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.

Distrust

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.

#BHM April All Black Month

Jackie Robinson


April 1947
On April 10, 1947 Jackie Robinson signed a contract with the Brooklyn, Dodgers baseball team. He played his first game with them on April 15th

April 1963
In April 1963 Dr. Martin Luther Jr was arrested for leading protests in Birmingham, Alabama. On April 16th, while still in jail, he wrote his applauded “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.” On April 3, 1968, Dr. King gave his final speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” The next day, April 4th, he was assassinated.

Hank Aaron break Babe Ruth's home run record


April 1974
Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record when he hit his 715th home run.


April 1974

James Alan McPherson received the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for Elbow Room, a book of short stories that explore the borderline between black and white America. 

George Floyd We Have Not Forgotten You

Eaves, 72, is one of the volunteers who regularly tend the area where George Floyd was killed by police. In this four-block radius, some residents and volunteers work together to keep things running as they hold the space while pressing the city to meet their demands. Eaves picks up trash and checks on plants. He shifts artwork and tributes around to make them more visible. He cleans to present what he calls an “aesthetic dignity” to the space.

Versus Wellborn

Not so long ago. Vertus Wellborn Hardiman (March 9, 1922 – June 1, 2007) became a victim of a US government human radiation experiment. At the age of 5 the experiment left him with a painful skull deformity that forced him to cover his head for 80 years. Hardiman was born in Lyles Station, Indiana. In 1928, Vertus attended the local elementary school. The parents of 10 children at school were approached by county hospital officials and were told that there was a new treatment for “ringworm.” What the parents didn’t know was that the children were actually part of a human experiment on extreme radiation chosen because they lived in such an isolated location, and because they were all Black. The children were exposed to high levels and many were left with disfiguring scalp scars and head trauma. The effects of the experiments were mostly hidden from the townspeople of Lyles Station. Many of the children wore wigs and hats to cover up the results of the experiments. Vertus Hardiman finally broke his silence more than 70 years later, to a friend, Wilbert Smith, who partnered with Brett Leonard to produce the documentary, “Hole in the Head: A Life Revealed.” The 2011 film is the amazing story of Hardiman and the nine other children who were affected by the horrible experiment in Lyles Station. Hardiman was physically affected the worst by the radiation. As a result he experienced a slow dissolving of the bone matter of his skull for the rest of his life. The ensuing deformed head and gaping hole at its top were disguised by a succession of hats, toupees, and wigs. Every day of his life he spent an hour changing bandages and dressing the wound. He died at age 85. Upon his death, Vertus bequeathed eight million dollars to his church and favorite educational scholarship fund. Vertus harbored no anger and was known to say frequently, “If I am angry, my prayers will not be answered because my heart’s not right.”

#JusticeForJamar: Cops Wrongfully Detain Black Man While Eating At Virginia Beach Mall

#JusticeForJamar: Cops Wrongfully Detain Black Man While Eating At Virginia Beach Mall

#JusticeForJamar: Cops Wrongfully Detain Black Man While Eating At Virginia Beach Mall


— Read on blackamericaweb.com/2020/12/22/justiceforjamar-cops-wrongfully-detain-black-man-while-eating-at-virginia-beach-mall-2/

The Cruelty of #Slavery In The United States Of America

Slave owners used to put young black boys on the ground and use their bodies to keep their filthy feet warm and “clean.” They used to keep them at the bottom of their beds in the winter months so that their feet could keep warm. At times, the young black boys would play the role of a Podiatrist by removing ingrown toe nails from the slave master’s feet, chew overgrown toe nails off the slave master’s crusty toes, lick the nasty, oozing puss off the soars of the slave master’s feet, suck the slave master’s nasty toes, and anything else required to make the slave master’s feet feel better and to satisfy, his sick twisted white supremacist ego.

Those same young boys, they used to rape.  They had parties that other slave masters were invited to attend.  They would run the train (or gang rape the young boys).  They played out their sick fetishes and fantasies on young black boys.  They made the young boys have sex with one another as they watched.  They would force an adult male slave, huge in physique, to rape the young boys.  If the young boys wouldn’t comply, the adult male slave would be forced to beat the young male to the brink of death and sometimes to death.  The shocking thing about this is that the adult male would oftentimes be a father or uncle to the young males!

