The Body of Black America

This is not a traditional blog post, this is a collection of research quotes that I put together to show the conditions of Black America. I put myself in the position of a doctor and did a complete physical. I used global Warming later as a comparable issue to poverty in terms of the actions taken to create a cleaner world. Similar actions can lead to improved living conditions for Blacks in America. Sources available upon request.

Health Report pt.1

“With respect to homeownership, unemployment, and incarceration, America has failed to deliver any progress for African Americans over the last five decades. In these areas, their situation has either failed to improve relative to whites or has worsened. In 2017, the Black unemployment rate was 7.5 percent, up from 6.7 percent in 1968, and is roughly twice the white unemployment rate. In 2015, the Black home ownership rate was just over 40 percent, virtually unchanged since 1968, and trailing a full 30 points behind the white home ownership rate, which saw modest gains over the same period. And the share of African Americans in prison or jail almost tripled between 1968 and 2016 and is currently more than six times the white incarceration rate.”

“The unemployment rate for African Americans in 2017 was 7.5 percent, 0.8 percent points higher than it was in 1968 (6.7 percent). The unemployment rate for whites was 3.8 percent in 2017 and 3.2 percent in 1968. The unemployment data for these two years, almost 50 years apart, demonstrate a longstanding and unfortunate regularity: the unemployment rate for black workers is consistently about twice as high as it is for white workers.”

“The share of African Americans in prison or jail almost tripled between 1968 (604 of every 100,000 in the population ) and 2016 (1,730 per 100,000). The share of whites in prison or jail has also increased dramatically, but from a much lower base. In 1968, about 111 of every 100,000 whites were incarcerated. In the most recent data, the share has increased to 270 per 100,000. In 1968, African Americans were about 5.4 times as likely as whites to be in prison or jail. Today, African Americans are 6.4 times as likely as whites to be incarcerated, which is especially troubling given that whites are also much more likely to be incarcerated now than they were in 1968.”

“In relative terms, however, African Americans have fallen behind. In 1968, black infants were about 1.9 times as likely to die as white infants. Today, the rate is 2.3 times higher for African Americans.”

“Sweeping events like a major war or depression can define circumstances, shape attitudes, and effect behaviors. We contend the Crack Era had this type of an impact, especially in the inner city.”

“Crack represented a major distraction contributing to child abuse, neglect and abandonment of parental responsibilities. Children born to crack users had a challenging home life. Even stable inner-city households were greatly affected by the Crack Era.”

“From a problems perspective, the challenges faced by distressed African American families as they emerge from the Crack Era are profound and complex. Children from households like these have been becoming the parents of the next generation of African Americans in the inner-city. Many of these young adults inherited from their parents structural disadvantages, poor preparation for a conventional lifestyle, and counterproductive behaviors based in non-conventional subcultures. Moreover the legacy of the Crack Era has left profound deficits in kin support networks. Many of the older relatives who might have otherwise helped are unavailable due to persistent drug use, poor health, imprisonment, and death stemming from crack use and drug sales. These young parents face major challenges in obtaining and maintaining jobs that could lift them and their families out of poverty.”

“However, many African American families are still feeling the effects of a long history of structural disadvantages as well as the residual consequences of the Crack Era.”

The Warnings

“Long before the depression Negroes in the South were losing “Negro” jobs, those assigned them by common custom-poorly paid and largely undesirable toil, but nevertheless life-supporting. New techniques, new enterprises, mass production, impersonal ownership and control have been largely displacing the skilled white and Negro worker in tobacco manufacturing, in iron and steel, in lumbering and mining, and in transportation. Negroes are now restricted more and more to common labor and domestic service of the lowest paid and worst kind. In textile, chemical and other manufactures Negroes were from the first nearly excluded, and just as slavery kept the poor white out of profitable agriculture, so freedom prevents the poor Negro from finding a place in manufacturing. The worldwide decline in agriculture has moreover carried the mass of black farmers, despite heroic effort among the few, down to the level of landless tenants and peons.”

“Since 1929 Negro workers, like white workers, have lost their jobs, have had mortgages foreclosed on their farms and homes, have used up their small savings. But, in the case of the Negro worker, everything has been worse in larger or smaller degree; the loss has been greater and more permanent. Technological displacement, which began before the depression has been accelerated, while unemployment and falling wages struck black men sooner, went to lower levels and will last longer.”

“The colored people of America are coming to face the fact quite calmly that most white Americans do not like them, and are planning neither for their survival, nor for their definite future if it involves free, self-assertive modern manhood. This does not mean all Americans. A saving few are worried about the Negro problem; a still larger group are not ill-disposed, but they fear prevailing public opinion. The great mass of Americans are, however, merely representatives of average humanity. They muddle along with their own affairs and scarcely can be expected to take seriously the affairs of strangers or people whom they partly fear and partly despise. For many years it was the theory of most Negro leaders that this attitude was the insensibility of ignorance and inexperience, that white America did not know of or realize the continuing plight of the Negro. Accordingly, for the last two decades, we have striven by book and periodical, by speech and appeal, by various dramatic methods of agitation, to put the essential facts before the American people. Today there can be no doubt that Americas know the facts; and yet they remain for the most part indifferent and unmoved.”

“The peculiar position of Negroes in America offers an opportunity. Negroes today cast probably 2,000,000 votes in a total of 40,000,000 and their vote will increase. This gives them, particularly in northern cities, and at critical times, a chance to hold a very considerable balance of power and the mere threat of the being used intelligently and with determination may often mean much. The consuming power of 2,800,000 Negro families has recently been estimated at $166,000,000 a month-a tremendous power when intelligently directed. Their manpower as laborers probably equals that of Mexico or Yugoslavia. Their illiteracy is much lower than that of Spain and Italy. Their estimated per capita wealth about equals that of Japan. For a nation with this start in culture and efficiency to sit down and await the salvation of a white God is idiotic. With this use of there political power, their power as consumers, and their brain power, added to that chance of personal appeal which proximity and neighborhood always give to human beings, Negroes can develop in the United States an economic nation within a nation, able to work through inner cooperation to found its own institutions, to educate its genius, and at the same time, without mob violence or extremes of race hatred, to keep in helpful touch and cooperate with the mass of the nation. This has happened more often than most people realize, in the case of groups not so obviously operated from the mass of people as are America Negroes. It must happen in our case or there is no hope for the Negro in America”

(What happened differently between Japan and Black America?)

