by Anthony Jerrod
Black History Month- a time for members of various ethnicities to celebrate the valiant efforts and deep democratic struggles of people of African descent and a time to reflect on the strength of a courageous people who continually clothe themselves with love and justice in the face of monolithic adversity, resistance, malevolent acts, and attempts to diminish and eradicate black beauty, black intelligence and black potentiality. It is also, as Carter G. Woodson once expressed in the Journal of Negro History in October of 1927, a time not only to explore African civilization, history, art, philosophy and anthropology but also to investigate the social, economic and cultural problems of the Negro.
Indeed, as we look to continue to bequeath the rich tradition and heritage of our predecessors, it is imperative that the extraordinary progress, outstanding achievements and inventions and beautiful legacy of people of African descent be explicitly and unequivocally told to present and future generations. Similarly, as we embark on communicating the whole truth, it is also essential that we persist to focus on areas where improvement is needed.
To be sure, these areas for improvement exist relative to every ethnicity and are not solely confined to African-Americans. Moreover, the associated statistics are not purposed to bring negative culpability and condemnation but rather to shed light on disproportionate yet potentially alarming trends. Though not all-inclusive, the following eight areas do warrant attention, renewed thinking, civil discourse and solutions to help ensure that robust progress is not impeded.
According to a recent study published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in February 2011, “Although blacks make up only 13.6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 50.3 percent of all diagnosed cases of HIV. Additionally, the rate of HIV diagnosis among black men is eight times that of whites and two times that of Hispanics, and the rate for black women is 19 times that of whites and four times that of Hispanics.”