Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 35,783
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 35,783
A new study reveals that racism may impact aging at the cellular level. Researchers found signs of accelerated aging in African American men, ages reporting high levels of racial discrimination and who had internalized anti-Black attitudes. Findings from the study, which is the first to link racism-related factors and biological aging, are published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Racial disparities in health are well-documented, with African Americans having shorter life expectancy, and a greater likelihood of suffering from aging-related illnesses at younger ages compared to Whites. Accelerated aging at the biological level may be one mechanism linking racism and disease risk.
“We examined a biomarker of systemic aging, known as leukocyte telomere length,” explained Dr. David H. Chae, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Maryland School of Public Health and the study’s lead investigator. Shorter telomere length is associated with increased risk of premature death and chronic disease such as diabetes, dementia, stroke and heart disease. “We found that the African American men who experienced greater racial discrimination and who displayed a stronger bias against their own racial group had the shortest telomeres of those studied.”
Telomeres are repetitive sequences of DNA capping the ends of chromosomes, which shorten progressively over time – at a rate of approximately 50-100 base pairs annually. Telomere length is variable, shortening more rapidly under conditions of high psychosocial and physiological stress. “Telomere length may be a better indicator of biological age, which can give us insight into variations in the cumulative ‘wear and tear’ of the organism net of chronological age,” said Chae. Among African American men with stronger anti-Black attitudes, investigators found that average telomere length was 140 base pairs shorter in those reporting high vs. low levels of racial discrimination; this difference may equate to 1.4 to 2.8 years chronologically.
Participants in the study were 92 African American men between 30-50 years of age. Investigators asked them about their experiences of discrimination in different domains, including work and housing, as well as in getting service at stores or restaurants, from the police, and in other public settings. They also measured racial bias using the Black-White Implicit Association Test. This test gauges unconscious attitudes and beliefs about race groups that people may be unaware of or unwilling to report.
Read more at http://scienceblog.com/69332/racism-may-accelerate-aging-in-african-american-men/#YZQk6B8JVBDqtkx3.99
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Jan 7, 2014, 11:07 AM (0 replies)
On this day in 1773, a slave, only known by the name of Felix, petitioned the General Court of Massachusetts for the freedom of slaves being bound in the "Town of Boston" and other provinces in Massachusetts.
Felix did not outline any specific conditions for the court to consider when manumitting the entire slave population of Massachusetts, saying in his petition that to do so "would be impudent, if not presumptuous" of the petitioner and those he was petitioning on behalf of. His reasoned that to try to dictate to court how it should bring slavery in Massachusetts to an end would abridge the "Wisdom, Justice, and Goodness" of the Massachusetts legislature.
History bears out the fact that Felix's petition was unsuccessful, since slavery was not abolished in Massachusetts until ten years later when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court judged slavery to be illegal based on language in the state's constitution of 1780.
Also on this day in African-American history...
1820 - The American Colonization Society launches its first ship that took 86 freed blacks back to Africa, helping them settle in what is now modern-day Liberia.
1867 - In order to provide money for construction, endowments, scholarships, teachers and industrial education to newly-freed blacks, the Peabody Fund was established.
1966 - The first Black Roman Catholic Bishop in the U.S., Harold Robert Perry, was consecrated in Africa.
2004 - Amadou Diallo's family won a $3 million, wrongful death settlement from the city of New York. Diallo was unarmed when police fatally wounded him after mistaking his wallet for a gun.
These are but five black facts out of many. Purchase the eBook, "This day in African-American History, January" to have access to over 530 facts covering the entire month of January.”
Free copies of "This Day in African-American History, January" are being given away to the first 200 people who enter to win it on the Independent Author Index. Enter to win here.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Jan 7, 2014, 11:06 AM (0 replies)
What costs white folks a slap on the wrist, or a mildly disapproving look, costs black people our dignity
On Sunday, Mitt Romney graciously accepted Melissa Harris-Perry’s apology for making his African-American grandson, Kieran, the butt of jokes during a segment on the last episode of her show in December. To the extent that MHP violated a long-standing rule of political journalism, namely that children are off-limits, I understand why she felt compelled to make an apology. And she offered a genuine and sincere model of how it should be done, a lesson that far more people on the right need to learn.
Still, in my view, MHP took the high road in a situation where she became an unfair target, left at the mercy of the right’s utter dishonesty on questions of race. The GOP is notoriously averse at the policy level to the social and political condition of African-Americans, and this has been demonstrated in everything from attempts to disenfranchise black voters to the wholesale turn to obstructionism as a primary governing strategy. No, Mitt Romney’s black grandson is not responsible for his grandfather’s dubious political views. But he will most certainly be raised in a family where at least one of his uncles once quipped about punching the president in the face. In other words, he will grow to be a black man not only in a politically conservative family with “interesting” views on race, but also in a family that believes in a religion that openly discriminated against Blacks until the 1970s.