“Any movement toward such a program is today hindered by the absurd Negro philosophy of Scatter, Suppress, Wait, Escape. There are even many of our educated young leaders who think that because the Negro problem is not in evidence where there are too few or no Negroes, this indicates a way out. They think that the problem of race can be settled by ignoring it and suppressing all reference to it. They think that we have only to wait in silence for the white people to settle the problem for us; and finally and predominantly, they think that the problem of twelve million Negro people, mostly poor, ignorant workers, is going to be settled by having their more educated and wealthy classes gradually and continually escape from their race into the mass of American people, leaving the rest to sink , suffer and die.”

“If the leading Negro classes cannot assume and bear the uplift of their own proletariat, they are doomed for all time. It is not a case of this; it is a plain case of necessity. The method by which this may be done is, first, for the American Negro to achieve a new economic solidarity.”

The Ecology pt.2

“Poor adults are almost five times as likely to report being in fair or poor health as adults with family incomes at or above 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or FPL which was $24k in 2014, and they are more than three times as likely to have activity limitations due to chronic illness. Low-income American adults also have higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other chronic disorders than wealthier Americans.”

“Children in poor families are four times as likely to be in poor or fair health as children in families with incomes at or above 400 percent of the FPL. Lower-income children experience higher rates of asthma, heart conditions, hearing problems, digestive disorders , and elevated blood levels.”

“In 2011, the proportion of adults who reported getting recommend levels of aerobic exercise was 36.1 percent for those living in poverty compared with 60.1 percent for those with incomes at least four times higher than the FPL.”

“Income is associated with mental health. Compared with people from families who earn more than $100,000 a year, those with family incomes below $35,000 a year are four times more likely to report sadness all or most of the time.”

“At age 25, Americans in the highest income group can expect to live more than six years longer than their poor counterparts. The Social Security Administration reports that retirees at age 65 are living longer, but since the 1970s those with earnings in the top half of the income distribution have seen their life expectancy increaser by more (6.0 years than those in the bottom half (1.3 years).”

“To some extent, income and wealth directly support better health because wealthier people can afford the resources that protect and improve health. In contrast to many low-income people, they tend to have jobs that are more stable and flexible; provide good benefits, like paid leave, health insurance, and worksite wellness programs; and have fewer occupational hazards. More affluent people have more disposable income and can more easily afford medical care and a healthy lifestyle benefits, that also extend to their children.”

“People with low incomes tend to have more restricted access to medical care, are more likely to be uninsured or underinsured, and face greater financial barriers to affording deductibles, copayments, and the costs of medicines and other health care expenses. Conditions may change under the Affordable Care Act, but as of 2011 the probability of being uninsured before 65 was 28.4 percent for those living in poverty, 46.5 percent for those with incomes two to three times the FPL, and 5.2 percent for those with incomes four or more times the FPL.”

“Partly because of reduced access to care and reduced affordability, low-income patients are less likely to receive recommended health care services, such as cancer screening tests and immunizations. For example, in 2012 the proportion of adults ages 50 to 75 who reported never having been screened for colorectal cancer was 19.5 percent for those with annual housed income of $75,000 or more but 42.5 percent for those with incomes below $15,000.”

“More affluent people can more easily afford regular and nutritious meals, which tend to be more expensive and less convenient than less nutritious, calorie dense, high-carbohydrate options and fast foods. People on low income face higher rates of food insecurity. Their difficult living circumstance often preclude active recreational opportunities for regular exercise , and the cost of gym memberships or exercise equipment is often prohibitive. They may face financial and other barriers to obtaining assistance with lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation or assistance with alcohol and drug based dependence.”

“People with higher incomes are more likely to experience place-based benefits, meaning that their health is positively influenced by the conditions and assets in their living environment . In other words, even after adjusting for income and other attributes of individuals and households, health benefits appear to be associate with where people reside. Ellen and Turner identified six ways in which neighborhood conditions can influence the health of individuals: quality of local services, socialization, peer influences, social networks, exposure to crime and violence, and physical distance and isolation. Low-income neighborhoods and areas of concentrated poverty tend to expose their residents to higher rates of unemployment, crime, adolescent delinquency, social and physical disorder, and residential mobility.”

“There is also evidence that when people are exposed to economic disadvantage-especially at critical developmental stages of life-and to other harmful life conditions they become more vulnerable to disease processes and experience harmful physiological reactions to toxins in their environment. The stress associated with financial adversity is believed to have harmful biological effects on the body. Stress is thought to affect hormones and the health of the immune system causing damage to organs and increasing the risk of disease over time.”

“The health and survival of children are tied to the income of their parents. Early life experiences, the social and economic status of our parents, and the the social and physical environments in our childhood all matter greatly when it comes to shaping health and economic well-being throughout our own and our childrens lives. Exposure to unfavorable living conditions and instability in early childhood, beginning as early as the womb, can have a variety of negative effect’s on a persons health and economic future, Children exposed to social exclusion and bias, persistent poverty, and trauma can experience toxic stress and harmful changes in the architecture of the brain that affect the cognition, behavioral regulation, and executive function.”

“Early life experiences shape not only an individuals economic and health outcome, but the educational, economic, and health outcomes of that persons family for decades and generations later. Children who are raised in poverty and suffer poor health can find it difficult to climb the economic ladder or to leave disadvantaged neighborhoods, often repeating the cycle when they have their own children. Thus, the effects of low income and the cycle of poverty can span generations. Increasingly, the medical community is citing childhood poverty and early childhood adversity as urgent public health priorities.”

