Tag: African American

All You Need Is…

I’ve written before about the mythical Hispanic Health Paradox. Basically, despite the fact that Latinos “are less likely to have health insurance, go to doctors less often, and receive less in the way of hospitalization or high-level care when they are sick, they have lower rates of heart disease, cancer and stroke.”

Now, a new study shows that Hispanics “throughout the U.S. outlive people of all other races.” That’s right — having a bit of Latino in you means that you will probably live almost three years longer than white Americans, “and in some states, nearly eight years longer than African-Americans. The effect is more pronounced in immigrants but also applies to Hispanics born in the U.S.”

The reason the word “paradox” is attached to this phenomenon is because Latinos face “higher rates of poverty and lower rates of education and employment,” which implies that we will die off faster, not live longer. “But after nearly 30 years and hundreds of studies looking at the health behaviors, migration patterns, and characteristics of Hispanics, scientists still haven’t found the answer” to why we stick around for years past our white and black brethren.

Well, the latest conjecture for why this happens is a little awkward, scientifically speaking. Some experts have theorized that the reason is, “in essence, love.”

hearts

Yes, the infamous Latino fixation on family apparently provides Hispanics with strong emotional support and social interaction, both of which are important in fighting off disease and recovering from illness. Other cultures in America do not have the same bedrock foundation, and this may be why they kick the bucket sooner.

The report concludes that “the importance of family is more pronounced among Hispanics,” which has to be the least shocking announcement ever. But the fact that those same families help us to keep chugging along is an insight that researchers hope “has the potential to help us all live longer.”

So once again, you’re welcome, America.

 


Winners and Losers

Recently, everybody’s favorite crazy uncle of old media, the New York Times, asked the loaded question, “What Drives Success?” The article pointed out that some ethnic groups are more economically successful than others, and it pinpointed three reasons for this. The first is “a superiority complex — a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality. The second appears to be the opposite — insecurity, a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not good enough. The third is impulse control.”

It’s an interesting thesis. But lost in the analysis and point-by-point explanation was this side note: “Most fundamentally, groups rise and fall over time. The fortunes of WASP elites have been declining for decades.”

In other words, nobody stays at the top or the bottom forever. And as the article points out, “The fact that groups rise and fall this way punctures the whole idea of ‘model minorities’ or that groups succeed because of innate, biological differences.”

dna strands

So for all the people who think Latinos are innately inferior, keep in mind that there are some “Hispanic groups in America that far outperform some white and Asian groups,” and that this trend is likely to accelerate.

The fortunes of groups twist and turn in a perpetual cycle. And one can choose to find that either comforting or terrifying.

 


Faith or Delusion?

I’ve written before that Latinos tend to be more optimistic about life and have more confidence in their economic futures.

thumbsup

Well, a new survey confirms that Hispanics’ “faith in the American Dream exceeds that of whites and African Americans,” adding that this optimism “contrasts sharply with the current economic status of Hispanics.”

Basically, even though the Great Recession hit Latinos harder than most groups, it is those same Hispanics who have the strongest belief that everything will work out fine. According to the survey’s authors, “the upbeat attitude … is due in part to the fact that Hispanic immigrants often start with little and expect to sacrifice much to move up, while native-born adults may have already seen their expectations lose ground in an ailing economy.”

So whites and blacks, whose roots in America are more likely to go back generations, tend to say, “This sucks worse than ever.” But Latinos often shrug off the same bad news with “I’ve seen worse.”

Still, as great as it is that Latinos are remaining optimistic and staying strong, “the reality for most Hispanics is less rosy” than their faith implies.

So the question becomes, is this determined mindset a self-fulfilling prophecy, where hard work and a never-say-die spirit is rewarded? Or are Latinos just saps for still believing “they are more likely to move up than down in social class over the next few years”?

In any case, the survey points out that “the hopes and struggles of Hispanics are of particular interest now as they are exercising unprecedented political clout.”

Yes, it’s good to have faith. But it’s better to have power.

 


No Relaxing Allowed

As I’ve written before, we Hispanics are known for our fierce work ethic.

Think of immigrants slaving away at grueling tasks that native-born Americans refuse to do. Or consider that last year, “the number of Latino entrepreneurs grew more than white, black, and Asian entrepreneurs.”

Yes, we sure like to work. It’s unfortunate, then, that so many Hispanics who reach old age have nothing to show for it. This is because “fewer than half of … Latino workers have retirement plans on the job, leaving the vast majority of them with no savings designated for their golden years.”

hammock

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Alpha Beta Gamma

Because I so often write about the dark side of human nature, I thought I’d pass along some good news in America’s fight against racism. It seems that at the University of Alabama, “multiple African American women have accepted bids to join traditionally white sororities. The move ends the last bastion of segregation at the tradition-bound southern university.”

Now, I’ve never understood why anybody would want to be a sorority girl or a frat boy, but that’s not the point. Surely, we can be happy that another pillar of institutionalized racism has been toppled. And I presume that Latina girls are now eligible to wear Greek-lettered sweatshirts in Alabama.

greek letters

Well, I should have stopped reading the news article there, because in the internet comments section of the story (always a disturbing barometer of what Americans are really thinking), I did not encounter the cheers and upbeat replies that I expected to see.

