Tag Archives: black women

Between the world and Ta-Nehisi Coates – Every black mother should read…..

Between-the-World-and-Me-Random-House“Crazy”….is what people feel when their reality doesn’t match that of the masses. “Crazy” is what many black folks have been made to feel upon entering the wider American culture. In many parts of the US, whites make blacks look and feel crazy because of their denial of racism.

“Between the World & Me” is a new, non-toxic, natural antidepressant. A balm of words, concocted by a master pharmacist of the black experience, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Senior Editor at The Atlantic Monthly. Ta-Nehesi puts racism on a glass slide and puts the slide under a microscope that not only magnifies for dissection, the pathogen thereon,  but allows one to verify the feeling caused by that pathogen.

This is a book that every mother, actually every black person, should read. It helps gel those streams of hurt, embarrassment, anger, disgust, frustration, sadness, reactive paranoia and as he points out, fear, that roll constantly off black people’s backs. In more solid form, one can more closely examine them and then toss them away. Or one can examine them, identify them and set up preventive barriers.

No Amount of Alcohol is Safe

The 2014 World Cancer Report from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concludes that no amount of alcohol is safe.  This, despite the fact that consumers have come to believe in the concept of “Responsible drinking”.

Even Light Drinking Puts You at Risk
Most people think that a couple of drinks nightly are good for heart health and overall well being but that appears to be a misconception. While research shows that the more alcohol a person drinks, the higher the risks of cancer, even one glass a night, especially when combined with smoking, is associated with breast cancer, for example.

In a meta-analysis of 222 studies comprising 92,000 light drinkers and 60,000 nondrinkers with cancer, it was estimated that in 2004 worldwide, 5000 deaths from oropharyngeal cancer, 24,000 from esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and 5000 from breast cancer were attributable to light drinking. Light drinking was not associated with cancer of the colon-rectum, liver or larynx.

Trace the trail
Actually, due to the carcinogens in alcohol – some which are formed naturally in the process of creating alcohol – sites in the body which are more likely to develop cancer are exactly the sites that alcohol reaches first as it travels through the body. While hard liquor was most damaging to the esophagus where fine cilia are most sensitive to ethanol found in hard liquor, the further alcohol travels through the body, the less the effects.

Other cancers that were found to be directly caused by wine, beer and spirits, along with hard liquor are cancers of the: mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, colon-rectum, liver and female breast. A significant connection was found between alcohol consumption and pancreatic cancer.

Strong links have also been made between drinking and leukemia, multiple myeloma, and cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina and skin. Researchers note that fewer studies have looked at those connections. Dr. J. Rehm, the lead on the IACR study says, “For the cancers that have been identified as being causally (not casually) linked with alcohol, we are absolutely certain that alcohol causes these cancers.

Alcohol contains lots of carcinogens
Alcoholic beverages can contain at least 15 carcinogenic compounds, including acetaldehyde, acrylamide, aflatoxins, arsenic, benzene, cadmium, ethanol, ethyl carbamate, formaldehyde, and lead. Ethanol is the most important carcinogen in alcoholic beverages. How the body breaks down ethanol is determined by your genetic profile.

There are many other factors that determine how and whether alcohol leads to cancer in individuals. For example, in some people due to their genetic profile, the ethanol in alcohol interferes with their ability to obtain folate from their diet. In breast cancer, alcohol increases estrogen levels and overstimulates breast cells. It is also thought that alcohol may increase the absorption of carcinogens in cigarettes. Because of this smoking and drinking is considered “a particularly dangerous mix”.

Avoidance of cigarettes and alcohol could prevent up to 80% of oral cancer cases and 90% of laryngeal cancer cases.

The amount counts
When it comes to the notion of one glass with dinner being helpful to heart health, more is not better; in fact, more is dramatically worse. Heavy alcohol use causes hypertension, atrial fibrillation, ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, and nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy.

This is a special concern for young drinkers where “binge-drinking” is popularized. The young more  frequently suffer the adverse consequences of acute intoxication (accidents, violence, and social problems). In fact, among males aged 15-59 years, alcohol abuse is the leading risk factor for premature death.

With what is known now about alcohol causing so many cancers, the question should be similar to that for lung cancer. When we hear of someone dying of lung cancer we almost automatically ask, “Did they smoke?” When we hear of someone getting breast cancer now, perhaps we should also ask, “Do they, or did they, drink?”

While this may be disheartening news for those of you who feel the work week was created so that you can hit the bars on the weekend, there are other options. Researchers have found that people respond well to knowledge about their risks and begin changing habits. One of the best options can be found in the other activity that many clubs provide: dancing. Great for the heart and great for the spirit. No alcohol required! Music alone is known to effect the brain and start the endorphins flowing (free, too!). Many alcohol screening tools are available. Behavior change and positive effects have been observed in adolescents, adults, older adults, and pregnant women following alcohol screening and brief interventions aimed at reducing alcohol intake.

While physicians were recommended to “Investigate new drugs that mimic the milder effects of alcohol”, we’ve heard of some things even closer and more natural to Mother Earth. No, not marijuana, but natural, non-addictive herbs that are not known to damage brain cells – herbs like lemon balm, chamomile, mint, etc. or herbal preparations like Perfect Calm or St. John’s Wort (Read up on combinations to avoid and don’t use if you are taking antidepressants,  psychotropic medications, etc. Be aware that in the same way that alcohol affects each person differently, so do herbs.) Check our posts for more articles on natural relaxants – coming up.

