03 December 2010

STOP Being Niggardly

The title, "Stop Being Niggardly And Nine Other Things Black People Need to Stop Doing," was an eye opener itself.  'Excuse me,' I thought as I flipped the hardback over, staring into Author Karen Miller's eyes, which seemingly said "I dare you to read it." The word Niggerly in white letters on the front cover spanned across a red banner to me meant ghetto, ignorant, selfish and cruel, yet dictionary.com classifies it as stingy and not generous.

Refreshingly delivered with a blazen boldness, she tackles issues and turmoil, along with the sacrifice, support, strength and power needed to help recifty the rage and spirit of hopelessness in the black community. This book was started out of frustration the same way this blog was concieved out of a desire for hope and change. Too often we as blacks get bent out of shape over what we can't control but are content to complain about what we can. Instead of focusing energy on the "white man," white power and the odds against us, how about shifting our focus and energy on educating our youth, flourishing our communities with black business and home ownership while attacking detrimental issues like gang violence, teen pregnancy, black on black crime and the rampant rate HIV is currently thriving? It takes a village right?

Inspired by Nannie Helen Burroughs, the daughter of ex-slaves, and her book Twelve Things the Negro Must Do, penned in the 1890's, her motto spoke volumes: "we specialize in the wholly impossible." Even with the decked stacked against her (denied a teaching position after graduating with honors; she started her own school) she allowed her drive and thirst to achieve more, guide her. Here we are in a world full of freedom, experience, opportunity and possiblity and yet we limit ourselves. Out of the 10 things Black People Need to Stop Doing, my three favorite:

1. Stop Complaining and Start Planning:  When you fail to plan, you plan to fail and we owe it to ourselves to get our lives in order. A map is a needed guidline of where you're going and how to get there.

2. Stop Tearing Down Our Heros: Its as if we can't wait to tear people down. Hero's make the world go 'round. They inspire hope, can empower the soul and motivate being. Without them, we have nothing to base a foundation on.

8. Stop Being Fat!: Blacks are the line leaders in major health- risk categories including cancer and diabetes, with "four out of five African-American women either overwight or obese." Once your health is gone, that's it. Stop making excuse for poor health and kill the bad habits because if you don't, it'll kill you.  Nothing feels better than healthy.

"I have learned that change doesn't come in comfort. We make changes when there is pain and discomfort. I want people to be upset, and I want them to talk about it, and I want us to come together and work toward some solutions and make some plans." - Karen Hunter

01 December 2010

HIV...you want it?

No? You sure? So why is it that AIDS continues to spreat at an alarming rate, especially in the black community? Coined by Jay-z "men lie, women lie, numbers don't," these numbers tell it all: African American women comprise 72 % of all new HIV cases; every 35 minutes a women is diagnosed. AIDS in the NUMBER ONE killer of African American women between the ages 25-34. Black Men account for 65% of new cases among all blacks while African Americans make up 50% of new diagnoses. Scary Right?

Its obviously not enough to be scared because these statistics continually increase. We have to stop being scared to speak up and educate our people out of fear because fear is killing us. AIDS is alive, thriving and preying on our community. The rate of HIV/AIDS in our nation's capital, Washington D.C. rivals that of some developing nations. And some still believe that only gay people can be diagnosed with HIV. Yes the Down Low in the black community is still running rampant but the sad thing is these black men don't consider themselves gay and still sleep with women, further passing this disease along. Heterosexual contact follows close behind with intravenous drug use, then male-to-male intravenous drug use trailing.

The H in HIV stands for Human which means this is a humans disease and any part of the body that breaths is susceptible.  We have to make education a priority so we can silence this deadly killer. In honor of World AIDS day, do yourself a favor and get tested today. Being knowledgable is sexy; ignorant is not...who's with me?