Inmates, Covid, Healthcare and The African American

African American Prisoners/Healthcare for COVID-19

I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves or figments of their imagination, indeed, everything and anything except me. Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)

A Personal Story

I think there are great deal of folk that have had the experience of have a male family member incarcerated only to find out that they were not the same young man they knew before the incarceration.  I don’t know that we all can identify when trying to reconnect that not only are they different, but we too have evolved this makes for strange bedfellows.  Personally, I have interacted with a family member only to find myself more frustrated at the behavior of said individual than realizing he is different.  I don’t know what it is like to be incarcerate (in jail) albeit I have my own struggles where I voluntarily opted for incarceration metaphorically.  Non-the-less, I don’t know what it’s like to wake up in the same cage day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year and/or decade after decade.  I haven’t got a clue what it must be like to be controlled i.e. told what to wear, when to get up when to lay down, when I can shower, when I can a make a phone call.  I don’t know what  it’s like to be locked up with nothing but men/women without any freedoms that you and I take for granted on any given day.  I don’t know why the history of Black men has positioned a person to fall into the category of inmate, jail bird, or felon.  I’ve heard the idea that the construction of prisons were/are constructed based on 3rd grade scores – Experts often cite third grade as a decisive year for students and schools. In fact, there is common folklore that asserts that public officials will forecast prison construction based on a state’s third-grade literacy rates.   An article in The Atlantic called this phenomenon “An Urban Myth That Should Be True.” The article goes on to say, “U.S. prison planners don’t use local third-grade reading scores to predict future inmate populations. But maybe they should.” This is a two topic writing on the healthcare of the inmate and that of the Black American and Covid-19.

The persistent and pervasive notion of African American male criminality which was injected into the American consciousness during the post Reconstruction period persists steadfastly today in the United States. It is a driving force behind the nation ’ s post-1970 mass incarceration binge for which economically disadvantaged Black males are the primary victims. It also serves as fuel for insensitive comments, unwarranted surveillance, and other microaggressions such as those now in the media glare. Few African American males, regardless of their achievement, social standing or economic status, are immune to the stress associated with these subtle forms of hostility

Healthcare and the Inmate

Imprisonment, homicide, non-lethal assault and other crime, chronic and infectious disease, substance abuse, suicide, and accidents all contribute to the much wider gap in the community-level sex ratios found among African Americans compared to those observed found among other ethnic and racial groups in the United States. This wide array of causes and correlates of African American male mortality, disability, and confinement suggests that one area in need of interdisciplinary inquiry that examines the intersection between public health and public safety. These lines of inquiry must situate and contextualize the lived experiences of the African American male. Health analysts and social scientists across many disciplines have all studied African Americans and their communities extensively over the past decades because this population has disproportionately high levels of disease, disability, premature death, and exposure to the criminal justice system.

A large body of research has documented black, white disparities in health and mortality in the United States ( Adler & Rehkopf, 2008 ; Frisbie, Song, Powers, & Street, 2004 ; Geruso, 2012 ; Pampel, Krueger, & Denney, 2010 ; Williams & Jackson, 2005 ; Williams & Mohammed, 2009 ). Racial differences in socioeconomic status (e.g., income, education) largely account for these gaps with individual and institutional discrimination, residential segregation, and bias in healthcare settings also explaining some of the variation in black, white disparities (Braveman et al., 2011 ; Williams, 1999 ; Williams & Jackson, 2005 ).

Afro-American Healthcare & COVID-19

Speaking of the disparities in health care among Blacks and Whites brings me to another topic – Covid-19.  As most people in the world are now acutely aware, an outbreak of COVID-19 was detected in mainland China in December of 2019.  Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses such as the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).  When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the new coronavirus may be transmitted through expelled droplets. These droplets can enter a person’s system through “contact routes,” such as the mouth, eyes, or nose. It is also possible for the droplets to be inhaled into the lungs.

