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The biggest thing that is stuck in my brain from reading this first Covenant is the extraordinary disparity in the quality of life as it relates to health that African Americans suffer versus whites. Many currently ask whether racism still exists. I would have them consider the following statistics displayed in this chapter:


  • Black infants are nearly 2.5 times more likely than white infants to die before their first birthday.

  • More than one out of every three black people are plagued by hypertension; this is the highest rate in the world.

  • Nearly 70% of black adults between the ages of 20 and 74 are overweight; more than half of ALL black women are overweight.

  • Black women are close to 80 percent more likely to die of a stroke than white women, and 30 percent more likely to die of a heart attack.

  • African Americans are 13 percent of the nation's population and account for 56 percent annually of new HIV infections.

  • 2/3 of new AIDS cases among teens are black, yet they are only 15 percent of the national teen population.

  • African American and Latino children make up more than 80 percent of pediatric AIDS cases.

  • 32 percent of African Americans do not have a regular doctor. By contrast, only 20 percent of white Americans do not have a regular doctor.

  • Nationally, half of all black neighborhoods lack access to a full-service grocery store or supermarket.

  • 71 percent of African Americans across the United States live in counties that violate federal air pollution standards.


  • A quote under the "What the Community Can Do" section sums it up:


    Addressing health disparities means understanding how socioeconomic status and racism result in social and economic inequities that determine where we live, what we eat, where we work, how we exercise, what we breathe, what we drink, what we perceive as our life options, and how well informed we are about our health.


    Thoughts?
    Last edited {1}
    This is the only covenant I have had an opportunity to read. And yes, I must say the statistics are startling...I remember this gentleman on another message board posted once, "why are black people so fat, why wont they exercise like white people, why wont they eat right?"...I remember answering, economics economics economics. Though I know this is a racist country, I never gave it much thought as far as the larger picture. I always thought, well pasta is cheap, chinese food is cheap...you try to buy a bunch of brocollu and it cost you like 3 dollars..when you can get to the corner chinese food or popeyes and get a whole meal for that.

    This chapter really had me thinking...not only on the invidual responsibility we each have to our health(i really use to think that was one of the few areas of our lives we could control independent of the gov't and policy)...but the bigger responsibility we have to ensuring our communities are being treated fairly!

    who knew there was so much red tape involved in ensuring a community gets a damn supermarket? protest
    This is a side affect of the socio-economic, race issue that affects African-Americans. Not to mention the high amounts of processed or enhanced foods we eat. If just a few generations ago black people could live to be over 100 years old or well into their 80's and 90's without much medical care, there is an underlying issue. Because of medical problems I've been having recently, I think that its because of some of the foods we eat.
    For example, the high incidence of fibroids in black women. Which usually ends in a hystarectomy. Almost every black woman I know has had fibroids. I know at least 3 who have had their uteruses removed because of this before the age of 35. That means they can't have any more children. It limits the population growth in our community. Couple that with AIDS, heart aliments and murder; this poses a threat to our survival as a people.
    I think education is something that can make a huge difference. We need to teach our kids how to eat properly. This is something I never hear discussed in the Black community. Basic education on vitamins and the food pyramid and the dangers of sugars, etc....

    This is the one thing we can control- our diet.

    A better healthcare system is not in the near future for anyone. Especially when the drug companies are in bed with our politicians.

    We need to take matters into our own hands and I believe an improved diet is one way to do it.
    There are several things that would improve the health/well being in our community:

    • Make nutrition classes mandatory for all expectant parents; Make subsidized lunch & food program eligibility contingent on health & nutrition courses provided by the State.
    • Bring physicians & dentists into primary schools to talk with children; establish an early, positive connection to doctors & check-ups.
    • Add physical education courses back to K-12 schooling; 45-60 minutes of physical activity, 5 times a week will go a long way toward improving obesity (and its related maladies).