Whenever white people say, “Well, slavery has existed everywhere,” in essence and totality they’re saying, “There is nothing wrong with slavery because there was slavery before the United States.  And I’m an advocate of slavery.”

There may have been slavery before the United States BUT….

There is no history whatsoever of an extended, protracted period of slavery that continued for centuries wherein more than 100 million people were forced into.  The methods of cruelty that whites practiced and inflicted upon blacks in the United States has NEVER been practiced prior to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

Imagine, someone, forcing mothers to sleep with their sons or fathers to sleep with their daughters.  Imagine the practice of interbreeding human beings like animals are interbreeded.

Imagine forcing a man to impregnate an entire plantation of slave women and in that practice, subconsciously teaching him that je doesn’t have to be responsible for any of the children in any form or manner whatsoever!

Imagine, someone being killed and you watch someone take the skin of the person who was killed and the killer makes luggage from the human skin; Shoes from the human skin.  Imagine them keeping the penis as a trophy or collector’s item.

Imagine, someone tying ropes to the arms and legs of a pregnant woman and then attaching the ropes to four horses; The person then ordering the horses to run away in four different directions until the pregnant woman’s body is literally pulled apart.  The unborn baby exposed without the liberty of a natural birth.  The person then walks over to the baby and stumps it in the head until the life of the baby exists no more.

I could go on and on.

Black people, we must STOP HIDING THE TRUTH from our children.  We must teach our children what happened.  The Jews pass on the stories of their suffering (under the rule of Hitler) to their children.  They NEVER allow them to live a life ignorant to the history of what they experienced.  In fact, they never let the world forget what they experienced.  NEVER.

We should NEVER allow our children to grow without knowing what happened to us.

NEVER.

Jesus said, ..”Ye SHALL know the TRUTH AND THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE.”

Lets begin the road to SETTING OUR CHILDREN FREE BY TEACHING THEM THE TRUTH.

Pervis Payne

Judge allows DNA testing in case of Tennessee man on death row for 32 years.

(CNN)Evidence in the case of a Tennessee man who was sentenced to death three decades ago can be tested for the first time for DNA, a judge ruled this week.Pervis Payne, who has been on death row for 32 years, is scheduled for execution in December.He received two death sentences after he was convicted in 1988 of two counts of first-degree murder for the June 1987 stabbing deaths of 28-year-old Charisse Christopher and her 2-year-old daughter in the Memphis suburb of Millington. Payne also was convicted of assault with intent to commit first-degree murder of Christopher’s 3-year-old son, who survived.

DNA from old razor helped solve two cases of rape and murder from 40 years ago in California Payne, 53, maintains that he is innocent and went into Christopher’s apartment after hearing a cry for help, according to court documents. He said he pulled the murder weapon, a butcher knife, from her neck, the documents say.

Read more…

Daughter of the #Confederacy

A true daughter of the confederacy has written what should be the last words on the monuments:

By Caroline Randall Williams

June 26, 2020

I have rape-colored skin. My light-brown-blackness is a living testament to the rules, the practices, the causes of the Old South.

If there are those who want to remember the legacy of the Confederacy, if they want monuments, well, then, my body is a monument. My skin is a monument.

Dead Confederates are honored all over this country — with cartoonish private statues, solemn public monuments and even in the names of United States Army bases. It fortifies and heartens me to witness the protests against this practice and the growing clamor from serious, nonpartisan public servants to redress it. But there are still those — like President Trumpand the Senate majority leader,Mitch McConnell — who cannot understand the difference between rewriting and reframing the past. I say it is not a matter of “airbrushing” history, but of adding a new perspective.

I am a black, Southern woman, and of my immediate white male ancestors, all of them were rapists. My very existence is a relic of slavery and Jim Crow.

