Labels Aren't Romantic and Never Have Been

Too many make the mistake of directing energy toward formality or “making official” their relationships. As if listing dating-experience on a resume has gotten anyone a job, the misinformed forget that everything exists, that, in particular, love is more than words floating around facebook and gossip. Some folks walk away from a reality with bitterness in their stride because they never reach the point of wearing the title, “girlfriend”. They have not gotten the point.

Do black men get better health care behind bars?

Do black men get better health care behind bars?

Monique W. Morris, The Grio | June 30, 2011

More than 850,000 black men and women are currently incarcerated in federal or state prisons, or in local jails throughout the U.S. The conditions of confinement have caused deep wounds for African-Americans, compromising the healthy development of communities and causing collateral damages such as severed family relationships, decreased parental responsibility over children, loss of employability and wages, housing and employment discrimination, and disenfranchisement, among others.

Still, despite the numerous negative effects that have been associated with incarceration, could prison also be associated with a positive life outcome for black men?

research study published by Vanderbilt University sociologist Evelyn Patterson in 2010 shows state prisons are having a positive effect on the mortality rates of black men. Her study estimates the rates of working-age prisoners and non-prisoners by gender and race, and finds that while prison has a “detrimental health impact on most groups,” incarcerated black males at every age experience death rates that are lower than for black males outside of prison.

Between 1996 and 1998, black men not in prison lost almost twice as many years of life between the ages of 18 and 65 as incarcerated black men. In contrast, there was only a slight difference in the mortality rates of incarcerated white men when compared to their non-incarcerated white counterparts.  (Read more)


Census: Fewer black children in biggest US cities

Census: Fewer black children in biggest US cities

Associated Press | June 30, 2011

NEW YORK –A catastrophic flood emptied New Orleans of much of its black youth. Powerful social forces may be doing a similar thing to places like Harlem and Chicago’s South Side.Over the past decade, the inner-city neighborhoods that have served for generations as citadels of African-American life and culture have been steadily draining of black children.

Last year’s census found that the number of black, non-Hispanic children living in New York City had fallen by 22.4 percent in 10 years. In raw numbers, that meant 127,058 fewer black kids living in the city of Jay Z and Spike Lee, even as the number of black adults grew slightly.

The same pattern has repeated from coast to coast. Los Angeles saw a 31.8 percent decline in its population of black children, far surpassing the 6.9 percent drop in black adults. The number of black children in Atlanta fell by 27 percent. It was down 31 percent in Chicago and 37.6 percent in Detroit. Oakland, Calif. saw a drop of 42.3 percent, an exodus that fell only 6 percentage points below the decline in flood-ravaged New Orleans.

Overall, the census found nearly a half-million fewer black children living in the 25 largest U.S. cities than there were a decade earlier. By comparison, the number of black adults living in big cities has hardly budged.

Demographics experts said a combination of factors appeared to be at work. Americans in general are having fewer children than they once did, due mostly to increased use of birth control. That has been true, too, among black mothers. Teen pregnancy rates among blacks have also plummeted.

But the more significant trend, experts said, may be a migration by young black parents to the suburbs.  (Read more)


Bay Area transit agency agrees to pay $1.3 million to mother of man fatally shot by officer

Bay Area transit agency agrees to pay $1.3 million to mother of man fatally shot by officer

Associated Press | June 28, 2011

OAKLAND, Calif. — A San Francisco Bay area transit agency Tuesday agreed to pay $1.3 million to the mother of a 22-year-old unarmed black man who was fatally shot by a white transit officer in 2009.

The settlement between Bay Area Rapid Transit and Wanda Johnson resolves a $50 million wrongful death and civil rights suit filed in federal court by Oscar Grant’s family.

“No amount of money could replace Oscar. Not one dollar or $100 million,” said Johnson during a news conference in Oakland. “My heart feels broken for the loss of my son…

“It didn’t have to be this way.”

Former BART officer Johannes Mehserle, 29, was convicted last year of involuntary manslaughter for fatally shooting Grant on an Oakland train station platform on New Year’s Day in 2009.

Mehserle was released this month after serving one year in Los Angeles jail after his high-profile trial was moved to Southern California.

The shooting was recorded by bystanders and within hours videos of the incident were posted online showing Mehserle firing a bullet into the back of Grant as he lay face down after being pulled off a train, supposedly for fighting.  (Read more)

Film to launch new project on Boston busing riots

Film to launch new project on Boston busing riots

Russell Conteras, Associated Press (via The Grio) | June 27, 2011

BOSTON (AP) — A documentary that’s to be unveiled this week is the start of a project that aims to show that the busing riots that roiled Boston in the 1970s and stained the city’s reputation were more than just a conflict between blacks and whites.

