Category: African American Men

Study Shows Most White Americans Don’t Have Close African American Friends

Despite all the talk about our supposedly post-racial society, friend groups among Americans remain starkly segregated.

A recent study conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute showed that 91 percent of the average white American’s closest friends and family members are white, and just 1 percent are black. While black Americans tend to have a more diverse social network, they don’t fare much better. The average African American has 83 percent black confidants, 8 percent white confidants, 2 percent Latino confidants, zero Asian confidants, and 3 percent mixed-race confidants. One of the most glaring statistics from the study showed that when asked to name their closest friends and family members, 75 percent of white Americans didn’t name even one person who was not white.

In a recent HuffPost Live conversation, Jezebel staff writer Hillary Crosley said she’s “not surprised” by the findings.

“What I think is clear is as Americans, or as people in general, you look to people who are similar to you, have similar interests, live in the same area [and] maybe work at the same place,” she said.

Crosley, who wrote a piece about the report urging white people to diversify their social networks, explained the benefits of befriending those who come from another racial background.

“The whole point is, if you have friends of different ethnicities, you won’t be so surprised when things like a Mike Brown happen,” she said. “It’s about communication through different cultures so that you actually know what’s happening, not necessarily just something that you saw from the Internet. ”

Crosley also discussed how race affects her own life perspective and why it is so important when cultivating one’s friend group.

“For me, there’s never a separation between my existence and race. As a black woman, it’s always there,” she said. “It’s the lens through which I see things and the lens through which people see me.”

Author Rob Smith added his own interpretation of the statistics, emphasizing the way that they reflect white privilege in America.

“It’s literally sometimes about sheer numbers. Here’s the thing: Black people are going to have more non-black friends because most of us have to exist in a world that is very, very white,” he said. “But when you’re a white person you can literally surround yourself with all other white people because that’s what’s comfortable. That’s a privilege that white people have, and it’s something that black people don’t have.”

*Article originally posted on Huffington Post.

Advertisements

Prostate Cancer Is The 4th Leading Cause of Death For African American Men

Men of African-American descent are at a significantly higher risk of developing prostate cancer than white men. Among black men, 19 percent — nearly one in five — will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and five percent of those will die from this disease. In fact, prostate cancer is the fourth most common reason overall for death in African-American men.

prostate cancer AA

Prostate Cancer in African-American Men: How Much Greater Is the Risk?
Researchers aren’t exactly sure of the reasons why black men are at an increased risk of developing and dying from prostate cancer. “Unfortunately, right now we really don’t know why African-American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer. We know that they are more likely to die from prostate cancer in part because of delayed diagnosis and in part because of limits in access to treatment,” says Durado Brooks, MD, director of prostate and colorectal cancer at the American Cancer Society. Research is under way in an attempt to better understand the causes, but one recent study from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California suggests that there may be a genetic link.

And while African-American men are already at an increased risk for prostate cancer, their risk increases dramatically if there is a family history of prostate cancer. African-American men with an immediate family member who had prostate cancer have a one in three chance of developing the disease. Their risk rises to 83 percent with two immediate family members having the disease, and skyrockets to 97 percent if they have three immediate family members who developed prostate cancer.

Early Prostate Cancer Screening: Why It’s So Important
Early prostate cancer screening is important because by the time that symptoms appear, the cancer is likely in an advanced stage. The earlier the prostate cancer is caught — before symptoms appear — the better the chances for recovery.

Prostate cancer is highly treatable when caught early. “Almost 100 percent of men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer in its earliest stage will be alive five years later. Men need to understand that there is something that can be done about this disease,” notes Dr. Brooks.

Prostate Cancer Screening for African-American Men
Regular screening is important for all men at the age when prostate cancer becomes more likely. But for black men, routine prostate cancer screening should start at an even younger age. The American Cancer Society recommends that African-American men discuss testing with their doctor at age 45, or at age 40 if they have several close relatives who have had prostate cancer before age 65.

Screening tests can include a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and/or a digital rectal exam (DRE). Both tests can be usually be done by your family doctor. A digital rectal exam is a quick and only mildly uncomfortable exam of your prostate. Your doctor will use a lubricated, gloved finger to gently feel the surface of your prostate gland for lumps or other abnormalities.

