All Articles Tagged "blacks"
There are some social media platforms that African Americans just prefer. In fact, according to a study by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, more African Americans rush to Twitter and Instagram than other digital offerings. Minorities also purchase smartphones more than other demographics. The study found that the popularity of Twitter and Instagram among blacks is surging, while white women under age 50 are drawn to Pinterest, reports USA Today.
The survey was conducted via phone interviews with 1,800 respondents (Asian Americans weren’t included because there were not enough respondents to draw statistically reliable conclusions).
Among black Internet users, 26 percent use Twitter; compare this with whites (14 percent) and Hispanics (19 percent). This is an increase from 18 percent of black Internet users were using Twitter in 2011.
According to social media consultant and blogger Wayne Sutton, there is a reason why Twitter is attracting more blacks. He told the newspaper that Twitter enables “a level playing field in getting (black Americans’) voices heard… With the history of our culture, we now have an equal channel like anyone else,” he says. “We are also some of the largest consumers of entertainment and sports. And that’s a lot of what is said on social media by us.”
As for Instagram, blacks, at 23 percent, also outnumbered Hispanics’ (18 percent) and whites (11 percent).
“African Americans and Hispanics are leading the way in terms of buying smartphones or tablets,” Sutton added. According to a March 2012 Nielsen study, 54.4 percent of black phone owners and 57.3 percent of Hispanic phone owners own smartphones vs. 44.7 percent for whites.
High-fructose corn syrup. It sounds pretty tasty and makes some of your favorite foods and drinks irresistibly delicious. But how detrimental is this sweet ingredient to your health?
A recent study discovered a link between high-fructose corn syrup and diabetes. A joint study conducted by the University of Southern California and the University of Oxford suggests that Type 2 diabetes rates are higher – a whopping 20 percent more – in countries with the highest rates of high-fructose corn syrup consumption. The study, published in Global Public Health, also notes that the rates of diabetes are lower in countries where consumption is at a minimum.
The United States tops the study’s list with the highest per capita consumption rate: 55 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup per year. The findings are particularly disconcerting for blacks because Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease – and diabetes disproportionately affects the black population. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (OMH), blacks are twice as likely as whites to develop diabetes. In fact, fourteen percent of the black population is afflicted with the disease.
In addition, compared to whites with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) states that blacks with the disease have a 50 percent chance of going blind, and are from 2.6 to 5.6 times as likely to develop kidney disease. Amputations also increase in likelihood by 2.7 times. And as of 2009, the OMH noted that blacks were 2.2 times as likely to die from complications related to diabetes.
Black women are more likely to be affected by diabetes than any other gender/race combination. The ADA notes that the disease affects 25 percent of black females over the age of 55.
Genetics may be to blame for the level of susceptibility among black people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that some researchers have concluded that black Americans – and other ethnic groups, such as Hispanics, Asians, and Pacific Islanders – are heirs to a “thrift gene.” In essence, their ancestors stored food energy in their bodies during plentiful times so they could survive during times of famine. But now that most of these ethics groups are not subject to issues of food scarcity, the thrift gene has become something of a curse.
In 2010, it was estimated that treating diabetes costs patients $6,000 per year. Of course, that doesn’t take into account any lost wages and quality of life issues, which can’t be quantified.
After the release of this most recent study drawing a connection between diabetes and high-fructose corn syrup, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) was quick to issue statements discounting the validity of the research. The CRA’s president called the study “severely flawed, misleading, and a poorly conducted analysis.” In addition, the CRA accused the researchers of ignoring other components of a person’s diet that may lead to diabetes.
However, this is not the first time that high-fructose corn syrup has come under fire. In 2004, researchers at Louisiana State University and the University of North Carolina found a link between high-fructose corn syrup and obesity. The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggested that “the overconsumption of HFCS in calorically sweetened beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity.”