Since race still matters, these observations matter, too. And though it is not polite to express this kind of ambivalence about transracial adoption, you can best believe that a whole lot of black folks saw the picture and shook their heads. For good or ill, we care about the lives and livelihoods of little black boys. And we wonder what kind of man Kieran will grow up to be. We know that the lie we are being asked to believe is that the Romneys, despite their politics and religious affiliations, have transcended race so much that Kieran’s blackness is just an accident of birth.
Melissa and, by proxy, all of us who looked twice at the photo are being called into question because we refuse to follow the script of colorblindness and racial transcendence. We insist on asking what it means to be a black kid in a white family.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Jan 7, 2014, 11:05 AM (6 replies)
The Omaha Police Officers Association drew criticism this week after it posted a video of a black child in a diaper and titled it “The Thug Cycle.”
A post on the association’s blog explained that the “video is bad” and “will make you angry.”
The video shows an African-American toddler in a diaper and several adults can be heard uttering profanities from off camera.
The association asserted that it had “an obligation to share it to continue to educate the law abiding public about the terrible cycle of violence and thuggery that some young innocent children find themselves helplessly trapped in.”
“Now while we didn’t see anything in this video that is blatantly ‘illegal’, we sure did see a lot that is flat out immoral and completely unhealthy for this little child from a healthy upbringing standpoint,” the association wrote, noting that someone in the room asked the child, “What hood you from?”
“Folks… soak this in,” the post said.
While KMTV picked up the police association’s post as a “warning for everyone,” Black Men United in Omaha Executive Director Willie Hamilton told the Omaha World-Herald that it was unprofessional to call out a child and draw conclusions based on a short Facebook video.
“The police actually have a website that is perpetuating mistrust and anger, and I think that is what it is meant to do,” Hamilton pointed out. “I thought posting the video was crossing the line. To use that incident to say that our kids are going to grow up and be thugs is far-reaching and insensitive. We are talking about a child that hasn’t even gone to school yet.”
“If the police chief is trying to amend the broken relationship with our community, he needs to say, ‘On my watch, I will not allow this kind of behavior,’” he added. “Maybe we should look at how much control the police union has. They shouldn’t be able to use the website as a shield to post these nasty things.”
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Jan 7, 2014, 11:02 AM (4 replies)
An Italian distributor for “12 Years a Slave” recently caused an uproar when a promotional poster for the critically acclaimed film prominently displayed actors Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender, the latter of whom plays an abusive slave master. Meanwhile, the film’s African American star, Chiwetel Ejiofor, was dwarfed in both renditions. Although the distributor apologized and pulled the unauthorized materials, this sort of whitewashing isn't uncommon. (See also: The racist international poster for the 2009 Vince Vaughn comedy “Couples Retreat.”)
In a Hollywood driven by the bottom line, major studios often seek to produce movies with the largest potential for global profitability. That means making flicks that appeal to the broadest possible demographic around the world. That not only limits the type of movies made and the stories told, it also excludes talented actors who aren’t deemed profitable.
“As foreign box-office sales have become more important, the people who manage international distribution have become more influential, weighing in on ‘green-light’ decisions about which films are made,” the Economist explained in a 2011 article about the internationalization of film. “The studios are careful to seed films with actors, locations and, occasionally, languages that are well known in target countries.”
Since African American actors aren’t as popular abroad, they are often brushed to the side in foreign marketing. The “international marketplace is still fairly racist,” James Ulmer of Ulmer Scale, which ranks actors' star power, told the New York Times in 2007. Reginald Hudlin, a producer and then entertainment president of BET Networks, agreed: "I always call international the new South. In the old days, they told you black films don’t travel down South. Now they say it’s not going to travel overseas.”
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Jan 7, 2014, 11:00 AM (14 replies)
Algiers resident Ernest Marcelle Jr. was recently honored for his trailblazing work as an African-American in law enforcement: He was the first African-American state trooper in Louisiana and has worked for civil rights for 60 years.
The ceremony, hosted by the Rev. Aubrey Wallace at Heavenly Star Missionary Baptist Church in Marrero, also recognized Marcelle as the founder of the Black Organization of Police, a founding member of the National Black Police Association, and the recipient of many other awards for his work throughout the United States.
He grew up in Prairieville and graduated from Prairieville High School.
Marcelle said, "In 1953 and '54, I spent my summers living in Baton Rouge with my older brother. It was during one of these visits that I became active in civil rights, when I participated with the community leaders who organized the first bus boycott."
He said, “A lot of people think that the civil rights movement began with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but it actually began in 1953 under the leadership of the Rev. T.J. Jemison, who organized a bus boycott to protest a law which reserved the first 10 rows of seats for white riders.”
