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"I do not expect the white media to create a positive black-male image." -
Huey P. Newton
The NorthStar News & Analysis -
December 13, 2009
Cancer Death Rates Among Blacks Remains Much Higher Than Other Groups
Source: American Cancer Society
Cancer death rates and the number of new cancer cases continue to decline in the United States, but cancer death rates for black men and women are much higher when compared with other ethnic and racial groups due largely to barriers to high-quality health care and racial discrimination.
Death rates from all forms of cancer for black men were 37% higher compared with white men, and death rates from all forms of cancer for black women were 17% higher compared with white women, according to the "Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2006." The American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries compiled the report, which was published Dec. 7.
The American Cancer Society, which is based in Atlanta, recently published "Cancer Facts & Figures for African Americans 2009-2010, a 28-page monograph, which reported that African Americans have the highest death rates and shortest survival rate of any racial and ethnic group in the U.S. for most cancers.
Cancer was the second leading cause of death among African Americans in 2005, the latest-figures available, claiming 63,161 lives. Cancer deaths among blacks were second only to heart disease, which claimed 74,150 lives in 2005.
The National Cancer Institute, which is part of the federal government's National Institutes of Health, reported in 2005 approximately 876,500 African Americans with a history of cancer were alive in January 2005.
"Some of these individuals were cancer-free, while others still had evidence of cancer and may have been undergoing treatment," says a spokesperson for the National Institutes of Health.
In 2009, physicians are expected to diagnose an estimated 150,090 new cancer cases among African Americas, and 63,360 are expected to die from the disease.
The leading causes of cancer deaths among black men are lung cancer followed by cancer of the prostate. Prostate cancer is expected to claim the lives of 3,690 black men this year.
The leading types of cancer among black women are lung cancer and breast cancer, says the American Cancer Society. Breast cancer is expected to claim the lives of 6,020 black women in 2009. Lung cancer is expected to kill 16,900 black men and black women in 2009.
Colon and rectal cancer, preventable forms of cancer, are expected to become the third-leading cause of cancer among black men and women. Cancer of the pancreas, a particularly deadly form of cancer, is expected to rank as the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths among African Americans.
Physicians are expected to diagnose 22,330 cases of the lung cancer this year among African Americans, despite rapid declines in smoking-related cancers among black men.
Some 27,130 cases of prostate cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2009 among black men, and physicians will diagnose an estimated 19,540 cases of breast cancer this year among black women.
The American Cancer Society noted there was a disparity in cancer death rates among African Americans compared with other racial and ethnic groups.
"African Americans have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial and ethnic group in the U.S. for most cancers," the American Cancer Society says. "The causes of these inequalities are complex and are thought to reflect social and economic disparities more than biologic differences associated with race. These include inequalities in work, wealth, income, education, housing and overall standard of living, barriers to high-quality health care and racial discrimination."
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that 7.4 million blacks, or 19.1% of the nation's African-American population, did not have health insurance in 2008, up from 7.3 million blacks who did not have health insurance in 2007 (NorthStar, Sept. 13).
The Numbers Of Black Mayors Convicted Of Crimes Continues To Grow
The recent conviction of Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon brings to four the number of current and former black mayors who have been convicted of crimes during the past four years, but it is not clear whether this represents a pattern, although some jurisdictions have histories of aggressively prosecuting black elected officials.
A jury deliberated six days before ruling Dec. 1 that Dixon was guilty of a single charge that she took gift cards intended for Baltimore's poor. The jury, however, acquitted Dixon on two counts of felony theft.
Dixon's conviction of one count of fraudulent misappropriation, however, may force Dixon, Baltimore's first black woman mayor, from office if her conviction is upheld on appeal, says David Bositis, senior research associate for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank for black elected officials.
Dixon's conviction follows the conviction of former Newark, N.J., Mayor Sharpe James in April 2008 for fraud; the Oct. 2009 conviction of Mayor Larry Langford of Birmingham, Ala., for accepting bribes; and the decision by Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit to resign from office October 2008 after pleading guilty for involvement in a sex-and-text scandal and assaulting a Detroit police officer.
In June 2006, a judge sentenced former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell to 30 months in prison for federal income tax evasion.
Mayor Frank Melton of Jackson, Miss., the state's largest city, was scheduled to go on trial May 11 for the August 26, 2006, sledge hammer attack on a duplex in which he believed the building's occupants sold crack cocaine.
The first trial ended in a mistrial last February. Melton, 60, however, died of a heart attack May 7, 2009, following a fourth-place finish in Jackson's mayoral primary. A new trial was scheduled to begin May 10.
"The cases involving the black mayors are fairly unique," Bositis says. "Kilpatrick was involved in a sex scandal in which he perjured himself to cover up an affair with his female chief of staff."
He said, however, that Dixon was prosecuted for a penny-ante crime. "This was hardly a major crime," Bositis says. "White politicians would not have been prosecuted for this." The jury convicted Dixon of improperly using $630 in gift cards.
