Sunday, July 15, 2018

My Father's 96 years of Being a Black Man in Racist America

by Kenny Anderson

On July 13, 2018 my father celebrated his 96th birthday, sitting with other family members, relatives, and friends I looked at my dad as he was sitting and thought about his 96 year experience of being a Black man in racist America. 
I thought about my dad who had constant nightmares all the while I was growing up, what I didn’t know at the time was his nightmares were symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from being shot multiples times in World War II. My father didn't receive treatment for his PTSD until he was 90 years old.
My father didn’t really talk about his WWII experience until he was over 80 years old. I remember my father shared with me that when he was brought back stateside after being wounded in Europe, he had to ride in the back of a segregated train while German POW’s rode on the front of the train; Nazi prisoners of war enjoyed more rights than Black American servicemen. My father fought against Nazis for so-called democracy abroad while domestically he was an oppressed 'second-class citizen' being denied his freedom (Civil Rights & Voting Rights) by the racist hypocritical American government. 

Black inductees like my father found discrimination and segregation rampant in the armed forces. Military and government officials rejected desegregation, some asserting the belief that Blacks were inferior. Segregation policies reflected the notion that Blacks didn't make adequate leaders and worked best under white supervision. The United States Army enlisted Black soldiers into separate regiments. The Navy confined Blacks to service roles as cooks, janitors, and waiters. The Marine Corps, for much of the war excluded Blacks altogether.

Army base chapels, mess halls, and entertainment centers also excluded or segregated Black soldiers. Black servicemen were sent to segregated training camps, often on military bases in the South where Black GIs were harassed for defying Jim Crow laws or, simply for wearing a military uniform. 

According to the Book ‘The Slaughter’ that alleges 1200 Black soldiers were massacred by fellow white soldiers at Camp Van Dorn in Centerville, Mississippi. A report “Lynching in America: Targeting Black Veterans,” concludes that during the period of mass lynchings “no one was more at risk of experiencing violence and targeted racial terror than Black veterans.”

Continuing to reflect on my father at his birthday gathering I thought about a conversation I had with my father when he stated that growing up in Mississippi a rabbit’s life was more valuable than a Black man’s life. He said if you shot and killed a rabbit outside of hunting season you would be put in jail, but a white man could shoot and kill a Black man anytime and would not do a day in jail! 

My father mentioned to me Black men in Mississippi were routinely lynched. Long before my father’s war bullet wounds caused his PTSD, Black men in Mississippi were already traumatized by racist lynchings. Below is a partial listing of Blacks lynched in Mississippi:

*Sloan Allen, West, December 23, 1893
*Samuel Adams, Pass Christian, November 5, 1903
*Washington Adams, Columbus, June 10, 1938
*Thomas Allen, McGee, March 11, 1899
*Wood Ambrose, Prentiss, June 11, 1906
*Alex Anderson, Grenada, March 20, 1898
*Moses Anderson, Brookfield, April 6, 1899
*Askew, Mississippi City, June 10, 1900
*Gloster Barnes, Vicksburg, October 23, 1900
*Rufus Beagley, Jackson, November 15, 1893
*Henry Bell, Greenwood, January 23, 1907
*Terry Bell, Terry, March 20, 1901
*Robert Betat, Bluff Creek, March 20, 1895
*Jack Betts, Corinth, August 13, 1900
*Thomas Bowen, Brook Haven, June 29, 1895
*Willia Boyd, Silver City, March 23, 1899
*William Bradford, Chunky, June 16, 1911
*Simon Brooks, Sardis, June 11, 1899
*Frank Brown, Tunica, September 14, 1900
*Jeff Brown, West Point, March 20, 1916
*William Brown, Tunica, September 14, 1900
*Walter Brownlee, Hinchcliff, October 15, 1913
*Robert Bryant, Vicksburg, May 3, 1903
*Thomas Burns, Hernando, November 3, 1914
*John Burr, Wesson, April 5, 1908
*Charles Burwell, Meridian, July 28, 1895
*Robby Buskin, Houston, February 9, 1909
*Louisa Carter, Jackson, November 15, 1893
*William Carter, Winston County, December 26, 1894
*William Chandler, Abbeyville, June 19, 1895
*Clark, Trail Lake, June 3, 1904
*Andrew Clark, Shubuta, December 21, 1918
*Major Clark, Shubuta, December 21, 1918
*Thomas Clark, Corinth, September 28, 1902
*Thomas Clayton, Hernando, March 10, 1900
*Sam Cole, Pea Ridge, January 7, 1898
*Alex Coleman, Starkesville, April 3, 1912
*Mimms Collier, Steenston, November 18, 1896
*James Cooper, Hemlock, May 27, 1897
*Spencer Costello, Flora, January 7, 1895
*Thomas Crompton, Centerville, October 25, 1906
*Harry Crosby, Louisville, September 21, 1913
*James Crosby, Tutwiler, March 4, 1900
*Henry Crower, Hernando, October 6, 1897
*Elmer Curl, Mastadon, June 12, 1910
*Joseph Dailey, Comorant, July 14, 1914
*Frank Davis, Lula, October 11, 1908
*Joseph Davis, Lula, October 11, 1908
*Dee Dawson, Hickory, October 10,1908
*R. W. Dawson, Natchez, June 17, 1895
*Robert Dennis, Greenville, June 4, 1903
*Bill Dukes, Natchez, August 15, 1918
*Sterling Dunham, Europa, June 26, 1904
*William Edward, Deep Creek Bridge, March 27, 1900
*G. W. Edd, Macon, May 7, 1912
*Jesse Evans, Edwards, April 16, 1897
*Zed Floyd, Tunica, September 12, 1900
*Lee Fox, Yazoo City, June 9, 1907
*William Fuller, Hickory, October 10, 1908
*Rid George, Hattiesburg, August 4, 1905
*Charles German, Belen, October 29, 1907
*Neeley Giles, Sucarnoochee, January 15, 1912
*Pary Gilliam, Aberdeen, June 28, 1897
*George Gordon, Albin, May 1, 1900
*Joseph Gordon, Greenwood, March 12, 1909
*Wesley Gould, Leland, July 12, 1898
*Ernest Green, Quitman, October 12, 1942
*James Green, Boyle, December 11, 1905
*Tom Green, Rolling Fork, July 6, 1938
*Alfred Grizzard, Tiptonville, June 21, 1889
*Haines, Belen, April 3, 1897
*Mann Hamilton, Starkesville, February 14, 1912
*Lewis Harkhead, Amite County, July 6, 1894
*Burke Harris, Cleveland, March 19, 1904
*David Harris, Rosedale, April 23, 1930
*Henry Harris, Glendora, July 19, 1905
*William Harris, Glendora, July 25, 1905
*Mose Hart, Corinth, May 20, 1903
*Stanley Hayes, Brandon, July 26, 1899
*Van Haynes, Columbia, June 2, 1917
*W. A. Healey, Jackson, November 15, 1893
*Pratt Hempton, Columbia, June 2, 1917
*Peter Henderson, Itta Bena, January 20, 1897
*A. Hicks, Rocky Springs, May 7, 1894
*Alexander Hill, Brookville, February 10, 1915
*Richard Hill, Philadelphia, September 1, 1901
*Eli Hilson, Brookhaven, December 24, 1903
*"Jet" Hinks, Lee County, November 8, 1906
*Samuel Hinson, Cushtusha, May 16, 1900
*William Hodges, Union, November 2, 1908
*Luther Holbert and his wife, Doddsville, February 7, 1904
*John Hollins, Drew, January 10, 1903
*T. W. Hollinshead, March 28, 1897
*Hood, Amite County, July 6, 1894
*James Hopkins, Glendora, December 27, 1897
*Alma House, Shubuta, December, 21, 1918
*Maggie House, Shubuta, December 21, 1918
*Pat Husband, McHenry, December 16, 1907
*Fred Isham, Macon, February 18, 1901
*Henry Isham, Macon, February 18, 1901
*Benjamin Jackson, Jackson, November 15, 1893
*Benjamin Jackson, Quincy, November 8, 1893
*Mahala Jackson, Jackson, November 15, 1893
*W. J. Jackson, Hernando, October 15, 1908
*William Jackson, Tunica, October 11, 1907
*John James, Woodville, October 10, 1905
*William James, Tallahatchie County, September 14, 1905
*Forest Jameson, Brookfield, April 6, 1899
*Cato Jarrett, Stouts Crossing, July 7, 1903
*Abe Johnson, Yazoo City, June 8, 1907
*Charles Johnson, Walnut Grove, August 17, 1902
*Edward Johnson, Vicksburg, January 20, 1915
*Elijah Johnson, Vicksburg, March 29, 1931
*Frank Johnson, Hickory, October 10, 1908
*Harry Johnson, Yazoo City, June 8, 1907
*Thomas Johnson, Hattiesburg, July 25, 1895
*Jones, Braxton, June 28, 1910
*Charles Jones, Yazoo City, September 20, 1908
*Charles Jones, Weason, December 10, 1897
*George Jones, Mayersville, September 1903
*James Jones, Macon, January 1, 1898
*Walter Jones, Harriston, September 28, 1913
*William Jones, Harriston, September 28, 1913
*William Jones, Lake Cormorant, March 6, 1898
*George Kincaid, Cleveland, June 12, 1903
*Charles Lang, Quitman, October 12, 1942
*Henry Leidy, Biloxi, November 10, 1908
*Lewis, Gulfport, December 20, 1900
*Edward Lewis, Hattiesburg, August 4, 1905
*George Linton, Brookhaven, June 28, 1894
*Pigg Lockett, Scooba, September 10, 1930
*Joseph Luflore, St. Anne, October 21, 1899
*James Martin, Bolton, December 23, 1899
*Warner Matthews, Ocean Springs, February 1, 1901
*Harvey Mayberry, Teysela, April 3, 1896
*Mayfield, Trail Lake, June 4, 1904
*Henry McAfee, Brownsville, April 19, 1900
*William McAlpin, Smith County, October 27, 1903
*Belfield McCray, Carrolton, August 1, 1901
*Betsy McCray, Carrolton, August 1, 1901
*Ida McCray, Carrolton, August 1, 1901
*John McDaniel, Smithdale, August 4, 1902
*"Bootjack" McDaniels, Winona, April 13, 1937
*John McDowell, Rankin County, September 19, 1905
*Wilder McGowan, Wiggins, November 21, 1938
*Johnson McQuirk, Love Station, February 16, 1914
*Leon McTatie, Lexington, July 22, 1946
*Meyer, Carrollton, October 27, 1907
*Mayshe Miller, Aberdeen, October 25, 1914
*Otto Mitchell, Durant, June 15, 1910
*William Mitchell, Sardis, July 16, 1915
*Pierce Moberly, Meridian, June 25, 1905
*Horace Montgomery, specific location unknown, April 11, 1909
*David Moore, Tunica, September 14, 1900
*"Judge" Moseley, Lockhart, November 7, 1911
*John M. Moses, Crystal Springs, June 25, 1897
*Horace Muller, Cookamie County, May 13, 1902
*Ready Murdock, Yazoo City, June 4, 1894
*Allen Myers, Rankin County, July 20, 1894
*Allen Nance, Greenwood, October 6, 1916
*Henry Noark, Hattiesburg, July 25, 1899
*William Ody, Clayton, July 15, 1902
*Thomas O'Neill, Meridian, April 19, 1910
*William Otis, Rawles Springs, September 20, 1899
*Mack Charles Parker, Poplarville, April 24, 1959
*Daniel Patrick, Scranton, June 20, 1899
*William Patterson, Westville, July 19, 1898
*Lawson Patton, Oxford, September 8, 1908
*Dago Pete, Tutwiler, June 3, 1900
*Sam Petty, Leland, February 24, 1914
*Theodore Picket, Jackson, July 6, 1895
*Eli Pigatt, Brookhaven, February 10, 1908
*David Poe, Van Cleave, March 10, 1908
*Augustus Pond, Tupelo, July 7, 1894
*Goerge Pond, Fulton, July 6, 1894
*William Price Carrolton, August 4, 1901
*Thomas Ranston, Van Cleave, March 10, 1908
*Henry Ratcliff, Gloster, May 1, 1900
*C. C. Reed, Silver City, March 23, 1899
*Alt Rees, Rosetta, September 1, 1905
*Bush Riley, Tallula, January 14, 1904
*George Robinson, Raymond, August 15, 1930
*George Robinson, Tunica, October 11, 1907
*William Robinson, Greenville, August 17, 1909
*William Robinson, Lambert, June 27, 1913
*Joe Rodgers, Canton, May 8, 1939
*Fayette Sawyer, Cleveland, March 19, 1904
*Saybrick, Fishers Ferry, March 30, 1894
*James Sellers, Pittsboro, July 28, 1897
*Rev. Isaac Simmons, Liberty, March 26, 1944
*David Simms, Coahoma, November 22, 1905
*Sam Simms, Jackson, May 8, 1906
*James Shoots, Tunica, October 11, 1907
*Claud Singleton, Poplarville, April 20, 1918
*Frank Smith, Newton, November 11, 1893
*Henry Smith, Clinton, May 29, 1894
*William Stern, Rosemeath, September 6, 1899
*Frederick Sullivan, Byhalia, November 24, 1914
*Mrs. Frederick Sullivan, Byhalia, November 25, 1914
*Henry Sykes, Van Vleet, October 23, 1907
*John Taylor, Aberdeen, November 12, 1915
*Andrew Thomas, Scranton, July 18, 1895
*Henry Thomas, Bolar, January 21, 1889
*Luke Thomas, Biloxi, June 15, 1894
*Nicholas Thompson, Armory, September 1, 1910
*Emmett Till, Monez, August 28, 1955
*Samuel Towner, Alligator, July 15, 1913
*Roosevelt Townes, Winona, April 13, 1937
*Andrew Trice, Olive Branch, July 20, 1907
*Jesse Tucker, Houston, July 10, 1904
*Van Horne, Trail Lake, June 3, 1904
*Mulloch Walker, Corinth, August 11, 1898
*Thomas Waller, Brookhaven, December 16, 1897
*Howard Wash, Laurel, October 17, 1942
*Sam Washington, Vicksburg, July 29, 1907
*James Watts, Pea Ridge, January 7, 1898
*Willie Webb, Drew, February 23, 1913
*Frank West, Bolton, December 23, 1899
*White, Tallahatchie County, December 6, 1898
*Holly White, Scooba, September 10, 1930
*Steve Wiley, Inverness, March 22, 1931
*Andrew Williams, Houston, February 7, 1913
*John Williams, Ittababa, August 28, 1908
*Lewis Williams, Hewitt Springs, June 9, 1894
*Will Williams, Centerville, September, 1903
*William Williams, Hamburg, October 16, 1897
*"Pink" Willis, Poplarville, Janaury 16, 1909
*Minor Wilson, Silver City, March 23, 1899
*William Wilson, Port Gibson, August 11, 1899
*Malachi Wright, Houston, July 9, 1949
*Moses York, Tunica, April 16, 1900
*Henry Young, Lake Cormorant, August 4, 1905
*Perry Young, Winona, June 27, 1896
*Wes Young, Valley Park, December 5, 1906
*John Youngblood, Summit, November 20, 1902
*George Younger, Columbus, May 23, 1906