In addition to recognizing the need for early screening, says Brooks, African-American men should be aware of the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer. These symptoms can include urinating in the middle of the night, needing to urinate more frequently, and feeling like the bladder doesn’t completely empty. Blood in the urine may also be a sign of prostate cancer.

Brooks notes that it is important for black men to talk to their doctor about diagnostic testing for prostate cancer if they are experiencing any of these symptoms. African-American men also “need to have a discussion with their doctor about the benefits and limitations of screening for early prostate cancer detection,” Brooks says. “Not ignoring symptoms and being aware that finding the disease and treating it early has very good outcomes are the two main things that we need to get men to be aware of and to address.”

Here are some famous African American men who have suffered with prostate cancer:
belafonte
{Harry Belafonte – Singer, Actor, Social Activist}

eldrigde
{Eldridge Cleaver – Civil Rights Activist}

langston
{Langston Hughes – Poet, Novelists, Playwright}

stokely
{Stokely Carmichael – Civil Rights Activist}

c powell
{Colin Powell – U.S. Secretary of State}

If you know someone who may be at risk for prostate cancer or is over the age of 40, please have them contact their primary care physician for testing or get more information from the Prostate Cancer Foundation at 1.800.757.CURE (2873).

*Originally published in Everyday Health.

What Women Really Want: 10 Traits Men Have That Make Them The Whole Package

As a matchmaker, it’s my job to meet droves of women to get a sense of who they are and what they want in a partner. I can find out more from them in five minutes than most would learn in five dates! Most women think they know what they want, but they really don’t.

If you ask a woman what she’s looking for in a man, she’ll tell you she wants someone tall, dark and handsome. If you look at her relationship history, however, you’ll see that’s not always true.

Men are visual; they fall in love through their eyes. They’re shallow and superficial. Sorry, guys; you know it’s the truth. Women, on the other hand, fall in love through their ears. We care more about the whole package; we value a man’s personality and how he treats us.

I’m here to tell you that looks aren’t so important to all women. Yes, a man’s physical appearance is important to some ladies, but most women want more than that.

women 2

A nice looking man who is in good shape, dresses well and possesses all of the below characteristics is what we really want! Take a look:

1. Kind And Caring

Women want a man who is kind and caring. We want someone who will be our best friend, a partner and an equal. Above all, we want someone who makes us feel good.


2. Brains, Brains, Brains

Intelligence is sexy and smart men simply captivate women. Whether it’s informing us about the newest restaurant opening or teaching us something we didn’t know about baseball, we like someone from whom we can learn. Women enjoy feeling enlightened.


3. Sense Of Humor

Being funny makes men more attractive to women. There’s no science to it; it’s just a fact. One hundred percent of women appreciate a man who is witty. If you can make a woman laugh, she’ll almost always think you’re awesome.


4. Confidence

Women like men who are confident. When you’re sure of yourself and your actions reflect it, women will be naturally drawn to you. Women are attracted to men who know they’re great.


5. Charisma

Charisma is defined as having swagger, being spunky and possessing a certain je ne sais crois, or just not being “vanilla.”

Whichever definition you prefer, all women love a charming man. When you have a big personality, women find you irresistible.


6. Balance

Leading a balanced lifestyle is important. Women enjoy dating a man who can do it all. We want to date someone who can prioritize his job, family, friends and a relationship.

We’re drawn to men who make time for us and who show us that we’re an essential part of their lives.


7. Good Listener

A man who is a good listener is a true catch. Because women are more emotional than men, we love to share. We can talk for hours.

We have tons of stories to tell and we want you to listen to all of them. If you can listen to a woman, and I mean genuinely listen, pat yourself on the back.


8. Thoughtfulness

Thoughtful men are enticing for women. Being thoughtful doesn’t mean whisking us away to Miami on a third date, either. Although we’d certainly love that, it isn’t necessary! Rather, being thoughtful means showing us that you care.

If we mention we love a certain restaurant, surprise us and plan a date there. If we say we love a particular flower, bring us flowers on the next date. If we tell you we’re eager to see a specific movie or play, get tickets and take us. A man who’s considerate is very sexy.