In addition, as far back as 2005, Diabetes Health warned of the dangers of high-fructose corn syrup for diabetics, and cautioned against consuming any food that listed this product as one of its first ingredients. Diabetes Health has not changed their stance, and has provided the following list to help consumers identify popular products that contain the syrupy substance:
- Soft drinks
- Artificial fruit juices and fruit drinks
- Breads, cakes, cookies and other baked goods
- Fruits and vegetables, such as pickles and baked beans
- Salad dressing, pancake syrups, sauces (ketchup, mustard, BBQ)
- Breakfast cereals and bars
- Canned soups
- Canned fruits (in artificial juices)
- Yogurt (frozen and fruit-flavored)
Health is an irreplaceable resource, and identifying and limiting – if not completely avoiding – health-depleting ingredients is one of the most important steps that an individual can take to maintain and improve their physical condition. An anonymous Facebook quote says it best: “True healthcare reform starts in your kitchen, not in Washington.”
Just as African Americans have had influence through radio — with popular shows such as “The Tom Joyner Show” and Steve Harvey’s morning program — and television with Oprah Winfrey and BET, social media has become the new microphone for news, entertainment, and influence for the black community.
In a 2011 study from multicultural agency Burrell, 73 percent of white consumers and 67 percent of Hispanics said they believe that blacks influence mainstream American culture, and social media amplifies that. In 2012, LeBron James was the most influential athlete on social media during the London Olympics and the black community turned to social media to rally around the family of Trayvon Martin.
As of August 2011, 70 percent of US black Internet users ages 18 and up were on social networks, a higher percentage that whites (63 percent) and Hispanics (67 percent), according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
This number has only grown. In its “African-American Consumers: Still Vital, Still Growing” 2012 study, Nielsen reported that 72 percent of black consumers have more than one social networking profile.
With a younger population than other ethnic groups, it makes sense that African Americans are more likely to use social media, which has always skewed younger. As these younger consumers mature and become the main consumer segment in the US, their influence and preferences when it comes to social media will be critical for marketers.
“As we’ve seen over the past couple of years with the Honda Battle of the Bands, social media is definitely an effective and authentic way to connect with African-American consumers, said Gina Jorge, assistant manager of multicultural marketing for American Honda Motor Co., Inc., in an email with Madame Noire. (We covered this event here.) “We see a continued increase in engagement across emerging digital, social and mobile platforms.”
Pew also released data this year about how social networking impacts political activities. Blacks have shown how they leverage social media to influence and connect with others around political issues of importance to them. Among black US social network users, 42 percent said they think social networks are important for recruiting people to get involved with political issues that matter to them, and 38 percent said social networks are an important forum for political discussions or debates. These percentages were higher than those for whites or Hispanics.
“Social allows people to have a voice on a grassroots level and that’s one of the things that has been hard for the African-American community to do: get their voice heard and heard loudly,” Keisha Brown, senior vice president and general manager of multicultural agency Lagrant Communications, told Madame Noire. “With social, and the campaigns and election showed this as well, you are able to create groups for African Americans [and others].”
So as the black community leverages social media as a channel to build its cultural influence, what does the future hold?
Brown told Madame Noire that the opportunities for African-American entrepreneurs within social media and technology will grow: “For millennials and Gen Y, they are growing up with this medium and their thought process is different. They see the sky as the limit because social media brings in so many different aspects of business and you can reach so many different people.”
Verna Coleman-Hagler, a brand manager for Procter & Gamble, told Madame Noire via email that the future will also include more philanthropic and community initiatives that build a greater reach through social.
P&G and its My Black is Beautiful program turned to social when it launched “Imagine a Future” in 2012, which will “work to impact the lives of one million black girls over the next three years,” she said, and will partner with Black Girls Rock! and The United Negro College Fund.
As social media usage continues to rise overall, African-Americans will become more prominent players in the technology industry and as entrepreneurs, expanding the community’s influence even more.
Probably, like most of you, I’ve been watching the republican primaries with the peripheral interest of a circus sideshow. As Gingrich, Santorum and Romney duke it out, I’ve heard such alienating phrases as, “I want African American people to demand paychecks, not food stamps,” (Gingrich), ”I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money,” (Santorum), and Romney’s flub about not caring about the unemployed–never mind that blacks make up 12 percent of that group. And to put icing on the cake, a recent report indicated that 29 percent of republicans from the Deep South think interracial marriage should be illegal, and it appears none of the presidential hopefuls have chosen to disabuse them of this notion. Surprise, surprise.