Saturday, July 7, 2018

James Cone A Remarkable Black Man Dedicating His Life to Black Liberation Theology

By Kenny Anderson

James Cone August 5, 1936 - April 28, 2018
Back in the early 1980’s as a young Black community activists I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with the great Black theologian James Cone who had given a lecture at Eastern Michigan University. I didn't realize it at the time that me and Brother Cone were born on the same day August 5th

Since Brother Cone’s recent death (4-28-18) I’ve been in a deep reflective mode rereading and reanalyzing this now honorable Ancestor’s great works. Many refer to Brother Cone as the father of Black Liberation Theology, from my perspective James Cone did not open the door to Black Liberation Theology he was a dedicated proponent of it; he continued in the vein of his freedom-fighting liberation theology forefathers the likes of David Walker who wrote ‘The Appeal’ (1829) and Henry Highland Garnett who gave one of the greatest speeches ‘An Address To The Slaves Of The United States’ (1843). 

The two greatest Black Christian theologians in my life time has been Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and James Cone, both articulated that the message of liberation was at the core of the gospel. Brother James Cone vigorously articulated throughout his life of God’s radical identification with the liberation of Black people in the United States. Brother Cone’s first book was ‘Black Theology & Black Power’ (1969), continuing with ‘A Black Theology of Liberation’ (1970), and ‘God of the Oppressed’ (1975). 

Cone’s most recently published book 'The Cross and the Lynching Tree' (2011) won the 2018 Grawemeyer Award in Religion, the following is a quote from the book:
“While white mob violence against African Americans was an obsession in the South, it was not limited to that region. White supremacy was and is an American reality. Whites lynched Blacks in nearly every state, including New York, Minnesota, and California. Wherever blacks were present in significant numbers, the threat of being lynched was always real. Blacks had to “watch their step,” no matter where they were in America. A Black man could be walking down the road, minding his business, and his life could suddenly change by meeting a white man or a group of white men or boys who on a whim decided to have some fun with a Negro; and this could happen in Mississippi or New York, Arkansas, or Illinois. By the 1890s, lynching fever gripped the South, spreading like cholera, as white communities made Blacks their primary target, and torture their focus. Burning the Black victim slowly for hours was the chief method of torture. Lynching became a white media spectacle, in which prominent newspapers, like the Atlanta Constitution, announced to the public the place, date, and time of the expected hanging and burning of Black victims. Often as many as ten to twenty thousand men, women, and children attended the event. It was a family affair, a ritual celebration of white supremacy, where women and children were often given the first opportunity to torture black victims burning Black flesh and cutting off genitals, fingers, toes, and ears as souvenirs. Postcards were made from the photographs taken of Black victims with white lynchers and onlookers smiling as they struck a pose for the camera. They were sold for ten to twenty-five cents to members of the crowd, who then mailed them to relatives and friends, often with a note saying something like this: “This is the barbeque we had last night.”