9. Go With The Flow

We want to date someone we can bring anywhere. If we’re at a business dinner, we want to date a man who can go with the flow and be fancy. When clients invite us to a box at a sports game, we want to date someone who can keep up with the lingo.

Quite simply, we enjoy dating men who can be comfortable in any situation.


10. Presentable

Being put together and looking presentable is essential. Women want to date men who are well dressed. A nice outfit can make men so much more attractive! I’m a sucker for a man in a nice suit or button down with a sweater.

If you’re well dressed and put together, you’re showing the world that you value yourself and your appearance. Ultimately, women want to fall in love. We want someone who makes us feel special and important.

women 1

*Article originally posted on Elite Daily.

September Is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month!

Prostate

Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that forms in tissues of the prostate. The prostate is a gland found only in males, located in front of the rectum and below the urinary bladder. The size of the prostate varies with age. In younger men, it is about the size of a walnut, but it can be much larger in older men.

The prostate’s job is to make some of the fluid that protects and nourishes sperm cells in semen, making the semen more liquid. Just behind the prostate are glands called seminal vesicles that make most of the fluid for semen. The urethra, which is the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body through the penis, goes through the center of the prostate.

Prostate pic

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer? Symptoms may include:

  • Problems passing urine, such as pain, difficulty starting or stopping the stream, or dribbling
  • Low back pain
  • Pain with ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen

How can I find out for sure if I have prostate cancer? Your doctor will diagnose prostate cancer by feeling the prostate through the wall of the rectum or doing a blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Other tests include ultrasound, x-rays or a biopsy but treatment often depends on the stage of the cancer. How fast the cancer grows and how different it is from surrounding tissue helps determine the stage. Men with prostate cancer have many treatment options. The treatment that’s best for one man may not be best for another. The options include watchful waiting, surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy. You may have a combination of treatments.

How can I reduce my risk of prostate cancer? Here are a few key ways to stay healthy –

  • Choose a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables. Avoid high-fat foods and instead focus on choosing a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins and nutrients that can contribute to your health. One nutrient that is consistently linked to prostate cancer prevention is lycopene, which can be found in raw or cooked tomatoes.

Whether you can prevent prostate cancer through diet has yet to be conclusively proved. But eating a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables can improve your overall health.

  • Choose healthy foods over supplements. No studies have shown that supplements play a role in reducing your risk of prostate cancer. While there has been some interest in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E and selenium, to lower prostate cancer risk, studies haven’t found a benefit to taking supplements to create high levels of these nutrients in your body. Instead, choose foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals so that you can maintain healthy levels of vitamins in your body.
  • Exercise most days of the week. Exercise improves your overall health, helps you maintain your weight and improves your mood. There is some evidence that the men who get the most exercise have a lower incidence of prostate cancer when compared with men who get little or no exercise.

Try to exercise most days of the week. If you’re new to exercise, start slow and work your way up to more exercise time each day.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. If your current weight is healthy, work to maintain it by exercising most days of the week. If you need to lose weight, add more exercise and reduce the number of calories you eat each day. Ask your doctor for help creating a plan for healthy weight loss.
  • Talk to your doctor about increased risk of prostate cancer. Men with a high risk of prostate cancer may consider medications or other treatments to reduce their risk. Some studies suggest that taking 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, including finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart), may reduce the overall risk of developing prostate cancer. These drugs are used to control prostate gland enlargement and hair loss in men.

However, some evidence indicates that men taking these medications may have an increased risk of getting a more serious form of prostate cancer (high-grade prostate cancer). If you’re concerned about your risk of developing prostate cancer, talk with your doctor.

