Celebrating Black History Month: The Black History Moment Series #4 The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment.


 

By Jueseppi B.

A Picture Of Greatness. Black History is American History!

A Picture Of Greatness. Black History is American History!

 

Until “we” own it, and teach it, and accept responsibility for stealing Africans from their homeland to enslave them in America, there will always be a need for Black History Month.

 

Throughout the month Of February, TheObamaCrat™ will post a daily series called The Black History Moment Series. Each day for 28 days of this historic month you will be given the food of Black History to satisfy your hunger for knowledge. 

 

The series continues with: Celebrating Black History Month: The Black History Moment Series #4 The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment.

 

 

The Tuskegee syphilis experiment was an infamous clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural African American men who thought they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government.

 

The Public Health Service, working with the Tuskegee Institute, began the study in 1932. Investigators enrolled in the study a total of 600 impoverished sharecroppers from Macon County,Alabama; 399 who had previously contracted syphilis before the study began, and 201 without the disease. For participating in the study, the men were given free medical care, meals, and free burial insurance. They were never told they had syphilis, nor were they ever treated for it. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the men were told they were being treated for “bad blood”, a local term for various illnesses that include syphilis, anemia, and fatigue.

 

The 40-year study was controversial for reasons related to ethical standards; primarily because researchers knowingly failed to treat patients appropriately after the 1940s validation of penicillin as an effective cure for the disease they were studying. Revelation of study failures by a whistleblower led to major changes in U.S. law and regulation on the protection of participants in clinical studies. Now studies require informed consent (though foreign consent procedures can be substituted which offer similar protections; such substitutions must be submitted to the Federal Register unless statute or Executive Order require otherwise), communication of diagnosis, and accurate reporting of test results.

 

A doctor draws blood from one of the Tuskegee test subjects.

A doctor draws blood from one of the Tuskegee test subjects.

 

By 1947, penicillin had become the standard treatment for syphilis. Choices available to the doctors involved in the study might have included treating all syphilitic subjects and closing the study, or splitting off a control group for testing with penicillin. Instead, the Tuskegee scientists continued the study without treating any participants and withholding penicillin and information about it from the patients. In addition, scientists prevented participants from accessing syphilis treatment programs available to others in the area.

 

The study continued, under numerous US Public Health Service supervisors, until 1972, when a leak to the press eventually resulted in its termination on November 16. The victims of the study included numerous men who died of syphilis, wives who contracted the disease, and children born with congenital syphilis. Physicians in this time were fixated on African American sexuality, and the willingness of African Americans to have sexual relations with those who were infected led them to believe that the responsibility for the acquisition of the disease was solely upon the individual. This need to place blame blinded the physicians to find ways to help the innocent infants born with the disease through no fault of their own.

 

  • Raymond A. Vonderlehr (medical doctor)

 

  • John Heller (medical doctor)

 

  • Eugene Dibble (medical doctor)

 

  • Eunice Rivers (nurse)

 

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study, cited as “arguably the most infamous biomedical research study in U.S. history,” led to the 1979 Belmont Report and the establishment of the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP). It also led to federal laws and regulations requiring Institutional Review Boards for the protection of human subjects in studies involving human subjects. The Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) manages this responsibility within the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

 

The Tuskegee Syphilis Project

 

 

 

History

“For the most part, doctors and civil servants simply did their jobs. Some merely followed orders, others worked for the glory of science.”

— John Heller, Director of the Public Health Service’s Division of Venereal Diseases.

 

The venereal disease section of the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) formed a study group in 1932 at its national headquarters. Taliaferro Clark was credited with its origin. His initial goal was to follow untreated syphilis in a group of black men for 6 to 9 months, and then follow up with a treatment phase. When he understood the intention of other study members to use deceptive practices, Clark disagreed with the plan to conduct an extended study. He retired the year after the study began.

 

Representing the PHS, Clark had solicited the participation of the Tuskegee Institute (a well-known historically black college in Alabama, now known as Tuskegee University) and also the inclusion of the Arkansas regional PHS office. Eugene Dibble, an African American doctor, was head of the John Andrew Hospital at the Tuskegee Institute. Oliver C. Wenger, a Caucasian, was director of the regional PHS Venereal Disease Clinic in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He and his staff took a lead in developing study procedures.

 

Wenger and his staff played a critical role in developing early study protocols. Wenger continued to advise and assist the Tuskegee Study when it turned into a long-term, no-treatment observational study.

 

Raymond A. Vonderlehr was appointed on-site director of the research program and developed the policies that shaped the long-term follow-up section of the project. For example, he decided to gain the “consent” of the subjects for spinal taps (to look for signs of neurosyphilis) by depicting the diagnostic test as a “special free treatment”. Vonderlehr retired as head of the venereal disease section in 1943, shortly after penicillin had first been shown to be a cure for syphilis.

 

Several African American health workers and educators associated with Tuskegee Institute helped the PHS to carry out its experimentation and played a critical role in its progression, though the extent to which they were aware of methodology of the study is not clear in all cases. Robert Russa Moton, the head of Tuskegee Institute at the time, and Eugene Dibble, of the Tuskegee Medical Hospital, both lent their endorsement and institutional resources to the government study. Nurse Eunice Rivers, an African-American trained at Tuskegee Institute who worked at its affiliated John Andrew Hospital, was recruited at the start of the study.

 

Vonderlehr was a strong advocate for Nurse Rivers’ participation, as she was the direct link to the community. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Tuskegee Study began by offering lower class African Americans, who often could not afford health care, the chance to join “Miss Rivers’ Lodge”. Patients were to receive free physical examinations at Tuskegee University, free rides to and from the clinic, hot meals on examination days, and free treatment for minor ailments.

 

Based on the available health care resources, Nurse Rivers believed that the benefits of the study to the men outweighed the risks.