Instead, I saw a lot of apologists for bigotry. There were the people who said it wasn’t a racial issue, and that the sororities just have high standards, such as the woman who wrote, “I’m as lily-white as they come and had the same chance of getting into a UofA sorority as a black girl.” Well, actually, she had a much better chance, as evidenced by the fact that, according to the article, current “members of the traditionally white sororities said they were pressured by alumnae to keep black women from joining.” Well, if that is not overt discrimination, I don’t know what is.

But many people (and not just that lily-white girl) must have skipped over that line, because I also learned from readers’ comments that the University of Alabama Greek system was not prejudiced. Rather, it was just “the media and everybody else wanting to play the race card,” and those pesky minorities themselves, who keep “cramming [diversity] down our throats [and] keep the pot boiling and that is raging all over the country now.”

There were also the readers who insisted that letting blacks into a formally all-white sorority was a “politically correct situation,” and that minorities should “stop acting like the world owes it to you to be fair.”

And then there were the philosophical bigots, such as the gentleman who insisted that “if we want to reserve the right to not serve or admit a black person, or anyone else for that matter, we should be allowed that freedom.”

But my favorite was the straightforward racist, such as the guy who cracked that the white girls had better “keep an eye on their valuables!”

And at least one commentator saw grim overtones in the concept of black sorority girls, labeling the news as “more White genocide, cheered on by the mainstream media.”

Yes, this was the reaction that this unequivocally positive news story generated. I feel much better about America right now.

Don’t you?

 


Hardwired

Blame it on the amygdala.

amygdala

 

This region of the brain, which plays a central role in processing fear and aggression, may be the source of one of the most insidious concepts to bedevil humankind: racism.

A recent study revealed that people’s amygdalas react differently when they see individuals who do not share their race. Furthermore, the “same circuits in the brain that allow us to see which ethnic group a person belongs to overlap with others that drive emotional decisions.”

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This Post Is All About Porn

As you can imagine, I am always looking for ways to insert more sex into this website. But how can I do it while still focusing on racial and ethnic issues?

Fortunately, porn star Alexis Texas has presented me with an opportunity.

Alexis_Texas_AEE_2013

Recently, Ms. Texas (and I am sure that is her real name) announced that she would not have sex with any black men in her movies. Considering that her profession calls for her to have, shall we say, rather relaxed standards about what she will and will not do sexually, this comes as a surprise.

After all, she is basically saying that she will do all kinds of crazy shit, and allow people to watch it, but there’s no way she’s touching an African American.

It doesn’t get much more racist. This is especially perplexing because — and here the topic returns to Hispanic culture — the woman is part Puerto Rican. No, you really can’t tell from her blonde hair and fair skin. But as we all know, Hispanics can be of any race.

Now, I’d like to give Alexis Texas the benefit of the doubt. Of course, it is not just because of my well-documented obsession with voluptuous blondes, which she is. It’s just that… sorry, I lost my train of thought after the phrase “voluptuous blondes.”

Anyway, it seems silly to call for a boycott of Texas’ films, as I imagine that would have little impact on her fan base.

So why do I bring this sordid story up? Because, as I said in the lead paragraph, it was an opportunity to mention sex while still talking about race. Throw in the fact that I got to use the phrase “voluptuous blondes” three times, and this may have been my best post ever.

 


Bang and Blame

I’ve written before about the fact that people who own guns are more likely to use them on themselves or a loved one than for self-defense.

And I’ve also written before about the tendency of Americans to make up imaginary assailants to cover up their real crimes. Invariably, the fictitious thug is black or Hispanic.

Well, these disparate elements combined this week in Texas, when “police in San Antonio say a group of friends panicked after one of them accidentally shot another in the back, and tried to pin the whole thing on a Hispanic male who never existed.”

Apparently, a 19-year-old kid, who had no problem getting a handgun (this is America, after all), was “handling the weapon in a reckless manner when it suddenly went off.” One of the ace marksman’s friends was hit, and although nobody died, they had to come up with a story when they hit the emergency room.

Naturally, they said a Latino tried to carjack them. The cops, to their credit, didn’t buy it, and the teen hotshot has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and evading arrest.

So what have we learned from this fiasco? Well, for starters, it shows that many Americans still believe nothing is more plausible than a Latino or black man popping up out of nowhere to rob and shoot you. But it also shows that this particular racist trope is pretty much played out.

So as service to you readers who trying to cover up your own botched shootings and/or self-inflicted stupidity, let me offer some advice.

You’re going to have to get creative when you talk to the cops. That means no more “a big scary Latino guy did it!”

To fool the cops, you need to describe your imaginary assailant as such:

“He was half Chinese, half Finnish, with some black Irish on his mother’s side and a smattering of Chilean blood. He was left-handed with a limp, and he had a dueling scar in the shape of a mermaid across his chin. He carried the discrete sadness of enduring multiple heartbreaks, combined with the air of a former military man. His lower-class status belied his bourgouis ambitions, and his racial and ethnic makeup are the perfect encapsulation of America’s changing demographics.”

Then add, “Oh yeah. And he had a gun. Yup.”

Let’s see how that one works.

 



Institutionalized

Many Americans insist that prejudice is extinct in our post-racial society, where we have a black president and everything. Of course, the officially sanctioned use of racism (ala Jim Crow laws) is a distant relic of the past, and no governmental or academic institution still exhibits racist behavior.

Nope.

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