“A common explanation for long-standing disparities is the challenge of addressing social determinants of health, including income inequality, poor access to transportation, inadequate educational quality, and substandard housing. These factors have a profound effect on health. At the same time, the increasing appreciation for social determinants can have the perverse effect on undermining the potential role of public health and health care in promoting health equity. It is tempting when confronted with substantial disparities , for leaders in health to implicate factors beyond their control.”

“Health care systems should recognize that some individuals have concerns that are perceived as more important than their personal health status, such as employment, school failure, and housing instability. Such concerns may make it impossible for medical organizations to address health equity if they do not look outside their walls for assistance.”

“46% of Blacks 19+ suffer from cardiovascular disease.”

“According to the CDC, leading risk factors for heart disease and stoke currently are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, current smoking, physical inactivity and obesity. Individuals with two or more of these factors are at a higher risk for stroke and heart disease.”

“Black men and women 20+ have the highest rates of hypertension with a 43% average.”

“Blacks have a 1.3x greater rate of nonfatal stroke, a 1.8x greater rate of fatal stroke, a 1.5x greater rate of death attributable to heart disease and a 4.2 times greater rate of end stage kidney disease.”

“When looking at all cancers, African Americans were the group most heavily impacted in 2012. Incidence rates were the highest in the Black population 554.5/100,000 and the highest death rate 253.9/100,000.”

“30 years ago, the CDC said, The reduction of cigarette smoking in the black population is one of the most important, immediately available options for reducing the widespread disparities between the health status of minorities and that of whites.”

“Poverty, low education, unemployment, violence, insecurity and environmental exposures contributes to poor reproductive health and birth outcomes among Black women. These factors affect the woman and her family at multiple levels. Low access to healthy foods, inadequate access to preventative and antenatal health care, intimate partner violence, distrust of the justice and police system , unhealthy behaviors, substance abuse and stress. A greater proportion of Black Children are born and live in this social, environmental and culturally deprived environment; thus they grow and develop unequally, socially, psychologically and health wise throughout life span. Research into the minority health issues has been found to be both insufficient and biased.”

Men openly declare their design to train these millions as a subject caste, as men to be thought for, but not to think; to be led, but not lead themselves. Those who advocate these things forget that such a solution flings them squarely on the horn of dilemma; such a subject child-race could never be held accountable for its own misdeeds and shortcomings; its ignorance would be part of the nation’s design, its poverty would arise partly from the direct oppression of the strong and partly from thriftlessness which such oppression breeds; and above all, its crime would be the legitimate child of that lack of self-respect which caste systems engender.”

“Poverty and long-term joblessness have been associated with a constellation of other negative consequences: overcrowded housing, poor physical and mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder, family dissolution, teen pregnancy, school dropout, interpersonal violence, crime, and drug and alcohol abuse, among others. These factors help perpetuate disadvantage across generations. Some of these factors are the direct consequences of structural disadvantage.”

“The socioeconomic status of individuals and neighborhoods are intertwined with individual and population health because the local economy determines access to jobs, commerce, schools and other resources that enable families to enjoy economic success and place based benefits”

“The socioeconomic conditions experienced by children continue to affect their health status throughout adulthood . Long-term studies have shown that children with greater exposure to adverse childhood events ACE are more likely to develop unhealthy behaviors as adults e.g.,smoking, physical inactivity, alcoholism, drug abuse, multiple sexual partners and to have a history of not only of adverse psychological outcomes e.g., depression suicidal ideation but increased risk of physical illness. In a classic study, adults who reported four or more ACE categories were twice as likely to have heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes and four times as likely to have chronic lung disease. All the factors and the relationships among them that account for this higher risk are not fully understood; the outcomes experienced by victims of ACE, for example, may result from mediating factors such as childhood poverty and other variables.”

“Along with the harmful physiological changes induced by stress, ACEs and other difficult early life conditions can lead to dysfunctional coping skills that result in harmful or risky behaviors, illness, and injury in adolescence. These negative outcome can stifle later economic success, which means that some of the links between income and health may actually reflect common factors earlier in life. Liu and colleagues reported that the unemployment rate was was as high at 13.2 percent among adults exposed as children to four or more ACEs as among those with no exposure at 6.5 percent. Even after controlling for race and ethnicity, the risk of unemployment with four or more ACEs was 3.6 time higher for men and 1.6 times higher for women. Because children exposed to ACEs are more likely to have lower income and poorer health later in life, an important way to improve heath is to address the root causes that expose children to street and difficult living environments.”

“African-Americans are the poorest ethnic group in America.”

The Symptoms pt.3

“Black males account for 60% of gun injuries and 57% of inmates are Black…but only account for 13% of the population. One in every 15 Black children has an incarcerated parent and children of incarcerated parents are 6x as likely to be incarcerated themselves, 95% of inmates will be released bringing the mental issues back home.”

“Current mortality disparities are evident in cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and infant mortality. These causes of death, may be the most visible health problems for Blacks, but they do not tell the whole story. Mental illness is the second largest cause of morbidity in Blacks and violence in the form of homicide is the greatest cause of preventable death. High levels of poverty, lack of education, and excess incarceration further compound the poor health status of African-Americans.”

“Ignorance and poverty are the vastest of the Negro problem. But to these later years have added a third-the problem of Negro crime. That a great problem of social morality must have become eventually the central problem of emancipation is as clear as day to any student of history. In its grosser form as a problem of serious crime it is already upon us. Nevertheless, there is a large and dangerous class of Negro criminals, paupers, and outcasts. The existence and growth of such a class, far from causing surprise, should be recognized as the natural result of that social disease called the Negro Problem; nearly every untoward circumstance known to human experience has united to increase Negro crime: the slaver of the past, the sudden emancipation, the narrowing of economic opportunity, the lawless environment of wide regions, the stifling of natural ambition, the curtailment of political privilege, the disregard of the sanctity of Black men’s homes, and above all, a system of treatment from criminals calculate to breed crime far faster than all other available agencies could repress it. Such a combination of circumstances is as sure to increase the numbers of the vicious and outcast as the rain is wet to the earth. The phenomenon calls for no delicately drawn theories of race differences; it is a plain case of cause and effect.”

