THE INJUSTICE OF JUSTICE
P.S. Perkins: Human Communications Institute
For those of you following(or at least aware of) my AABOOMERS writing contributions, this one is a bit of a deviation from my usual upbeat, informative, self-help, communication message. This one is not about the power of positive words, but the cultural historical residue that plagues our communities. I think you may understand once I share a recent exchange I experienced:“Excuse me mam, do you have any change so I can get something to eat?” I looked closely at the young man: tall, thin, brown-skinned, dreaded, sweet-faced, ill-fitting clothes, and a small stack of wrinkled papers in his hands. Proof - proof of his neediness. I told him the truth. I had no money on me. I asked him why he was on the metro begging and he explained that he had just gotten out of jail and was trying to get something to eat before making his way back home. The wrinkled papers were his “release papers” from jail and his probation orders. I wondered, “why not eat at home?” I decided not to ask. Before I got off at my stop, another young Black man boarded selling perfume oils. I love oils and I support buying from most street vendors but again, as he passed by asking, I had no cash. They only deal in cash. The two men recognized each other and greeted one another quite endearingly. I could tell they had some history. The young man on probation launched into discussion about his most recent brush with the law and explained to his comrade (while I over-listened) that he was picked up after going to the pharmacy to get a prescription filled for his Mom, and when they found the medication they questioned him about it. He explained and they called his Mother who concurred and they let him go. Later that week, he was picked up on a charge of drug possession! He exclaimed, “Man, they were just f#@%# with me! They lied that I was off the hook! Now, I got this to deal with on top of everything else I’m trying to beat.” His friend listened attentively then offered words of encouragement as he left to exit the train and continue his business. As he was leaving, the young “felon” asked, “How is the oil business going.” The entrepreneur replied, “It pays the bills, man, it pays the bills! Stay out man! Stay out!” The businessman exited and the young probate moved down the train staring, just staring at the papers. I felt his hopelessness. I felt his dismay. I felt his questions. I felt helpless.
Let us look at some facts:
• Source: Calculated from Bureau of Justice Statistics, Prison Inmates at Midyear 2008 – Statistical Tables, March 2009 (Revised 4/8/09); Population stats from US Census Bureau
• For every 100,000 black males, an estimated 4,777 are held in federal or state prison or a local jail. By contrast, for every 100,000 white men, only 727 are estimated to be incarcerated.
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Prison Inmates at Midyear 2008 – Statistical Tables, March 2009 (Revised 4/8/09),
• The leading cause of incarceration of an African American male is a non-violent drug offense. Source: www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/node/64
• “More African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began”
Source: Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness
Community, WE HAVE A PROBLEM! Many of you reading this would say that the above stats are common knowledge and if you “don’t do the crime you don’t have to do the time”. However, I hope you noticed the drug war fact above – a large number of these brothers are in for non-violent drug offenses. Re-read the shocking quote from Michelle Alexander’s above quote. How is this possible? Check out another recent issue a transit employee in a metropolitan city gave me insight into. When I first moved to this city, the trains were filled with loud and yes, sometimes-obnoxious Black youth going and coming from school. I consistently saw them illegally boarding the train by jumping the “turnstile”. Finally, I asked a transit employee why they were not stopping them. He said, and I quote. “Mam, they told us to leave them alone. The city only makes about 5 cents a rider and it’s not worth the trouble.” Then he lowered his voice, pulling me to the side as if he was an undercover brother, ok, a whistle blower, “Mam, it’s a felony.” What is a felony, I replied? “Jumping the turnstile…they started with $300.00 tickets, reduced the fines to $150.00, and after a kid gets enough fines, they pick them up. They didn’t use to, but they already started picking them up in the next state! It’s a FELONY!”
(Editor’s Note: As we close out Women’s History Month, let’s give accolades to these remarkable women who have managed to defy Mother Nature and Father Time! Something to look forward)
Tina Turner's Tips for staying sexy at 70 as she embarks on another world tour
Her face is remarkably unlined, her figure as trim as ever and those famous legs are still sensational. At 69, Tina Turner seems to just get better and better
with age - a phenomenon the singer believes is down to a combination of great style, health and attitude. And now, after an eight year retirement that everyone including Tina - believed was final, the evergreen soul star is doing a comeback tour. Tina has been a legendary performer since the early 60s but her second taste of the big time began in 1985, with the multi-million selling album Private Dancer. Tina was already 47 then, an age when many rock stars are looking to slow down. However, the sexy star has always thought age was irrelevant. "A 50-year-old woman is equivalent to 40 when I was growing up," she insists. "If you take care of yourself, 60 is nothing for women these days. In today's world you can be the kind of woman you want to be."