The concept of COVID-19 hit the news airways like the plague.  Folk ran out and emptied the grocery story of every roll of tissue paper, alcohol and contamination cleaning products.  Addictions rose, folks died, both individuals and establishments lost their lives, and the country was shut down.  This would cause the sanest person to question the reason for living. 

Statistical data document that African Americans have a worse health profile and higher rate of death than White Americans for practically every illness. Broader surveys of self-assessed health using a comparative framework have found that African Americans are nearly twice as likely as White Americans to rate their health as “fair” or “poor,” and twice as likely as White Americans to rate their health as “fair” or “poor,” and that self-rated health is a strong predictor of sickness and early death (Bratter and Gorman, 2011).  Middle-class African Americans have a better health profile than their less affluent counterparts, but many report serious health challenges as common in their families.

Much like the prisoner many Black Americans suffer the same inequalities of healthcare whether locked up or free.  With that said how will Black Americans come out as the victor during these turbulent times?

What We Know

Black communities share common social and economic factors, already in place before the pandemic, that increase their risk for COVID-19. Those factors include:

  • Living in crowded housing conditions. “Crowded living conditions are a difficult challenge that is the result of longstanding racial residential segregation and prior redlining policies,” Golden says. “It is difficult for 10 individuals living in a three-room apartment to appropriately physical distance.” She says advocacy on these broader policy issues could help prevent future disparities in disease outcomes.
  • Working in essential fields. Golden notes that people working in environmental services, food services, the transportation sector and home health care cannot work from home. These positions put workers in close contact with others.
  • Inconsistent access to health care due to lack of insurance or underinsurance. Being able to afford doctors’ visits, medications and equipment to manage chronic disease is essential to lowering the risk of death from COVID-19 and other conditions. For instance, a patient with badly controlled diabetes or asthma due to inconsistent treatment is more at risk for severe, even deadly, coronavirus infection.
  • Chronic health conditions. Golden points out that people of color have a higher burden of chronic health conditions associated with a poor outcome from COVID-19, including diabetes, heart disease and lung disease. In a study cited by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 90% of those hospitalized with severe COVID-19 had at least one of these underlying medical conditions.
  • Stress and immunity. Studies have proved that stress has a physiological effect on the body’s ability to defend itself against disease. Income inequality, discrimination, violence and institutional racism contribute to chronic stress in people of color that can wear down immunity, making them more vulnerable to infectious disease.


Why is that the Black American holds on to memories of years gone by when it comes to their health.  The now infamous Tuskegee Syphilis study is perhaps the most widely known study exclusive to African Americans males.  Yet in present day the number of references to this experiment in conjunction with the COVID-19 vaccine are astronomical.  African  Americans  have  experienced  something  that others have not: the unique combination  of racism, slavery and segregation. It has caused African  Americans to develop  not  only  different  behavioral patterns, values, and beliefs but also different  definitions, standards, and  differences  in  value  systems  and  perspectives(Randall,  1996). Distrust  of  the health  care  system  by African  Americans  runs  from  the  feelings  or  ill  gains for  participation  in clinical trials to being used  only as guinea  pigs. In addition,  there  are feelings  by  African Americans  whether  the physician,   intentional   or not,  do  treat  minority  patients  differently  than  White patients  (Lake,  Snell,  Perry,  & Associates  2004).  If that is true then the reluctance to take the vaccine is valid.  Additionally many Americans feel that the vaccine was rushed and not enough due diligence has been put forth.


Missing my grand baby who I never met – gone too soon…


How does one group of humans reject another group?

Rebuilding After the #Storm

I have seen so many people who go through life with a jaded spirit. I know how difficult the storms of life can be, where you are facing one calamity after another, only to find that the hope and optimism you once had is gone.  So often hopelessness becomes collateral damage after you get out of the storm.  It’s one thing to make it to the other side of a difficult problem, but often when we search the inner corridors of our soul we see that the storm has changed us forever.   