“Three things American slavery gave the Negro-the habit of work, the English language, and the Christian religion; but one priceless thing it debauched, destroyed, and took from him, and that was the organized home. For the sake of intelligence and thrift, for the sake of work and morality, this home life must be restored and regenerated with new ideas. How? The normal method would be by actual contact with a higher homer life among his neighbors, but this method the social separation of white and black precludes. A proposed method is by schools of domestic ares, but, valuable as these are, they are but subsidiary aids to the establishment of homes; for real homes are primarily centers of ideas and teach and only incidentally centers of cooking. The restoration and raising of home ideas must, then, come from social life among Negroes themselves; and does that social life need no leadership? It needs the best possible leadership of pure hearts and trained heads, the highest leadership of carefully trained men.”

“Culture is viewed as a toolkit, specifying a range of behaviors as well as value, symbols, and norms from which persons construct narratives that give meaning to their lives”

“Non-conventional subcultures prescribe and attach significance to dress, musical preference, attitude, interpersonal interactions, carrying weapons, violence, childcare, sexuality, crime and drug use. Adherence to non-conventional subcultures can hinder a person’s ability to develop a healthy and prosperous lifestyle through conventional paths of education and employment. Moreover, subcultural participants frequently indoctrinate their children and serve as possible role models to youths in the community. In this manner, non-conventional subcultures further isolate the inner city from conventional society beyond the effects of discrimination and other structural disadvantages, which in turn contributes to the spread and persistence of severely-distressed conditions.”

“The negative effects of crack markets were particular devastating for Black families. This is because the crack cocaine use rate for adults was much higher among blacks than whites; because black criminal gangs were heavily in operating retail crack markets; and because these violent markets commonly operated in predominantly black neighborhoods. Together these facts suggest that the emergence of crack markets could explain some of the stalled progress in education attainment for both black males and females.”

“The changes in violence and incarceration for young black males were large enough to have substantially altered their expectations about their future, and hence their interest in obtaining more education.”

“A nationally-representative survey of 16,000 high school students in 1993 found that 21 percent of black male responded reported carrying a gun at least once in the previous 30 days. The corresponding number for all other students was seven percent. Anderson found that inner city youth were ‘uncertain about how long they are going to live and believe they could die violently at anytime. They accept this fate.’ Such views may alter behavior; studies in adolescent health literature find that an expectation of premature death among children is correlated with lower levels of education and lower adult socioeconomic status; worse adult health outcomes; higher adolescent violence; and self-destructive behavior.”

“Beyond an increased risk of death, the emergence of crack cocaine markets was associated with a large increase in the incarceration rate of young black males. Blumstein and Beck document a tripling of the incarceration rate between 1980 and 1996, with a ten-fold increase in the numbers incarcerated for drug offenses and a large increase in incarceration for violent crimes. The overall growth in incarceration disproportionately impacted black males. Bonczar estimated that black males’ lifetime chance of going to prison based on age-specific incarceration rates changed from 13 to 31 percent between 1979 and 1997.

“What is most striking is the large increase among 15-24 year olds, where the murder rate increases by 94 percent from 1985 to 1993. There is a 10 percent increase in the homicide rate among 25-39 year olds over the same period, while rates for those aged less than 15 years are small and reasonable flat. The homicide rate among 15-24 years old is lower than 25-39 years olds at the beginning of the period, but by 1993 it is 50 percent higher than 25-39 age group and several times higher than the rates of other age groups.”

“The 15-24 year old murder rate is initially flat, and then rises considerably after the arrival of crack markets. Six years after the arrival of crack, murder rates for your black males are twice what they were the years before the arrival of crack. Black males aged 25 to 39 experienced a 12 percent increase after crack arrival, while there is no change in the trend for black males aged 40 and older.

“The number of federal and state prisoners more than doubled from 1980 to 1996, driven by a nine-fold increase in incarceration numbers for drug offenses.”

“Two years after crack arrives, the completion rate for 18 year-old black males starts to decrease. This pattern corresponds to the earlier estimates of the impact of crack on violence across difference cities, given that murder rates of young black males began to increase two years after crack arrived in a city.”

“The emergence of crack cocaine markets generated three primary impacts: an increased murder rate, an increased prospect of incarceration, and an increased opportunity for employment outside the formal sector. These factors disproportionately affected black youth, and particularly black males. Each of these factors lowers the potential return from an investment in human capital, and therefore our estimates of reduced schooling provide suggestive evidence of individuals investing in education.”

Inaction pt.4

“Some investors argue that remaining as shareholders and persuading fossil fuel companies to change can be more effective. However, the new report finds this approach has not delivered significant results to date.”

“After 250 years of social segregation and discrimination, current health data, confirm that African Americans are the least healthy ethnic group in the USA. Although the resources and policies to eliminate disparities exist in the USA, there has been inadequate longterm commitment to successful strategies and to the funding necessary to active health equity. African Americans have not been in the fiscal nor political positions to assure the successful implementation of long term efforts; the health of African Americans has not been a priority for decision makers.”

“If, therefore the American people are sincerely anxious that the Negro shall put forth his best efforts to help himself, they must see to it that he is not deprived of the freedom and power to strive. The responsibility for dispelling their own ignorance implies that the power to overcome ignorance is to be placed in Black men’s hands, the lessening of poverty calls for the power of effective work, and one responsibility for lessening crime calls for control over social forces which produce crime…such social power means, assuredly, the growth of initiative among Negroes, the spread of independent thought, the expanding consciousness of manhood; and these things today are looked upon by many with apprehension and distrust, and there is systematic and determined effort to avoid this inevitable corollary of the fixing of social responsibility.”