How do people deal with being diagnosed with prostate cancer? Men recently diagnosed may experience a range of feelings — disbelief, fear, anger, anxiety and depression. With time, they may find their own way of coping with a prostate cancer diagnosis. If you’ve been diagnosed or know someone that has, be sure to

  • Learn enough about prostate cancer to feel comfortable making treatment decisions. Learn as much as you can about your cancer and its treatment. Having a better idea of what to expect from treatment and life after treatment can make you feel more in control of your cancer. Ask your doctor, nurse or other health care professional to recommend some reliable sources of information to get you started.
  • Keep your friends and family close. Your friends and family can provide support during and after your treatment. Friends and family can help with the small tasks you won’t have energy for during treatment. And having a close friend or family member to talk to can be helpful when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
  • Connect with other cancer survivors. Friends and family can’t always understand what it’s like to face cancer. Other cancer survivors can provide a unique network of support. Ask your doctor or other member of your health care team about support groups or organizations in your community that can connect you with other cancer survivors. Organizations such as the American Cancer Society offer online chat rooms and discussion forums.
  • Take care of yourself. Take care of yourself during cancer treatment by eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables. Try to exercise most days of the week. Get enough sleep each night so that you wake feeling rested.
  • Continue sexual expression. If you experience erectile dysfunction, your natural reaction may be to avoid all sexual contact. But consider touching, holding, hugging and caressing as ways to continue sharing sexuality with your partner.

If I’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, what should I expect? Complications of prostate cancer and its treatments include:

  • Cancer that spreads (metastasizes). Prostate cancer can spread to nearby organs, such as your bladder, or travel through your bloodstream or lymphatic system to your bones or other organs. Prostate cancer that spreads to the bones can cause pain and broken bones. Once prostate cancer has spread to other areas of the body, it may still respond to treatment and may be controlled, but it can no longer be cured.
  • Both prostate cancer and its treatment can cause urinary incontinence. Treatment for incontinence depends on the type you have, how severe it is and the likelihood it will improve over time. Treatment options may include medications, catheters and surgery.
  • Erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction can be a result of prostate cancer or its treatment, including surgery, radiation or hormone treatments. Medications, vacuum devices that assist in achieving erection and surgery are available to treat erectile dysfunction.

Remember, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men (after skin cancer), but it can often be treated successfully. More than 2 million men in the US count themselves as prostate cancer survivors.

Men, if you are over the age of 40 or have a history of prostate cancer in your family, PLEASE get your prostate checked annually by your physician. Prostate cancer can kill you if not detected early enough. So do your part & encourage every man you know to get checked out! To learn more about prostate cancer, visit:

American Cancer Society  (800) 227-2345

National Institutes of Health  (301) 496-4000

Mayo Clinic  (480) 301-8000

 

Here are some celebrities that have suffered with prostate cancer:

Robert De Niro

Not even prostate cancer could slow down Academy Award winner Robert De Niro. Known for “tough guy” roles in films including Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, the actor proved he had mettle offscreen, too, when was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 60. Fortunately for him — and his family, friends, and fans — “the condition was detected at an early stage because of regular checkups, a result of his proactive personal healthcare program,” his publicist said in a statement. Few details were released about the star’s treatment, but he went on to make a full recovery.

DeNiro

Dennis Hopper

Actor/director Dennis Hopper, who appeared in movies including Easy Rider and Hoosiers, died from prostate cancer in May 2010, less than nine months after being diagnosed. In January of that year, he discovered that the cancer had metastasized to his bones, and by March, he was too weak to continue chemotherapy. Before he died, however, he was immortalized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — a fitting end to a long and fruitful career.

 hopper

Charlton Heston

Academy Award winner Charlton Heston, known for his roles in movies like Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998, just a couple of years after he underwent hip-replacement surgery. After a brief but intense course of radiation, the cancer went into remission — but Heston’s health would never be the same. In 2000, after finishing treatment for his cancer, he entered rehab for alcohol addiction, and in 2002, he announced another, even bigger threat to his health: Alzheimer’s disease. Six years later, at the age of 84, he passed away.

Heston

Arnold Palmer

Golf legend Arnold Palmer has 62 PGA Tour wins, his own drink (half lemonade, half iced tea), and a place in the World Golf Hall of Fame — but his proudest accomplishment to date is his triumph over prostate cancer. In the years since his 1997 diagnosis and treatment (a radical prostatectomy and radiation), Palmer, 82, has used his celebrity to raise awareness of the disease among other men and to help found the Arnold Palmer Prostate Center, a nonprofit treatment destination at Eisenhower Lucy Curci Cancer Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He’s adamant that all men should get screened. “There’s nothing better than going to the doctor and knowing just exactly where you stand,” he told Everyday Health. “That’s so important for men to do. Don’t think about doing it. Just do it.”

