Health and wellness · News and politics · power · Religion · Sexualities · Sociology

Prop 8 and Preventive Care

It boils down to your green. Is your green better than mine? Can your green buy you a different kind of justice or protection before the law?

Religious folks can do what they want, define gendered relations any way they see fit in their churches. There, they are tax exempt. However, when their funds commingle with those of the State, aye, there’s a sticky wicket.

So, as long as the State recognizes and regulates, in its way, family law, by requiring the purchase of a marriage license to place the union on record, Proposition 8 had to be found ridiculous as it pertains to forbidding same-sex couples to marry. We are, all of us, entitled to equal protection under the law. By extension, we are also entitled to equal service by that law. Gay people money can buy a license just the same as straight people money!

Similarly, if we are to have some version of universal health insurance or particular aspects of insurance all employers’ are expected to provide employees, contraception should be available no matter who your employer is, even if that employer is some religious organization. If a religious organization wishes to cease commingling funds with the State, they are welcome to claim exemption from the rule within the confines of their religious organization. As if a woman in need of an abortion or any other medical procedure wouldn’t seek it whether or not she had to go near or far.  The point is, women, no matter their religious beliefs or employers, shouldn’t have to face extra hurdles in accessing medical care. I was once employed by the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and I have never been a Catholic.

Universal means universal and that is the kind of access I’d like to see available to everyone when talking about health care, not insurance, in America. Cuba has world class medicine, physicians, and physician training. Why don’t we?

That’s my rant, and I’m unanimous in that!

ethnography · Health and wellness · research · Sociology

Thoughts on Sagging and other Negricidal Behaviors

Martin Luther King, Jr. said that the most dangerous element of society are those who feel they have no stake in the society, that they will unconsciously seek to destroy that society because they have nothing to lose. Russell Jacoby asserts that violence is more often perpetrated upon those with whom we are most familiar.

With these thoughts in mind, it came to me that the imitation of prison garb chic in the outside world is an unconscious statement that even though some of the wearers are on the outside, they feel as if they are on the inside, prisoners of the system that provides them with few options to feel like stakeholders in our society, but every option to feel like a criminal, a thug, or a convict.

Of course, some people who adopt this ‘fashion’ are simply trying to stay current with a trend, but it is likely that many of these adopters, with their criminal records, revolving door negotiations of the criminal-legal-industrial complex, negligible participation in the traditional workforce, gang affiliations, and linkages to violence and disorder in their everyday lives do feel like prisoners.

Criminal Organizations · ethnography · Health and wellness · research · Sociology

Negricidal Behavior

After observing self-destructive behavior in people of different ethnicities, I recognize negricidal behavior is not limited to lower-income Blacks, but is visible in many people of the last couple of generations. It seems more noticeable to me in the former group because of their smaller numbers and high visibility in my immediate arena.

I remain convinced that the at- large culture is  to blame for behavior that causes many people to act as if they have no stake in the world around them, no stake in their communities, none in their families, not even a stake in themselves. Easy come, easy go. Live fast and die; get it over with.  Our culture’s reduction of value from our humanity has created this behavior.  Such death affirming ways of living occur when people are commoditized, marketed incessantly, and made to feel they have no purpose for being other than that of endlessly dispensable consumers.

Take the thugs I observe daily as an example. No one has a job, but they all drive late model Lexus on gigantic rims, equipped with the loudest state of the art sound systems that turn these luxury vehicles in rolling sources of annoyance for anyone unlucky enough to be within earshot. They do not dress to match the luxury of their vehicles, tending to wear extremely baggy pants belted underneath their posteriors with oversized bright, white tees. If the weather is cold, this uniform is accompanied by a black hoodie. Everyone looks the same so as to be indistinguishable and unrecognizable to witnesses.

The sagging pants are worn to show underwear and seem to say, “Kiss my ass.” It is the elevation of prison practical style to street chic. I dubbed these young people niggarati as they seem to be the street intelligentsia of our times. As different ethnic groups have adopted ‘nigga’ as a greeting and term of endearment and signal of relationship, the concept seemed fitting.  It makes my skin crawl to hear them speak to one another this way, but I am a child of the 60s and of a different sensibility.

A young man was killed by police the other day.  Riding in a stolen vehicle with a 14-year-old companion, fleeing police, the young men bailed out of the car and took off on foot. The 19-year-old driver was shot and killed by police after he appeared to place a hand in his pocket.  The officers thought he was going for a weapon and shot him dead. Likely, he was trying to pull up his pants in order to run faster as no weapon was found on the body.

Essentially hobbling oneself as a fashion statement, then engaging in behavior guaranteed to get you noticed and chased by law enforcement, and attempting to run away seems stupid to me.  There has to be a better explanation for engaging in this potentially self-destructive practice than plain stupidity.  I simply don’t know what it is at the moment.

Health and wellness

Dreams

My dreamlife is back in full force.  I hadn’t dreamed in about 10 years, not dreams that I could remember.  Now they are back, in color, black and white, with sound and fury. Prior to going to grad school at IU, I had a rich dream life and felt so much better for it.  I didn’t have to purge the urge to kill because I could get it out in my dreams.  Then, for the past 15 years, as I went through enough stress to kill an elephant, no dreams and plenty of weight gain, skin anomalies, and headaches. I’m very surprised I didn’t develop hypertension.
 
Now, I curse men up who threaten to touch me or treat me in any but a respectful way and threaten to beat them to a bloody pulp with my bare hands!  Army training redux!
 
More positively, I visit with my mom who talks with me and motivates me to press ahead because there is much more for me to do than sit and miss her.  She remains with me and continues to help me.  For this, more than anything, I am grateful to the Great Spirit for this gift of communication.