The Black Man in America is under assault.
From the moment we were dragged from those floating wooden caskets onto the shores of the New World, we’ve been under assault. Our men have been beaten and emasculated. Our women have been raped and abused. Our children have been rendered orphans in their own homes.
Psychological. Physical. Spiritual. Intellectual. Nutritional. Economic. ASSAULT.
Any person with an objective eye could spend hours listing examples of how this unyielding assault on our whole personage has been so successful for so long. I only intend to list what are, in my humbly emboldened opinion, the FIVE BIGGEST THREATS to the Black Man in America. I intend to address these threats individually in a 5-Blog series over the next five weeks. In no specific order, they are:
• Wealth & Ownership, and
I’m not here to debate which of these is more important than the other; my goal is to show you WHY they are all important. How you arrange, add, or subtract from this list is up to you. What matters is that we begin to look at and implement ways to improve our lot in America, and in the world.
And for y’all out there petty enough to try it…
The term “Black Man” in the title doesn’t suggest that I’m not only speaking on Black males. This includes women and children. EVERYONE.
Now that the streetlights are on, it’s time to GO IN…
THREAT #1: DIET
I’ll take a chance here and say that you’ve heard of the phrase, “you are what you eat.” It’s a phrase that rings true of all people. The food you put in your mouth gets broken down, and whatever nutrients that food yields get distributed throughout your body. Generally speaking:
If your food is healthy, you will be healthy, and…
If your food is unhealthy, you will be unhealthy.
What we eat determines everything about us on a cellular level. Humans are natural, organic people. Our food shouldn’t be any different. We’ve spent centuries eating others’ leftovers and calling it “soul food.” I like dressing, fried chicken, candied yams, and collard greens as much as the next Black person. But I’ve come to understand that these foods are killing us with much more consistency than ANY form of external physical aggression.
And we’re addicted to it.
All the refined salts and sugars, animals and animal fats, and excessive cooking of our foods render our bodies nearly useless to do the things it needs to do to keep us healthy. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Black person who DOESN’T know of a close family member (or maybe YOU are that family member) who suffers from hypertension, diabetes, obesity, or any other of a host of medical issues that are preventable.
One more time for the people in the back: IT’S PREVENTABLE!!!
Take a hard look at what you eat and be honest with yourself. Is it good? It probably is, and that’s why it’s sitting on your plate. But is it good FOR you? If that answer is “no,” then you need to take steps to remove it from your diet.
We have to regain control of what we eat. This is the beginning of taking control of ourselves, our families, our neighborhoods, and our future. If we can control what we eat, we can control what we are. We need no further proof that our foods are killing us than to look at our own people.
We’ve got mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, and friends who can take the worst part of a pig and make it edible, but they’re barely into their 60s, and are one bowl of “chitlins” away from losing a foot.
We have fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, and a host of other men who were as strong as ever back in their 20s and 30s, but are now in their 40s and 50s suffering from hypertension and prostate cancer rates higher than almost any other group of people ON EARTH.
It has to stop. And we have to be the ones to stop it. No one else will to stop it for us.
An unhealthy diet is a threat to anyone who engages in it. It’s a threat to one’s family, neighborhood, and to the very survival of one’s race of people. If we are truly serious about the empowerment and progression of Black people in America, and worldwide, we can’t overlook our diets. No army trains for war by willingly sabotaging the well-being of its soldiers or their families. We have to have the same mindset.
We’re at war for our very survival.
We are being assaulted from the outside AND the inside. The best way to combat this all-out “nutricide” is to control our food supply. We must grow our own food. There are people all over who are starting and maintaining gardens in their backyards, or planting single seeds in windowsills. I know two brothers here in Fort Wayne who STARTED FARMS for the sole purpose of providing healthy food options to an area of town known as a “food desert,” a highly populated, lower-income area where healthy options are extremely limited.
If you can’t get it local, MAKE IT LOCAL. A closed mouth won’t get fed.
With all the information of the world at our fingertips, we can find ways to make this work. We can find helpful tips on how to home garden. And for those of us with the proverbial “black thumb” for gardening, we can look up what foods are healthy to eat and where to purchase them. If you know of a Black person in your area engaging in urban agriculture, find out how to donate or invest in their work. If you have time, volunteer.
We all can’t do EVERYTHING to help alleviate our plight, but can all do SOMETHING. That’s where we have to start. It’ll definitely involve spending extra money; after all, we live in a capitalist society, so nothing comes free, and unfortunately that includes the right to fresh, healthy food.
I’ve found brothers like Dr. Sebi and Dr. Llaila Afrika to be extremely helpful in my quest to eat and live a healthier lifestyle. Ya know, those “crazy,” “dashiki-in-the-hood wearin’,” “angry Black man on the elevator” type of people you’re always told not to listen to because they don’t know what they’re talking about?
Yeah, those guys.
Two years ago, I tipped the scales at around 320 pounds with no intention of getting smaller or healthier. Now, I’m nearly 50 pounds lighter, and after taking some time to rest on my laurels, I’m ready and more prepared than ever to lose even more!
But it’s more than just numbers here. It’s a plan, a means to an end. This isn’t just for me. It’s for my family. It’s for you. I love you.