    I would combine these points with an organized campaign to ensure equity in pricing & quality of foods in low income area food stores.
    Another point of the chapter that directly impacts health (and further illustrates how racism/classism negatively impacts the quality of life) is the following quote:

    In the United States, a disproportionate number of toxic waste sites are located in or near low-income communities abd communities of color. This is the result of environmental racism: discrimination in environmental lawmaking and law enforcement, and targeting communities of color as sites for toxic-waste disposal and pilluting industries.


    For the sake of argument, do you see this as an issue of racism, per se, or more of classism (which may disproportionately impact black people)? Are companies specifically targeting black and brown communities for their waste sites or are they just picking poor areas (which happen to include a greater percentage of us)? In this instance, is this race - class distinction even meaningful? Does classism equal racism?

    Either way - living in and among chemicals and other waste is a terrible death sentence that eventually catches up with everyone there - sooner rather than later unfortunately.
    What do you think about the recommendations (What Every Individual Can Do Now) of the chapter? In summary - they are:

  • Improve your diet

  • Walk 1 mile a day

  • Ensure that your children are healthy (diet, exercise, immunization)

  • Get smarter about diseases etc. See your doctor

  • Activate your community around health issues

    Are these responsible, credible, reasonable? Will tackling these efforts get at the core problems? What do you think?

    Lastly, but probably most importantly, will folks do this?

    How do these efforts above contrast with the following statement, found earlier in the chapter?

    The solution to this pervasive problem of health disparities is that we must advocate for system changes that include universal health insurance, guartanteed primary medical care, proportionate representation in health professions, bias-free interventions, nonviolent and exercise-friendly neighborhoods, nutritious food outlets, educational equality, career opportunities, parity in income and wealth, homeownership, and hope.


    Without the latter, do the former recommendations really make that much of a difference?
  • quote:
    Originally posted by MBM:
    For the sake of argument, do you see this as an issue of racism, per se, or more of classism? Are companies specifically targeting black communities for their waste sites or are they just picking poor areas?

    There is also the strong possibility that they are just picking sites due to the logistics of transporting chemicals. It's naturally kept out of wealthy communties, because these communities have the lobbying power to keep them out. Communities with toxic waste sites suffer a devaluing of property. The middle class moves out, and the lower class moves in. I can easily see how, in many cases, that lower class is African American.

    However, it doesn't seem plausable that African American communities are being targeted. There are more toxic waste sites than there are AA communities. This is a phenomenon that poor White communities must be suffering from as well.
    Sometimes it's a matter of developers looking for the cheapest land to buy. Especially in Atlanta, with people moving further & further out of the city & surburbs (I think they're called Exurbs now!), you're bound to encroach on areas designated for waste burial/processing. I think it is more classism because many of these communities are priced at the first-time buyer level.
    quote:
    Originally posted by MBM:
    What do you think about the recommendations (What Every Individual Can Do Now) of the chapter? In summary - they are:

  • Improve your diet

  • Walk 1 mile a day

  • Ensure that your children are healthy (diet, exercise, immunization)

  • Get smarter about diseases etc. See your doctor

  • Activate your community around health issues

    Are these responsible, credible, reasonable? Will tackling these efforts get at the core problems? What do you think?

    Lastly, but probably most importantly, will folks do this?

    How do these efforts above contrast with the following statement, found earlier in the chapter?

    The solution to this pervasive problem of health disparities is that we must advocate for system changes that include universal health insurance, guartanteed primary medical care, proportionate representation in health professions, bias-free interventions, nonviolent and exercise-friendly neighborhoods, nutritious food outlets, educational equality, career opportunities, parity in income and wealth, homeownership, and hope.


    Without the latter, do the former recommendations really make that much of a difference?