“The lynching tree so strikingly similar to the cross on Golgotha should have a prominent place in American images of Jesus’ death. But it does not. In fact, the lynching tree has no place in American theological reflections bout Jesus’ cross or in the proclamation of Christian churches about his Passion. The conspicuous absence of the lynching tree in American theological discourse and preaching is profoundly revealing, especially since the crucifixion was clearly a first-century lynching. In the “lynching era,” between 1880 to 1940, white Christians lynched nearly five thousand black men and women in a manner with obvious echoes oaf the Roman crucifixion of Jesus. Yet these “Christians” did not see the irony or contradiction in their actions.”  - James Cone

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Only Way Black Men Get Recognized as Being Victimized is When You're Dead

By Andrea Park
Just one day after news broke that Fox is canceling "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," Terry Crews is staying positive, pointing out to CBS News that the show lasted for more than 100 episodes. The actor, who plays Sgt. Terry Jeffords, said, "I'm super proud of all we've done and if by some incarnation we can come back in some kind of way another network or something I'm jumping at the chance, but as it stands right now, we are gone, and I'm not mad."

Crews says he's grateful for the run the show's had and says it's been "a privilege" to play a feminist, self-aware cop who loves his family. Crews tells CBS News he has a lot in common with his character, including their approach toward masculinity.

"As a man, you have to be invincible, which is impossible, and that's the thing that really, really resonates with a lot of people - Terry Jeffords is not ashamed to say what he's scared of, and he doesn't even have to hide it through bravado," Crews says. "Terry's just like, 'I'm very, very scared right now and that's OK. We can talk about it and deal with it.' I see a lot of me in that, especially since I came out and went through all my therapy. I've been so transparent and able to do the same thing and just say what could hurt me and how I've been hurt."

Crews, who wrote a book called "Manhood" in 2014, was one of the few men in Hollywood to tell his story as part of the #MeToo movement. He and Tarana Burke, the founder of #MeToo, are being honored on Tuesday by Safe Horizon, an organization that works with victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault and human trafficking.

He says he got "choked up" meeting Burke at the Oscars. "Fear begets fear, but courage begets courage," says Crews. "Her courage spread like a wildfire. Her stand against this activity, this kind of violence, this kind of manipulation was so strong that it's still reverberating right now. It's this fearlessness the changes the world and to be honored at the same event with her it's one of the greatest honors of my life." He says Burke is like a sister to him and adds, "Those who've been victimized we're kind of our own little family. We're not going to be quiet. We're not going to be silent."

Last year, Crews made headlines when he said that in February 2016, Adam Venit, the former longtime head of William Morris Endeavor's motion picture group, groped his genitals at a Hollywood event. Though he didn't make his accusations public at first, Crews says he felt like he had to come forward when people started maligning women who spoke up in the #MeToo movement.

"People were calling the women opportunists, gold-diggers, 'They just want a payday' or 'Why are they coming forward now?'" he explains. "And I'm going, 'Anybody who's behind enemy lines needs to get to a safe spot.' I couldn't stand it. I had to lend my voice, because it happened to me, and people were saying, 'These women are crazy,' and I said I gotta lend my voice to this." Crews says that when the incident happened, he felt he was in a particularly vulnerable position as a black man up against one of Hollywood's most powerful players.

"Look at who I am," he told CBS News. "I am 240 pounds, about 3 to 4 percent body fat. If I would have hit him, imagine, in the mouth or the eye and he had any sort of injury I told the president of William Morris Endeavor, 'If I had hurt him, would you give me any mercy?' And you know what he said? 'Nope. No.' 

"When you look at black men in society, the only way you get recognized as being victimized is when you're dead. Anything before death is, 'You should walk it off.' Or if a guy shot you, 'What were you doing that you got shot? Why were you there, that someone shot you in the back?" 

Crews says people often ask him why he did not hit Venit. "This guy said, 'Terry Crews' career isn't even all that, for him to get felt on and not fight back,'" recalls Crews. "But I thought, 'But my family is all that. My wife and kids are all that. I don't want my daughters seeing me in jail.' I'm a 48-year-old big, giant, grown man and he's [a partner] at William Morris Endeavor and [if] I knock him out, am I getting mercy? I know how this story goes. 'This is America,' as Donald Glover says." 

Crews says when he complained to WME, Venit called him with a brief apology and nothing came of the complaint until after he aired his grievances in public. Terry Crews sues talent agency WME for groping incident. "You're an agent," Crews says of WME. "Your whole purpose is to protect us. If you abuse us, who do we go to now?"

Since Crews went public with his accusations, WME suspended Venit for a month last year and stripped him of his department head title. In March, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office announced that they were not pursuing charges against Venit, saying,"Given that the suspect did not make contact with the victim's skin when he grabbed the victim's genitals and there is no restraint involved, a felony filing is declined." Afterward, the Los Angeles City Attorney declined to pursue misdemeanor charges because the case exceeded the statute of limitations, reports Variety.

Crews responds, "You can just grab people through their clothing in front of everyone? And the thing is, what he did is considered a misdemeanor and the statute of limitations had run out, but if I had reacted violently that would be a felony. It's a trap, and all I could think about was all the young black men in jail right now who were probably reacting to things that were done to them." Crews is pursuing a civil case against Venit.

Crews says that ironically, Russell Simmons, who has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault and rape, was one of the people who asked him to drop his case against Venit and WME. He also says people at WME told him that what happened was no big deal and to "let it go." "I was like, this is what women go through all the time," he says. "This is the gaslight."

The actor says Safe Horizon provides services to victims who may not have the same strong support network he had. Crews says the key to healing is to overcome the feeling of shame. "I tell people all the time, get rid of the shame," he says. "Don't hold it, because it's not yours. It's never yours."