I have seen so many people who have lost all sense of joy and happiness in their life.  They are physically alive, but emotionally dead. No one talks about the emotional weight that storms put upon us.  I know that you have to act like everything is going right, I know you have to pretend that you can hold it all together.  But Today, I want you to take some of the weight off and become vulnerable.  It is not easy dealing with storms.  I know you had so much hope and joy and laughter in your life, and God is declaring today, it’s time to get your Joy Back! 

God doesn’t want you to just come through the storm alive, God wants you to flourish.   God wants you to have joy.  God wants to see you smile.   I have learned that in storms, I have to fight for my joy.  I refuse to give up my hope.  Tomorrow will be better than today.  Your latter shall be greater than your former.  Your best days lie ahead.  God wants you to thrive! 

Source: Rev. Nicholas Richards

If He Was Here

If he was here I call him for no reason…

If he was here I could ask him for advice…

If he was here I could share my fears…

If he was here I could share my accomplishments…

If he was here I would learn something I never knew…

If he was here I wouldn’t be sad on this day…

I miss my dad…


Things to Consider When Renting A Car

Comparing prices online can save you a bundle when you rent a car. Learn how to compare the total cost — not just the advertised price. Fees and options can increase the base price dramatically.

Choosing a Rental Car

Here are some things to think about when choosing a rental car:

  • Size matters — The size of your rental can affect the price you pay. Terms like “compact,” “mid-size,” and “luxury” vary across rental car companies.
  • Comparison shop — Check out a few websites for the kind of rental you want. Look for rates with individual rental companies and price comparison websites.
  • Special deals — You may find deals if you book in advance, or in combination with a flight or hotel stay. Check the fine print for limitations, including blackout dates when an advertised price may not be available. You also may get discounts as a perk with your credit card company, or if you belong to certain groups, like auto clubs or big box stores.
  • Your driving record — Ask the rental car company if they check customers’ driving records. Many do, and even if you have a confirmed reservation, recent driving violations may prevent you from getting the car.

Fees and Charges

The advertised rates for rental cars may not give you a true picture of what you’ll actually pay. Factor in other possible fees and charges.

Early returns — Some companies may charge a fee if you return the car more than 24 hours before your reservation ends. If you have to return the car early, call the company to talk to an agent.

Late returns — Many companies won’t charge you extra if you’re late returning a car by less than 30 minutes. But you still may have to pay a full day’s charge for optional items, like liability coverage. If you’re running late, find out if it’s cheaper to pay the late charges or extend your reservation.

Airport surcharges — Renting a car at the airport can be expensive. Surcharges can apply even when a rental company shuttles you to their off-site lot.

Gas — Most companies require you to return your rental with a full tank of gas. If you don’t, you’ll be charged the rental company’s price for gas, which is usually more expensive than what you’d pay at a local station. Some companies may offer to let you prepay for a full tank of gas so you don’t need to stop for gas before you return the car. This may add convenience but could also be more expensive than filling up yourself, especially if you return the car with plenty of gas that you already paid for.

Mileage — Most companies offer unlimited miles, but there may be daily limits, depending on the type of car you rent (for example, some SUVs or high-performance cars). It helps to know about how far you plan to drive. That way, you can choose the company that offers the best mileage terms.

Taxes — Before making your reservation, review your quote carefully to confirm that required state, city, or county taxes and other fees, like a “vehicle licensing fee” or an “energy recovery fee,” are included to avoid surprises later.

Tolls — Most companies offer ways to pay tolls automatically with devices, but that comes at a cost. The company might:

  • charge you a service fee for every day of your rental — even if you don’t use the service again. There’s usually a maximum dollar amount for the rental period.
  • add a service fee each time you pay a toll with the device, meaning that you pay the toll and an additional fee.
  • offer the device for a set fee for the entire rental period, which covers all tolls you pass through. But that means you pay for the device, even if you don’t go through any tolls.