 

As the study became long term, Nurse Rivers became the chief person with continuity. Unlike the changing state of national, regional and on-site PHS administrators, doctors, and researchers, Rivers stayed at Tuskegee University. She was the only study staff person to work with participants for the full 40 years. By the 1950s, Nurse Rivers had become pivotal to the study—her personal knowledge of the subjects enabled maintenance of long-term follow up.

 

Historians found evidence that most of the African American staff that assisted the Tuskegee Experiments were under the belief that they were part of a medical experiment that gave them the opportunity to act in the best interests of poor Black residents of Tuskegee.

 

In the study’s later years, John R. Heller led the national division.

 

By the late 1940s, doctors, hospitals and public health centers throughout the country routinely treated diagnosed syphilis with penicillin. In the period following World War II, the revelation of the Holocaust and related Nazi medical abuses brought about changes in international law. Western allies formulated the Nuremberg Code to protect the rights of research subjects. No one appeared to have reevaluated the protocols of the Tuskegee Study according to the new standards.

 

In 1972 the Tuskegee Study was brought to public and national attention by a whistleblower, who gave information to the Washington Star and the New York Times. Heller of PHS still defended the ethics of the study, stating: “The longer the study, the better the ultimate information we would derive.” Author James Jones remarks about this attitude: “The men’s status did not warrant ethical debate. They were subjects, not patients; clinical material, not sick people.”

 

Miss Evers’ Boys (1997)

 

 

 

Study details

A Norwegian study in 1928 had reported on the pathologic manifestations of untreated syphilis in several hundred white males. This study is known as a retrospective study since investigators pieced together information from the histories of patients who had already contracted syphilis but remained untreated for some time.

 

 Human test subjects from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study talking with a study coordinator, Nurse Eunice Rivers

Human test subjects from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study talking with a study coordinator, Nurse Eunice Rivers

 

The Tuskegee study group decided to build on the Oslo work and perform a prospective study to complement it. In the earlier phases of the study this was not inherently unethical since there was nothing the investigators could do therapeutically at the time. Researchers could study the natural progression of the disease as long as they did not harm their subjects. They reasoned that the knowledge gained would benefit humankind; however, it was determined afterward that the doctors did harm their subjects by depriving them of appropriate treatment once it had been discovered. The study was characterized as “the longest non-therapeutic experiment on human beings in medical history.”

 

The US health service Tuskegee study began as a clinical trial of the incidence of syphilis in the Macon Countypopulation. At that time, it was believed that the effects of syphilis depended on the race of those affected. For African Americans, physicians believed that their cardiovascular system was more affected than the central nervous system. Initially, subjects were studied for six to eight months and then treated with contemporary methods including Salvarsanmercurial ointments, and bismuth. These methods were, at best, mildly effective. The disadvantage that these treatments were all highly toxic was balanced by the fact that no other methods were known. The Tuskegee Institute participated in the study, as its representatives understood the intent was to benefit public health in the local poor population.

 

The Tuskegee University-affiliated hospital effectively loaned the PHS its medical facilities and other predominantly black institutions and local black doctors participated as well. The Rosenwald Fund, a major Chicago-based philanthropy devoted to black education and community development in the South, provided financial support to pay for the eventual treatment of the patients. They had previously collaborated with Public Health Services in a study of syphilis prevalence in over 2,000 black workers in Mississippi’s Delta Pine and Land Company in 1928, and helped provide treatment for 25% of the workers who had tested positive for syphilis. Study researchers initially recruited 399 syphilitic Black men, and 201 healthy Black men as controls.

 

Continuing effects of the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the beginning of the Great Depression led the Rosenwald Fund to withdraw its offer of funding. Study directors issued a final report as they thought this might mean the end of the study once funding to buy medication for the treatment phase of the study was withdrawn.

 

Medical ethics considerations were limited from the start and rapidly deteriorated. To ensure that the men would show up for the possibly dangerous, painful, diagnostic, and non-therapeutic spinal taps, the doctors sent the 400 patients a misleading letter titled “Last Chance for Special Free Treatment”. The study also required all participants to undergo an autopsy after death in order to receive funeral benefits. After penicillin was discovered as a cure, researchers continued to deny such treatment to many study participants. Many patients were lied to and given placebo treatments so researchers could observe the full, long-term progression of the fatal disease.

 

Doctor injects test subject with placebo as part of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study

Doctor injects test subject with placebo as part of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study

 

The Tuskegee Study published its first clinical data in 1934 and issued their first major report in 1936. This was prior to the discovery of penicillin as a safe and effective treatment for syphilis. The study was not secret since reports and data sets were published to the medical community throughout its duration.

 

During World War II, 250 of the subject men registered for the draft. These men were consequently diagnosed as having syphilis at military induction centers and ordered to obtain treatment for syphilis before they could be taken into the armed services.

 

PHS researchers attempted to prevent them from getting treatment, thus depriving them of chances for a cure. A PHS representative was quoted at the time as saying: “So far, we are keeping the known positive patients from getting treatment.” Despite this, 96% of the 90 original test subjects reexamined in 1963 had received either arsenical or penicillin treatments from another health provider.

 

By 1947 penicillin had become standard therapy for syphilis. The US government sponsored several public health programs to form “rapid treatment centers” to eradicate the disease. When campaigns to eradicate venereal disease came to Macon County, study researchers prevented their patients from participating.

 

By the end of the study in 1972, only 74 of the test subjects were alive. Of the original 399 men, 28 had died of syphilis, 100 were dead of related complications, 40 of their wives had been infected and 19 of their children were born with congenital syphilis.