  • I think these steps are very important and is one of the ways we can fight back. Lack of health insurance is a big problem in the black community (as well as other communities). The one thing we can do is make sure we are doing everything we can to prevent illness. An ounce of prevention is worth a pund of cure.
    quote:
    Originally posted by ddouble:
    There are several things that would improve the health/well being in our community:

    • Make nutrition classes mandatory for all expectant parents; Make subsidized lunch & food program eligibility contingent on health & nutrition courses provided by the State.
    • Bring physicians & dentists into primary schools to talk with children; establish an early, positive connection to doctors & check-ups.
    • Add physical education courses back to K-12 schooling; 45-60 minutes of physical activity, 5 times a week will go a long way toward improving obesity (and its related maladies).


    I would combine these points with an organized campaign to ensure equity in pricing & quality of foods in low income area food stores.


    I really agree with this. It is important that our children stay healthy. If they start making healthy decisons now it will continue throughout their lives. They will become healthy adults. Parents play a important part, it is up to them to make sure their children make healthy food choices and excercise regularly. Just addding to what has been said. Excercise is the cheapest and easiet and also the safest way to avoid diseases that have been affecting the African American communtiy. The benefits of excercise is that it fights diseaes such as cancer and heart disease which are some of the diseases that many African Americans suffer from. Also it helps stress and depression which is another factor in the African American community.
    No one is denying African-Americans information or the right to pursue healthier eating habits and lifestyles. Information about how foods high in fat and sugar and low in nutritional value are detrimental to one's health has been feed to Americans over the last two decades. But sadly, the American public, including White Americans, are just now beginning to become increasingly more "health conscious." This information has never been a secret. News reports about folks dying from diabetes, cancer, heart attacks, and other forms of dis-ease are broadcast on television and radio daily. There is tons of information and literature on this subject (free at any public library). Therefore, the knowledge is and always has been available. Ultimately, making healthier eating choices is up to Black people. Black people must possess the courage, will, and the motivation to abandon traditional methods of eating and food preparation, if they and their children want to maintain healthier and longer lives. We need to muster up the courage to discover that food does not need meat fat and excessive amounts of salt and sugar to taste good.

    I think we also need to stop claiming to be "economically disadvantaged" whenever someone discusses better eating habits, we need to stop claming to be "ignorant" about better food choices, and we need to once and for all make better decisions about the way we eat. Blacks definitely have the resources (money) to eat better, we have the information, all we need is to make a conscious effort to do what is necessary to claim longer and healthier lives.

    Anyone who is interested in taking that initial step towards a healthier lifestyle, may I suggest beginning your journey by reading Afrikan Holistic Health by Dr. Llaila O. Afrika. Available in bookstores everywhere.
    Last edited {1}
    quote:
    Originally posted by Rowe:
    No one is denying African-Americans information or the right to pursue healthier eating habits and lifestyles. Information about how foods high in fat and sugar and low in nutritional value are detrimental to one's health has been feed to Americans over the last two decades. But sadly, the American public, including White Americans, are just now beginning to become increasingly more "health conscious." This information has never been a secret. News reports about folks dying from diabetes, cancer, heart attacks, and other forms of dis-ease are broadcast on television and radio daily. There is tons of information and literature on this subject (free at any public library). Therefore, the knowledge is and always has been available. Ultimately, making healthier eating choices is up to Black people. Black people must possess the courage, will, and motivation to abandon traditional methods of eating and food preparation, if they and their children want to maintain healthier and longer lives. We need to muster up the courage to discover that food does not need meat fat and excessive amounts of salt and sugar to taste good.

    I think we also need to stop claiming to be "economically disadvantaged" whenever someone discusses better eating habits, we need to stop claming to be "ignorant" about better food choices, and we need to once and for all make better decisions about the way we eat. Blacks definitely have the resources (money) to eat better, we have the information, all we need is to make a conscious effort to do what is necessary to claim longer and healthier lives.

    Anyone who is interested in taking that initial step, may I suggest beginning your journey by reading Afrikan Holistic Health by Dr. Llaila O. Afrika. Available in bookstores everywhere.