palmer

Rudy Giuliani

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani knew the heartbreak that prostate cancer could cause even before he was diagnosed in April 2000 — his father had died of the disease 19 years earlier. Determined not to meet the same fate, Giuliani, now 67 and healthy, chose a multi-phase treatment plan that consisted of four months of hormone therapy, implantation of radioactive metal pellets in his prostate (to radiate the cancer), and five weeks of almost-daily external-beam radiation with continuing hormone therapy. The plan was aggressive — but successful. It left the politician in both good health and good spirits

 Guiliani

Are you a prostate cancer survivor?! Please feel free to share your helpful tips/advice. If you know someone who has suffered from prostate cancer, we’d love to hear your experiences in the comments section below –

Is There A Strong Black Woman Trapped Inside Of Every White One?

Lifetime’s new show Girlfriend Intervention is not subtle about its message. Its premise is four black women giving a makeover to a white woman on the theory that, as they put it, “Trapped inside of every white girl is a strong black woman ready to bust out.”

They don’t even have to say “weak white girl” or “lame white girl” or “ugly white girl” or “unfashionable white girl” or “boring white girl,” because all those things are, before long, implied.

The four makeover makers are Tracy Balan on beauty, Nikki Chu on “home and sanctuary,” Tiffiny Dixon on fashion, and many-many-many-time reality star Tanisha Thomas (most notably of Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club) as your — this is real — “soul coach.” Thomas lays out her philosophy early in the first episode, saying that black women are taught that no matter what else is going on in your life, “as long as you look fabulous, that’s all that matters.” On the other hand, she says, “with Caucasian women, you get married, you marry the man of your dreams, you have his children, and now it’s time to stop taking care of you? Girl, I missed that memo.”

Are you a black woman? You might find this offensive. Are you a white woman? You might find this offensive. Are you neither? You might be thinking at this point that you’re lucky to be left out of the entire thing. (Be aware, though, that no one is safe. Near the end of the first episode, Thomas exaggeratedly compliments the hotness of the made-over white woman by yelling, “Muy caliente, salsa picante mucho!”)

Like so much of makeover television, this is shaming dressed up as encouragement (they actually call the segment where the makeover candidate shows them how she currently dresses the “catwalk of shame”). It’s conformity dressed up as individuality, and it’s submission to the expectations of others dressed up as self-confidence.

Only now, with obnoxious racial politics slathered all over the entire thing!

It is not like those politics need to be introduced by the viewer, either: They are the premise of the show, and they are repeated over and over. Black women, we are told in so many words, are unerringly confident, gorgeous, stylish, unflappable, and — ah, yes — better at pleasing men, especially black men. In the first episode, the target, Joanie, has a good-looking black husband, which the women make clear makes sloppy dressing a worse crime than it would be otherwise. “A black woman would never let herself go with a man like that,” the soul consultant announces. The second episode, in fact, also features a woman, Emily, whose partner is a black man. “Now, I know there’s a hot mama hidden in Emily. After all, she got a black man!” says Tracy.

(By the way, just when you think the show can’t get more awkward, the second episode brings a moment in which Emily explains that she met her husband when she reached out and, fascinated, touched his hair. Do we need to talk about how one does not do that? One does not do that. This goes unmentioned.)

Black women are also presented as more fundamentally honest. Your white friends are lying to you: “With Caucasian women, everybody’s afraid to say how they really feel.” Your new black friends, on the other hand, are here to save the day: We are told that they “have the guts to tell you what everybody is really thinking.” But they’re not mean! “We do it out of love. Tough love, as a sister to another sister.”

All of this is overtly about the manipulation of identity. It is made clear from the beginning that dressing in the way these consultants suggest is, to them, fundamental to being truly black if you’re black, and to bringing out your inner black woman (who is presumed to be superior to your outer white woman) if you are white. The fashion consultant, as she observes Joanie’s clothes, says, “No self-respecting black woman would ever hide herself in this if she wants to keep her black card.” And the hits go on and on: In the second episode, Emily is taken to a studio to rap. And she’s given a gold chain. And a hoodie. For the empowerment, you know.