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Non-consensual experiments in Guatemala

In October 2010 it was revealed that in Guatemala, U.S. Public Health Service doctors went even further. It was reported that from 1946 to 1948, American doctors deliberately infected prisoners, soldiers, and patients in a mental hospital with syphilis and, in some cases, gonorrhea, with the cooperation of some Guatemalan health ministries and officials. A total of 696 men and women were exposed to syphilis without the informed consent of the subjects. When the subjects contracted the disease they were given antibiotics though it is unclear if all infected parties were cured.

 

Wellesley College’s historian Susan Reverby discovered records of the experiment while examining archives of John Charles Cutler, a government researcher involved in the now infamous Tuskegee study. In October 2010, the U.S. formally apologized to Guatemala for conducting these experiments.

 

The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

 

 

 

Study termination

In 1966 Peter Buxtun, a PHS venereal-disease investigator in San Francisco, sent a letter to the national director of the Division of Venereal Diseases to express his concerns about the ethics and morality of the extended Tuskegee Study. The Center for Disease Control(CDC), which by then controlled the study, reaffirmed the need to continue the study until completion; i.e., until all subjects had died and been autopsied. To bolster its position, the CDC sought, and gained support for the continuation of the study, from local chapters of the National Medical Association (representing African-American physicians) and the American Medical Association (AMA).

 

In 1968 William Carter Jenkins, an African-American statistician in the PHS, part of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW), founded and edited The Drum, a newsletter devoted to ending racial discrimination in HEW. The cabinet-level department included the CDC. In The Drum, Jenkins called for an end to the Tuskegee Study. He did not succeed; it is not clear who read his work.

 

Buxtun finally went to the press in the early 1970s. The story broke first in the Washington Star on July 25, 1972. It became front-page news in the New York Times the following day. Senator Edward Kennedy called Congressional hearings, at which Buxtun and HEW officials testified. As a result of public outcry the CDC and PHS appointed an ad hoc advisory panel to review the study. It determined the study was medically unjustified and ordered its termination. As part of the settlement of a class action lawsuit subsequently filed by the NAACP, the U.S. government paid $9 million (unadjusted for inflation) and agreed to provide free medical treatment to surviving participants and to surviving family members infected as a consequence of the study.

 

A collection of materials compiled to investigate the study is held at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland.

 

Depression-era U.S. poster advocating early syphilis treatment. Although treatments were available, participants in the study did not receive them.

Depression-era U.S. poster advocating early syphilis treatment. Although treatments were available, participants in the study did not receive them.

 

Aftermath

In 1974 Congress passed the National Research Act and created a commission to study and write regulations governing studies involving human participants. On May 16, 1997, President Bill Clinton formally apologized and held a ceremony for the Tuskegee study participants: “What was done cannot be undone. But we can end the silence. We can stop turning our heads away. We can look at you in the eye and finally say on behalf of the American people, what the United States government did was shameful, and I am sorry … To our African American citizens, I am sorry that your federal government orchestrated a study so clearly racist.” Five of the eight remaining study survivors attended the White House ceremony.

 

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study significantly damaged the trust of the black community toward public health efforts in the United States. The study may also have contributed to the reluctance of many poor black people to seek routine preventive care. However, recent studies have challenged the degree to which knowledge of the Tuskegee experiments have kept black Americans from participating in medical research. Distrust of the government because of the study contributed to persistent rumors in the black community that the government was responsible for the HIV/AIDS crisis by introducing the virus to the black community.

 

An interview in February on ABC’s PrimeTime Live between ABC’s Jay Schadler and Dr. Sidney Olansky, Public Health Services director of the study from 1950 to 1957, further showed why the Tuskegee study had damaged the trust between medical personnel and much of the African American community. When asked about the lies that were told to the study subjects, Olansky replied with “The fact that they were illiterate was helpful, too, because they couldn’t read the newspapers. If they were not, as things moved on they might have been reading newspapers and seen what was going on.” 

 

Ethical implications

After penicillin was found to be an effective treatment for syphilis, the study continued for another 25 years without treating those suffering from the disease. After the study and its consequences became front-page news, it was ended in a day. The aftershocks of this study, and other human experiments in the United States, led to the establishment of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research and the National Research Act. The latter requires the establishment of institutional review boards (IRBs) at institutions receiving federal support (such as grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts).

 

In popular culture

 

  • A 33 second song “Tuskeegee #626″ featured on Gil Scott-Heron‘s 1977 Bridges LP with lyrics detailing and condemning the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments.

 

  • In the pilot episode of the TV series House, M.D., the Dean of Medicine Dr. Lisa Cuddy makes reference to Dr. Gregory House that his treatment method of his patient by guessing has not been used since Tuskegee.

 

  • In the movie Half-Baked Thurgood Jenkins (Dave Chappelle) mentions to a scientist that his grandfather was in the Tuskegee Experiments, in order to demonstrate his willingness to participate in the federal government’s study of marijuana. Dave’s grandfather in real life was in fact a subject of the Tuskegee Experiments, surviving the experiments led to him living with a permanent blindness.

 

 

 

DATELINE – The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

 

Published on Oct 23, 2013

1932 – 1972 US gov. experiment that denied black men treatment for syphilis to study how they died. The Guatemala experiment inoculated unwitting children, prisoners and patients with syphilis to study it’s development.

 

 

 

Hat Tip/Shoutout To:  R-Evolution For The The Destruction of the Black Family Series

 

The Destruction of the Black Family- Part 4

 

By the 19th century, popular Southern literature characterized female slaves as lustful and promiscuous “Jezebels” who shamelessly tempted white owners into sexual relations. This stereotype of the promiscuous slave was partially motivated by the need to rationalize the sexual abuse of female slaves by white males. Edward Ball, in his Slaves in the Family, noted that it was more often the sons than the senior planters who took advantage of slave women before their marriages to white women. The stereotype was reinforced by female slaves’ working partially clothed, due to the hot climate. During slave auctions, females were sometimes displayed nude or only partially clothed. Sometimes, some were dressed “fancifully” for a different sort of trade…

 

To satisfy lustful desires the “Fancy” trade came in to existence. “Fancy” trade is when extremely light skinned female slaves Many female slaves were sold specifically to wealthy white southern men. Many lived as mistresses in the urban dwellings of the men who also had a wife and children on a rural plantation. Some women, or their children, eventually were freed by their owners. In rare cases, some even married their concubines.

