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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

RACISM & YOUR HEALTH





For African American adults, perceived racism may cause
mental health symptoms similar to trauma and could lead to some physical health
disparities between blacks and other populations in the United States,
according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.





Compelling evidence indicate that race and ethnicity
correlate with persistent, and often increasing, health disparities among U.S.
populations in all these categories and demands national attention. Because
racial and ethnic minority groups are expected to comprise an increasingly
larger proportion of the U.S. population in coming years, the future health of
America will be greatly influenced by our success in improving the health of
these groups.





Despite great improvements in the overall health of the nation,
Americans who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups are more likely
than whites to have poor health and to die prematurely.  These
disparities are believed to be the results of the complex interaction among
genetic variations, environmental factors, and specific health behaviors.





An examination of 66 previous studies that included more than
18,000 black adults concluded that there are common responses to both racism
and trauma, including somatization (psychological distress that is expressed as
physical pain), interpersonal sensitivity and anxiety. The more stressful the
racism, the more likely a person was to report mental distress.





The researchers suggested that the link between mental health
and racism could contribute to physical health disparities between blacks and
other Americans of different races and ethnicities.





The relationship between perceived racism and self-reported
depression and anxiety is quite robust, providing a reminder that experiences
of racism may play an important role in the health disparities phenomenon. For
example, African Americans have higher rates of hypertension [high blood
pressure], a serious condition that has been associated with stress and
depression.





The study's authors noted that therapists should routinely
assess their black patients' experiences with racism during treatment.





SOURCE: BLACK DOCTOR 

BLACK HISTORY MONTH - AN OVERVIEW OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH





Black History Month is a month set aside to learn, honor, and
celebrate the achievements of black men and women throughout history. Since its
inception, Black History Month has always been celebrated in February. Find out
how Black History Month originated, why February was chosen, and what the
annual theme for Black History Month is for this year.





Origins of Black History Month





The origins of Black History Month can be traced back to a
man named Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950). Woodson, the son of former slaves, was
an amazing man in his own right. Since his family was too poor to send him to
school as a child, he taught himself the basics of a school education. At age
20, Woodson was finally able to attend high school, which he completed in just
two years.





He then went on to earn a bachelor's and master's degree from
the University of Chicago. In 1912, Woodson became only the second African
American to earn a doctorate from Harvard University (W.E.B. Du Bois was the
first). Woodson used his hard-earned education to teach. He taught both in
public schools and at Howard University.





Three years after earning his doctorate, Woodson made a trip
that had a great impact on him. In 1915, he traveled to Chicago to participate
in a three-week celebration of the 50th anniversary of the end of slavery. The
excitement and enthusiasm generated by the events inspired Woodson to continue
the study of black history year-round. Before leaving Chicago, Woodson and four
others created the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH)
on September 9, 1915. The following year, the ASNLH began publication of the Journal
of Negro History.





Woodson realized that most textbooks at the time ignored the
history and achievements of blacks. Thus, in addition to the journal, he wanted
to find a way to encourage interest and study of black history. In 1926,
Woodson promoted the idea of a "Negro History Week," which was to be
held during the second week of February. The idea caught on quickly and Negro
History Week was soon celebrated around the United States. With a high demand
for study materials, the ASNLH began to produce pictures, posters, and lesson
plans to help teachers bring Negro History Week into schools. In 1937, the
ASNLH also began producing the Negro History Bulletin, which focused on an
annual theme for Negro History Week.





In 1976, the 50th anniversary of the beginning of Negro
History Week and the bicentennial of the United States' independence, Black
History Week was expanded to Black History Month. Ever since then, Black
History Month has been celebrated in February around the country.





When Is Black History Month?





Woodson chose the second week of February to celebrate Negro
History Week because that week included the birthdays of two important men:
President Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Frederick Douglass (February 14).
When Negro History Week turned into Black History Month in 1976, the
celebrations during the second week of February expanded to the entire month of
February.





What Is the Theme for This Year's Black History Month?





Since its inception in 1926, Negro History Week and Black
History Month have been given annual themes. The first annual theme was simply, "The
Negro in History," but since then the themes have grown more specific.
Here is a list of the most current and future themes for Black History Month.





2005 - The Niagara Movement: Black Protest Reborn,
1905-2005


2006 - Celebrating Community: A Tribute to Black
Fraternal, Social, and Civic Institutions


2007 - From Slavery to Freedom: Africans in the Americas


2008 - Carter G. Woodson and the Origins of
Multiculturalism


2009 - The Quest for Black Citizenship in the Americas


2010 - The History of Black Economic Empowerment


2011 - African Americans and the Civil War


2012 - Black Women in American Culture and History




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