His law enforcement career began upon completion of high school in May 1957, when he entered the Louisiana State Trooper Academy in Baton Rouge and graduated in November 1957.
His first assignment in 1958 was as detective for the New Orleans division. He served as an investigator, undercover officer and, on occasions, security/chauffeur for Gov. John McKeithen. He was assigned to undercover investigative details throughout the state.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Jan 7, 2014, 10:59 AM (0 replies)
African American women, who make up 13 percent of the female population in the United States, are making significant strides in education, participation, health, and other areas, but there is a long way to go to fully close the racial and ethnic disparities they face. New policies such as the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, and other proposed policies such as paid sick leave can greatly improve the lives of African American women and their families. For example, under the ACA, around 5.1 million African American women with private health insurance are currently receiving expanded preventive service coverage and an estimated 3 million African American women will gain access to affordable or subsidized health insurance.
This fact sheet provides a snapshot of statistics about health, education, entrepreneurship, economic security, and political leadership that should guide our choices to enact sensible policies to unleash the potential of this growing demographic and benefit our economy.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Jan 7, 2014, 10:58 AM (0 replies)
The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale is looking for potential treasures in our area.
A “Save Our African American Treasures” event next weekend will help residents identify and preserve any books, photos, or artwork of historical significance.
The library, at 2650 Sistrunk Blvd., is working in conjunction with The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
You can bring up to three items for a 15-minute consultation with experts. The items will not be appraised.
Free. Hours: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Jan. 11, noon-5:30 p.m. Jan. 12.
Info: nmaahc.si.edu, 877-733-9599
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Jan 7, 2014, 10:57 AM (0 replies)
In times of economic and political crisis popular culture tends to turn to the fantastical, providing an escape from the harsh realities of life. However, what is usually represented as Utopian in mainstream science fiction is often culturally European with a story that frequently revolves around a white male character. Even when depicting "multiracial" future societies, culturally the tropes of that imagined culture are regularly not representative of the races seen. If we accept that all humanity will be present in the future, why is it that non-European cultures seem to disappear once we get through the Earth’s atmosphere?
In 1993, Mark Dery created the term Afrofuturism to describe science fiction by African-American writers such as Samuael R Delaney and Octavia Butler, whose work "treats African-American themes and addresses African-American concerns in the context of 20th century technoculture and, more generally, African-American signification that appropriate images of technology and a prosthetically enhanced future". The term is now used to describe works that explore black experience in the science-fiction genre. However the ideas and aesthetics that form Afrofuturism go back further than the work of these authors, with Afrofuturist elements being found in music, art and film. Afrofuturism also goes beyond spaceships, androids and aliens, and encompasses African mythology and cosmology with an aim to connect those from across the Black Diaspora to their forgotten African ancestry.
If there was ever a figure who was the embodiment of Afrofuturism it would be Jazz musician, Sun Ra, although to place him within the borders of a musical genre does not do him justice as an artist. With no legal birth certificate, it is believed he was born in the Jim Crow state of Alabama. Sun Ra created a mythical, ethereal persona that merged science fiction with Egyptian mysticism, producing an otherworldliness that matched the music he made from the 50s to his death in 1993. Adding to his legend, he also claimed to not be of this Earth, explaining:
I never wanted to be a part of planet Earth, but I am compelled to be here, so anything I do for this planet is because the Master-Creator of the Universe is making me do it. I am of another dimension. I am on this planet because people need me.
When one considers the social position of African-Americans during this period and their violent exclusion from society, leading to an overwhelming sense of otherness, believing oneself to be from Saturn doesn’t seem that far-fetched. In fact, it expertly communicates the confusion and alienation of the black male experience in 20th century America.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Jan 7, 2014, 10:56 AM (0 replies)
It is fair to say that Charlie Yetter works in construction. It would be more precise to say he’s a senior project manager at McKissack & McKissack. But ask Yetter what he does for a living, and his answer might surprise you.
“When people ask me what I do, I tell them that I’m working on probably the most significant project, and the most recognizable project, in Washington, D.C. And it is,” Yetter said. “Not only does it have historic value, but it has all kinds of design construction challenges that have just been tremendous to be involved in.”
Yetter is working on the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, a $500 million project whose scale can hardly be discerned by passers-by watching the construction cranes operate from behind fences on the National Mall.
The project made national news a few weeks ago, when construction crews arranged to shut down part of Constitution Avenue to cart in two permanent exhibits that will be part of the museum. The exhibits, a 77-ton segregation-era railway car and a guard tower from The Angola prison in Louisiana, were so big that they had to be installed before the museum’s walls or roof goes up.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Jan 7, 2014, 10:53 AM (0 replies)