All this pandering to the extreme right wing of the party has backfired because the ignorant comments, Freudian slips, and allusions to swipe at women’s hard-won reproductive rights impacts not only blacks, but other minorities and white soccer moms. Rick Santorum’s recent comments about how Puerto Ricans should speak better English is just another on a long list of buffoonish remarks aimed at minorities. Santorum single-handedly managed to offend both Hispanics and black people part of the African diaspora.
But it looks like republicans don’t too much like it when “off color” remarks are thrown in the other direction. At a recent fundraiser for President Obama, Robert DeNiro joked about America not being “ready for a white First Lady.” Newt Gingrinch was outraged, OUTRAGED!! He said DeNiro’s comments were inexcusable, and wanted the president to apologize for DeNiro; I guess because an apology from the mega-star wasn’t sufficient for Mr. Gingrinch.
Republicans have essentially given up trying to win “the black vote,” so there seems to be little self-editing happening. Lenny McAllister, senior contributor at Politic365.com and radio host of “Get Right with Lenny McAllister” (www.LMGILIVE.com), and frequent guest on CNN, says that the recent antics in the republican party aree less about alienation, and more about a failure to connect. “There hasn’t been a concerted effort to reach minorities [in the republican party] for 40 years.”
McAllister, who is a member of the group, Hip Hop Republicans, worries that this continued failure to connect will prevent republicans from leading a more diverse America, and the country continues to “brown.”
But there’s good news for Obama fans: Although McAllister thinks the president should get a “C-” for his first term, he still predicts a narrow win against Mitt Romney, whom he believes will be the single man standing after the republican primary. Who do you think will win the republican primary?
Christelyn D. Karazin is the co-author of “Swirling: How to Date, Mate and Relate Mixing Race, Culture and Creed” (to be released May 2012), and runs a blog, www.beyondblackwhite.com, dedicated to women of color who are interested and or involved in interracial and intercultural relationships. She is also the founder and organizer of “No Wedding, No Womb,” an initiative to find solutions to the 72 percent out-of-wedlock rate in the black community.
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Although the racial gaps in many areas of life are closing slightly in the U.S., research says that there is still a significant gap in black life expectancy compared to that of our white counterparts. In a newly released Health Services Research study conducted by UCLA, blacks continue to live shorter lives than whites in every state in the U.S. on average, as white females live five years longer than black females and white men live seven years longer than black males.
As a part of the university’s study, the disparities are broken down by state and the average life expectancy years in between the two races. New Mexico, with the smallest disparity, has a gap of 3.76 years for men and 2.45 years for women as the average life span difference. The nation’s capital, Washington D.C., has the largest life expectancy gap, with white females living 8.55 years longer than black females and a shocking 13.77 years between the lives of the average black and white males living in the District.
The discouraging study concludes that eliminating disparities in states with the largest African-American population would impact these numbers drastically, a positive solution for the following 10 U.S. states where over 58 percent of the country’s blacks reside: New York, California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Maryland, Missouri and Louisiana. In contrast, states like Kentucky, West Virginia, Nevada, Oklahoma and Washington reported smaller year gaps in life expectancy, but coincidentally, these smaller numbers were not the result of blacks with longer life span, but due to whites with shorter life spans than the national average.
With the national average life expectancy being 74.79 years for white men and 67.66 years for black men and 79.84 years for white women in comparison to 74.64 years for black women, it is clear that the statistical odds of living longer than whites in many states seems bleak.
Various factors have led to these figures that work against our community as a whole, as well as the quality of life. Experts note that key factors impact the life span of the average American, which include accessibility to health care, HIV/AIDS, homicide, obesity, diabetes and other health and life risks that are statistically proven to be disproportionately more present in the black community.
According to the study, the accessibility to health care plays a major role, stating:
“Federal and state health policies that simply concentrate on the black–white difference in a geographic region may miss important opportunities to improve overall population health or significantly reduce disparity at the national level… Blacks make up a disproportionate percentage of the low-income, Medicaid-eligible population, and we found that Massachusetts and New York, two states where black populations have longer-than-expected life expectancy, are also the states that have expanded Medicaid coverage.”