The actor says he also wants people in the black community to change their attitudes about masculinity. "Black men, you are seen as invincible. There's this thing that doesn't exist somehow bullets are supposed to ricochet off your chest," says Crews. "As a black man, I look in my own culture and we're telling each other stories that why do we believe them? The fact that getting therapy is seen as weak."

Crews is concerned that this mindset stops victims from sharing their stories about assault or molestation, and points to R. Kelly's long career as proof that there was a "complicit system" surrounding the singer, who has been accused of sexual abuse by several women.

But Crews is hopeful for the future where male victims will feel empowered to speak out. "They're coming. But they're scared, you know, and I understand."

He also has a message for perpetrators of sexual abuse and those who've protected them. "Healing can't happen until there's concession," he says. "Until somebody says, 'We messed up. We're sorry and we ought to make up for it,' and then everything can move forward."

Friday, March 23, 2018

Another Unarmed Young Adult Black Man Murdered By Police

by Kenray Ogun Sunyaru

Another unarmed young adult Black man Stephon Clark was gunned-down like a 'buck deer' by police hunters on Sunday March 18th, 2018. 

Clark was shot and killed by Sacramento, California police in his backyard after officers said he advanced toward them holding an object 'gun', he had no weapon only a cellphone. Clark's grandmother heard the 21 fatal shots.  

The police who murdered Clark along with police around the country who constantly murder unarmed Black men show very-very little restraint. In contrast police show tremendous restraint when it comes to armed young adult white males.

For example on February 14th 2018 Nikolas Cruz a 19-year-old white male used a semiautomatic assault rifle and killed 17 students at a High School in Parkland, Florida; Cruze after committing mass murder was apprehended alive. 

Indeed, White police are unrestrained in killing unarmed Black men, Montclair State University scientist John Paul Wilson says Black men are more likely to be shot fatally by police:

“Unarmed Black men are disproportionately more likely to be shot and killed by police, and often these killings are accompanied by explanations that cite the physical size of the person shot. Our research suggests that these descriptions may reflect stereotypes of Black males that do not seem to comport with reality.” 

In a 2017 study by Mapping Police Violence shows that Black people accounted for 27 percent of the people killed by law enforcement officers. Of the unarmed victims of police violence, Blacks made up 37 percent, almost three times their percentage of the U.S. population (13 percent). 

Of the people who were unarmed and not attacking and were still killed by cops 35 percent were Black. White males were the least likely to have been unarmed when killed by police at just under 20 percent.

A 2015 meta-analysis study that was published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, showed that people are more likely to shoot at a Black target than at a white target.

In that study, researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign analyzed 42 studies and found that, compared to white targets, people are quicker to shoot armed Black targets, slower to not shoot unarmed Black targets, and more likely to have a liberal shooting threshold for Black targets overall.

The police who shot Clark have been placed on paid leave and more than likely won't be charged for murder. Data from the Washington Post, Fatal Encounters, The Guardian and, and the National Police Misconduct Reporting Project from 2007 to 2017 found only three cases of a white police officer serving time for killing an African American.

The police murder of Stephon Clark is a constant reminder that every day Black men in America especially young adults lives 'hang in the balance'. Moreover the murder of Clark shows that as Black folks our voices and protests to end harassment, brutality, and murders are not getting through to the police. Will they ever?

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Young African American men are Perceived to be More Heavier, More Stronger, and More Dangerous

by Tanasia Kenney 

According to a recent study young African American men are perceived to be more heavier, more stronger, and more dangerous than young white men of similar size. 

The new research, published by the American Psychological Association (March 2017) also revealed that participants felt police were more justified in wielding force against Black people rather than white ones. 

Researchers, led by Montclair State University scientist John Paul Wilson, Ph.D, suggested the findings might help explain why Black men are more likely to be shot by police and shed light on the “disturbing consequences” of how law enforcement officials interact with African-American men and boys.

“Unarmed Black men are disproportionately more likely to be shot and killed by police, and often these killings are accompanied by explanations that cite the physical size of the person shot,” Wilson said. “Our research suggests that these descriptions may reflect stereotypes of Black males that do not seem to comport with reality.”

Wilson and his team of scientists ran a series of experiments involving more than 950 online participants, during which they were shown a number of photos featuring the faces of African-American and white males who were equal in both height and weight, according to the study. 

Participants were then asked to guesstimate the height, weight, strength and overall muscular build of the men pictured. Researchers soon made the concerning realization that the estimates for these areas were consistently biased. 

For instance, in one experiment where participants were shown equally sized bodies labeled either Black or white, they were more likely to perceive the Black ones as taller or heavier.

Men who had stereotypical Black facial features (a wide-set nose, fuller lips, etc.) also were viewed as stronger and more capable of causing harm in a hypothetical altercation, the study revealed. 

Such biased perceptions of a Black male’s strength even led some participants to believe police were more warranted to use force against Black people.

In the study, researchers cited the case of Dontre Hamilton, a mentally disabled Black man who was shot and killed by police in 2014 after an officer fired his gun at least 14 times. The officer, Christoper Manney, described 31-year-old Hamilton as a man of “muscular build” who could’ve easily overpowered him. In actuality, Hamilton was only 5’7″ and 169 pounds.

This same bias was apparent in the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, who was described as a Black “man” playing with a gun in a park.

Size bias wasn’t just consistent among white participants, however. Some Black participants held the bias, as well. While African-Americans saw Black males as bigger and more muscular than young white men, they didn’t perceive them to be more dangerous or deserving of force, according to the research.

While the study’s findings suggest that misperceptions about Black men’s size could possibly play a role in police decisions to shoot, Wilson cautioned that the research does not simulate “real-world threat scenarios,” adding that further studies need to be conducted on how racial bias affects lethal encounters with police.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

This Article on Heart Disease is in Memory of my Friend Ronald Collins

Rest in Peace Brother Ron!
by Kenny Anderson

In early 2016 I was a 58 year-old Black man headed toward a certain quick heart attack death. I was suffering from coronary artery disease, having 4 completely blocked arteries - I had to have emergency open heart bypass surgery. 