Birmingham has a long history of corruption, and prosecutors are known for going after black elected officials, Bositis added. Following his conviction, Langford immediately was removed from office.
Buju Banton Nominated For A Grammy
The Recording Academy, which awards the Grammy Awards, has nominated controversial reggae singer Buju Banton for a Grammy in the category of best reggae album, which represents a triumph for Banton given the troubles he faced only few months earlier.
Banton's "Rasta Got Soul" will compete against "Brand Me New" by Gregory Isaacs, "Awake" by Julian Marley, "Mind Control--Acoustic" by Stephen Marley and "Imperial Blaze," by Sean Paul.
"Rasta Got Soul" was recorded over seven years before being released April 21, 2009, on the 43rd anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie's 1966 visit to Jamaica. Wyclef Jean collaborated with Banton on the album, says Gargamel Music Inc., Banton's Kingston, Jamaica-based record label.
The Grammy nomination is a comeback for Banton, a dance-hall reggae singer, who was compelled to independently schedule United States concert dates for October after concert promoters LiveNation/House of Blues and Goldenvoice/AEG cancelled some of his shows because of opposition to Banton by gay and lesbian groups (
NorthStar, Sept. 6
The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center described the lyrics to some of Banton's songs as homophobic and violent. Banton's song "Boom Bye Bye" caused most of the controversy. Banton said he wrote the song at 15 in response to a widely publized man/boy rape case in Jamaica. Gay and Lesbian groups criticized the song's lyrics because they said it called for the torture and murder of gay men. Banton said he stopped performing the song years earlier.
Music critics praised "Rasta Got Soul." Banton has been nominated for Grammys for three previous albums: They are "Too Bad" in 2007, "Friends for Life" in 2004 and "Inna Heights" in 1999.
The Grammy Awards are scheduled for Jan. 31, 2010, in Los Angeles.
Black Men in Print, 2009
Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original.
Robin D. G. Kelley. (Free Press, $30)
Fourteen years in the writing, this meticulously researched biography of legendary African-American jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk is the most textured and comprehensive biography ever written about the idiosyncratic giant of twentieth century music. Author Kelley reveals Monk's life in the context of well-drawn descriptions of post-war African American life and cultural life, scholarly discussions of jazz and Monk's unique contributions to the development of the genre, characterized by his strongly improvisational style and use of previously unheard dissonant harmonies. Richly portrayed are Monk's dramatic and wrenchingly uneven musical career, his struggles with a largely undiagnosed and inadequately treated bipolar disorder, his long and supportive marriage to Nellie Smith Monk and his friendship with Baroness Pannonica, "Nica," Koenigswarter of the Rothschild banking family of England who was a patroness of the arts and a supporter of many jazz musicians, Monk in particular. Kelley, professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC), has written, edited and co-edited a dozen or more books, including most notably,
Freedom Dreams: The
Black Radical Imagination
(Beacon Press, 2002) and
Race Rebels: Culture, Politics and the Black Working Class
(The Free Press, 1994).
Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong
. Terry Teachout. (Houhgton Mifflin Harcourt, $30)
Written in a rich, warm style that reflects the rich, warm style of Satchmo himself as a man and a groundbreaking jazz musician of this century, Teachout's book is a standout biography because Teachout had access to new sources of material that earlier biographers of Louis Armstrong did not possess. These new sources include hundreds of private back-stage exchanges and informal conversations Armstrong held and tape-recorded with others during the second half of his life. The book traces Armstrong's life from his beginnings in impoverished circumstances in New Orleans to his long, stellar career as one of America's most accomplished, influential and beloved musical performers and as an international jazz icon. In her
New York Times
, critic Michiko Kakutani wrote, "...with
, his (Teachout's) eloquent and important new biography of Armstrong, the critic and cultural historian Terry Teachout restores this jazzman to his deserved place in the pantheon of American artists." The
as one of the ten best books of 2009, and Amazon.com listed this Armstrong biography as one of the top five biographies of this year. Terry Teachout is a critic, biographer and popular culture blogger. Currently the drama critic for
Wall Street Journal
, he is also the author of other books, including the acclaimed biography,
The Skeptic: A Life of H. L. Mencken
Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson
. Wil Haygood. (Borzoi Books, $27.95)
Sugar Ray Robinson was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990, a year following his death. He was later named by the sports writers of the Associated Press as the greatest fighter of the 20th century and the greatest boxer in history by ESPN.com in 2007. Robinson is also the boxer Muhammad Ali once described as "the king, the master, my idol." U. S. welterweight champion (1946-1951) and middleweight champion (1952), Sugar Ray Robinson, is captured roundly in this engaging-from-the-first-page biography by prizewinning
staff writer Wil Haygood. Robinson's early life in Detroit and then later in Harlem is well-documented as is his life in the ring that began at age 19, but he is also revealed as a 'romantic' character who was involved passionately in African American cultural life of the '40s and '50s, counting among his closer friends some of the best-known entertainers of that era. Known for his flamboyant and glamorous style outside of the ring, the word "entourage" was likely first coined to describe Robinson and the group that accompanied him in his travels around New York City and Europe. When Robinson's boxing career ended following a failed comeback, he trained diligently to establish himself as a dancer in France, but his career as an entertainer never materialized. Robinson also owned and operated one of the more successful Harlem restaurants of the time, Sugar Ray's. Author Haygood has also penned two other highly regarded biographies, including
In Balck and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr
(Random House, 2003), which won the Zora Neale Hurston-Richard Wright Legacy Award, and
King of the Cats: The Life
and Times of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr
. (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993).