 

Fine clothing was a critical aspect to the success of the slave traders who sold and the men who owned “fancy” girls. These Black women were not dressed as prostitutes, even though what was happening can be called nothing less than prostitution, but as fashionably “showy” ladies. On the auction blocks they wore clothing and jewelry of the latest fashion. This style continued after they were bought as concubines. Much like enslaved house servants, these women’s bodies were places for slaveholders to signify their social power by displaying their wealth. While dressing up meant a degree of freedom and an avenue of individual expression for most of the enslaved, for these women, fine clothing was another form of exploitation.

 

New Orleans and Lexington, Kentucky, had active markets in “fancy girls.” In the 1850s, beautiful teenage girls were valued at more than $1,500 (close to $30,000 in today’s dollars), which made them as “expensive” as prime male field hands. Buying a “fancy girl” was a status symbol for traders, gamblers, and saloonkeepers. Because New Orleans attracted a large population of gamblers, debauchees and revelers for Carnival, it was the largest market for those girls and young women who were sent there from the Upper South.

 

As you read this history, ask yourself, Did the “fancy” trade ever end? as I watch some of our television programming I still see the exploitation of Black women. Black women are still, by how they are portrayed as lustful and promiscuous “Jezebels.” The similarity gets deeper because they are dressed up, like Fancy girls, to be able to sell an image of how other Black women should view themselves and act in order to be successful. Recognize that this exploitation has never stopped and we must begin to control our own image.

 

Hat Tip/Shoutout To:  R-Evolution Please visit the Facebook page R-Evolution.

 

 

Harriet Tubman born Araminta Harriet Ross; 1820 – March 10, 1913

Harriet Tubman born Araminta Harriet Ross; 1820 – March 10, 1913

 

Black History Month 2014

 

Celebrating Black History Month: The Black History Moment Series #1. Slavery.

 

Celebrating Black History Month: The Black History Moment Series #2. The Middle Passage.

 

Celebrating Black History Month: The Black History Moment Series #3. Post Racial AmeriKKKa.

 

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Until "we" own it, and teach it, and accept responsibility for stealing Africans from their homeland to enslave them in America, there will always be a need for Black History Month.

Until “we” own it, and teach it, and accept responsibility for stealing Africans from their homeland to enslave them in America, there will always be a need for Black History Month.

blackhistorymonth11

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The Global Grind Answers The Question: Why We Need Black History Month In 2014.


 

By Jueseppi B.

Until "we" own it, and teach it, and accept responsibility for stealing Africans from their homeland to enslave them in America, there will always be a need for Black History Month.

Until “we” own it, and teach it, and accept responsibility for stealing Africans from their homeland to enslave them in America, there will always be a need for Black History Month.

Harriet Tubman born Araminta Harriet Ross; 1820 – March 10, 1913

Harriet Tubman born Araminta Harriet Ross; 1820 – March 10, 1913

 

From The Gobal Grind:

 

Lift Every Voice! 14 Reasons We Will Always Need Black History Month

 

By 

 

The advent of Black History Month brings both excitement and anxiety, as we do our best to responsibly remember the contributions of blacks in America and field off annual commentary meant to cheapen the 28 days set aside for uplifting black communities.

 

And with some American citizens’ well-intentioned quest to make this nation “post-racial,” that commentary is sure to come.

 

In 2014, Black History Month may seem obsolete — after all, post-racial Americawill likely point out that we have a black president and anything designated to highlight the successes of any one race can be seen as divisive. But if we take into account why Dr. Carter G. Woodson created Negro History Week in 1926 (turned month because of its popularity), you’ll understand why we still need to honor it.

 

The purpose? To ensure the intellectual survival of the African diaspora by highlighting contributions and history in the face of racial prejudice.

 

And if current events are any indication (or the fact that the month has been diluted to a few MLK quotes, an inaccurate account of Rosa Park’s activism and a few facts about George Washington Carver’s peanuts), Black History Month still has a job to do.

 

In short, it’s essential to continue the celebration for the preservation of black culture so that our narratives are told authentically. Not like this:

 

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Below you will see reason why the ignorant America needs Black History Month all 12 months of the year.

 

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Celebrating Black History Month 2014

 

Harriet Tubman born Araminta Harriet Ross; 1820 – March 10, 1913

Harriet Tubman born Araminta Harriet Ross; 1820 – March 10, 1913

 

Celebrating Black History Month: The Black History Moment Series #1. Slavery.

 

Celebrating Black History Month: The Black History Moment Series #2. The Middle Passage.

 

Celebrating Black History Month: The Black History Moment Series #3. Post Racial AmeriKKKa.

 

blackhistorymonth1

cropped-b4peace-header

blackhistorymonth11

dreamstime_xs_27320355

Celebrating Black History Month: The Black History Moment Series #3. Post Racial AmeriKKKa.


 

By Jueseppi B.

Until "we" own it, and teach it, and accept responsibility for stealing Africans from their homeland to enslave them in America, there will always be a need for Black History Month.

Until “we” own it, and teach it, and accept responsibility for stealing Africans from their homeland to enslave them in America, there will always be a need for Black History Month.

 

 

Post-racial America…..