Though I didn’t know I had this type of massive blockage in my blood vessels, it was not surprising because as a Black man I had been under stress my whole adult life. I personally believe based on living and research that 'stress is the major contributor' to why Black males have the highest death rates from heart disease in this country.

Prior to my surgery I did know that heart disease was prominent in my family history and that Blacks had the highest heart disease rate in the U.S. and one of the highest rates in the world. I've also known for some time about the 'stress impact of racism' on Black heart disease.  

During my post-surgery cardiac rehabilitation I made a commitment to take the lead in reducing the extremely high rates of African American heart disease, thus I started Black Hearts Matter. In the past year 10 Black males I knew died from heart disease mainly ‘heart attacks’ and 85% were under the age of 60.

Just the first week of this month another Black man I know Ronald Collins who was under age 60 died from heart disease  -  complications of congestive heart failure. 
Collin's was a solid good, down to earth 'tell it like it is Brother'; he was a math teacher and a football coach; he was a positive influential force in teaching, supporting, and guiding Black students, particularly young Black males.

Ronald Collins untimely death is hurtful but it further motivates me to carry on the work as a Black heart disease reduction advocate. For me the disproportionately high Black death rates from chronic diseases is the unfinished business of the Civil Rights struggle and the new battle front. Martin Luther King Jr. stated: "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane."

Some Blacks will say that God called Ron home; some will say it was just his time to go, I disagree with these fatalistic views. From my perspective, I believe that as Blacks we can prevent heart disease premature deaths through healthy lifestyle changes, heart awareness, and reducing heart disease risk factors: stress, hypertension, obesity, and the ignorance of heart attack and heart failure symptoms.

Indeed, African Americans are disproportionately affected by heart failure. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine noted that congestive heart failure is hitting African Americans in their 30's and 40's at the same rate as Whites in their 50's and 60's.

A 2013 study by the American Heart Association shows that African Americans are lagging significantly behind when it comes to knowing what the risk factors for heart disease thus making us more vulnerable to deaths from heart attacks and heart failure.

As Black folks we must understand that knowing the symptoms of heart failure and heart attacks can save our lives! 

Heart failure signs and symptoms may include:

*Shortness of breath when you exert yourself or when you lie down

*Fatigue and weakness

*Swelling (edema) in your legs, ankles and feet

*Rapid or irregular heartbeat

*Reduced ability to exercise

*Persistent cough or wheezing with white or pink blood-tinged phlegm

*Increased need to urinate at night

*Swelling of your abdomen

*Sudden weight gain from fluid retention

*Lack of appetite and nausea

*Difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness

*Sudden, severe shortness of breath and coughing up pink, foamy mucus

*Chest pain if your heart failure is caused by a heart attack 

Heart Attack Symptoms

The symptoms of a heart attack can vary from person to person. Some people can have few symptoms and are surprised to learn they've had a heart attack. It is important that we know the most common symptoms of a heart attack and also remember these facts:

*Heart attacks can start slowly and cause only mild pain or discomfort. Symptoms can be mild or more intense and sudden. Symptoms also may come and go over several hours.

*People who have high blood sugar (diabetes) may have no symptoms or very mild ones. The most common symptom, in both men and women, is chest pain or discomfort. 

*Women are somewhat more likely to have shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, unusual tiredness (sometimes for days), and pain in the back, shoulders, and jaw.

Some people don't have symptoms at all. Heart attacks that occur without any symptoms or with very mild symptoms are called silent heart attacks.

The most common warning symptoms of a heart attack for both men and women are:

*Chest pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest. The discomfort usually lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. It also can feel like heartburn or indigestion. The feeling can be mild or severe.

*Upper body discomfort. You may feel pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, shoulders, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach (above the belly button).

*Shortness of breath. This may be your only symptom, or it may occur before or along with chest pain or discomfort. It can occur when you are resting or doing a little bit of physical activity.

The symptoms of angina can be similar to the symptoms of a heart attack. Angina is chest pain that occurs in people who have coronary heart disease, usually when they're active. Angina pain usually lasts for only a few minutes and goes away with rest.

Chest pain or discomfort that doesn't go away or changes from its usual pattern (for example, occurs more often or while you're resting) can be a sign of a heart attack. All chest pain should be checked by a doctor.

Pay attention to these other possible symptoms of a heart attack: 

*Breaking out in a cold sweat

*Feeling unusually tired for no reason, sometimes for days (especially if you are a woman)

*Nausea (feeling sick to the stomach) and vomiting

*Light-headedness or sudden dizziness

Any sudden, new symptoms or a change in the pattern of symptoms you already have (for example, if your symptoms become stronger or last longer than usual)

Not everyone having a heart attack has typical symptoms. If you've already had a heart attack, your symptoms may not be the same for another one. However, some people may have a pattern of symptoms that recur. The more signs and symptoms you have, the more likely it is that you're having a heart attack.

Quick Action Can Save Your Life: Call 9–1–1 

The signs and symptoms of a heart attack can develop suddenly. However, they also can develop slowly - sometimes within hours, days, or weeks of a heart attack.

Any time you think you might be having heart attack symptoms or a heart attack, don't ignore it or feel embarrassed to call for help. Call 9–1–1 for emergency medical care, even if you are not sure whether you're having a heart attack.

Acting fast can save your life!

An ambulance is the best and safest way to get to the hospital. Emergency medical services (EMS) personnel can check how you are doing and start life-saving medicines and other treatments right away. People who arrive by ambulance often receive faster treatment at the hospital.

The 9–1–1 operator or EMS technician can give you advice. You might be told to crush or chew an aspirin if you're not allergic, unless there is a medical reason for you not to take one. Aspirin taken during a heart attack can limit the damage to your heart and save your life.

Every minute matters. Never delay calling 9–1–1 to take aspirin or do anything else you think might help.