“The colored people of America are coming to face the fact quite calmly that most white Americas do not like them, and are planning neither for their survival, nor for their definite future if it involves free, self-assertive modern manhood. This does not mean all Americans. A saving few are worried about the Negro problem; a still larger group are not ill-disposed, but they fear prevailing public opinion. The great mass of Americans are, however, merely representatives of average humanity. They muddle along with their own affairs and scarcely can be expected to take seriously the affairs of strangers or people whom they partly fear and partly despise. For many years it was the theory of most Negro leaders that this attitude was the insensibility of ignorance and inexperience, that white America did not know of or realize the continuing plight of the Negro. Accordingly, for the last two decades, we have striven by book and periodical, by speech and appeal, by various dramatic methods of agitation, to put the essential facts before the American people. Today there can be no doubt that Americas know the facts; and yet they remain for the most part indifferent and unmoved.”

“The Kerner Commission report pulled together a comprehensive array of data to assess the specific economic and social inequities confronting African Americas in 1968. The report names “white racism”-leading to “pervasive discrimination in employment, education and housing”-as the culprit, and the reports author called for a commitment to “the realization of common opportunities for all within a single [racially undivided] society.”

Global Warming

“Global warming is a hot topic. The conversation could be about fear, or denial, but it’s changing. It’s about using tools we have, or that can be imagined, to create the future we want”

“According to a report by the New Climate Economy is we made the right choices over the next 2-3 years we could unlock benefits worth $26 trillion from here to 2030, create 65 million new low-carbon jobs, and avoid over 700,000 premature deaths from air pollution. The report points out that we have a planetary window of opportunity created by other transitions taking place, such as urbanization and automation, that need to be managed in any case and could be managed with a low carbon approach. We should make the shift in 5 key economic systems: energy, cities, food and land use, water and industry.”

“Governments will need to accelerate sustainable infrastructure investment, and the the private sector will need to take the lead with innovation and supply chain transparency. The process will require large scale collaboration and and inclusive, equitable approach focusing on people.”

“It is unwise to own fossil fuel companies long-term and the products of these companies are harmful to human health any producing dangerous air pollution and contributing to global climate change.” Dr. Todd Sack American Medical Association

“Today, our movement pledges to increase divested global assets to $10 trillion by 2020…investing in clean energy was as important as pulling funds from pulling firms: Investors should also commit at least 5% of their portfolio to climate change solutions to help rapidly scale to 100% renewable energy and universal energy access.”

“The sell off of coal, oil and gas investments is led by the insurance industry, with $3 trillion of funds. It also now includes the first nation to divest, Ireland major cities including New York and key medical organizations. Major oil companies such as Shell have this year cited divestment as a material risk to it’s business.”

“Fossil fuel divestment began on US University campuses in 2011 but now spans 37 Nations around the world.”

“Some investors argue that remaining as shareholders and persuading fossil fuel companies to change can be more effective. However, the new report finds this approach has not delivered significant results to date.”

Direct Investment

“Sustainable urban development implies the collaborative evolution of society, economy and ecology to promote social welfare, economy and ecology to promote social welfare, economic growth and efficiencies of ecological balance and reduction of energy. Sustainable urban development reveals the systematic essence of development, coordination and sustainability.”

“Development focuses on productivity improvement and social progress, including the capability and speed of development. Coordination focuses on internal efficiencies such as material standard of living and energy efficiency. Sustainability determines the longterm reasonability of development progress.”

“Black owned businesses in the United States increased 34.% between 2007 and 2012 totaling 2.6 million Black firms. More than 95% of these businesses are mostly sole proprietorship or partnerships which have no paid employees. About 4 in 10 Black owned (1.1 million) in 2012 operated in the health care, social assistance; and other services such as repair, maintenance, personal and laundry service sectors.”

“Of the 2.6 million black-owned businesses in 2012, 109,137 had paid employees, an increase of 2.2 percent from 2007 . These businesses employed 975,052 people, an increase of 5.9 percent; their payrolls totaled $27.7 billion, an increase of 15.9 percent. In 2012, 2.5 million black-owned businesses had no paid employees, an increase of 38.9 percent from 2007. These non-employer businesses’ receipts totaled $46.8 billion, an increase of 21.2 percent.”

“White-owned businesses create 55.9 million jobs, which is enough to employ 44 percent of the working-age White population, and with annual revenues of $12.9 trillion, they could give every working-age white American a check for $102,000 every year. Asian-owned businesses create 3.8 million jobs, which is enough to employ 33 percent of the working age Asian population, and with annual revenues of $793.5 billion, they could give every working age Asian a check for $67,000 every year. Hispanic-owned businesses creates 2.5 million jobs, which is enough to employ 8 percent of the working-age Hispanic population, and with annual revenues of $473.6 billion, they could give every working age Hispanic America a check for $14,000 every year. Black owned-businesses create 1 million jobs, which is enough to employ 4% of the working-age Black population and with annual revues of $187.6 billion, they could give every working-age Black America a check for $7,000 every year.”

Closing

“The peculiar position of Negroes in America offers an opportunity. Negroes today cast probably 2,000,000 votes in a total of 40,000,000 and their vote will increase. This gives them, particular in northern cities, and at critical times, a chance to hold a very considerable balance of power and the mere threat of the being used intelligently and with determination may often mean much. The consuming power of 2,800,000 Negro families has recently been estimated at $166,000,000 a month-a tremendous power when intelligently directed. Their manpower as laborers probably equals that of Mexico or Yugoslavia. Their illiteracy is much lower than that of Spain and Italy. Their estimated per capita wealth about equals that of Japan. For a nation with this start in culture and efficient to sit down and await the salvation of a white God idiotic. With this use of there political power, their power as consumers, and their brain power, added to that chance of personal appeal which proximity and neighborhood always give to human beings, Negroes can develop in the United States an economic nation within a nation, able to work through inner cooperation to found its own institutions, to educate its genius, and at the same time, without mob violence or extremes of race hatred, to keep in helpful touch and cooperate with the mass of the nation. This has happened more often than most people realize, in the case of groups not so obviously operated from the mass of people as are America Negroes. It must happen in our case or there is no hope for the Negro in America”