Read More: http://www.bluwater.org/2014/03/tina-turners-tips-for-staying-sexy-at.html
Big Retirement Mistake: Thinking You Know When To Claim Social Security, When You Don't
Think you know enough about Social Security to make the best decision aboutwhen to claim your benefits? Join the crowd. In a just released survey of 55 and older workers, 24% say they are “very confident” and another 53% described themselves as “somewhat confident” that they know enough to make that big decision.The catch is, when the same folks took an eight question quiz about crucial Social Security rules, just 5% got all the answers right. Another 22% got 7 correct, while 45% got 3 or more wrong. Workers can start their Social Security checks anywhere from age 62 until 70, but just 40% knew that the percentage increase in monthly benefits from a two year delay was somewhere between “11% and 20%” (it’s 14%), meaning most did not know the value of delaying Social Security, a crucial matter. (The “full” Social Security retirement age for those born between 1943 and 1954 is 66, but you can claim Social Security retirement benefits anywhere from 62 to 70, with your monthly check increased for each month you wait; a worker gets a 76% higher benefit if he claims at 70 than he would at 62. Essentially, by delaying your Social Security claim, you’re buying an inflation indexed annuity from Uncle Sam far more cheaply than you could purchase it from even a low-cost private annuity provider. The payoff to waiting has gotten even sweeter in recent years, due to rising life expectancy and falling interest rates, making it wise for most boomers to wait until well past 62 to start benefits.)
Read More: www.forbes.com/sites/janetnovack/2014/03/11/big-retirement-mistake-thinking-you-know-when-to-claim-social-security-when-you-dont/:
Oprah Set to Raise Money for Va. Democrat
Washington Informer, News Report,
Television mogul Oprah Winfrey, who played a key role in the election of President Obama in 2008, will hold a fundraiser for Lavern Chatman, the former president of the Northern Virginia Urban League who is vying to replace U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D).Chatman said that she is pleased to have Winfrey's support for the event, scheduled for April 5 in Arlington."Oprah is a good friend and we both share a passion for empowering women and girls for leadership," Chatman said. "I'm delighted she is coming to town to help with my congressional campaign."Chatman is one of 10 Democrats running for Moran's seat. If she is successful, she will be the first black woman to represent Virginia in the U.S. Congress and the state's second black House member.
Read more http://newamericamedia.org/2014/03/oprah-set-to-raise-money-for-
Eating Well Over 50: Nutrition and Diet Tips for Healthy Eating as You Age
For adults over 50, the benefits of healthy eating include increased mental acuteness, resistance to illness and disease, higher energy levels, faster recuperation times, and better management of chronic health problems. As we age, eating well can also be the key to a positive outlook and staying emotionally balanced. But healthy eating doesn’t have to be about dieting and sacrifice. Whatever your age, eating well should be all about fresh, colorful food, creativity in the kitchen, and eating with friends.
-Feed the Body, Mind, and Soul
-What Your Body Needs
-Tips For Wholesome Eating
-Changing Dietary Needs
-Tips for Creating a Well Balanced Diet
-Overcoming Obstacles to Healthy Eating
-Tips for Staying on Track
Healthy eating over 50: Feeding the body, mind and soul
Remember the old adage, you are what you eat? Make it your motto. When you choose a variety of colorful fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins you’ll feel vibrant and healthy, inside and out.
-Live longer and stronger – Good nutrition keeps muscles, bones, organs, and other body parts strong for the long haul. Eating vitamin-rich food boosts immunity and fights illness-causing toxins. A proper diet reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, bone loss, cancer, and anemia. Also, eating sensibly means consuming fewer calories and more nutrient-dense foods, keeping weight in check.
-Sharpen the mind – Key nutrients are essential for the brain to do its job. People who eat a selection of brightly colored fruit, leafy veggies, and fish and nuts packed with omega-3 fatty acids can improve focus and decrease their risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Read More: http://www.helpguide.org/life/senior_nutrition.htm
- "Aging in Place" features for the home gain higher profile as Baby Boomers get older
- Standing By Her Story Anita Hill is Celebrated in Documentary, "Anita"
- A Mid Century Travel Guide for African Americans Drivers Navigating Jim Crow
- Success Through the Stillness
- 14 Caribbean Nations Sue Colonizers for Slave Trade
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AABoomers.com is an online magazinefor and about the 9.1 million African-American Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964. (We are honored that President and Mrs. Obama as members of our demographic.) (Click here to read more.)