    Rowe,
    One of the points that the chapter makes is that knowledge or will alone is not sufficient with respect to making healthy choices. They point to the types of food choices that are available in many economically depressed neighborhoods. Often these communities do not have supermarkets with departments carrying fresh fruits and vegetables. Its almost as if there is a kind of nutritional redlining going on.

    Houston is a wonderful example of this. I do not think that there is one major supermarket in the fifth ward, which is the blackest and most economically depressed section in the metropolitan area. Combined with little to no mass transportation, it is very difficult for citizens in this area to make truly healthy food choices. The third ward is a little better, but there is a huge difference in what is offered even in chain stores here compared to across town.

    It is also interesting to think about this in terms of the decline of black farmers. For example, in the area of town I live in, there are probably 4 or 5 different farmers markets during the week. Almost none of the customers or farmers are people of color.

    The examples in the book note communities getting organizing to have supermarkets with quality food stuffs in their area. It would be interesting, particularly in communities near agricultural areas, to also have civic and religious organizations sponsor things like farmers markets in black neighborhoods.
    quote:
    Originally posted by kresge:
    One of the points that the chapter makes is that knowledge or will alone is not sufficient with respect to making healthy choices. They point to the types of food choices that are available in many economically depressed neighborhoods.


    Of course those residing in economically-depressed areas are at a disadvantage, but here's the thing, even if the freshiest fruits and vegetables were made available in these stores, I seriously doubt that the people would buy them. What of middle class Blacks who have access to quality foods, why don't they choose to cook and prepare foods that are the healthiest for them? What's their excuse? The point is, whenever the topic of healthier diets comes up, the "economically-depressed" argument seems to serve as THE general excuse for why the majority of us do not make better food choices.
    Last edited {1}
    quote:
    Originally posted by Rowe:
    Of course those residing in economically-depressed areas are at a disadvantage, but here's the thing, even if the freshiest fruits and vegetables were made available in these stores, I seriously doubt that the people would buy them, at least not the amounts of fruits and vegetables that they should.


    I'm not too sure about that.

    There is no underpresentation of fruit markets some poor neighborhoods.

    Sometimes they are across the street from each other and a few blocks away from a supermarket.

    Yet they make good business.

    Overpriced bruised bananas and all.

    Which I think proves that even in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods people aren't that fruit and veggy phobic.

    The produce has to be available.

    But price is a problem.

    Suprisingly, the produce tend to be more expensive than in economically better areas (and in worse shape).

    So shops would probably have more fruit and veggy business if their goods were reasonably priced.

    Knowledge can't pay for spinach.
    quote:
    Originally posted by ma'am:
    But price is a problem.

    Suprisingly, the produce tend to be more expensive than in economically better areas (and in worse shape).

    So shops would probably have more fruit and veggy business if their goods were reasonably priced.

    Knowledge can't pay for spinach.


    I disagree. I think price and access may be a problem for some African-Americans, but I don't think that it's a problem for most African-Americans, especially since we are certainly willing to travel great distances for goods and services that we think are important. For example, though many economically-depressed communities are overwhelmed with beauty supply stores that sell expensive hair care products, there never seems to be a shortage of customers. In fact, the hair care business stays booming and foreignors continue to put their kids through college off our dollars. Some of the most destitute sisters will spend their last few little dollars just to make sure their hair and nails stay in order. Therefore, Black people definitely have money. The "We can't afford healthy food" excuse is a load of crap. The truth is, people will make sacrifices for goods and services that they feel are important. And if Black people want healthier, longer lives, we have got to reevaluate our priorities.
    quote:
    Originally posted by Rowe:
    quote:
    Originally posted by ma'am:
    But price is a problem.

    Suprisingly, the produce tend to be more expensive than in economically better areas (and in worse shape).

    So shops would probably have more fruit and veggy business if their goods were reasonably priced.

    Knowledge can't pay for spinach.