The Union of Minority Neighborhoods, a Boston advocacy group, is to unveil the documentary Tuesday at the Boston Public Library. It’s called “Can We Talk?” The film is part of the organization’s years-long Boston Busing/Desegregation Project.

The project’s coordinator, Donna Bivens, says the crisis was largely about equal access to education and not simply another episode of racial strife. She says organizers of the 10-year project plan to hold community meetings around Boston with victims of the riots and seek to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.


Well this is awkward…

Sunday night a two-hour Chris Brown commercial the BET Awards happened. Despite a comical performance from Kevin Hart, the most memorable moment of the show was the slip-up of the fan chosen to present the Viewers Choice Award. Rocsi and Terrance (there to provide moral support in what can be a nerve wracking moment), were worthless. Terrance, Captain Obvious, announced, in the middle of the awkward moment, “This is awkward.” No shit, Sherlock. That poor girl had her moment shitted on by BET’s continued incompetence.


And that wasn’t even the saddest moment of the show. The darkest moment of the show was the Best Female Hip-Hop Artist category. And the nominees were: Nicki Minaj (the eventual winner), Diamond, Cymphonique (Lil Romeo might’ve made more sense), and Lola Monroe (yeah).

No, you actually need more people.

Civil Disobedience, Gay Rights Movements, and the Black Single Mothers Who Don’t Benefit From Marriage

Silje Sande an American Professor, discusses something called “The Necessary Tension.” She writes “In a democracy the tension between civil obedience and disobedience is a necessary tension.” She argues that Civil Disobedience confronts and holds accountable the norms that exist in society today. I think that black single mothers and families around the country should take some advice from Sande, and participate in this tension. This week the Gay Rights movement took a huge step forward by winning the right to marry in one of the largest states in the country. I am happy that there has been progress in the overall struggle for equality in the United States. However, I think it is necessary to think about the single mother’s of color that will be further marginalized because they will not receive the legal benefits that come with marriage.

Youth Say Race Still Matters—So What Are They Doing About It?

Youth Say Race Still Matters—So What Are They Doing About It?

Juell Stewart, Colorlines | June 28, 2011

Earlier this month, our publisher released a report, “Don’t Call Them Post-Racial,” which surveyed attitudes about race in key systems in U.S. society among young adults 18-25. Dom Apollon’s research team conducted focus groups with dozens of young people in the Los Angeles area, and learned that their thoughts on race are far more nuanced than most polling and commentary has suggested. Theirs is the most diverse generation in U.S. history, but that doesn’t make them post-race. Rather, the young people in the focus groups made clear that they believed race still matters today.

The young people struggled for language to define racism and they differed across racial groups in how they saw race impacting society. But they identified race as a “significant problem” in a few key areas, with all racial groups agreeing that race remained a problem for both criminal justice and employment. Young people of color identified education as a particular trouble spot as well.

They also differed in what they thought should be done about these problems—while white Millennials, as this generation has been dubbed, largely identified racism as driven by individuals and demanding individual solutions, young people of color were more likely to identify racism as a collective problem that demands political action to resolve. As Apollon wrote, “All of these ideas are crucial to understand because they also shape how this generation will choose to act upon racism and racial injustice.”  (Read more)



Do School Suspensions Lead To Prison?


The social and economic implications of the quality education that children in the United States of America receive ,while not absolute, are critical in determining their future trajectories. The institution that children come into contact with the most in their prepubescent, formative years outside of their communities are schools. From both an operational and architectural standpoint, public schools function as an important organization in socializing and routinizing the behaviors of the youngest segments of the population. Pioneering educators such as Stanley Hall called for the creation of pedocentric schools where the institution’s paramount mission was to serve the social and psychological needs of children. In fact, Hall notably characterized pre-adolescent children as “savages” and therefore rationalized that reasoning with them was a futile effort. Rather, he proposed that the panacea for society’s degenerates- poor and urban communities -was a good dose of authoritarian discipline. Social and education reformers of his ilk in the early 20th century believed that public schools were in many cases, the last and only life line to save children from their predestined fate of failure. 

Study Finds Menthol cigarette marketing is ‘predatory,’ aimed at black kids

Stanford: Menthol cigarette marketing is ‘predatory,’ aimed at black kids

Steven E.F. Brown, San Francisco Business Times | June 24, 2011

A Stanford School of Medicine study says tobacco companies cut prices of menthol cigarettes and boosted advertisements for them near California high schools with lots of black students.

The report calls the marketing “predatory.” It is “geared to luring young African Americans into becoming smokers.”

“The tobacco companies went out of their way to argue to the Food & Drug Administration that they don’t use racial targeting. The evidence is not consistent with those claims,” said Lisa Henriksen, the lead author of the study.

Researchers randomly chose convenience stores and other small shops within walking distance of 91 schools. They used data from 2006 and studied how cigarettes were marketed in those stores.  (Read more)