According to the rule of hypodescent (the social and legal practice of assigning a genetically mixed-race person to the race with less social power) I am the daughter of two black people, the granddaughter of four black people, the great-granddaughter of eight black people. Go back one more generation and it gets less straightforward, and more sinister. As far as family history has always told, and as modern DNA testing has allowed me to confirm, I am the descendant of black women who were domestic servants and white men who raped their help.

It is an extraordinary truth of my life that I am biologically more than half white, and yet I have no white people in my genealogy in living memory. No. Voluntary. Whiteness. I am more than half white, and none of it was consensual. White Southern men — my ancestors — took what they wanted from women they did not love, over whom they had extraordinary power, and then failed to claim their children.

What is a monument but a standing memory? An artifact to make tangible the truth of the past. My body and blood are a tangible truth of the South and its past. The black people I come from were owned by the white people I come from. The white people I come from fought and died for their Lost Cause. And I ask you now, who dares to tell me to celebrate them? Who dares to ask me to accept their mounted pedestals?

You cannot dismiss me as someone who doesn’t understand. You cannot say it wasn’t my family members who fought and died. My blackness does not put me on the other side of anything. It puts me squarely at the heart of the debate. I don’t just come from the South. I come from Confederates. I’ve got rebel-gray blue blood coursing my veins. My great-grandfather Will was raised with the knowledge that Edmund Pettus was his father. Pettus, the storied Confederate general, the grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, the man for whom Selma’s Bloody Sunday Bridge is named. So I am not an outsider who makes these demands. I am a great-great-granddaughter.

And here I’m called to say that there is much about the South that is precious to me. I do my best teaching and writing here. There is, however, a peculiar model of Southern pride that must now, at long last, be reckoned with.

This is not an ignorant pride but a defiant one. It is a pride that says, “Our history is rich, our causes are justified, our ancestors lie beyond reproach.” It is a pining for greatness, if you will, a wish again for a certain kind of American memory. A monument-worthy memory.

But here’s the thing: Our ancestors don’t deserve your unconditional pride. Yes, I am proud of every one of my black ancestors who survived slavery. They earned that pride, by any decent person’s reckoning. But I am not proud of the white ancestors whom I know, by virtue of my very existence, to be bad actors.

Among the apologists for the Southern cause and for its monuments, there are those who dismiss the hardships of the past. They imagine a world of benevolent masters, and speak with misty eyes of gentility and honor and the land. They deny plantation rape, or explain it away, or question the degree of frequency with which it occurred.

To those people it is my privilege to say, I am proof. I am proof that whatever else the South might have been, or might believe itself to be, it was and is a space whose prosperity and sense of romance and nostalgia were built upon the grievous exploitation of black life.

The dream version of the Old South never existed. Any manufactured monument to that time in that place tells half a truth at best. The ideas and ideals it purports to honor are not real. To those who have embraced these delusions: Now is the time to re-examine your position.

Either you have been blind to a truth that my body’s story forces you to see, or you really do mean to honor the oppressors at the expense of the oppressed, and you must at last acknowledge your emotional investment in a legacy of hate.

Either way, I say the monuments of stone and metal, the monuments of cloth and wood, all the man-made monuments, must come down. I defy any sentimental Southerner to defend our ancestors to me. I am quite literally made of the reasons to strip them of their laurels.

Caroline Randall Williams(@caroranwill) is the author of “Lucy Negro, Redux” and “Soul Food Love,” and a writer in residence at Vanderbilt University.

Racist Porn

STANDING BEFORE HER WERE EIGHT WHITE MEN, largely unmemorable except for what they all had in common: Confederate flag T-shirts and penises jutting stiffly out of their pants. She was here to have sex with all of them—she knew that; she’d signed the contract. But Ana Foxxx, then 23, was still trying to process the message, what was really being asked of her, when the director, another white man, pulled her into a side room. He showed her images on his computer of other Black women in videos just like this one. He told her that the experience would be fun and easy and quick. Everything would be over in 10 minutes. Was she cool with that?

twitter.com/realdlhughley/status/1337863914307137539

The Perils of Riding the #Bus