On this show, all toughness, and in fact all showing of spine among women, is associated with being black, as we learn when Joanie shoots one of the consultants an unhappy look about an unflattering outfit in which they’ve placed her, and they immediately seize upon how easy it was to bring out her “black woman.” With all due respect to these particular four women, I learned the throwing of a proper stink-eye from my mother, thank you very much, and I would put my stink-eye up against anyone’s.

The casually insulting way these consultants approach their white … clients? … is unappealing, certainly, but the show’s approach to the consultants themselves, and to black women in general, is hugely problematic, too. The black women on Girlfriend Intervention, like the gay men who did the work on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, are supposedly being saluted for their (stereotypically) superior style and knowledge and backbone, but are cast as helpers and facilitators for the benefit of, respectively, white women and straight men, valued for what they can offer and required to display sass at all times in sufficient amounts. (Among other things, it’s unfortunate that other than Thomas being the loudest, they don’t much distinguish the four stylists from each other, either.)

Popular entertainment targeted to white women is thick with obnoxiously other-ish fairy godpeople: the gay friend, the keeping-it-real black friend, the Latina neighbor, the wise black boss. There’s always some earthier, real-er, truer person whose task it is to flutter around to provide perspective, to fix what’s broken, and often to embarrass you for your foolishness. This is problematic for white women who don’t care to be cast as badly dressed, helpless dummies who need constant life coaching, but it’s no better for black women who don’t care to be cast as flashy-dressing, finger-waving, fast-talking fixers whose mission is making Cinderella presentable for the ball, or for gay men who don’t care to be asked to tag along on shopping trips.

It’s not your black friend’s job to tell you how to believe in yourself and keep your man (the concept of not having a man one is desperate to keep is seemingly foreign to the interventionists); it’s not your gay friend’s job to style you. Friendship is not quite so transactional.

(It must be said, too, that one of the show’s challenges is a simple and serious one: at least in the first couple of episodes, the woman doesn’t look very good or very comfortable in the things they choose for her. It’s one thing to be in charge of sewing Cinderella’s dress, but if she looked better when she was cleaning out the fireplace, you have a problem.)

What makes this particularly disappointing as a Lifetime show is that Lifetime is a network that has actually tried to appeal to more diverse audiences, as NPR’s Priska Neely reported just last month. It’s entirely possible, moreover, that there’s a good show to be made in which black women and white women talk about beauty, confidence, self-care, and how they may see and experience some of those things differently. There’s such a thing as the politics and emotional weight of hair, of style, of body image. But you don’t get there by appointing black women as essentially beauty and style assistants to white women they treat like dolts.

Speaking personally, I walked away unconvinced that I have an inner black woman. I probably have an inner white woman who’s more confident than the outer one. I probably have an inner white woman who’s better at dressing myself, and I probably have an inner white woman who’s better at interior decorating. I definitely have an inner white woman who wears better shoes. But no matter what women I manage to raise from within, they will all be white women. Nothing I say, nothing I do with my hair, no color I put on my walls, will make that any less true. And frankly, I feel neither entitled nor required to act otherwise.

Black woman

*Article originally published on NPR.

Why I Am So Upset Right Now!

Mike Brown Jr

What if Mike Brown was your child? How would you feel? What if your child was unarmed, murdered & left for dead in the street, uncovered, for up to 4 hours? What if you weren’t even given the name of your child’s murderer or witnessed the character assassination of your child all over the news? How would that make you feel?

Today the body of Michael Brown Jr. was laid to rest near St. Louis, Missouri. For more than 2 weeks, protestors & people around the world have shown their disgust & disagreement with how Officer Darren Wilson handled the entire situation.

This affects me personally because as an African American, I understand the systemic forces this country exercises against people of color (particularly people of my color). Time & time again we have seen young unarmed African American men get shot down by White officers, resulting in little to no justice. It hurts to think that in 2014 you can lose your life just because of the color of your skin.

But Mike Brown was a criminal – didn’t he just steal from a local convenience store? Since when does petty theft, “strong-arming” someone or even jay-walking mean your life should be taken? It doesn’t. Mike Brown was not yielding a weapon, aggravating the police or was given the opportunity to defend himself before being murdered in the middle of the street. Whether or not these young men have children out of wedlock, dropped out of school or have even committed crimes – none of that merits being gunned down in cold blood.

