Mental Health Needs For Black Men And Boys

I noted the quick efforts made in Waukesha to meet the mental health needs of those who were at the Sunday parade, saw the carnage, or heard about it and were shocked by the news. The tragedy was appalling.

I applaud the efforts to deal with emotional trauma by talking with trained experts. I wish more people would avail themselves of such therapy for all sorts of issues in life. Such conversations are very healthy and productive.

At the same time that resources were made available to counsel the folks in Waukesha, it also needs remembering that Black men and boys are needing to have the same comfort zones for their healing due to traumas, such as the Kyle Rittenhouse killings and trial.

If one takes the time to talk or listen to the voices of African-Americans it soon becomes clear that what took place last week with Rittenhouse’s acquittal has made for deep concerns. We have already seen and heard that right-wing elements have elevated Rittenhouse to hero-worship. With such rhetoric, we have also learned that these same conservatives have implied racial injustice protesters should be concerned for their safety in the future. wrote about this issue as it linked to a local news program that addressed the mental health needs of African-Americans following episodes, such as, the Rittenhouse trial.

Alvin Thomas, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the School of Human Ecology at UW-Madison, pointed out that the Rittenhouse case stemmed from protests and demonstrations involving the Black Lives Matter movement.

This was less an issue about black or white and more an issue around humanity,” he said on “UpFront”. In cases like these, Thomas said, there is a high risk for people feeling angry, sad, depressed, and to have flashbacks, nightmares or physical stress responses.

The chasm of resources for mental health needs between Black and white America is profound. It does not take much pondering to see the upside in terms of cost-savings to society along with productivity for individuals if mental health is treated in the same proactive sense as we do a toothache.

A Black elderly man I talked with in Madison after the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha told me that such news was just a reminder that “we” are always waiting for the next shoe to fall and that stress level creates problems for the body.

It is time that we ramp up access to mental health resources in the Black community with the speed that they were correctly made available in Waukesha.

And so it goes.


Gregory Humphrey’s History Video: First Black American Dines At White House

Humphrey’s History Video as we observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day in America…..short, snappy, and loaded with trivia—even Mark Twain!

Southern Night-Blooming Cereus, Remarkable Account Of Great Migration By Isabel Wilkerson

I came across a story in the chapter of The Warmth Of Other Suns that dealt with memories and attachments that Black Americans recalled after the decades following the Great Migration. Going hundreds of miles (or more) and not again having certain connections with people or aspects of their younger years was the price to be paid for the chance at a better life. To flee the Jim Crow south. Isabel Wilkerson wrote an essential slice of our national story that allows for insightful revelations too few care to understand. Brillant does not come close to defining this book.

On the page I have selected for this post comes the story of the author’s relatives and the night-blooming Cereus.

This post would not be complete, of course, without a photo of the flower bloom of the Cereus.

“1619 Project” Should Not Be Targeted By Donald Trump

There are always so many truly ridiculous and frankly ignorant statements from Donald Trump in any given week it is necessary to sift through them to narrow down the ones that need a response. Such as the one dealing with the “1619 Project”, a powerful and illuminating approach to understanding history, a topic that warms my heart.

A week ago Trump tweeted the US Department of Education would investigate whether California schools are using the New York Times’ “1619 Project” in the public school curriculum. Oh, the shock and horror! To think that a school would use a Pulitzer-Prize winning collection of writings and perspectives regarding the events and consequences of August 1619, when the first slave ship arrived on America’s shores! Trump blustered that the Department of Education would look at this matter and if it was found to be true such programming would not be funded.

So there! Another white ball hit to his white base of supporters in an Election Year.

What makes Trump’s tweet utterly preposterous is the fact the 1619 Project curriculum is available online for free. The project was launched by the New York Times Magazine last year. After the launch, the Pulitzer Center was named an education partner for the project and announced its education team would develop educational resources and curricula for teachers to use.

What makes Trump’s tweet so repulsive is the racial bluster he employs with gusto. But this time he again runs up against that stubborn thing called the U.S. Constitution. Trump does not have the authority to withhold federal funds from schools that teach the project. The federal courts have slapped him down with other attempts he made by using education funds that were not directed by congressional approval.

Trump proves to be a solid reason why the 1619 Project has validity. The racism he foments along with the white superiority he thinks he can move electorally in the nation after a clear demarcation line has been drawn about where society is headed is most telling. George Floyd was the point in time when a large percentage of the nation simply said enough! It is estimated that 20 millions Americans took to the streets to march since early June to register there disgust with racial issues in the nation.

But Trump is pushing a different narrative where there is no need to strive for more and deeper understandings about our racial history and how it impacted people. The words Trump used from the White House for a partisan political convention are not only troubling, but most telling.