 

Post-racial America is a theoretical environment where the United States is devoid of racial preference, discrimination, and prejudice. Some Americans believed that the election of Barack Obama as President and wider acceptance of interracial marriage signified that the nation had entered this state, while others believe that groups such as the Tea Party movement prove it has not. In January 2010 the Pew Research Center conducted a poll in conjunction with National Public Radio that indicated that 39% of persons of African-American descent felt they were in a better position than they had been five years ago, an increase of 19% from the previous poll taken in 2008.  Actor and director Mario Van Peebles made a television documentary titled Fair Game that challenged the idea that the United States had become a post-racial society.

 

Documentary “Fair Game”

Whats disgusting to me, as a Black Man, is I could only fine this 1 minute 6 second You Tube clip on this documentary by Mario Van Peebles…..in This Post Racial AmeriKKKa.

 

 

 

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WARNING: If Truth Offends You, Move On…Goodbye.

 

I’ve heard this term “Post Racial America” since 2008 when Barack Hussein Obama won his first term as President Of The United States Of America. It’s bull shit.

 

No such thing as a “Post Racial America” exist. The word “Post” is defined as “after.”

 

The term Post Racial America is defined as…..Post-racial America is a theoretical environment where the United States is devoid of racial preference, discrimination, and prejudice. Some Americans believed that the election of Barack Obama as President and wider acceptance of interracial marriage signified that the nation had entered this state, while others believe that groups such as the Tea Party movement prove it has not.

 

In January 2010 the Pew Research Center conducted a poll in conjunction with National Public Radio that indicated that 39% of persons of African-American descent felt they were in a better position than they had been five years ago, an increase of 19% from the previous poll taken in 2008.  Actor and director Mario Van Peebles made a television documentary titled Fair Game that challenged the idea that the United States had become a post-racial society.

 

From NPR:

 

Mario Van Peebles On A ‘Post-Racial’ America

January 29, 2010

 

Mario Van Peebles discusses the idea behind his new documentary “Fair Game?” and comments on personal versus social responsibility.

 

After Wednesday night’s State of the Union, there was renewed talk of being in a post-racial America. A new documentary, Fair Game, airs Sunday on TVOne and it questions that very thesis. Host Michel Martin speaks with Mario Van Peebles, the director of the documentary.

 

MICHEL MARTIN, Host:

 

I’m Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News.

 

TLC: the 250th episode of the TLC hit “What Not to Wear.” That’s in just a few minutes.

 

But first, as we’ve discussed, President Obama gave his first formal State of the Union address this week. And while most people knew Obama’s first year in office would not be an easy one, many Americans still hope his presidency would usher in a post-racial era. Now, public opinion poll still show that Americans, in general, and African-Americans in particular see his presidency as a sign of the door of opportunity has opened.

 

But some believe it has opened all the way, to the point where they have lost patience with African-Americans who are not achieving.

 

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, “FAIR GAME“))

 

Unidentified Woman: I’m not racist. I’m just tired to hear the black people complain. Obama’s election proves it. It’s a fair game.

 

MARTIN: That’s the opening of a new documentary called “Fair Game” from filmmaker Mario Van Peebles. And it asks: is it really a fair game for black men in America? The film features provocative interviews with a diverse array of black male scholars, celebrities and other public figures giving their perspective on that question. And it premieres Sunday night on the TV One cable network, and filmmaker Mario Van Peebles is with us now from NPR West. Welcome.

 

MARIO VAN PEEBLES: Thanks for having me on.

 

MARTIN: I should say welcome back because we last heard from you about your last TV One project called “Mario’s Green House,” which was about your efforts to go green with your very cute family. It had a serious subject, which is just how hard it can be and how much thought goes into going green. But it had a very lighthearted air. This is a very different project and I wanted to ask what drew you to this.

 

VAN PEEBLES: Well, I guess, you know, it’s interesting. I kind of grew up with that sort of cool ’60s “I’m with the band” mom who is always on the, you know, sort of, had an eco-consciousness. And then with my, you know, politically active – the risk of sounding Sarah Palin-ish – mavericky dad, who was always involved, you know, in what was happening with the Panthers and who, you know, did the first black power film in the ’70s, “Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song” actually. And so, I guess it’s sort of both sides in my family.

 

And really what’s interesting, all these things actually interconnect. If you sort of treat the environment in sort of this mechanical, industrial way that there’s a disconnect between man and the environment, it’s very easy to treat people that way.

 

MARTIN: The film spotlights a number of dire but familiar statistics about African-American men, the disproportionate incarceration rate, the achievement gap both racially and between black men and women. It isn’t as though we have not heard these things before. What do you think you have added in this film that is new to the conversation?

 

VAN PEEBLES: Well, I think what is new to some degree is the time. You know, we have an African-American family in the White House. It’s got a lot of folks thinking about identity and what’s going on, and are we really post-racial, is it now a fair game? And in, you know, one of the things we examined was tests where they sent out applicants for jobs. And we found that the white guy with the exact same credentials as the black guy – except for the white guy had a prison record and the black guy did not – the white guy got more job interviews with that prison record.

 

MARTIN: The film puts a lot of emphasis into talking about the high incarceration rate and what effect it has on the African-American men in particular…

 

VAN PEEBLES: Right.

 

MARTIN: But I want to play a short clip from somebody named Glenn Martin. He’s an ex-offender who is now the vice president of the Fortune Society, that’s an organization that advocates for greater opportunities for former offenders. This is something that I must say was new to me…

 

VAN PEEBLES: Mm-hmm.

 

MARTIN: …having spent a lot of time reporting on these areas. He talks about the whole, the impact of having to pay huge arrearages for child support for men who’ve been incarcerated…

 

VAN PEEBLES: Right.

 

MARTIN: …who clearly, while they were incarcerated, were unable to earn income, and here is what he had to say.