Black men our 'Hearts' are our source of Life;
Because we don't have to think for
our Hearts to beat we can easily take our
Heart for granted and we do;
Practice heart mindfulness. 
Your Heart is precious, take care of it!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Black Males in American Continue to be an Endangered Species

by Kenny Anderson

In his book, “The Myth of Male Power”, popular white male issues author Warren Farrell states: “The Black man is sometimes called an endan­gered species but receives little of the protection an endangered species is normally accorded.”

As Black males, we need to seriously reflect on the words endangered species’ that many social analysts are using to describe our peril in America. When I think of the words ‘endangered species’ I immediately think of a life form that is facing extinction; when I think of an endangered species the spotted owl comes to mind.

Many social analysts have looked at the quality of life data on Black men, concluding our future looks bleak. Many economists refer to Black men as be­coming economically obsolete in America due to domestic immigrant workers and international cheap labor.

The two words ‘endangered’ and ‘obsolete’ are powerful, grim terms de­scribing our fate. According to a report of the National Criminal Justice Commis­sion on Imprisonment and Race; if current incarceration rates continue, by the year 2020 – 63.3% of all Black men in the U.S. ages 18-34 will be behind bars.

The fact that so many Black men end up jobless or in prison is not sur­prising to scholars like Jewelle Taylor-Gibbs; for her, Black males in America are ‘at-risk’ from inception:

“Black males are endangered even before they are born, since male fetuses are more likely to spontaneously abort; this vulnerability character­izes their health and mental health for the rest of their lives, particularly during adolescence and young adulthood. If Black males survive the high infant mortality rates, which are nearly double the rates for white infants, they are more likely to ex­perience problems associated with low birth weight and lack of preventative health care. They are less likely to be immunized against infectious childhood diseases such as diphtheria, polio, measles, rubella, and mumps. They are more likely to have chronic illnesses and higher rates of psychological or behavioral problems. They are less likely to have access to regular medical and dental care. They are more likely to suffer from poor nutrition and related health problems. And most tragic of all statistics, they are more likely to die before age 20 than any other sex-age group.”

Indeed, from birth too many Black males lives are in jeopardy. From my perspective, psychologically speaking, most Black males are socialized with en­dangering traits, which results in self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors that compounds the external racial oppression that jeopardizes their lives.

As a social work psychotherapist, who has provided behavioral prevention and intervention services to at-risk Black male youth for over 25 years, I’ve wit­nessed firsthand the negative consequences of these jeopardizing traits. I’ve seen too many young Black males become teen fathers, under-achieve, drop out of school, use drugs, engage in criminal activities, end up dead, or incarcerated.

Based on the ‘psychological insights’ from my own socialization as a Black man and from my counseling experiences with young Black males, I’ve identified several jeopardizing traits that I define as the ‘S-Traits Syndrome’ (STS); words beginning with the letter S which provide psycho-analytical insights. The S-Traits Syndrome is a group of socialized symptoms, self-limiting character traits that make up most Black males’ personalities.

Though there are nine S-Traits Syndrome terms, I will mention all of them, but I’ll only ad­dress three in some detail; the terms are:

*Slickness (manipulation, criminal-minded)

*Stud (womanizing, sexual conquests)

*Substance-Abusing (using and selling drugs)

*Sportsmen (jock mentality)

*Styling (preoccupation in obtaining expensive vehicles, clothes, shoes, and jewelry)

*Smoothness (cool pose; masking and posturing)

*Silliness (comedian attitude, non-serious)

*Sensationalizing (fantasy thinking, exaggeration)

*Set-tripping (Gangs, promoting sectarian violence)

From this list and from my experience and perspective, sportsmen, silli­ness, and sensationalizing have the greatest detrimental effects on adolescent Black males.

First, is the trait of sportsmen. When I interact with young Black males psycho-educationally in the classroom, the overwhelming majority are preoccupied talking about sports, particularly basketball. They’re constantly talking about pro­fessional basketball players in the NBA like Steph Currey, Kevin Durrant, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, and others.

Young Black males constantly talking about and try to purchase the expensive jerseys and gym shoes these hoop stars wear. They’re not concerned with education, schoolwork, or homework. They’re concerned with playing basketball in gym during school and playing after school; as H. Rap Brown stated:

“So to us the most important thing was to excel in athletics. Recess was the most essential part of the school day, for we could practice our skills. One play could make or break you. We all lived for the big play. For many it never came.” 

At home Black boys spend significant time watching basketball on televi­sion or playing basketball video games. In his excellent book "Hooked On Hoops” author Kevin McNutt provides a psychological reason why so many young Black males are consumed with basketball, he says:

“The rewards and jubilation of the game, the made basket, are immediate, simple, definite, quick, and repetitive. When you contrast that with the struggles of day-to-day survival that Black youth face with invisibility, hopelessness, and low self-esteem, it becomes quite clear how an es­cape to the neighborhood playground is neces­sary just to make it through the day.”

According to a study done by Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society, two-thirds of all African American males between the ages of 13 and 18 believe that they can earn a living as professional athletes. This is a stunning statistic, considering that the actual chance of a high school athlete ever playing at the professional level is slim.

Data from the Children’s Defense Fund shows a Black boy today has less than a 1 in 4,600 chance of becoming an NBA player. They have a greater chance, 1 in 2000, of getting a PhD. in mathematics, engineering, or the physical sciences; a 1 in 548 chance of becoming a doctor; a 1 in 195 chance of becoming a lawyer; and a 1 in 53 chance of becoming a teacher.

In his book, “Darwin’s Athletes: How Sport Has Damaged Black America and Preserved the Myth of Race”, John Hoberman, a historian at the University of Texas, argues that a growing obsession with professional sports among young African American males is destroying Black America. The root of the problem, he writes, is that:

“Black athleticism has complicated the identity problems of Black Americans by making athletes the most prominent symbols of African American achievement.”

This obsession with ‘hoop dreams’ causes so many young Black male students to become one-dimensional, focusing only on basketball; minimizing their education; ignoring their other academic talents and potentials.