“Americans are exhausted, trying to keep up with the latest lists of approved words and phrases, and the ever more restrictive political decrees. Many things have a different name now, and the rules are constantly changing.”

That is amusing since only a few weeks before Trump was bragging he passed a dementia test where he recalled five words! But he has no ability to re-access his language to meet an evolving transformation of our society. Everything we need to know.

For Trump and the racist element of his base they cling to their politics akin to how William Faulkner wrote Absalom, Absalom (though no one believes Trump ever read it) where incest is less of a taboo for a family than acknowledging one drop of black blood in the genealogical pool. The absurdity of that plot is as inane as what Trump is trying to sell this election cycle. But fewer voters are willing to buy his outdated rhetoric.

As one who loves learning more about history, and making that point in many posts about topics that stirs my curiosity, let me state it as clearly as I can. It is critically important that all people, but especially our student population, understand the gravity and the enormity of our nation’s original sin.

Therefore, the 1619 Project is a necessary and provocative way to engage the mind and force us all to come to terms with how this nation started, and how that beginning plays a role yet today in our politics, our society, and culture.

Bigotry Should Be Expensive In America

This week has been anguishing as we learn of the police barbarity in Minneapolis and the outrageous behavior of at least two people in our nation as they attempted to make the color of one’s skin an issue for just being in society.  (This is 2020!)

Christian Cooper was birdwatching deep in the woods of Manhattan’s Central Park when he noticed a rogue cocker spaniel digging up the shrubbery around him.

Many of the birds he spots stop by for the dense plants, so he approached the dog’s owner early on Monday with a request: Could she leash up the canine, as the park rules required?

Amy Cooper said she would be calling the police instead.

“I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” the white woman told him, pulling out her cellphone and dialing 911.

Less than 24 hours later after a video of their exchange went online, she has lost her dog, her anonymity, and her job — the latest incident in a long, too-familiar pattern of white people calling the police on black people for any number of everyday activities.

There was also this most disturbing incident where black people were treated as if they needed to have paperwork to prove who they were, and why they were somewhere a white man did not think they belonged.  What in the world is wrong with people when they think their bigotry can just be unleashed as they please? In this case, Tom Austin, the managing partner of F2 Group, found his venture capitalist’s office lease was terminated after a viral video showed him questioning black entrepreneurs using the gym in a building of which they were all tenants.  This is how the nation once had black swimming pools and drinking fountains.

The price for bigotry must be high, and higher still until those who need to be taught how to act in polite society have learned their lesson. Public shaming and national scorn are the correct measures to tamp down on the bigots and racists. Perhaps Amy Cooper and Tom Austin can hook up for coffee and white sheet shopping.  They both are repugnant.

And they both were taught a valuable lesson this week.  One that nation needed to witness, too.

And so it goes.

An Expansive Mind Dies, Toni Morrison Was 88

Very sad news about a not-to-miss-author with an expansive mind.  What a loss to the world.  She really was that good.

The first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, Ms. Morrison was the author of 11 novels as well as children’s books and essay collections. Among them were celebrated works like “Song of Solomon,” which received the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1977, and “Beloved,” which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988.

Do Americans Think Donald Trump Would Help Minorities?

From ABC News

Despite GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s recent pitches for African-American and Hispanic support, nearly two-thirds of Americans believe Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would do more to help minority communities if elected president.

ABC News together with our partners at SSRS survey research firm asked our online opinion panel about Trump’s recent appeals to minority voters.

Sixty-four percent said Clinton would do more for minority communities as president while 36 percent chose Trump.

Asked to give a one-word response to a video of one of Trump’s recent appeals to African-American and Hispanic voters.  56 percent reacted with a negative word, such as “liar,” “lies,” “disgusted,” or “stupid.” 

I suspect other responses are not printable.

Big Win Coming For Hillary Clinton Tonight In South Carolina

The exit polling today from South Carolina underscores what we have known for months.  Hillary Clinton would be a hard candidate to upset in this state, or for that matter, in any primary state where a large percentage of the electorate is African-American.

Today’s primary is the first to test the Democratic candidates’ popularity among a large number of black voters.  Bernie Sanders has not been a continuous voice for this demographic over the years in the way the Clintons have been.  Clinton and her husband have been advocating for decades on behalf of black voters and the fruit from those endeavors are showing up today at the polls.

Preliminary exit poll results indicate that blacks account for six in ten South Carolina Democratic primary voters today, and that will be the key to Clinton’s to-be-sure smashing victory this evening.  Even more telling and reason to show the power her candidacy has for the general election is the fact that today’s outpouring of voters is on pace to break the state’s record, 55 percent in 2008 – more than in any other state that year.

Blacks this year made up 13 percent of voters in Nevada last weekend, where Clinton won them by an overwhelming 76-22 percent.