Knowing that these factors play a key role in our life span more so than they do for others in America, we must be conscious of our health and well-being in order to live more healthy and longer. That includes everything from evaluating our eating habits and our lifestyle choices, being aware of our bodies inside and out, having access to healthcare, helping slow violent crimes in our communities and a lot more.
Are we doing enough as a community to live longer? How can we combat this issue with our lifestyles to close the gap?
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A few months ago, an estimated 5,000 unemployed souls braved the unrelenting, Dirty-South to attend a job fair in Atlanta where ninety companies were reportedly present. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate is 8.6 percent.
The black unemployment rate is nearly double at 15.5 percent, down from 16 percent in October – this includes 17 percent for black men, 13.8 percent for black women, and (gulp)… 39.9 percent for black teens.
Remember the unemployment rate doesn’t take into account those individuals who are either underemployed or have conceded rejection. So, in reality, black joblessness is somewhere along the lines of 30 percent. Why are so many African-Americans being shunned from full-time employment?
What do employers see or not see in us?
What’s our motivation for trying to embark upon a new career when every statistical number says blacks are being ignored in the job market?
“You got children, you got kids, you got bills,” said Derric Clayton, a former security guard with three children whose been seeking work since May. “You’ve got to stay somewhere. You don’t want to be homeless.”
In giving reasons for non-hire, a Chicago-based employer let the cat out the bag recently by citing a plethora of racial stereotypes in describing blacks as “uneducated,” “unskilled,” “unstable,” “illiterate,” “dishonest,” “lack initiative,” “unmotivated,” “involved with gangs and drugs,” “don’t understand work,” “lack charm,” “have no family values,” and are “poor role models.”
Now, those of us with common sense understand such racial stereotypes are completely untrue.
After all, the job market is saturated with legions of intelligent African-Americans equipped with college degrees and ample work experience. Still, perception is typically construed as reality. To bring about positive economic change, it’s imperative we take the steps necessary to invert our professional reputation.
We can start the correction process by condemning commercial forces that advocate and profit from the perilous sale of gangsta rap, misogyny, excess tattoos and all other filth counterproductive to landing gainful employment.
In addition to the aforementioned stereotypes, we can’t underestimate the rising economic power associated with globalization and outsourcing. With so many jobs being shipped overseas, labor intensive positions that once paid $20 per hour are now offering only $10. Without a college education, it’s very difficult to secure above average wages.
Compounding matters is the disturbing fact black dropout rates have skyrocketed in recent years while college enrollment has subsequently descended; specifically in the case of black men.
If morale isn’t low enough, studies have shown African-Americans equipped with college degrees are hired at a far lower rate than their white counterparts; regardless of GPA and/or experience.
Then there’s the theory claiming some employers simply refuse to interview candidates with black-sounding names. Imagine that? The Tyrones, Chiquitas and Alfonsos of the world don’t stand a chance.
High prison rates among people of color have played an even bigger role in the decimation of Black America as ex-convicts receive no love from employers.
The book The Mis-education of the Negro was originally written as a dissertation by author Carter Godwin Woodson who wanted to investigate how efficient the current education structure was for African-Americans. Despite being written in 1933, some of the struggles facing African-Americans mentioned in the book still hold true today: African-Americans have the highest unemployment and poverty level percentages of all ethnic groups; African-Americans show the lowest percentages of being business owners, and despite facing lower barriers to college entry than in 1933 African-Americans still show the lowest college admittance and graduation rates of all ethnic groups. As Carter Woodson explains in the book there are a few misconceptions about the education of African-Americans that need to be corrected in order for blacks to thrive and be successful.
Education of any people should begin with the people themselves
As President Obama continues his term as the first black president in United States history, the documentation of African-Americans in history books remains insignificant at best. During 1933 when the book was written, African-Americans were only acknowledged as a supplement to the hard work and sacrifices of white Americans who helped to shape our country. This fact still remains African-Americans aren’t intertwined in the history of the U.S.. They are acknowledged as a supplement to the United States and aren’t given the same intellectual examination as White Americas. As Woodson discusses throughout the book, every ethnic group brought their own strengths and characteristics, which helped the United States propel itself to its superpower status. Woodson cites that African-Americans will never be able to build upon their strengths if they aren’t made aware of it through education and will be always a step behind as they react to confirm to the styles and strengths of their white counterparts.