This is not a Black/White issue; why is everybody making this about race? Because it is. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, from 2006 – 2012 a White police officer has killed an African American at least twice a week in this country. African Americans are almost twice as likely to be killed by police as cops are likely to be murdered in the line of duty. How is that not racially profiling? Simply put, police kill African Americans more frequently than you may realize.

I watch the news. I see how much crime they commit. African Americans are more likely to get caught, arrested, and jailed for longer periods of time than their White counterparts for the same crime. The Human Rights Watch has found that people of color are not any more likely to use or sell drugs than white people, yet they have a significantly higher rate of arrests. African American citizens encompass 14% of regular drug users but are 37% of those who are arrested for drug crimes. Same crime, but a harsher punishment. How is this our fault? Not to mention that the media paints a bad picture of African Americans in general. How is that when African Americans break into stores & take things out of protest it’s called “looting”, but when the news is talking about the Iraqi’s doing the same thing (as in ISIS), it’s called “marauding”? What’s the difference? The difference is that one term is used to portray African Americans negatively. And that’s where the misperceptions begin – people watch the television & think African Americans are savages because they are speaking out. But they’re really not – they are just fed up!

Infographic 1

Let’s take a look at some of the lives of African American men we’ve lost over the past 15 years. What do all these young men have in common? They all died at the hands of White cops, unarmed:

  • Amadou Diallo – Four New York City police officers were acquitted of all charges in the death of Amadou Diallo. He was shot 41 times as he stood, unarmed, in the vestibule of his apartment building in the Bronx. (2000)

Diallo

  • Patrick Dorismond was a security guard & father of two who was killed by an undercover New York Police Department officer. The undercover police officer approached Dorismond and his friend as they were standing outside of a lounge and asked him where he and his partners could purchase marijuana. Although Dorismond declared he was not a drug dealer he was shot to death. He was only 26. (2000)

Patrick D

  • Timothy Stansbury – There was no warning & the police didn’t even identify themselves. Stansbury was shot in the chest and staggered, bleeding, down five flights of stairs to the building’s lobby where he collapsed. Even the police commissioner held an immediate press conference to acknowledge that “there appears to be no justification for the shooting.” (2004)

timothy Stansbury

  • Sean Bell – Undercover cops fired at least 50 rounds of bullets into a car carrying Sean Bell and two of his friends as they left his bachelor party. The police fired 31 times, emptying two full magazines. Bell was shot in the neck, shoulder and right arm and died at the hospital. He was only 23. (2006)

Sean Bell

  • Oscar Grant –Ever hear of the movie ‘Fruitvale Station’? Grant was fatally shot in the back by a transit officer at an Oakland train station on New Year’s Day 2009. The now-former transit officer admits he mistakenly used his service revolver when he meant to grab his taser. A criminal court jury convicted the transit officer of involuntary manslaughter in 2010 but completely acquitted him of murder. He was released in 2011 – that’s right, he only served 1 year for killing an unarmed young man. Grant was only 22.

Oscar Grant

  • Kendrec McDade – A 19 years old & unarmed, he was killed in a shooting by Pasadena, CA police. A 911 caller falsely reported that two men with guns had stolen a backpack from his car. As police chased and fired several shots, some from close range. The Los Angeles County District Attorney cleared the officers of any criminal wrongdoing. (2012)

McDade

  • Ramarley Graham – 18-year-old Ramarley Graham was leaving a Bronx bodega with his friends, when he was followed by members of the Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit of the NYPD. Footage from his home’s surveillance camera shows that Ramarley approached the door of his house, unlocked it and walked inside. Multiple officers swarmed the house, entering through the back without a warrant and letting others in through the front. He was followed upstairs and into his bathroom, where he was shot in the chest. No weapon was ever found. (2012)

ramarley graham

  • Jordan Davis was gunned down by citizen Michael Dunn recklessly as he shot into a car full of African American teens after complaining about the volume of their music in a convenience store parking lot. Three of his 10 shots struck Davis, killing him right away. Davis was only 17. (2012)