“The systematic nature of racism as a cause of health disparities must be counteracted by the equally systemic measures, through social programs, economic investment, criminal system reforms decreased segregation in positions of institutional power, more inclusive research and appropriate funding of public agencies, health care institutions and HBCU’s”

“Any movement toward such a program is today hindered by the absurd Negro philosophy of Scatter, Suppress, Wait, Escape. There are even many of our educated young leaders who think that because the Negro problem is not in evidence where there are too few or no Negroes, this indicates a way out! They think that the problem of race can be settled by ignoring it and suppressing all reference to it. They think that we have only to wait in silence for the white people to settle the problem for us; and finally and predominantly, they think that the problem of twelve million Negro people, mostly poor, ignorant workers, is going to be settled by having their more educated and wealthy classes gradually and continually escape from their race into the mass of American people, leaving the rest to sink , suffer and die.”

“If the leading Negro classes cannot assume and bear the uplift of their own proletariat, they are doomed for all time. It is not a case of this; it is a plain case of necessity. The method by which this may be done is, first, for the American Negro to achieve a new economic solidarity.”

“Tackling the social detriments of health, from poverty to the built environment, racial discrimination, violence and incarceration, is likely to elicit greater effects on Black health than risk reduction programs.”

“Disparities in health outcomes by race and ethnicity and by income status are persistent and difficult to reduce. For more than a decade, infant mortality rates have been 2 to 3 times higher among African-America populations, rates of potentially preventable hospitalization have been substantially higher among African American and Latino populations, and the complications of diabetes have disproportionately afflicted African American and Latino populations . These and other disparities have persisted despite recognition that inequity costs the economy and estimated $300 billion per year.”

Back to Writing

It’s been some time since I’ve last blogged. The honest reason is that the NFL was using my social media activity to say that I don’t qualify for my concussion settlement. This hurt for more reasons than one. I think it’s tremendously ridiculous for claims to be denied for non-scientific reasons. It’s as though, I’m supposed to not be able to write, or be able to speak in public. These are skills that were developed over the course of my life. Which, in knowing that concussions have altered my life, are activities that help keep you sharp. I’m trying to prevent my life from coming apart at the seams from behavioral changes.

When I first started learning about concussions, I had no idea that that they can contribute to the onset of mood and behavioral issues. I never thought that the game I loved would leave me thinking about suicide, let alone my last attempt on January 17th. Hopefully this will be the last time that I am unable to get a better sense of control of my new normal.

The past 6 months have been extremely difficult. But yet, here I am still standing. I have Gods grace on my side and a loving and supporting family including my wife and daughter.

My journey will continue and I’ll begin to continue writing as a form of release as well as to share what I’m passionate about. For some, my passion may lead to a separation. I believe that America is an unjust country for many. Unjust on the basis of inequality, racism and poverty. To live in America and learn what America is truly about can be disheartening.

The Black experience in America is something that my heart continues to come back to, something I can’t ignore, a pervasive thought in my consciousness. It’s difficult to process the historical treatment of Blacks. Although you can point to any time period of the Black experience and see problems on all levels. One period that I’m deeply interested in, is the Crack Era and it’s long lasting impact. As a Black man, I’ve grown up hearing about this ‘system’ that many feel systematically perpetuates the poverty within Black America. I thought that it didn’t exist. Partly because I had the opportunity to live the American Dream. What I didn’t realize, was that it was my height and weight that gave me an opportunity, more so than simply being a good athlete. Fortunately, I made it to the NFL due to said height and weight and skills developed over time.

Upon my departure from the NFL, as a Sociologist and Philosopher, I decided to invest in understanding of the Black condition in America and what could be done to address it and what was possible. At least, as an athlete, with a self-imposed obligation to fight for the community in a way that others who don’t have the time or resources to question, address or look into. I’ve made some startling discoveries during the course of my research. None more startling than the Crack Era and what it did to Black men and the Black family. For the Black male, homicide rates tripled, incarceration rates tripled and high school dropouts more than doubled. This era created a sub-culture that we find today. One that is profitable for many but calamity for those impacted.

  • Over the course of my blogging, I hope to share statistical evidence and research based information that puts a face to the name that they call the ‘system’. Black America is in a fragile state. On one hand, we have a tremendous presence in sports and entertainment, that happens to be a key cog in the American engine. Despite the seemingly successful aspect of being an athlete or entertainer, history has given us an example of the role that sports and entertainment play in controlling the distraction of the masses from the larger issues society faces. The Romans and the ‘Infames’ class give us a great example of the Second class citizenship that Blacks face in America. Because one has risen from poverty to prosperity through athletics or entertainment, that escape from poverty doesn’t mean one will be seen as anything more than an athlete or entertainer, this given the trajectory of the ‘Infames’ class of Ancient Rome.

    I also hope to show through blogging, the impact that poverty and its ecology has on current and future generations of Blacks on a biological level. The international call to eliminate poverty by 2050 needs to spread into the American mainstream now. America is not as competitive as it could be, simply because of the exclusion of Blacks and other minorities from opportunities that can lift the GDP.

    Most importantly, I hope to show that change is possible, as well as propose multiple solutions to the longterm suffering of Blacks.

    But for now, I’m happy to be blogging again.

    Being unapologetically authentic and finding true love

    With our wedding less than two months away, I think about the process I went through to get to this point. The point of finding a wife. It’s been quite a journey and one that has taken me back to 5th grade. The point in which she and I first met. The last meaningful time we spent together prior to reconnecting for writing was 8th grade, and a lot changed for the both of us with the 17ish years that have elapsed since. This isn’t about our story, but the prelude.