By Nola Ogunro
The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is doing a tour of major metro areas bringing information about jobs to unemployed workers. Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West are covering the lands on their “Poverty Tour” to highlight the way recent spending cuts are undercutting the quality of life for all. Underscoring both of these efforts is the constant call for President Obama to enact programs that address the unemployment needs of the African-American community specifically. The president believes that improving the economy overall is the best solution for the black unemployment crisis, but experts disagree. The Center for American Progress states: “There are structural barriers to employment in the labor market affecting African Americans alone—obstacles that impede the advancement of African Americans.” Many agree that we need government assistance in fighting ongoing unemployment issues caused by reasons beyond our control. Let’s examine the top 9 reasons for an economic stimulus program that targets the black community.
How long will Black Americans serve as sacrificial lambs? On August 4th the National Association of Black Journalists held a plenary session at their 2011 conference that consisted of Michael Steele, Dr. Cornel West, Sophia Nelson and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. The session stirred up a lot of engaging discussion but what stuck out to me most was a statement made by our Atlanta mayor. Though I voted for him and consider him to be a smart business man, a remark made by him at this conference severely disturbed me. Reed responded to a statement West made in reference to President Obama helping the poor. “The minute Obama tries to provide programs specifically for Blacks, he will be out of office faster than you can bat an eye…” he said.
Steve Harvey had his share of remarks on his syndicated show saying, “Healthcare reform is a plan that helps Blacks the most and we should understand if the POTUS doesn’t mention a program being directly for Black folks… he is the President of the entire United States, not president of the hood.”
What I am trying to understand is why do politicians mask helping Blacks as helping the poor, convicts and the jobless. Will there ever be a time when can we directly say, “I pour out this liquor for my black homies”, similar to when the president (or other elected official) says this program is for Native Americans (federally protected reserves, casino subsidies), Hispanic immigrants (immigration repeals, ESOL in public schools), corporations (stimulus packages), unions (protective laws for collective bargaining) or for the gay community (incorporation of civil liberties). What is the shame in helping Blacks? Is this really political progress or is it societal setback? Imagine the commander of a military unit that refuses to help remove a fallen soldier from danger, even if that soldier brought the situation upon himself? We would be outraged.
Are Blacks that soiled, infected and bastardized that a politician can’t say that a specific program, aid or relief is designed to help Black folks without committing political suicide? Are we only good enough to meet up with shady elected official at the motel but not good enough to say hi to him at a political function? These are the same persons who directly ask for the votes of Blacks. This seems as exploitive as the crooked pastor who says tithe your entire paycheck this week and you will see a doubling of your investment within a week and when it doesn’t happen, find rationale to justify them missing the mark. Meanwhile, when they asked for the money they promised an instant return by a specific deadline! It keeps the Black group poor but Black politicians economically sound and America divided.
The vast majority of national voters are White, so when we say we can lose a national political seat we are accepting that Whites dictate what is politically acceptable. However, after further assessment of this design I feel that not being able to directly assist Blacks only contradicts many of the statements made by Whites (and others) that racism is a thing of the past. I would want to believe that the majority of our country isn’t racist, so why is helping a disenfranchised group political suicide? If the educated members of the Black group who have been selected by a diverse group of people aren’t the ones to help tear down these walls of division, then who is it supposed to be?
Exactly what is it? Is it that blacks are too ugly to take to the prom, or is having a relationship with us against the religion of our country? Always a bridesmaid but never a bride? I would be the first to point out when we, as Blacks go wrong but in this case it’s hard to go against us socio-economically when there’s no justification.
If an esteemed, respected and prestigious Black politician isn’t there to help change the way people view Blacks but are willing to help change the way people view Latinos or Gays, what are they there for? We are not talking about White politicians who would feel it would lead them to political suicide because they are directly helping Blacks. There may be some patience in that area. However, we are talking about “supposed” Black change agents who are able to reverse the stereotypes that plague the Black group, cripple America and keep us racially divided and at odds!