Sag Harbor: A Novel
. Colson Whitehead. (Doubleday, $24.95)
A recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and a one-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Colson Whitehead has written a fourth novel, a semi-autobiographical narrative of a summer in the life of 15-year-old Benji Cooper, an acknowledged 'nerd' who is one of a very few African American students attending an exclusive private Manhattan school. This relatively slender, poignant, funny, coming-of-age novel takes place in 1985, is set in Sag Harbor, a seashore resort for African American professionals, and is replete with references, primarily but not exclusively, musical, capturing vividly the popular culture of the mid-80's and creating a "soundtrack" for the meandering identity-quest of a priviledged adolescent boy.
was recently named one of the 100 notable books of the year by
The New York Times
. Whitehead's first novel,
(Anchor, 1999), a racial allegory, received critical acclaim as did the book that followed it,
John Henry Days
(Anchor, 2001), a novel that establishes as folklore the semi-mythical life of the black railway worker of its title.
The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet
. Neil deGrasse Tyson. (W. W. Norton & Company, $23.95)
African-American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, has written several accessible books on astronomy, and
is the latest published. A best-selling book just released this week by Norton in a paperback edition,
The Pluto Files
is a lively account of the work to re-classify Pluto from planetary status to a cosmic body now understood to be a part of the Kuiper Belt, a collection of scattered remains from the formation of our solar system.Tyson was a part of the scientific community's effort to "demote" Pluto, holding with others the conviction that its attributes as a body did not warrant its classification as a planet. Suspicious were Pluto's rock and ice composition, its reverse rotation and its erratic orbital patterns. The movement to re-classify Pluto met with outraged protests on the part of many Americans who claim Pluto as America's planet in large part because it was discovered by amateur American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh in 1930. Shortly after his discovery, Walt Disney dubbed a cartoon character dog after the "planet." Since 1996, Tyson has served as the Frederick P. Rose director of the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. He is also the host of the PBS series, "Nova/Science Now," and has appeared on several different television shows, including "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report." Tyson's previous book,
Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandries
(W. W. Norton & Company, 2007), is a collection of 41 essays, introducing and explaining among other topics, the physics of black holes in space.
Kasim Reed Takes Atlanta, But Black Male Candidate Loses in Houston
Kasim Reed is still mayor-elect of Atlanta, following a recount last week. Reed received 42,549 votes to Mary Norwood's 41,345 votes, said Barry Garner, director of the Fulton County Board of Elections. Norwood later conceded the election to Reed and offered him her support. Reed, a former Georgia state senator, and Norwood, a member of Atlanta's city council, were battling to become the city's mayor because current Mayor Shirley Franklin cannot run for re-election
(NorthStar, Dec. 6)
Franklin's term ends Jan. 4, 2010. In Houston, it was a different ending. Voters elected Annise Parker mayor over opponent Gene Locke, the former city attorney. Parker captured 53% of the vote to Locke's 47%. Parker is openly gay and Houston becomes the nation's largest city to elect an openly gay person mayor.
Tiger Woods Takes A Leave From Golf
Tiger Woods, the world's No. 1 golfer and the reason many individuals even bother to watch the sport, said he will take a hiatus because of growing controversy surrounding his extramarital affairs.
"I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I've done, but I will do my best to try," Woods wrote in a byline article on his website.
On Nov. 28,
The National Enquirer
published an article, claiming Rachel Uchitel, a night club manager, had an affair with Woods, a claim she immediately denied. A day and a half later, the story gained traction after Woods had a car accidents in the driveway of his home in a gated community in Orlando, Fla. Later, Jaimee Grubbs, a San Diego cocktail waitress, claimed she had a two and half year affair with Woods, producing voice and text messages to support her claims. Since then other women have come forward acknowledging they too had affairs with Woods.
"After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father and person," Woods wrote. "Again I ask for privacy for my family, and I am especially grateful for all of you who have offered compassion and concern during this difficult period."
Woods is the world's highest-paid professional athlete. Last year, he earned $110 million from his winnings and product endorsements. Following Woods' announcement, Gillette Co., which is based in Boston, suspended advertising featuring him and said Woods would not be doing any public appearances for the company. But athletic shoe maker Nike Inc., which is based in Beaverton, Ore., and the PGA Tour said they are sticking with Woods and are looking forward to his return. The PGA Tour is based in North Palm Beach, Fla.
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