    At 32 years old, I’ve spent close half of my life in relationships. I’ve been called a serial monogamist by my closest friend and people label me a ‘relationship’ guy. But my mom once told me I was too young to get married. I’d be in line for more evolutions as a person. Evolutions that might change who I am. And that’s exactly what happened. At 32, I’m much different than any point of my life. But this is the point in which it became clear that I was ready. I had crossed multiple dreams of my dream list but had yet to cross off family. I always felt the desire to love for something outside of myself. I like many, have felt at times that I was with the person I ‘could’ marry. That could, is what dating is all about.

    In dating, it starts off with common interest or an attraction, but gets to a point to where you decide whether or not this person will be the subject of your attention. Courting and being courted. It’s human nature to seek out companionship in the form of a partner. But when do you know when it’s the right person? All of the women I’ve dated have been great and made tremendous additions in my life, of which I’m thankful. I’ve been helped with leaving the NFL, Suicide and Authenticity. Key victories in my life. But development and growth don’t always translate to forever. In relationships, we have an obligation to growth. Helping your partner grow is par for the course. But finding a wife isn’t about a woman. It’s about you.

    As a man, I had to grow. I had to work on managing my frustrations, communicating, contributing above and beyond to maintaining the house, paying bills…all things of which I’ll need as I co-build my family. The development and growth from scrutinizing myself and my flaws as a partner and a person, without running away from my weaknesses, has put me in position to be more authentic and be able to express fully who I am. This authentic expression is key to finding harmony in a partnership. For both sides. If you don’t know what beat you March too, you won’t be able to sustain a healthy marching pace together, it won’t be natural. For me, I had to shed. Shed the ideas of who I thought I was and step into who I am. This isn’t comfortable and hasn’t been comfortable. But neither is scaling a mountain. But this is the only path to joy. Choosing to be yourself unapologetically. Not being afraid to reduce your life circle.

    In my pursuit of authentic expression, I’ve rejected materialism, turned minimalist (although I love technology), lost friends, deployed capital, made mistakes and failed…but all of that led me to my soon to be wife. Someone who knows Lawrence. Not Cadillac, LJ or LoJack…but Lawrence. It took me awhile to get back to Lawrence, but as I did, the love of my life showed up. What was once an arduous and painstaking journey. Has become the light of my life. At one point, I didn’t think that this feeling was possible, that real love existed. But I found it, only when I was only willing to be 100% committed to authenticity to my soul. In leaving everything behind that I thought I wanted like football and the idea of a relationship, I walked into everything I need. Unconditional love and support and encouragement. But most importantly understanding. An understanding of who I am and the courage to hold me accountable to being who I am. This makes her the one. I feel seen, supported and loved, all while being myself unapologetically.

    Interdependence in America

    As we prep to celebrate Independence Day, better known as the 4th of July, I think about how far we have yet to go. At this point in time, America as a Nation should be held to a higher standard. Yes, America is a “meritocracy” where skills are rewarded, but we are also one of the richest nations on earth. The 20th century saw massive wealth accumulation, so much so that Millennials stand to inherit over $40 trillion dollars. Most of this money lives in capital markets, earning suboptimal returns with moderate risk. That money could be put to such better use.

    The idea of Impact Investing should be an American norm.

    The American GDP is of importance to us all. To see capital collect dust, waiting to fund the next tech company, while millions of Americans live in poverty is distasteful. The idea of charter school booms with public school decline is distasteful. High rates of unemployment and incarceration are distasteful. Why are we investing in China and India as a government? Why is Private Equity investing in the same countries and other emerging markets? Why doesn’t American health issues in low income communities non reflective of the Foreign Aid to other countries? Why is there so much poverty? Why is all this going on within our borders when there are TRILLIONS of dollars available to solve American issues and boost our total economic output? Because we aren’t interdependent.

    America is built on the foundation of the distinction of the other, it’s built on capitalism and the idea that it’s better to exploit time rather than develop skills. The world is building around America, while we are sleeping in our inequities and inequalities. We applaud celebrities for tweets of support and joining social causes, we applaud millionaires and billionaires the same way. But are they doing their part? Are they missing an opportunity to actually invest in the development of the country, to position us for a more prosperous future in a changing Global landscape?

    We are. Impact investing is growing to a $300 billion dollar industry. Impact is the idea of adding social or environmental impact into the investment picture. As demands for more socially responsible investment opportunities increase, more and more financial institutions are creating products for their clients. JPMorganChase, Wells Fargo, UBS, Goldman Sachs, the list goes on. The idea of making money, while making a difference is becoming all the rage. As we grow into more economic options to financially incentivize impact investments, America will become more interdependent. Looking within it’s own borders for investment opportunities that can impact millions and changing the landscape of America. Imagine an America with more professional competition, where your skills dictate opportunity and not your skin color of family black book of connections. An America built by Americans for Americans. The government should not be solely responsible for the development of it’s citizens, not when private money is leaving our borders to build up other borders. We can create for-profit change in America, it’s already being done, we just have to have the desire and intention to do it on our own soil.

    American in the 21st Century

    Today represents a pivotal moment in the history of the United States. In 1776, on July 2nd the Declaration of Independence was approved. 2 days later, it was signed. I love this moment more than the 4th of July for numerous reasons. The main reason is that it was the Start-Up launch of America. The reasons why America became America are what I think are missing in today’s version of America. During the time period of the 13 Colonies, America was seen as an expansive opportunity. Although previously tied to Great Britain, with limited control of production, America decided to produce for itself. A nation of entrepreneurs. Looking to build a new land of opportunity. That they did. But today majority of Americans don’t like there job, a large number a depressed and many wonder about the Why of their life. Cough cough midlife crisis. We work and work and work to retirement, saddled with bills, counting on the mid 60’s to enjoy life.

    For most people, they feel that fulfillment of basic needs requires one to sacrifice their time in a job, that only creates spending habits. Even myself, as a pro athlete, would at times, shut down after work. I went through periods of no investment into self, but relaxing and preparing for the next day. I watched sports, I went to games, I hung out, I was enjoying my success. Than I realized it was all a lie. The idea of 6%-12% returns on earned income deployed in the stock market seems like success, indeed the passive income is. But America isn’t passive by nature, it’s active. Now I do understand, that not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur or a businessman. But each of us has something special that the world is in need of. But we have to have the moral courage to do what we know we need to do.

