Memorial Day Comes Early: Notes on Gil Scott-Heron and Black Health in America

I can’t give you the news the way poet Gil-Scott Heron would, but I can imagine some of the social realities that would move him to poetry and song.

It’s a nasty time for blacks and African Americans in the United States. At least, the Celebrity Apprentice is out of sight for now.

Thank you to Khadijah Britton, for her blog post on Scientific American this week, calling out Satoshi Kanazawa, for trashing black women as inherently unattractive, and calling Psychology Today to task for publishing it; thanks to Frank Oldham, Jr. for challenging the ugliness in the New York Post and the Dominique Strauss Kahn spin machine, for violating the maid’s and all her neighbors’ HIV status privacy. Get over it: we know who the victims are.

Yet the spinmeisters continue, while the litany of urban poverty and racial disparities goes on.

Health, housing, jobs not quite up to par.

  • Boehner proposing a $600,000 cut to the WIC (Women’s Infants’ and Children’s Program) nutrition program for the poor that improves health, while cutting costs.
  • Despite all the effectiveness of early intervention for HIV, ADAP (the AIDS Drug Assistance Program) is getting hit. Waiting lists in May 2011  soared to more than 8,000 people.
  • HIV disproportionally affects blacks, According to the CDC,  blacks/African-Americans account for 12 percent of the US population, but represent 50 percent of people living with HIV/AIDS. HIV also disproportionally affects the urban poor and folks in the southern United States.
  • Of women living with  HIV and AIDS, well over 80 percent are black/African-American.

It is not a pretty picture as we look at  “AIDS at 30.”  Racial disparities persist.

Gil’s poetry moved people. Rest in peace, Gil. I will always remember “Whitey On the Moon.”


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1 Response to Memorial Day Comes Early: Notes on Gil Scott-Heron and Black Health in America

  1. LOrion says:

    Thanks. Just finding you. Will follow. MD too.

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