 

GLENN MARTIN: When you’re in prison that don’t stop. You still pay child support. You can’t afford to pay it, so what? It builds up. Now, you walk out, you owe like 50 G’s in child support arrears. And you don’t usually owe it to your baby’s mother, you owe it to the state. And the state is not willing to forgive that. They’re like: you owe every penny of that 50 grand. So some cat gets a job, he goes to work. Two weeks later, child support kicks in. He’s like, man, I’m not doing this, 60 percent of my paycheck going towards child support and she is not even getting the money, my baby not even getting the money.

 

And then some cats say, you know what, she did that. She put me in that situation. I’m not even dealing with her. So, that just totally removes the person from even thinking about getting the family back together and doing the right thing and seeing if he could work it out.

 

MARTIN: The reason I’m highlighting this is he’s not the only person to say that there are just sort of systems that are in place that keep people in a hole. And once they’re in that hole, it’s very hard to get out of it.

 

MARTIN: You’re making excuses and the trick here is not to get in that hole to begin with. What do you say to that?

 

VAN PEEBLES: Correct. Okay, so this is a very good point. And this is the danger with, you know, when you get folks like myself who can make a living directing and that’s great. But I got here because I’m educated, that’s the truth. And I had a dad who, you know, saw to it that I was. What happens is it creates a dynamic where people don’t look at social responsibility. They only look at personal responsibility.

 

Yes, as an individual, it’s, you’ve got to get up there and do your best and get out there. But I’ll tell you what. My kids are going right now to a private school. They were at a public school for a minute.

 

There is a public school, you know, not too far from us that if you go to that public school, your diploma is worth next to nothing. So you could be the best kid at that school and you would not be prepared, when you got out, to go to any college. There is definitely places in America where if you’re born into that environment, your chances of getting out are really, really limited.

 

MARTIN: The film makes an interesting – has an interesting conversation with itself about the role of black celebrities in framing the larger national conversation about African-Americans in general. But I want to play an interesting clip from Chris Rock…

 

VAN PEEBLES: Okay.

 

MARTIN: …that’s kind of a response to the idea or a challenge to the idea that black celebrity in and of itself is just positive. Here it is.

 

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, “FAIR GAME”))

CHRIS ROCK: Exceptional black people have always kind of been rewarded. Martin Luther King’s dream coming true is for mediocre black people to live and succeed in this world the same way that mediocre white people do.

 

MARTIN: You know, it sounds funny, but he’s very serious. He’s very clear about what he is saying. What do you think about that? Do you think that’s true?

 

VAN PEEBLES: I absolutely do. I think that there will always be – DuBois, I think, referred to it as the talented tenth. The people that will, you know, will get there. But the thing is the bigger group of us, how do they get across the line and what’s the shape of it to come?

 

MARTIN: What do you think you learned from this? I mean, you’ve thought about a lot of these issues for a long time. Like President Obama, you have – if you don’t mind my using this expression – feet in many worlds. You are biracial, like the president, and you’ve lived all over the place. You’ve traveled quite a bit. Did you learn anything from reporting this film that you had not thought about before or known before?

 

VAN PEEBLES: Yeah. Well, I learned a lot. What I didn’t know when I started it was how much mentorship meant. No matter what color you are, if you mentor some little boy or girl, you make a huge difference in their lives because they then model behavior that leads to success versus modeling behavior that doesn’t. And I think we have an opportunity and that’s why “Fair Game” is a bit also of a call to action. If, you know, if you’ve got money, you can give it, you can donate.

 

But if you’ve got time, and that’s the biggest thing, you know, mentor someone. Mentor someone that doesn’t just look like you. Let them learn about you and understand you and connect. And I think that’s one of the biggest things I learned.

 

MARTIN: Mario Van Peebles is one of the producers and the host of the new documentary “Fair Game.” It premieres this Sunday on TV One. It explores the lives and challenges of African-American men in the Obama era. And he was kind enough to join us from NPR West. Thank you so much for speaking with us.

 

VAN PEEBLES: Thank you for having me on.

 

Thank you NPR.

 

Allow me to break it down for you who don’t know….there is no such thing as a “Post Racial America.” There is a “Post Racial AmeriKKKa”…and THAT AmeriKKKa has become a land of genocide for Black males.

 

Stand Your Ground Laws in 31 states have made it open season on Black males, replacing the tree & rope of southern lynchings with a firearm sanctioned by The NRA, A.L.E.C., The Koch Brothers and racist, scared, gun nuts who stand behind an antiquated 2nd amendment.

 

Trayvon Martin. Jordan Davis. Melissa Alexander. Remember the names, then research the thousands of other names you never hear about on local & national media networks, of Black skinned Americans killed under this Stand Your Ground Law.

 

You don’t need a rope or a tree to lynch a Black American in 2013. You only need to procure a gun at a gun trade show, or any gun shop across AmeriKKKa, then feel threatened by someone of color. Aim, pull the trigger. Then scream Self Defense.

 

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There are two America’s. One is The United States Of America, which has humans who love and respect human life and stand for equality for ALL Americans. Then there is The United States Of AmeriKKKa, now THAT AmeriKKKa has sub humans who want equality ONLY for those who look, think and conduct themselves as caucasian, wealthy, greedy, evil caucasian males.

 

There are a few house niggers allowed to participate in that AmeriKKKa, just as in slavery times, the caucasian slavers employed house niggers as slavers to lure unsuspecting Africans into the nets of the caucasian slavers. House niggers are always useful to capture more Black Americans in slave nets….which in 2013, is the TeaTardedRepubliCANT Party.

 

There are also a few gullible women who forsake their own best interest of freedom for ALL women, the choice to decide their path on women’s issues such as birth control, contraception and equal pay, just to follow their caucasian menfolk. There are a lot of poor caucasian AmeriKKKans who vote against their own best interests on every level, to avoid voting for and supporting “That Negro President.”