As soon as it is time for Blacks to receive relief, our President becomes the President of the United States, which infers to me that theoretically Blacks aren’t a part of the United States. If you are President of the United States, president of a state, or president of a city then there should be no issue helping a woman, man, child, animal, Black, Jew, White, immigrant, poor, business owner, union, teacher, convict, Latino and all others because all of these groups contribute to the growth of this country.
At the end of the day we know hate is wrong in theory but so few are willing to take the step to bridge the disparities. I always say, if no one takes a chance, it leaves everyone at risk. Let’s stop feeling like being friends with the less popular people in our society is a stain to our personal repertoire because really and truly it is a stain on us as a nation.
Devin Robinson is a business and economics professor, columnist and author or “Rebuilding the Black Infrastructure: Making America a Colorless Nation.” You can reach him at email@example.com.
by Dr. B.B. Robinson
All important Black leaders have taught that Black Americans should be able to “Do for Self.”
Frederick Douglas sought education in order to do for self. Booker T. Washington emphasized that the best way to do for self was to train to become equipped with practical skills. W.E.B. DuBois predicted that the talented 10th would guide the remaining 90% to do for self. Marcus Garvey and Elijah Muhammad showed the way on doing for self by organizing business and religious organizations.
Sadly, Black Americans seem to have lost the connection to this powerful teaching and have configured ourselves employment-wise and in business ownership so that we cannot now do for self in many practical ways.
The statistics are alarming. First, let’s look at key industries and the levels of Black employment in those industries. Second, let’s consider business ownership by industry.
On employment, 2009 data from the Bureau of labor statistics show the following outcomes for the 15.0 million Blacks who were employed (employment and percentage of work force):
• Agriculture, forestry, and fishing 66,000 – 0.43%
• Mining 31,000 – 0.20%
• Construction 509,000 – 3.3%
• Information 357,000 – 2.32%
• Management of companies and enterprises 5,000 – 0.03%
In order to survive, we must eat (agriculture). We must be able to draw from the earth its raw materials (mining) in order to manufacture what we needs. We must be able to build structures (construction) in which to reside or produce. We must be able to facilitate the flow of information (information technology). Finally, and above all, we must be able to manage resources and production operations (management). The statistics show that we fall short on all counts.
Now consider the data for similar industries, but from a Black business ownership (a total of 1.9 million in 2007) perspective (number of businesses and percentage of total):
• Agriculture, forestry, and fishing 4,348 – 0.23%
• Mining too small to mention – 0.0%
• Construction 125,901 – 6.55%
• Information 23,453 – 1.22%
• Management of companies and enterprises 201 – 0.01%
The just-cited U.S. Census Bureau data on Black business ownership for 2007 do not differentiate between Black firms with or without employees. However, knowing that less than 6% of Black firms are large enough to have employees, it stands to reason that the statistics on Black ownership by industry—as bleak as it is—paints too rosy a picture of Blacks’ preparedness to do for self.
Where is Black employment and business ownership concentrated?
Black workers are mainly in retail trade (1.6 million – 10.6%), healthcare and social assistance (1.5 million – 9.6%), educational services (1.4 million – 8.9%), public administration (1.1 million – 7.0%), and accommodation and food service (1.1 million – 6.9%).
Black business ownership is concentrated in health care and social assistance (365,137 – 18.99%), personal and laundry services (302,249 – 15.73%), administrative and support services (214,529 – 11.16%), transportation and warehousing (167,498 – 8.72%), and professional, scientific, and technical services (163,761 – 8.52%).
There is no question that Black workers and Black firms could be better aligned to enable us to do for self.
Why have we allowed ourselves to be steared into such inconsequential roles in the U.S. economy? Why have we made a choice to forego employment and business ownership in industries that would permit us to, at least theoretically, maintain some sense of independence and an ability to do for self?
In a slow growth U.S. economy, what are the implications for a people who are concentrated in industries that are essentially disassociated from critical production?
It goes without saying that Black Americans should be concerned about more than just finding jobs for the 2.4 million of us who were unemployed in 2009. We should be very much concerned about the types of jobs that we prepare ourselves to accept.
Why? Because only the unwise make themselves dependent and unable to do for self.
Dr. B.B. Robinson is an economist and director of BlackEconomics.org, a resource for economic concepts, issues and policies affecting African-Americans.