Roadside assistance — Ask if this service is included in the base price of your rental car or if you have to pay extra. If there’s a fee, find out what it covers — for example, if you have a flat tire, dead battery, or lock the keys in the car. If you belong to an auto club, check to see if your membership includes free or low-cost roadside assistance. You can also check if your credit card (assuming use it to pay for the rental) or your auto insurance may had roadside assistance for rentals.

Out-of-state charges — Most companies will let you take your rental out of state, but some may charge extra.

Drop-off fees — It may be expensive to return your rental to a different place than where you picked it up.

Equipment-rentals — If you want extra items, like a car seat, or ski or bike racks, it will cost you. Reserve these items in advance to make sure they’ll be available.

Additional drivers — Some companies charge to add another driver to your contract.

Underage drivers — The minimum age to rent a car is 25. However, most major car rental companies allow younger people to drive a rental for a fee.

Coverage Options

Insurance — Rental car companies usually offer drivers additional insurance coverage options for a price. They say you can limit your liability while driving their car if you buy their coverage. But you may already be covered by your car or homeowner’s insurance. Check your policies, and call your insurance company if you’re not sure about coverage. If you’re traveling on business, you may be covered by your employer’s insurance. Some credit card companies and auto clubs include free rental protection when you use their cards to pay for rentals.

Waivers — Rental companies also may try to sell you a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or a Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) that guarantees the rental company will pay for damages to your rental car. But unlike collision insurance, a waiver won’t pay for any injuries to you or damages to your personal property. Check your health insurance policy. It might offer protection that CDW coverage doesn’t.

Some credit cards also offer CDW when you use them to pay for the rental.

If you don’t buy a CDW or aren’t covered by your personal car insurance, you’re responsible for any damages to the rental — sometimes the full value.

If you buy CDW, your coverage could be canceled if you damage the car while driving recklessly or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The coverage also could be canceled if you let an unauthorized person drive the rental.

Debit and Credit Card Blocking

Most rental companies place a hold — or a block — on your debit or credit card for more than the agreed on rental cost. That’s to protect themselves from possible charges beyond the amount that was authorized. Companies do this to make sure there’s enough money or credit available to pay for your final bill. They won’t process the blocked amount if you return the car as promised in your rental contract. If you’re near your credit limit or you have a low balance in your bank account when a block is placed, your card could be declined for additional purchases.

Marjorie Taylor Green

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Monday visited the Holocaust Museum and apologized for previously comparing coronavirus face-mask policies to the Nazi practice of labeling Jews with Star of David badges. But the Georgia Republican declined to walk back other controversial statements she has made, including one in which she compared the Democratic Party to Hitler’s party, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. (Sonmez, 6/14)

Marjorie Taylor Greene, also known by her initials MTG, is an American politician, businesswoman, and far-right conspiracy theorist serving as the U.S. representative for Georgia’s 14th congressional district.

What concerns me the most it that in her current position representing Georgians that her belief system is no aligned with the facts. Additionally that no one is trying to remove her from office.


Pigs In Prison

John Oliver found at least one place in America where people are often treated worse than pigs: prisons.

In Sunday’s episode of “Last Week Tonight,” Oliver said inmates in prisons in some of the hottest parts of the country don’t have access to air conditioning. For example, in Texas, 75 percent of prisons lack A/C, causing the heat index inside to hit 150 degrees in the summer. 

“This situation is so bad the U.N. Committee Against Torture has expressed particular concern about deaths from extreme heat exposure in prison facilities in Texas,” Oliver noted. “And while you probably assumed Texas prisons were bad, maybe not ‘International Human Rights Watch List’ bad.”

Oliver pointed to one instance where the pigs at a prison farm were given air conditioning to make those facilities consistent with typical swine operations.

“Look, I’m not against pigs getting treated comfortably. I love pigs, their springy tails, their two big ears, their stupid, flat noses and their horrible eyes,” Oliver said. “Pigs are like big, chubby dogs you can eat at Christmas. I just question prioritizing their comfort over humans.”

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