 

That’s what separates the two America/AmeriKKKa’s and it has divided this once great nation in half.

 

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Post Racial my Black Ass.

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This look Post Racial to you? Welcome to a “Post Racial AmeriKKKa.”

 

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Hat Tip/Shoutout To:  R-Evolution For The The Destruction of the Black Family Series

 

The Destruction of the Black Family -Part 3: Colorism

 

The children of white fathers and slave mothers were mixed-race slaves, whose appearance was generally classified as mulatto (this term originally meant a person with white and black… parents, but then encompassed any mixed-race person). By the turn of the 19th century many mixed-race families in Virginia dated to colonial times; white women (generally indentured servants) had unions with slave and free African-descended men. Because of the mother’s status, those children were born free and often married other free people of color.

 

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Given the generations of interaction, an increasing number of slaves in the United States during the 19th century were of mixed race. In the United States, children of mulatto and black slaves were also generally classified as mulatto. With each generation, the number of mixed-race slaves increased. The 1850 census identified 245,000 slaves as mulatto; by 1860, there were 411,000 slaves classified as mulatto out of a total slave population of 3,900,000. As noted above, some mixed-race people won freedom from slavery or were born as free blacks.

 

If free (depending on state law), some mulattoes were legally classified as white because they had more than one-half to seven-eighths white ancestry. Questions of social status were often settled in court, but a person’s acceptance by neighbors, satisfaction of citizen obligations and other aspects of social status were more important than lineage in determining “whiteness”.

 

Notable examples of mostly-white children born into slavery were the “natural” children of Thomas Jefferson by his mixed-race slave Sally Hemings, who was three-quarters white by ancestry. Since 2000 historians have widely accepted Jefferson’s paternity; the change in scholarship has been reflected in exhibits at Monticello and in recent books about Jefferson and his era. Some historians, however, continue to disagree with this conclusion.

 

Speculation exists on the reasons George Washington freed his slaves in his will. One theory posits that the slaves included two half-sisters of his wife, Martha Custis. Those mixed-race slaves were born to slave women owned by Martha’s father, and were regarded within the family as having been sired by him. Washington became the owner of Martha Custis’ slaves (under Virginia law) when he married her, and faced the ethical conundrum of owning his wife’s sisters.

 

As in Thomas Jefferson’s household, the use of lighter-skinned slaves as household servants was not simply a choice related to skin color. Sometimes planters used mixed-race slaves as house servants (or favored artisans) because they were their children, or otherwise relatives. Six of Jefferson’s later household slaves were the grown children of his father-in-law John Wayles and his slave mistress Betty Hemings. Half-siblings of Jefferson’s wife Martha, they were inherited by her (with Betty Hemings and other slaves) a year after her marriage to Jefferson following the death of her father. At that time, some of the Hemings-Wayles children were very young; Sally Hemings was an infant. They were trained as domestic and skilled servants, and headed the slave hierarchy at Monticello.

 

Since 2000, historians have widely accepted that the widowed Jefferson had a nearly four-decade relationship with Sally Hemings, the youngest daughter of Wayles and Betty. It was believed to have begun when he was US minister in Paris, and she was part of his household. Sally was nearly 25 years younger than his late wife; Jefferson had six children of record with her, four of whom survived. Jefferson had his three mixed-race sons by Hemings trained as carpenters (a skilled occupation) so they could earn a living after he freed them when they came of age. Three of his four children by Hemings (including his daughter Harriet, the only slave woman he freed) “passed” into white society as adults because of their appearance. Some historians disagree with these conclusions about Jefferson’s paternity; see Jefferson-Hemings controversy.

 

Planters with mixed-race children sometimes arranged for their education (occasionally in northern schools) or apprenticeship in skilled trades and crafts. Others settled property on them, or otherwise passed on social capital by freeing the children and their mothers. While fewer in number than in the Upper South, free blacks in the Deep South were often mixed-race children of wealthy planters and sometimes benefited from transfers of property and social capital.

 

Wilberforce University, founded by Methodist and African Methodist Episcopal (AME) representatives in Ohio in 1856 for the education of African-American youth, was during its early history largely supported by wealthy southern planters who paid for the education of their mixed-race children. When the American Civil War broke out, the majority of the school’s 200 students were of mixed race and from such wealthy Southern families. The college closed for several years before the AME Church bought and operated it.

 

In many households, the treatment of slaves depended on the slave’s skin color. Darker-skinned slaves worked in the fields, while lighter-skinned house servants (sometimes the children of the master or his son) had better clothing, food and housing.

 

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Where did the separation between skin tones come from?

 

Willie Lynch delivered a speech at the Virginia colony on the Bank of James River in 1712. Lynch was a British slave owner in the West Indies invited to teach others his ways of controlling slave.

 

The Making of a Slave

 

Color differentiation was one of his methods.

 

In his exact words, “You must use the dark skin slaves vs. the light skin slaves, and the light skin slaves vs. the dark skin slaves.”

 

He emphasized pitting dark against light

 

During the years of slavery in America this dark vs. light method was implemented.

 

•Dark-skinned slaves were made to do field work outside.

 
•Light-skinned slaves were allowed to take care of the daily house duties inside.

 

This approach turned the slaves against each other splitting them into two groups, light and dark-skinned.

 

Distrust is stronger than trust and envy stronger than adulation, respect, or admiration

 
– Willie Lynch.

 

 

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Black History Month 2014

 

Celebrating Black History Month: The Black History Moment Series #1. Slavery.

 

Celebrating Black History Month: The Black History Moment Series #2. The Middle Passage.

 

 

Harriet Tubman born Araminta Harriet Ross; 1820 – March 10, 1913

Harriet Tubman born Araminta Harriet Ross; 1820 – March 10, 1913

 

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Don’t Know Who Mr. Richard Cohen Is…..He Writes A Racist/Sexist/Homophobic Column For The Washington Post


 

By Jueseppi B.