    I disagree. I think price and access may be a problem for some African-Americans, but I don't think that it's a problem for most African-Americans, especially since we are certainly willing to travel great distances for goods and services that we think are very important. For example, though many economically-depressed communities are overwhelmed with beauty supply stores that sell expensive hair care products, there never seems to be a shortage of customers. In fact, the hair care business stays booming and foreignors continue to put their kids through college off our dollars. Some of the most destitute sisters will spend their last few little dollars just to make sure their hair and nails stay in order. Therefore, Black people definitely have money. The "We can't afford healthy food" excuse is a load of crap. The truth is, people will make sacrifices for goods and services that they feel are important. And if Black people want healthier, longer lives, we have got to reevaluate our priorities.


    yeah
    quote:
    Originally posted by Rowe:
    I disagree. I think price and access may be a problem for some African-Americans, but I don't think that it's a problem for most African-Americans, especially since we are certainly willing to travel great distances for goods and services that we think are important. For example, though many economically-depressed communities are overwhelmed with beauty supply stores that sell expensive hair care products, there never seems to be a shortage of customers. In fact, the hair care business stays booming and foreignors continue to put their kids through college off our dollars. Some of the most destitute sisters will spend their last few little dollars just to make sure their hair and nails stay in order. Therefore, Black people definitely have money. The "We can't afford healthy food" excuse is a load of crap. The truth is, people will make sacrifices for goods and services that they feel are important. And if Black people want healthier, longer lives, we have got to reevaluate our priorities.


    You really don't think normal prices would help?

    I know the neighborhoods with the hair supplies businesses, too. Those are mixed in with the fruit markets, no?

    You doubt that if fruits were available in poorer neighborhoods that they'd really be bought, but the fruit and vegetable markets are putting people through college, too.

    So why would it be a stretch to believe that they'd do even better if their goods were more reasonably priced?

    I'm not saying that nationwide education and promotions to get people to eat healthier aren't needed.

    After all this nation is getting fatter in all income and race brackets.

    I'm just saying:

    1) There are fruits and veggie markets in poor neighborhoods that do sell well. So well that it isn't unusual to find more than one on the same block.

    2) They might even sell more if prices were more equal to those found in richer neighborhoods.

    I believe there was already a study done not too long ago that showed increased vegetables prices correlating with increased obesity in young children.
    I understand your argument and you are making valid points here. However, take the neighborhood that I live in for example. I live in a neighborhood where the smallest home sells for $400,000, some for $600,000. This is an affluent, predominately Black neighbhorhood where Black people have plenty of access to quality food products, yet everyday, I see a long line, sometimes leading out of the parking lot, interferring with on-coming traffic, from the KFC and McDonald's fast food lanes. One Mercedes after another rushing to get their fast food fix. Now dammit, explain what in the hell is going on here. These people have the money, they have the information, why aren't they making better meal choices: CONVENIENCE, CONVENIENCE, CONVENIENCE! People in general, simply don't want to cook (lack time), they don't want to pay too much for their food (they are cheap), and they want something that taste good (addicted). They don't care anything about their health. They'd rather spend their money on "more important things" like huge mortgages and car note. And that is what's really going on here. Let's start being honest about this ok?
    Last edited {1}
    quote:
    Originally posted by Rowe:
    I understand your argument and you are making valid points here. However, take the neighborhood that I live in for example. I live in a neighborhood where the smallest home sells for $400,000, some for $600,000. This an affluent, predominately Black neighbhorhood where Black people have plenty of access to quality food products, yet everyday, I see a long line, sometimes leading out of the parking lot, interferring with on-coming traffic, from the KFC and McDonald's fast food lanes. One Mercedes after another rushing to get their fast food fix. Now dammit, explain what in the hell is going on here. These people have the money, they have the information, why aren't they making better meal choices: CONVENIENCE, CONVENIENCE, CONVENIENCE! People in general, simply don't want to cook (lack time), they don't want to pay too much for their food (they are cheap), and they want something that taste good (addicted). They don't care anything about their health. They'd rather spend their money on "more important things" like huge mortgages and car note. And that's what's really going on here. Let's start being honest about this ok?