Rehm J, Shield K. Alcohol consumption. In: Stewart BW, Wild CB, eds. World Cancer Report 2014. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014.

Lachenmeier DW, Przbylski MC, Rehm J. Comparative risk assessment of carcinogens in alcoholic beverages using the margin of exposure approach. Int J Cancer. 2012;131:E995-E1003. Abstract

Seitz HK, Becker P. Alcohol metabolism and cancer risk. Alcohol Res Health. 2007;30:38-41, 44-47.

Hamid A, Wani NA, Kaur J. New perspectives on folate transport in relation to alcoholism-induced folate malabsorption-association with epigenome stability and cancer development. FEBS J. 2009;276:2175-2191. Abstract

Al-Sader H, Abdul-Jabar H, Allawi Z, Haba Y. Alcohol and breast cancer: the mechanisms explained. J Clin Med Res. 2009;1:125-131.

O’Keefe JH, Bhatti SK, Bajwa A, DiNicolantonio JJ, Lavie CJ. Alcohol and cardiovascular health: the dose makes the poison…or the remedy. Mayo Clin Proc. 2014;89:382-393.

Crucial Factors in Mother Driving her Children into the Ocean

What would make a young mother want to kill her children? That was the big question when this near tragic event first occurred. There were rumors that there had been domestic violence, that for some reasons she didn’t want her husband near her children. More recent reports from CNN state that Ebony Wilkerson had suffered a number of traumatic events, and all at the time that she was going through the major emotional and physical changes that pregnancy causes many women.

#1. Ms. Wilkerson had reportedly been raped prior to becoming suicidal, while she was pregnant.

#2. Ms.  Wilkerson had been the victim of domestic abuse. Her sister reported that the violent husband had held a knife to her throat when she attempted to help her sister whom he had attempted to strangle.

Mother Who Drove Her Children into the Ocean Could Be Your Sister……..

The young mother may have thought she could drown her fears
The young mother may have thought she could drown her fears

Currently being held on $1.2 million bond and charged with three counts of attempted murder, the 32 year old mother, Ebony Wilkerson, who drove her children into the ocean near Daytona Beach, FL on  March 4, 2013,  is suspected of suffering from a mental illness. Now, normally, someone suffering from an illness is hospitalized and treated with medication, etc. and apparently, she had checked herself out of a hospital just before leaving her sister’s home and heading to the beach. Her sister had called 911 to say that she was worried since Ebony had spoken of feeling that there were “demons” in the sister’s home, causing her to leave. 

Police had then stopped her while driving with her children, ages, 10, 9 and 3 and questioned her briefly, but felt that she answered questions appropriately and that she did not meet the criteria necessary to detain her for mental health reasons. It was said that Mrs. Wilkerson was fleeing her husband whom she felt was dangerous to her children.  Reports have stated that Mrs. Wilkerson was pregnant.

Lupita & Kerry – A Litmus Test for Racism?

LupitaNyongO-Photo-Source:http://www.Swide.comLupita Nyong’O brought attention to the historic snubbing of black women actors when she won an Oscar for Best Female Supporting Actress in the movie 12 Years a Slave. For weeks now, we’ve not heard her name mentioned without it being prefaced by the word “beautiful”.  Her face is that of the little girl who lives across the street, your best friend’s baby or one of your cousins. It’s honest and portrays innocence. It is a face of Truth.

Ellen DeGeneres, while hosting the 2014 Oscars, cracked that if 12 Years a Slave and Lupita Nyong’O were ignored by the Academy, then we would all know that it was clearly racism.

When the television series, Scandal – starring the outstanding Kerry Washington, first started, the majority media was eerily quiet about it.  When NPR (stellar in fair media and a media beacon on diverse issues)  introduced its picks for the 2013 fall TV season, even they completely overlooked Scandal. Sort of in the manner that older whites don’t mention a friend’s black mistress.  Yet most black folks were breaking their necks to get in front of the TV on Thursday nights. Didn’t the rest of America recognize a juicy drama like we did? Even though they were silent on it, we knew they were “retiring for bed early” so they could watch it on their bedroom TVs while their spouses were either clueless or quietly (earphones in) watching on the den TV.

KerryWashingtonpicKerry went on to win the first Emmy awarded to a black actress in the last eighteen years. While Lena Horne and Halle Berry and so many others have shown incredible talent over the years, both Ms. Washington and Ms. Nyong’O bring something that America can’t deny respect for: Ivy League educations  and a presence made so powerful through both their physical grace and words that fall out of their mouths as if poetic geniuses were at their lips crafting them.

There is no doubt, that as women go, they are exceptional.  And that as black women go, they are carrying brown beautifully. They are also reminding us to look around us, where we see the Kerries and Lupitas in our communities every day. The Michelle Obamas and Susan Rices fill our classrooms. Their faces are those of the little girls who live across the street from us, our older sisters and ourselves, yesterday, today and tomorrow. They (and We) carry the truth of Spirit.

“May it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”(Lupita Nyong’O)