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Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 55,432

About Me

I'm still living... Twitter: @glitchy_ashburn

Journal Archives

Black and Depressed: Two African-American Women Break the Silence

According to Raymond DePaulo, Jr. M.D., Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, African American populations do not have higher rates of depression in the US. However, the statistics may be skewed because African Americans are much less likely to report their symptoms of depression.

The stigma and prejudice toward mental health issues in Black communities is especially thick, making it very difficult for persons suffering from depression or anxiety (or any mood disorder) to acknowledge it, let alone seek treatment. When I participated in a six-week outpatient program at Laurel Hospital, half the group was African American. The stories horrified me. Most of the African Americans could not reveal to any member in their family what they were doing (the outpatient program) because the stigma was so deep and tall and wide.

Awhile back I interviewed professor and blogger writer Monica Coleman, Ph.D., on Beyond Blue. She described the stigma in this way:

In many ways, I do think that there is a greater stigma among African American culture than among white cultures. I live in southern California, and many white people will freely reference “seeing a therapist” in normal conversation. Black people don’t do that. Seeing a therapist is generally seen as a sign of weakness or a lack of faith. There is still an active mythos of “the strong black woman,” who is supposed to be strong and present and capable for everyone in her family – and neglects her own needs. In the midst of a depressive episode, I had a friend say to me, “We are the descendants of those who survived the Middle Passage and slavery. Whatever you’re going through cannot be that bad.” I was so hurt and angry by that statement. No, depression isn’t human trafficking, genocide or slavery, but it is real death-threatening pain to me. And of course, there are those who did not survive those travesties. But that comment just made me feel small and selfish and far worse than before. It made me wish I had never said anything at all.

So without support from the community, or at least family and friends, how does a person begin to recover?


Women Writers Celebrate African-American Fatherhood In Unique Essay Anthology

ince President Barack Obama’s election as the first African-American president of the United States in 2008, he’s become a dream personified of many things—from the top example for young African-American children, particularly boys, who desire to become the leader of the free world to a commander-in-chief who balances his duties with his personal life to a dedicated and publicly affectionate husband. Most of his admiration comes from what he says is his most important job as father to his two daughters, Malia and Sasha.

Kenrya Rankin Naasel, writer and editor, explores the state of African-American fatherhood during this never-before-seen era of an African-American president and father in Bet on Black: The Celebration of Fatherhood in the Age of Barack Obama. Inspired by a speech given about his deep commitments to rearing his daughters and breaking the cycle of absenteeism started by his own father, the anthology of personal essays is not a contrast to Obama’s shining example, but a celebration of fatherhood and its effects on the writers’ lives and relationships.

“I didn't want to read another treatise about why they are terrible, or be bombarded with statistics that prove they don't stick around,” Naasel, who was raised by a single father, says. “Instead, I wanted to share stories like my own that proved that Black men are capable of not only standing by their offspring, but helping them thrive as well.”

Twenty notable women writers, such as Karen Good Marable, Corynne L. Corbett, Hillary Crosley and Harriette Cole and share their stories about the impact their fathers and step-fathers have had on their lives, some funny, others insightful or tear-jerking. More than write love letters to their fathers, they each examine their own relationships, while many imperfect, all have been nurturing and fulfilling. Each writer tackles climatic moments in their relationships with their fathers that showed memorable examples of fatherhood in their own way, including overcoming absenteeism, fathering while incarcerated, remarrying and maternal death.

Contributor Hillary Crosley discusses the effects of her father’s death in her essay. She has no memory of him at all, even asking her family members why they were crying en route to his burial. “I contributed to Bet On Black for an opportunity to share what it feels like to live in his shadow,” she says, “and my hope that he's looking down and smiling.”


15 African American Art World Game Changers

Last week we featured 30 African American artists who are shaping and defining the contemporary art landscape. But even the most inventive and fearless of artistic revolutionaries follow in the footsteps of those before them.

This week we're revisiting an earlier generation, the artists who paved the way for today's contemporary masters. From collage visionary Romare Bearden to Abstract Expressionist Norman Lewis, the following artists broke into existing artistic genres while creating some of their own. A collection of groundbreaking works from the Postwar era, dating from as early as the 1940's to as late as 2010, are heading to auction as part of "Point of Departure: Postwar African-American Fine Art."

Behold, 15 pieces of game-changing African American artworks.


The forgotten godfathers of black American sport

(CNN) -- Think of the greatest American sports stars of all time and names like Jesse Owens, Muhammad Ali and Serena Williams will likely spring to mind.

But long before these champions smashed the record books -- and blazed a trail in the public's imagination -- the first generation of black U.S. athletes dominated an unlikely sport.

The godfathers of Owens, Ali and Williams weren't stereotypical towering, musclebound men found on basketball courts or in boxing rings.

Instead, they were the jockeys of the race track and their dizzying success -- and dramatic fall -- is one of the most remarkable buried chapters in U.S. sporting history.

When the country's most prestigious horse race, the Kentucky Derby, launched in 1875, 13 of the 15 jockeys were African-American.

Much like the NBA today, black athletes dominated horse racing for the next three decades, winning 15 of the first 28 Derbies.

"They were the premier horsemen in the world," says Joe Drape, author of "Black Maestro," which tells the story of champion jockey Jimmy Winkfield.

"It was the first professional sport for black athletes in America. They were at the forefront of horse racing and it was a place where they could earn a good living."

Decades before Jackie Robinson made history in 1947 as the first black major league baseball player, African American jockeys forged a name as the first sports heroes of post-Civil War America.

Industrial Bank, D.C.'s Last African American-owned Bank, Receives $1M Investment

The last remaining African American-owned bank in the Washington area got a boost last month when it received $1 million from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

The foundation purchased $1 million worth of certificates of deposit from Industrial Bank as part of a new initiative to help make loans more readily available to underbanked communities and minority-owned business.