    Some of this may be regional. This is where statistical data is useful. I have seen those neighborhoods of which you speak. I also know middle and upper middle class AA's in Houston who shop at Whole Foods and Central Markets and pay extra for organic produce or use pick up quality prepared foods.

    Also, my wife and I at least once a week go to one of the dozen Soup'er Salad restaurants in Houston. Two of these have a large black clientèle. These black folk are making healthy options, in part because of convenience. You will not find any of these options in the poorer communities. I found the case to be similar when I lived in the Bay Area.

    What do you think of the options offered in the book as a remedy? What would you suggest in lieu of those put forward?
    I will go back and look again at the list of suggestions. I just sort of 'jumped in' here.

    Clearly, the 'fix' we are taling about ultimately has to be systemic.

    The existing tools capable of achieving this are operated by 'others'; with the exception of the churches.

    Here we can individually lobby for nutrition programs, AND personally volunteer services to make the programs possible.

    Stores and restaurants require willing capital investment.

    Those folks have to be persuaded that such investment is wise.

    PEACE

    Jim Chester
    Sorry I am late to this.

    One thing I noticed about the book was the etiology (sickness origin) of all the disparity between blacks and whites was one thing --> Control

    The reason I was pissed at the book was because it was light on creating mechanism to increase community control, and strong on creating mechanisms by which government (white majority) would be the ones administering the things to correct the disparity.

    How irrational is that?

    That is why as a blanket answer to any question that will be asked within the book I have two answers:

    1. Economic Control
    2. Volitional Control

    We need to control a majority of our communities economies and we need to control our choices within the American system.

    In reference to this specific "Covenant" which as I argued in my review isn't really a convenant at all is that we must create strategems that center on preventative medicine.

    We can complain about access, and pricing, and those are legitimate complaints, but as was mentioned in the book, a large majority of our problems are behavioral in nature, and not medicinal in nature.

    We can reduce a large amount of out sicknesses by:

    A) Eating better
    B) Exercising
    C) Eliminating stress

    When so many of us have high cholesteral, blood pressure, high body fat indexes, and drink large quantities of alcohol we predispose ourselves to diabeties, heart disease and things of that nature.

    We can control that, and if we do by default then we reduce our reliance on the medical system as a whole and reduce the need to worry about racism and cultural awareness.

    Secondly,

    How about some innovative solutions here instead of Big Brother Government.

    For example, what is stopping grassroots organizers from creating community insurance coops? As you all know the bigger the pool of the insured, the lower the cost, if you can manage to create a coop of 10,000 to 20,000 individuals you bring insurance cost now into the afforable realm. If you attached to that a non-profit organization that was grant funding to subsidize premiums by those who can't even afford the basic premium then you create opportunities to as a community reduce the rate of uninsured black folk.

    That is just one way.

    Secondly, the economic angle. This is macro stuff now. As we create businesses within the community that serve the community and those outside the community you create employment opportunities, and the opportunities for an individual to participate in group health plans through companies that we own.

    We CAN do it, and that doesn't mean there doesn't have to be systemic corrections in current insurance, but to put all the burden on others external to us, when they were the ones who put us in this position in the first place is irrational.
    quote:
    Originally posted by kresge:
    What do you think of the options offered in the book as a remedy? What would you suggest in lieu of those put forward?


    I am very much interested in Black people's health and well-being, but I have yet to review the healthcare proposal outlined in Smiley's book. I do know this, however, whatever Smiley has suggested in his latest book, it had better be powerful enough to dismantle Black people's traditional ways of thinking in terms of how food should taste and be prepared and it had better be effective enough to help Black people avoid the powerful lure and temptation of food advertisments, which like alcohol and tobacco industries, targets minorities and the poor.