    Leaving the NFL was that thing for me. I had a choice. To continue to exploit my body by increasing my risk of loss of quality of life, collect $900k-$2-3 million a year for a few years. But for whatever reason, it didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel right committing 10 months out the year to a sport, while kids were struggling right were they are. I realized that making money, makes no difference. Acquiring things make no difference. And even donating money at times can have less than the intended impact. I felt it was my responsibility to do something about it. A look into my personal civic duty. This changed my life. I stopped worrying about what America could do for me, and focused on what I could do for America. Yes, I have understand that I have to take care of myself and my family. But what good is material security in a messed up world? To me, not much at all.

    In feeling like this, I felt that to fulfill my civic duty as an America, I needed to leave the NFL. Although it wasn’t easy, I decided to do the necessary work to put myself in a position to solve problems with the money I earned, rather than focusing on spending it or holding onto it for later use. Now, I’m not throwing it away, it’s all being deployed strategically, with the bet being that the long term reward is not merely income but impact. I believe being American means upholding our civic duty to make our country better within our means.

    Knowing that poverty is dragging down the American economic output, hasn’t been enough to rectify it. If you knew that EVERYONE could enjoy a better quality of life if we worked together as Americans would you do it? I would. I see China surpassing the US in preparation for the 22nd century. We are focused on making money and spending money. Not production. At least not anymore. It seems like the book, ‘The Triple Package’ is tight. After two generations of assimilation, the third generation loses its edge. Just think about how hard your grandparents had to work to get the same things we get now? Are we willing to work as hard as that generation? I don’t know. Because our work is different, it’s about more than equality and equality of opportunity. It’s also about equity. This is why we have to produce.

    America was about production. Now it’s about consumption. China was impoverished, but now, they produce for the world. They are building a new Silk Road, creating their own space program which has alliances with many nations. They realize the time for them is now. We have to realize our time is now. As we grow into the future, we are going to need to compete on an international level with production. The right thing to do as an American, is to help build the future, not let time and capital collect dust or settle for 6-12% process. Being American is about taking the necessary risk to live the life you envision for yourself. America is about opportunity, to be American should mean one that seized opportunity for the greater good. But we are missing the point. We aren’t, as a people creating the companies we enjoy supporting. Immigrants dominate the STEM industries which are the modern gateway to new opportunities. It’s the new language of the world. These companies talk about the lack of American talent. Our civic duty is to help make America better. Are you just enjoying your citizenship? Or do you fight for yourself like our Founding Fathers fought to establish a New Land of opportunity.

    American By Choice

    It’s taken awhile for me to realize how great it is to be American. America has been an interesting experiment both economically and socially. It uses a system of capitalism and entrepreneurialism to draw the worlds greatest thinkers to it’s shores with the lure of the rags to riches story. There are very few countries, if any that provide the same type of opportunity. There’s no doubt that America is not perfect, but in a relative world, America is one of the most fair.

    Having studied Sociology at USC, I had a chance to see the underbelly of society. What I saw was disturbing. Namely the mindset of poverty. Coming from an urban community that sees 20% of people living below the poverty line, seeing the struggle with my own eyes, I couldn’t understand how the condition I overcame can be reduced to 2 and 3 word concepts. A culture of hopelessness was the most hurtful. Here I am, sitting in a class with few Blacks and academia pretty much saying, we lack belief in possibility. But why would we really think anything is possible while being Black? Outside of sports and entertainment, there’s the few blacks in whatever industry. Tech, Medicine, Politics, Corporate Leadership, wherever you look there will be few Blacks at the top. And the ones that are at the top, usually appear in stark contrast to the Black person living in poverty.

    In coming from an impoverished background and ascending to financial comfort, I’ve seen the prism of opportunity morph into a kaleidoscope. What I once saw, I no longer see. What I do see, I never imagined. It was comfortable thinking about Slavery and becoming agitated and infused with a hatred like emotion. As I learned more and the picture clarified, history shaped my outlook. I saw the ugliness of human nature. Not Black, White nor Asian. But humans. We are, at the root of the evil we see. Africans have committed atrocities against other Africans. Europeans against other Europeans. Asians against Asians. Nobody is immune to it. It’s human nature. In knowing this, I’m not surprised that racism exists. It’s just part of who we are naturally. Our choice is to elevate over human nature.

    This is why I don’t see my American citizenship as one solely tied to slavery. I recognize that I have a choice. A choice to live anywhere else. But I live here. I don’t want to live in certain parts of Africa nor Europe nor the Asia-Pacific region, nor South or Central America. America provides peace of mind. America provides opportunity. America provides an infrastructure that can be leveraged. Although America has been at the hands of indefensible atrocities, this is the case wherever humans are present. Life, like the Animal Kingdom is not fair. This is a fact. Despite this unfairness, despite the history of slavery, inequity, prejudice and racism, I love America. This is my home and my responsibility to make it more habitable. Not just for Blacks, but for everyone. Being American is my choice.

    [Poem] An unexamined life is not worth living

    When I write I try to shine some light on my fight with life…

    Tales from being in the darkness strapped in a harness…

    Stuck…but I’m a fight regardless…

    Not trying to be the hardest…

    Just trying to be the last at the table card less…

    Playing the hand I’m dealt…

    Walking tall even though the blows are felt…

    Even been hit below the belt…

    Welp…

    That’s what happens in the fight with self…

    You become both the enemy and the help….

    Tales of two lives when I rise…

    Like the Phoenix…

    But this sequence…

    Got me dreaming…

    About a genius before my lifetime

    Named Einstein

    Reincarnated and planted into my mind…

    That’s why I’m relentless…

    And constantly pushing these limits…

    Defying physics…

    Architect to this system…

    Deeper than religion…

    Or some construct in a prism…

    The only reason why I think about this stuff is because an unexamined life isn’t worth living.