Read the whole story at www.washingtonpost.com


HBCU Presidents Tread Lightly After Maryland Lawsuit Decision

A federal court ruling that concluded the state of Maryland has not done enough to help its Historically Black Institutions (HBIs) has put the presidents of these state-supported institutions in an awkward position.

The state was found by Judge Catharine Blake to not have done enough to alleviate the segregationist programs of the Jim Crow era by allowing for the duplication of specialized new programs at White institutions that have long existed at Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Morgan State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore—Black colleges that are part of the 11-member University of Maryland System of public schools.

In her 60-page ruling, Blake chastised the state and said that it “offered no evidence that it has made a serious effort to address continuing historic duplication” and pointed out that Maryland’s Black colleges have only 11 unique high-demand programs in contrast to the 122 at traditionally White institutions. The establishment of competing programs, according to Blake, has caused the program enrollment at HBIs to plummet.

The ruling was seen as a major blow to Governor Martin O’Malley, who is seen as a possible Democratic contender for the White House in 2016. William E. Kirwan, the chancellor of the University System of Maryland, tried to move beyond the ruling but said that the state had always operated in good faith.

“In my own opinion, I think the system has been very supportive of creating unique programs at the HBCUs [Historically Black Colleges and Universities] whenever possible and has been very careful to avoid program duplication,” said Kirwan. “There are obviously some programs that are in high demand in the economy. In such instances there is some duplication, but that is in the best interest of the state’s economy.”


Family Says African American Slain by Georgia Police Was Unarmed

Relatives of a slain African-American man in Georgia are accusing police of shooting him dead without cause in his own home. Police were apparently summoned to the home of Jack Lamar Roberson by accident after his fiancée called 911 to seek emergency medical help. Roberson was diabetic and had apparently been acting erratically. When police showed up instead of an ambulance, officers say Roberson was armed with two knifes. But his fiancée, Alicia Herron, tearfully denied the police account.

Alicia Herron: "He didn’t have nothing in his hands at any time or period at all before they came, any time while they was here, or anything. They just came in and shot him. He didn’t say nothing. The police didn’t say nothing, anything. It was like a silent movie. You couldn’t hear anything. And all you heard was the gun shots go off, and I seen them going into his body, and he just fell down."


Disney’s first African-American animator: Walt never cared about my color

Earlier today, I wrote a piece about a new animation project that is going to be directed by former Disney animator Ron Husband, and I called him the first black animator for Walt Disney. Well … OOPS!

I didn’t say that just guessing about it. Everything I’ve ever read about Husband calls him the first AA animator who ever worked for Disney, and I’ve been hearing about him for years.

Well, it turns out that Husband was the second AA animator who worked for Disney. The first was Floyd Norman.

Born in 1935 in Santa Barbara his love of animation first came when his mother took him to see Disney’s Bambi and Dumbo.

By the time he was a high schooler, Norman knew his goal was to be an animator at Disney studios.

After graduation, the story goes like this – “with the help of a friend Norman got an appointment at Disney and he walked into Disney studios, portfolio in hand, for an interview.”

But instead of getting a job he was told to go to school, which Norman said later was the best advice someone had ever given him.

He entered the Art Center College of Design and two years later he got a call to come work for Disney. He dropped out of school and started working at the studio the following Monday.

He worked on various features, including Sleeping Beauty, The Sword in the Stone, and The Jungle Book and several short subjects.


My Nazi grandfather, Amon Goeth, would have shot me

Jennifer Teege was shocked to discover her grandfather was a Nazi concentration camp commandant. Her mother never told her, and as a child she never knew her father - a Nigerian student with whom her mother had a brief affair. This is her story.

Five years ago in northern Germany, in Hamburg, I was in the central library and I came across a book. It was wrapped in a red cover and for some reason I was immediately drawn to it.

The title, translated into English, was I Have to Love My Father, Right? and it had a small picture of a woman on the front who looked faintly familiar.

So I took the book and quickly went through it. There were a lot of photos and as I looked at the book I felt something was wrong.

At the end, the author summed up some details about the woman on the cover and her family, and I realised they were a perfect match with what I knew about my own biological family.

So at that point I understood that this was a book about my family history.

The woman in the picture was my mother, and her father was Amon Goeth, the commandant of Plaszow concentration camp near Krakow.


40 years on from the party where hip hop was born

It is 40 years since a ‘back to school jam' in New York’s west Bronx kickstarted a movement and spawned a whole culture. BBC Culture’s Rebecca Laurence looks back on a party that changed the world.

On a hot August night in 1973, Clive Campbell, known as DJ Kool Herc, and his sister Cindy put on a ‘back to school jam’ in the recreation room of their apartment block at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the west Bronx. Entrance cost 25c for ‘ladies’ and 50c for ‘fellas’.

The party wasn’t special for its size – the rec room could only hold a few hundred people. Its venue and location weren’t particularly auspicious. Yet it marked a turning point – a spark which would ignite an international movement that is still with us today. As Kool Herc said in a recent statement: “This first hip-hop party would change the world.”

The legend is a simple one – but the factors leading to the creation of a hip hop culture were a fusion of social, musical and political influences as diverse and complex as the sound itself.

In his award-winning book, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, the journalist and academic Jeff Chang locates the foundations of hip hop in the social policies of ‘urban renewal’ pioneered by Robert Moses and the ‘benign neglect’ of Nixon’s administration. The building of New York’s Cross Bronx Expressway razed through many of the city’s ethnic neighbourhoods, destroying homes and jobs and displacing poor black and Hispanic communities in veritable wastelands like east Brooklyn and the South Bronx, while the government turned a blind eye to those affected.

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