Second, is the trait of silliness. Conducting psycho-education sessions with young Black males today, I find the overwhelming majority of them extremely silly, constantly joking – everything is funny! 

Filled with laughter, their ‘over-humorous’ disposition makes them non-sensical and trivializing; lacking any seri­ousness about their schoolwork (studying, homework, test preparation, etc.), their behaviors, their plight, and their futures.

Often times being hilarious is a self-distraction from poor grades and learning problems. For them poking fun and buffoonery is more than immaturity and getting attention, it reflects the influences of influential Black male images to­day, comedians.

Black male comedians, comic actors, like Kevin Hart, Steve Harvey, Cedric the En­tertainer, Bernie Mack, D.L. Hughley, Shawn and Marlin Wayan, Jamie Fox, Martin Lawrence, Chris Tucker, and Chris Rock are dominant images on television. There is also the very popular, ‘Comic View’ on Black Entertainment Television (BET), hosted by ‘Bruce-Bruce’.

Young Black males’ minds are saturated with Black male comedy, so there is no surprise that they want to ‘clown’ all the time in school. According to psychologist Naim Akbar, the pervasive clowning attitude of young Black males, though more extreme today, is nothing new, their behavioral root is the slave plantation; as Akbar highlights:

“Another serious handicap which we inherited from slavery is the African American clown. One of the primary forms of remaining in favor with the slave master by the slave was to provide entertainment for the master and his household. It is easy to observe that man exults in his supe­riority over lower animals by teaching them to do tricks and being entertained by those tricks. In much the same way, the slave owner prided himself in his superiority by being entertained by the slave. Writers have long pointed to the jester, the clown, or the fool, as the inferior one who was responsible for making his superior laugh. Using a person for your clown has always been one of the major ways to assert your dominance over a person. Mockery is one of the more so­phisticated forms of humiliation. Great favors of leniency and special rewards were given to the clowning slave. He enjoyed a special status above the other slaves because he kept his master entertained. Even the Arts, music and dance, which had originally been used for self-expression and community recreation, became devices that were used by the slave to protect himself from the master’s anger. Fiddler, in the TV drama “Roots”, was a colorful example of this manipulative function of the clown. Clowning and buffoonery became one of the primary ways that the violent and abusive slave master could be controlled and manipulated.”

Since slavery, Black men have also used ‘clowning’ as a survival defense mechanism. Adolescent Black males today, though not conscious of it, use con­stant joking in the same manner; to make light of the heaviness of racial oppres­sion; to ease tensions and burdens; and to laugh when they really want to cry.

Third, when the young Black males I counsel are not ‘full of jokes’, they are ‘full of fantasy’, sensationalizing. Daily I hear them lie, brag, boast, and over-exaggerate. This sensationalizing attitude is understandable due to the bombard­ment of their minds with the self-glorifying fantasy lyrics of rap music and rap vid­eos that show young Black males who are ‘ghetto fabulous’; who live the lifestyles of the rich and famous; who have all the beautiful and sexy women; who are larger than life crime bosses and ‘hard-core’ gangsters; who are arrogant and indestruc­tible.

In his book, “The Violent Social World of Black Men”, professor William Oliver defines young Black males’ fantasy, sensational attitude as compulsive masculinity:

“The term compulsive masculinity alternative de-scribes a compensatory adaptation that many lower-class Black males adopt to cover up their inability to meet the standards of the traditional masculine role. Since other symbols of masculin­ity have been denied to too many Black males, the status conferral system in Black life attributes high levels of esteem to those males able to demonstrate their proficiency in fighting and sex­ual exploitation of Black women. But instead of being an effective strategy to cope with environ­mental stress such as racial discrimination, eco­nomic exclusion, and low self-esteem, the com­pulsive masculinity alternative is a dysfunctional compensatory adaptation. Rather than solving problems in the environment, it creates additional ones.”

Young Black males, like adult Black males, with sensational attitudes are based on inverted thinking: converting socio-economic powerlessness, depend­ency, and feelings of insecurity into an exaggerated sense of self. Indeed, this at­titude of exaggerated manhood creates personality problems.

According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), an exaggeration of the importance of one’s experiences and feelings is a clinical characteristic of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Other characteristics of NPD that young Black males with sensationalized thinking exhibit are: grandiosity, preoccupation with fame, wealth, and achievement; and excessive emphasis on displaying beauty and power (‘living large’).

Moreover, sensational thinking young Black males like individuals with NPD are often envious of others and believe others to be envious of them (‘player-hating’). They also believe that they are superior and that others should give them deference (‘all that’ mentality).

Furthermore, many young Black males with sensational outlooks believe unrealistically they are ‘hard-core’, invincible (can’t be ‘touched’ or ‘faded’), result­ing in them living irrationally and recklessly; they usually wind up being shot, mur­dered, or imprisoned.

From my perspective sensational thinking, exaggerated manhood, like the other S-Traits, are not mental disorders in the typical DSM sense, but dysfunc­tional coping characteristics of reactionary Black manhood, like H. Rap Brown (Jamil Al-Amin) stated:

“So much of the life story of any Negro growing up in America is the story of what has been done to him and how he reacts to that. That’s it, the White man acts Negroes react.”

What has been done and continues to be done to Black men is racial op­pression, which is pathology producing. As Black men we must struggle against the S-Traits Syndrome; this reactionary behavior is self-oppressing; self-defeating, self-destructive, and self-endangering.

We must struggle against, constructively criticize, and remove the domi­nant sportsmen, silliness, and sensationalizing S-Traits in young Black males so they won’t continue to self-perpetuate internal endangerment.

In ending, several years ago a white man, an animal activist, climbed a towering redwood tree in the Oregon forest to protest and prevent lumber compa­nies from cutting down more redwood trees that the endangered spotted owl in­habits. His committed activism led to the reduction of redwood trees being cut down.

Do we have similar Black male activists committed to saving and preserv­ing endangered young Black men? Do we have committed Black male activists who would lie down in the street in front of the White House, halting traffic to get the federal government’s attention to immediately address the plight of endan­gered Black male youth?