    Now as you mentioned, Black people's atttitudes toward food and health may be regional. However, for the most part, I believe African-Americans are and will continue to suffer from the same diseases associated with poor health as Whites if we do not differentiate between our health and nutritional needs and theirs. Research has shown that Blacks cannot digest dairy products (e.g., cheese, icecream, and milk products) as well as Whites neither can Blacks cannot eat all of the sugar and starches that White Americans enjoy eating. But more importantly, we have got to become better informed about how what we eat affects both our physical AND mental functioning. That information is very important. Not only does what we eat affect our bodies, food influences the way we think, the way we feel, and even our relationships with others. Whatever we put into our bodies will affect us, holistically.
    quote:
    Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:
    The existing tools capable of achieving this are operated by 'others'; with the exception of the churches.

    Here we can individually lobby for nutrition programs, AND personally volunteer services to make the programs possible.

    Stores and restaurants require willing capital investment.

    Those folks have to be persuaded that such investment is wise.


    But sadly, the people who have the most independence in terms of how they will improve the Black community's health condition (churches and church leaders) are still married to antiquated and traditional views about food choices, food preparation, and health. They still eat the fried chicken and fried fish dinners after "chuch service" or the pancakes and ham sausage before church service begins. These are the people, however, who should be reviewing not only Smiley's proposal in the Covenant but the tons of other information that is and has been available concerning this subject. Therefore, what I think will really improve Black people's health condition is breaking through the barriers of TRADITION. Helping Black people to not fall victim to America's love affair with addictive foods or using food as a tool of pleasure and social congregation.
    quote:
    Originally posted by Dell Gines:
    In reference to this specific "Covenant" which as I argued in my review isn't really a convenant at all is that we must create strategems that center on preventative medicine. We can complain about access, and pricing, and those are legitimate complaints, but as was mentioned in the book, a large majority of our problems are behavioral in nature, and not medicinal in nature. We can control that, and if we do by default then we reduce our reliance on the medical system as a whole and reduce the need to worry about racism and cultural awareness. We CAN do it, and that doesn't mean there doesn't have to be systemic corrections in current insurance, but to put all the burden on others external to us, when they were the ones who put us in this position in the first place is irrational.


    I am very impressed with the suggestions you've outlined here. I too am a strong advocate for prevention, and I am strongly opposed to over relance on prescription drugs and doctors. Rather than using and abusing prescription drugs, I think we should allow food to be our medicine. So I am in support of your perspective. And yes, I also don't see what is stopping us from organizing an insurance co-op, though convincing people will be a challenge.

    Reading your proposal, I am reminded of an organization (The United Nation of Islam), which uses resources from a chain of restaurants they own and manage in poor Black communities in Washington, DC to maintain their own farmland, grow their own food, establish their own school and universities, organize their own health care, transportation, and banking systems, and to basically exist independent of government aid and America's mainstream. Perhaps the rest of Black America should model their life objectives after these folks. Perhaps not their fundamentalist religious ideas (that is, unless you can relate to them), but their sole objective of self-sufficiency and independence. This organization also actively recruits poor and marginalized Blacks in the community. Take a look:

    Nation Builiding
    For example, what is stopping grassroots organizers from creating community insurance coops? As you all know the bigger the pool of the insured, the lower the cost, if you can manage to create a coop of 10,000 to 20,000 individuals you bring insurance cost now into the afforable realm. If you attached to that a non-profit organization that was grant funding to subsidize premiums by those who can't even afford the basic premium then you create opportunities to as a community reduce the rate of uninsured black folk.

    That is just one way.---Dell Gines

    That is good.

    Organization and money can make it happen.

    We should be reminded that back in the day when there was no Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BC/BS) the hospitals and doctors for this alliance to settle for a percentage of the money owed.

    They formed two organizations to represent them and manage the settlement percentage, and receive and distribute the money.

    The participating hospitals and doctors were known as 'Blue Cross' hospitals, and 'Blue Shield' doctors.

    We need some monied source to do what North Carolina Mutual did in the 1920s

    Insure African American-Americans for very modest amounts providing modest benefits.