Jordan Davis

  • Trayvon Martin – a 17 year old Floridian was fatally shot & killed while holding a bag of skittles & wearing a hoodie. He was gunned down by a neighborhood watch volunteer, who was acquitted of all charges. (2012)

Tryvon martin

  • Jonathan Ferrel – Ferrell, was working two retail jobs and had recently moved to the Charlotte area. Mr. Ferrell was dropping off a work colleague and drove down an embankment. The car was so damaged he had to kick out the rear window to free himself. Unable to find his cellphone, he stumbled to the first house he found and knocked. Inside, a white woman home alone with her infant daughter panicked and called 911. A Black man, she said, was trying to break in. Three officers arrived & one fired a Taser, which missed its target. Then 12 shots were fired, 10 of which hit Mr. Ferrell. Autopsy results included in the lawsuit show the bullets entered his body and traveled downward, which supports that Mr. Ferrell was already on his knees or lying on the ground when he was shot. Officers then handcuffed him after he was already dead. He was only 24 years old (2013)

Jonathan Ferrell

  • Seventeen year-old Kendrick Johnson was found dead in a rolled-up gym mat in a South Georgia high school in January, 2013. The school has tried to cover up his death & the circumstances surrounding this tragedy are still unanswered.

Kendrick  Johnson

  • Eric Garner – a married father of six, was murdered after a New York City police officer put him in an illegal chokehold. He repeatedly stated that he couldn’t breathe & and the medics weren’t called for several minutes. Once they arrived, they took no action to save Garner’s life. Eric Garner was unarmed. (2014)

Eric Garner

  • Ezell Ford – a 25 year old mentally challenged man was shot and killed in Los Angeles while lying on the ground. He was unarmed. He was only blocks away from his home when officers stopped him. Police claim that it was an “investigative stop” but have not stated why Ford was being investigated. (2014)

Ezell Ford

  • Unarmed Michael Brown Jr. was killed after being shot 6 times because he was walking in the street, “blocking traffic.” Brown was a recent high school graduate and was scheduled to start classes at a Missouri trade school, just two days after he was killed. He was only 18 years old.

No parent should EVER have to bury their child. This has got to stop! If you want to be a part of the movement, contact your state Senator and tell them you want a more diverse police force & better trained officers in your area. If you’re not registered to vote, click here to register so you can vote the best officials into office. This November make sure that you vote for the people who you feel would best represent your community – NOT just you.

No one deserves to be gunned down for the color of your skin. Speak out now; Michael Brown Jr. could’ve been your child.

MikeBrown

#IfTheyGunnedMeDown

The media has a way of portraying young African American males in a very negative light. With everything that has been going on in Ferguson, MO the pictures that we see of Michael Brown Jr. are ‘gangster-like’ and don’t show him to be the innocent victim that he is. White people are shown in a completely different light. Instead of selecting a photo of Michael Brown Jr. smiling or with family, they keep showing the picture of him looking mean outdoors in a sports jersey, whereas Whites are often shown fully clothed, smiling and ‘full of potential’ (think of the Columbine shooter, or the Aurora movie theater shooter). Why not show Michael’s high school graduation picture? Or a family photo instead? They didn’t even mention in the headline that he was a soon-to-be college student. Case & point below:

Tweet First

There is a hashtag “#IfTheyGunnedMeDown” that has gone viral on Twitter, showcasing 2 different African Americans with 2 different looks – one “hardcore” look and one “regular” look. The whole point is to make a mockery of the negative stereotype that the media CHOOSES to portray of African Americans.

Take a look:

TWEET 1

Tweet 2

Tweet 3

Tweet 4

Tweet 5

Tweet 6

Tweet 7

Tweet 8

Tweet 9

Tweet 11

Tweet 12

Tweet 13

Tweet 14

Tweet 15

Tweet 16

Tweet 17

Tweet 18

Tweet 19

Tweet 20

Tweet 21

Tweet 22

Tweet 24

Tweet 25

Tweet 26

The White guy below tweeted that if he was gunned down, he was sure that the media would choose to show his picture on the right, not the one on the left. I won’t argue with that –

Tweet Last5

 

 Do you have any “gangster” looks that the media would use AGAINST you? Let me know what you think in the comments below –