Richard Cohen

 

 

The Washington Post has a big problem and his name is Richard Cohen.

 

 

Richard Cohen is a syndicated columnist for the paper and has been a Pulitzer Prize finalist four times.

 

 

In July, he wrote a column justifying the racial profiling that led to the murder of unarmed Trayvon Martin.1 In September, he blamed Miley Cyrus and the MTV Video Music Awards for “so-called Steubenville rape,” adding that the issue in Steubenville was less about criminality and more about “decency.”

 

 

Now he’s gone too far–way, way too far–again. Yesterday he wrote a column suggesting that interracial marriage is offensive to many Americans and makes them want to “gag.”

 

 

His op-ed is going viral and people everywhere are outraged. The New York Observer calls it a “horribly racist” column.3Newsweek calls him a “menace to readers.”4 Calls for him to be axed are growing.”

 

 

Enough. Racism, sexism and victim blaming have no place in our discourse. This isn’t a one-time mistake from Cohen–it follows a long history of deeply offensive rhetoric. And The Washington Post needs to know that this time, we’re not letting them sweep it under the rug.

 

 

Can you sign the petition to The Washington Post to fire Richard Cohen?

 

 

Here’s the full quote:

People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?)

 

 

Equality at a higher frequency is our guiding principle, and we’re gagging at the thought that a respected publication like the Post, on which millions of people depend for news and opinion, keeps publishing this guy’s columns. His long history also includes:

  • Being reprimanded for inappropriate behavior and moved to a different office 12 floors higher by the Post over his harassment of a 23-year-old female co-worker, including telling her to “stand up and turn around” and that she “looked good in black.”

 

  • And after he defended rapist Roman Polanski, writing, “There is no doubt also that after all these years there is something stale about the case, not to mention a ‘victim,’ Samantha Geimer” and “[Polanski] ran from the prospect of a judge who was going to make his reputation at Polanski’s expense and send him to jail for a very long time. I would have done the same.”

 

The growing stain on the Post that is Richard Cohen won’t change his views, because the Post keeps publishing them. So it’s time for us to take a stand. Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos recently bought the newspaper and is looking for ways to improve it. Now’s our chance to make it clear that readers will continue to leave unless Cohen is fired.

 

 

Too many of his columns spew sexism and racism that justify and legitimize the culture that we’re fighting to change. Rape and racism culture is about more than just the perpretators–now’s our chance to do something about the enablers. The Washington Post needs to do the right thing, and cut Cohen loose

 

 

Sign the petition to tell The Washington Post: Fire Richard Cohen, once and for all.

 

 

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Trayvon Martin’s Murder Is Now A Halloween Costume


 

By Jueseppi B.

William Filene (L) dressed as Trayvon Martin, Caitlin Cimeno (center) and Greg Cimeno as George Zimmerman. (Photo courtesy of Instagram)

William Filene (L) dressed as Trayvon Martin, Caitlin Cimeno (center) and Greg Cimeno as George Zimmerman. (Photo courtesy of Instagram)

 

From theGrio:

Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman inspired Halloween costumes cause uproar

 

by  | October 28, 2013 

 

An incendiary photo was posted to Facebook this Friday featuring two young Florida men dressed as George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, complete with blackface, a blood-stained hoodie and a shirt that reads “Neighborhood Watch.”

 

The image was reportedly uploaded by Caitlin Cimeno from Martha’s Vineyard who captioned the photo: “Happy Halloween from Zimmerman and Trayvon,” followed by a smiley face emoticon.

 

Cimeno is pictured in the photo, posing in the middle between Greg Cimeno, 22, who dressed as Zimmerman, and William Filene, 25, who posed as Martin.

 

In the photo, Greg Cimeno, of Cape Coral, Fl., points his hand like a gun and directs it at Filene’s head.

 

Meanwhile, Filene, who is white, painted his face black and is seen wearing a gray hoodie, which is marked by a single gunshot wound in the chest and surrounded by fake blood.

 

According to Gawker and The Smoking Gun, Filene has an arrest record for loitering/prowling and failing to register an automobile. He was reportedly last arrested in June for felony auto theft where he was subsequently sentenced to 18 months on probation.

 

As for Caitlin Cimeno, her Instagram account remains private but her visible bio reads: “Stand For What a You Believe In And Make Sure You Stand Your Ground.”

 

The Smoking Gun wrote:

In Facebook posts last year, Cimeno referred to elderly women who wore tight pants and tube tops as “tacos,” and, when requesting that a friend contact her, she wrote, “Text ne niggs.” In August, Cimeno also posted a photo of an African American girl wearing a t-shirt reading “Black Girls Rock.” In her accompanying caption, Cimeno wrote, “First of all, sorry Hun but mommy lied to you & secondly if I was wearing a shirt that said something like the truth ‘white girls rock’ I would be stared at and called a racist cracker.”

 

Greg Cimeno reportedly wrote a comment below the photo saying, “Anything for the laugh,” which prompted one of Caitlin’s friends to write, “Not too funny.” In response, Greg said:  “Not too funny. It’s f**king hilarious!!!”

 

The photo also drew criticism from others who commented on the photo: “Anything for a laugh? so a kid gets murdered and its funny some peoole are beyond disgusting,” one person wrote.

 

Some took to Twitter to voice their disagreement over the photo: “That Trayvon Martin Halloween costume was just straight disrespect! There is NO EXCUSE for that,” one person said.

 

“To take Trayvon Martin’s death and make a mockery out of it with a Halloween costume is sickening,” another tweeted.

 

What do you think of their Halloween attire? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

Follow Lilly Workneh on Twitter @Lilly_Works

 

Thank you theGrio.

 

 

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