    PEACE

    Jim Chester
    Ok how about this?
    Battling a Black Epidemic

    In Convenant it discusses securing the "right" to healthcare.

    Here is my dilemma, is healthcare and related issues like AIDS a matter of responsibility?

    Over the past few years it has become my goal, and I think a good one for most people, to lead a life that keeps me/us from needing doctors other then for routine check ups and also to stay away from their drugs

    The book states that "there are individual, community, and governmental responsibilities in achieving the health goals". I think a lot falls mainly to the individual and then the community. I'm very wary of relying on the government however.

    He addresses obesity and mental illness as major factors to health problems but I believe AIDS should be number one on the agenda.

    I don't necessarily blame the AIDS issue on the downlow brotha either. I blame the religious leaders. We want to keep the homosexuality in the closet rather then promote understanding and tolerance.---MidLifeMan

    Big Ups for that!!!

    This is further evidence that African American refuses, not simply fails, to acknowledge its responsibility for the AIDS epidemic in its population.

    I won't even bother to 'go get' the stats.

    We remain the statistical 'leader of the pack'.

    The most irresponsible are the ministers of the churches serving African American communities. It's true in my community. I bet its true in yours.

    The other health issues are valid.

    The prevention regimens are also sorely neglected.

    Hell, just consider smoking by itself!!!

    Now THAT'S ADDICTION!!!!!

    And...it's legal.

    Thank God.

    I quit in '77.

    Thank God.

    And...I'm on track losing at least 5 pounds per year.

    By neighbor recently commented that I 'look like I've lost weight'.

    That's not surprising. I weigh 216 lbs. I onced weighed 250 lbs.

    When I weighed 185 lbs, I was thought to be 'skinny'.

    C'mon skinny.



    PEACE

    Jim Chester
    Another problem with the church and how it's antiquated beliefs contribute to the AIDS and teen pregnancy epidemic is the unrealistic expectation for majority of single men and women to "abstain from sex until marriage." This requirement may have been attainable during a time when people were married (most of them prearranged) soon after young men reached puberty and young women got their first menstrual, but times have dramatically changed. People are now putting off marriage until much later in life in order to pursue an education and careers. And when is the church and their religious fanatics going to acknowledge and accept this??? When are they going to realize that people are going to "fornicate" before marriage. Therefore, young adults (AND adults) need continuous information about prevention, NOT MORE EXPECTATIONS, SECRETS, AND LIES.

    We need TALK to young adults about sex, stop imposing our repressive and oppressive views about sex on them, and stop babying them by wishing and hoping that they will remain children forever. Children cannot stay children forever, and so we must prepare them for life's challenges. Let's prepare our children for THE REAL WORLD, not our idealistic/religious fantasies.
    quote:
    Let's prepare our children for THE REAL WORLD, not our idealistic/religious fantasies.
    ---Rowe

    I get your point.

    I'm always 'up in the air' about this living together thing.

    I always told my children I can't stop you, but don't send me the bills.

    But...as it turns out, and as usual, there's more.

    The children.

    I don't think marriage was created so much for the two parties as for the children that were presumbed to forthcoming.

    I know that the system that supports 'living together' short changes the children.

    'Living together' is not about the children. It is about the practicing parties.

    The children are incidental, and they lose.


    PEACE

    Jim Chester
    I would like for all physicians to be trained about their own racist tendencies. I've read (can't remember where) that given the same symptomology, whites were more likely to receive preventive care, referrals to specialists, and corrective procedures for heart disease than blacks, with all other factors being equal...

    so you mean to say Doctors are giving better care to white people just because they're white??????????????

    oh lawd!

    medical care for ALL blacks regardless of whether we are insured or not is totally inadequate.

    in my experiences
    doctors seem impatient
    don't like questions
    like quick fix illnesses
    blame everything on weight
    don't like it when a patient seems educated

    black people need better doctors!

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