Monday, December 26, 2011

High Blood Pressure in African-Americans, Salt & Timbuktu

Slaves Marched Thousand Miles to Coast
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, has often been called "the silent killer."  In the African-American community, it's presence seems almost genocidal. Forty-one percent of blacks have high blood pressure, as compared to 27% of whites. They develop it at younger ages and are more likely to suffer such complications as kidney diseases, stroke, blindness and heart disease.(Wed MD).  In searching for causes, a vigorous debate has arisen in the medical community. Some researchers point to genetic factors, believing that the problem is due to hereditary factors in the make-up of people with African ancestry.  Others, point to environmental factors such as the psychological strains of dealing with racism.   But as a historian, I may have stumbled upon an altogether different take on this vital subject.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Should Doctors Focus on "Racial Genetics" as a Means of Reducing Black-White Health Disparities?

19th Century Concept of Racial Types
Even in this era of health care reform, inequalities in medical treatment and outcomes for African-Americans and other minorities compared to that of whites persist.  But is the disproportionately high levels of high blood pressure, strokes, and kidney disease among blacks a reflection of reduced health care delivery for lower-status socioeconomic groups, or are there biological, that is "racial,"  factors at work as well?

 Several years ago, I set out to explore what some scientists refer to as the “genetics of race.”  The reason medical researchers give for this far from new preoccupation on skin color is that it might aid in reducing health disparities between blacks and whites.  However, the conclusions I reached after exhaustive study and research was that there is no such thing as “racial genetics”.  It is true that I am not a scientist.  Rather, I am a historian.  But  an incident happened years ago, that caused me to suspect that identifying treatment protocols by race can turn lethal.   

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Who Will Apologize to Grieving Parents of Fallen Soldiers for Mistaken Iraq War?

 Now that President Obama has declared the Iraq war officially over, who will apologize for this mistake?  Will the White House have anything to say to the Iraqi people for wrecking their country, killing more than 100,000 civilians, and destroying a city with two thousand years of history?

Perhaps Americans cannot be expected to mourn the losses of women and children in far off Iraq through what we have learned to call "collateral damage"  Bytheway, that military term means that your toddler gets blown to smithereens.  All that may still be recognizable is one bloody finger and the plumbing pipes in what was once your home.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mothers, Sons & Newt Gingrich

  I am not a pacifist. Sometimes countries and people do need to go to war in order to defend themselves and uphold their principles.  However, I would lock my son in a closet before I'd let him give up his life in a meaningless war, initiated by politicians just trying to win elections.  Admittedly, since  my son is only nine years old, I might harbor overblown notions about what a mother can and can't do with an adult child.  But even so, I'd go to jail trying.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Kas Yra Meilė?

        English version

Kas yra meilė? Širdyje esu romantikas. Mane visada domino skirtumas tarp „intelektualinių žinių“ ir „empirinių žinių“, nes manau, kad žinios meilėje vaidina tam tikrą vaidmenį. Skaityti knygą, kaip groti fleita, ar netgi mokytis skaityti muziką - „intelektualinė veikla“. Mokytis išgauti muziką instrumentu - „empirinė veikla“. Kaip tai siejasi su „meile?“ Man prireikė viso gyvenimo, kad suprasčiau paprastą tiesą: „Meilė - tai priimti kitą žmogų.“ Jau daugelį metų žinau, kad mylėti kažką reiškia priimti tą žmogų tokį, koks jis ar ji yra, be jokių išlygų. Bet tai tik „intelektualinis“ suvokimas. „Meilė - priėmimas“ - empirinė koncepcija ir reikia tiek daug lavintis, kad kartais pajunti, kaip iš nuovargio svyra rankos ir linksta kojos. Bet kodėl taip yra?

Galbūt taip yra, nes norėdamas priimti kitą žmogų, pirmiausia privalau išmokti atsakyti į savo poreikius. Tokiu būdu tampu dėkingas, o ne priimu kito žmogaus pagalbą, draugystę ir gerumą kaip savaime suprantama. Man sunkiausia kova, kuri vis tebesitęsia, - išmokti pasirūpinti savimi. Bet aš manau, kad tai verta įdėtų pastangų, nes tai kas lieka, kai man daugiau nebereikia, kad kitas žmogus tai darytų ar būtų toks-ir-toks, - tikroji meilės esmė.