Tag Archives: medicine

Livestrong: Why the Cancer of Injustice Lives On

photo

Everything hidden in darkness must come to light. This seems to be a relevant saying, considering the recent phenomenon of racial and gender scandals in the media. That means bigotry in the NBA, new domestic violence reports, and growing evidence of racist police forces. But when light shines on an issue, do we look for the roots of the issue or do we just just follow the headlines?

Follow the patterns. We are fooled into thinking justice has taken place, when time and time again systems are simply punishing behaviors and people who got caught, instead of the thinking and philosophies that led to those behaviors. Instead of healing, we treat symptoms. We medicate. In a similar way, when we correct people–racists, abusers, etc–all we tend to correct is behavior. People then adopt rules: don’t say nigger, don’t hit a woman, don’t do this, don’t do that. We never correct the way the dominating culture thinks. There are systems of thought and control laced in our political, economic, and religious culture.  The monster you see peeking its head in recent scandals is only a symptom of the great cancer that lies in our systems of thought. If we never plan on attacking a way of thinking, that monstrous cancer continues to live–police brutality, racism (in the economic, judicial, and political world),  domestic violence, even so called abortion rights. The root of all our issues seems to be the ancient storyline: one group of people thinks it is superior than another, and essentially that they are more human–or that they are the real humans, and the others are not. The self perceived superior group either cannot see the others’ humanity or they undervalue that humanity.

Some people only see  only race, gender, or ethnic group. Today, whole systems of governance and socialization have normalized this view. The cancer seems to have been dormant, with a few complaints from its underclass. Today, however, the evidence is in the blood on our streets. Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Renisha McBride, Janay Rice, and so many more.

photo

In pursuing the cause for these atrocities, we point to all the wrong things: the victims themselves, the racist cop, the scared neighborhood watch, etc. For me it boils down to one thing: were these victims seen as people. On the contrary, the personhood of each of these people seems to have been in question, or at the very least it had to be proven.

They tried to show Trayvon Martin was sweet and made good grades. They said Michael was going to college. Every one of those efforts is to make the victim more relateable, more human to the average white public–as if them being human was not enough! There is a gap in the viewed personhood of a white 17 year old and a black 17 year old, in a beaten woman and the man who beat her, in a daughter from the Hamptons and a daughter from Detroit. I will skip the cute stuff, and say why. The measure of humanity and personhood is often dictated by a few things:
1. Whiteness, and one’s relation to it
2. The male sex, and one’s relation to it
3. Economic stability

Somehow, if you fail in anyway to have a father, or to come from an economically sound background, or you look a little too different–you lose the function of the mass culture’s ability to relate to you as a person. Your personhood erodes. Your humanity is in question. Tommy, we see. Rachel we can vouch for, but Tamika must prove to me that she is deserving.

Some of the greatest atrocities done to people happened because some one  thought the other was a little less human. Once you are capable of thinking someone else is less than human, then you are the one capable of great inhumanities towards people. The Transatlantic Slave Trade, the Holocaust, the Rwandan Genocide, and so much more. Each of the people group victimized were thought less, just a little less, than full human beings.

images-157

There is something particularly sick with a society that cannot see the humanity of those different from their perceived selves. The symptoms of that sickness shows itself in the numerous displays of injustice towards black men and women in this country. Yet, we have an opportunity. A major light is shining on issues we have always known, all too well in fact, but were unable to protest due to lack of evidence and following.

Now we have all the evidence of the cancer inside our country.  We have all the following of the general public. What do we do? We point only to the symptoms. We take a little tylenol for the runny nose. We point at the thinning hair here and there. We cut breats off. We tell the weak parts of the body that the cancer is their own fault. “Finger, you must let go of the past.” “Foot, well If you just looked like the hand, you know not so threatening.” We don’t get healing, we get quick fixes. We don’t call for justice, we call for  sacrifice. We sacrifice all the wrong people.

We let the cancer survive. We let the erroneous thinking, that is, the root of injustice live. We forget that it is living inside us. We do not attack the cancer itself, the harmful thinking that is the cause of the deaths of young people, the oppression of women, the imprisonment of minorities, etc. We let the cancer live. We bill it and we let it give commentary on the news.

10592694_540241252788628_2830254315574819687_n

Becoming Smarta in Sparta.

images-36My Brothers, as Men we are taught to be Warriors, Providers,Conquers and to Sacrifice. But when have we been taught to maintain our temple? We have been taught to hit the gym and make sure our outside are at their prime. But when have we been taught to keep our inner sanctuary as clean its stone exterior? For me, Never. I was taught like many of you that if anything happened, to “Walk It Off” or “You’ll Be Alright”. I recall spraining a finger playing football, and continuing playing with the opposite hand and breaking my ankle and having to walk without aid, up a giant flight of steps and then to the nurses office. But the time for that is over. Ill be alright is no longer an acceptable answer to many of the quarrels that happen within our bodies. We have no choice but to start taking care of ourselves, and sorry to break the news to you but Gram Grams gumbo will not fight Cancer by any means.
Black men lead American cases as the most diagnosed and most Cancer related deaths. This is unacceptable! We must do better if not for us. For our future Queens as well as future princes and princesses. This fallacy of the indestructible black man has to stop! Not now, but RIGHT NOW!
Here is a little story from my life, my dad is a Pastor of his own church as well as works a full time job, so needless to say he is pretty busy. One thing about my dad is he always visited the doctors office regularly. So flashback about nine months ago he goes to doctor for a routine check up, and he is referred to a specialist. Eh no big deal. So time goes by, the appointment for the specialist is never made, life goes on. Now fast forward to early March, dizzy spells set in, fatigue, but you know he is a very active 54 year old man so that does not come without it side affects. So he goes to the doctor and is immediately reserved a spot in a hospital because he has just been diagnosed with Leukemia. Boom. Just like that. Whole world changed. Now he was fortunate enough that they found a match for a blood marrow transplant is a local hospital, which for men of color is not always an easy task.
So back to my original point MEN we can no longer afford, to let our Pride stop us from seeking help. The price has gotten to high. We can no longer afford to say ‘Ill be alright. images-37We can no longer afford, self-diagnosis. Why? Because WE can no longer afford to lose our black men. With every life battle loss, we lose a preacher, a teacher, a father, a mentor, a brother, a husband. If we are to be soldiers, then we must take every precaution to stay on this earth as long as we can. If you have insurance, USE IT. I know some of us dont, but then it is your responsibility to find free clinics to make sure your fire is not extinguished before it can heat the heart of another.
My Brothers, WE must love ourselves how God has love us in order to reach each and every personal mountaintop that we may have.
Hotep.