released by the Outdoor Foundation, 70 percent of people who participated in outdoor activities last year were white. Only 10 percent were black.

“National park visitorship, especially in more remote areas, can be as low as 1 percent African Americans,” Mapp said. “I just felt that there were these opportunities and lessons I was learning that more people could benefit from.”

Outdoor Afro has been able to reconnect black people with nature. It encourages black people to invest more in the planet by inviting them on outings such as nature trails and teaches them important lessons on conservation. Mapp said the work she is committed to has evolved beyond her wildest dreams.

“At the end of the day, this is about love and connecting [with] one another,” she said. “Connection is strength and the chance to be better, bigger, stronger and sustainable.”

The Bioblitz Dance – Outdoor Afro and the California Conservation Corps Dance. That is Rue Mapp on the lead in.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Overdose Reversal Drug Free to Every High School

This was a brilliant move by the Clinton Foundation and Adapt Pharma. The beneficiaries of this are going to be in vast majority white families living in suburban or rural communities, and the entire strategy to save the victim is a marked departure from the 90’s “incarcerate the user”. The issue of Opioid abuse has gotten so bad, it has become an issue in the New Hampshire Primary –

The other drug manufacturers apparently decided to rip-off the public by doubling a tripling prices, instead of doing the intelligent and good for business thing by getting out in front of this…This puts them on blast for their corrupt business practices. Ad suggests that “Pharma Bro'” isn’t the only enemy of the American Health System.

And it will be interesting to see how many Red Zone Politicians are willing to kill children by banning this.

Overdose Reversal Drug Now Available To Every U.S. High School Free Of Charge

Advocates say this is another important step toward preventing fatal opioid overdoses.

Any high school in the U.S. that wants to carry an emergency opioid overdose reversal kit will now be able to get one free of charge, thanks to a new initiative announced Monday by the Clinton Foundation and the drug’s manufacturer.

Adapt Pharma, manufacturers of a nasal-spray form of naloxone, also known as Narcan, has partnered with the Clinton Health Matters Initiative to further expand access to the life-saving drug, the two groups said at the final day of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative Activation Summit. Naloxone is nonaddictive, nontoxic and easy to administer, especially through nasal application. It reverses the effects of an opioid overdose by essentially blocking the opioid receptors that heroin and many prescription painkillers target.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a nasal-spray version of naloxone in November, though it had previously been gaining popularity among first responders and advocacy groups as a first line of defense to prevent surging opioid overdose deaths across the nation.

“We are pleased to encourage public-private collaborations expanding access to naloxone,” Rain Henderson, CEO of Clinton Health Matters Initiative, said in a press release. “We are hopeful this effort will facilitate a dialogue amongst students, educators, health professionals, and families about the risks of opioid overdose and ensure naloxone is available in schools that decide to take steps to address opioid overdose emergencies.”

In addition to helping schools obtain naloxone, Adapt Pharma also announced that it had given a grant to the National Association of School Nurses to support opioid overdose education.

“We understand the crucial role schools can play to change the course of the opioid overdose epidemic by working with students and families. We also want every high school in the country to be prepared for an opioid emergency by having access to a carton of Narcan Nasal Spray at no cost,” Adapt Pharma CEO Seamus Mulligan said in a press release. “We look forward to working with our partners to implement these initiatives which build on the significant progress being made by legislators and community groups.”

A carton of Adapt’s Narcan Nasal Spray typically contains two devices, each capable of delivering one dose, at the cost of $75 total. In November, Adapt announced that it was coordinating with the Clinton Foundation to make naloxone less expensive, following significant cost increases by other manufacturers over the previous year. …Read More Here

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2016 in American Greed, The Post-Racial Life

 

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Gabrielle Union on “That Crazy Lady”…Stacy Dipwit

Stacy who?

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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