Oh, You Mad? The Black Community's Deadly Dismissal of Health Issues - Your Black World
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Oh, You Mad? The Black Community’s Deadly Dismissal of Health Issues

Fans of the Your Black World Network Facebook fan pages were asked why African-Americans are offended by statistics highlighting our health.

Photography: Nhophotos.com

by Maria Lloyd

One would be surprised by the number of hate emails and comments my team members and I receive for writing content regarding statistics about African-Americans and health. As the Business Manager for this platform, I believe we have an obligation to report matters regarding our health and wellness — hence the name “Your Black World Network.” If our analytics are accurate — as they always are — our primary audience is comprised of African-Americans.

We wouldn’t be deemed as a platform for Black America if we weren’t honest with the community about our health. Just recently, I wrote an article that states nearly 60 percent of African American women are obese. Instead of simply reporting the data and publishing the article, I also documented the causes of obesity in black women and recommended solutions to combat it. Per usual, readers became irate with me for publishing the article and simply refused to believe it. It’s incredibly disturbing and costly for us to resort to dismissing unfavorable research about our health, as opposed to understanding it and combating it. Imagine what we would’ve accomplished if we’d actually acknowledged that two thirds of black children were born out of wedlock 10 years ago. Now we’re closer and closer to three fourths of our children being born out-of-wedlock. It serves as one of many proofs that our dismissal of the data is costly.

I would never encourage someone to not research content on our platform for themselves. In fact, there are often hyperlinks included in our articles that will pin-point readers to the original source of the information. Challenging the statistics and providing evidence that they are skewed, as Janks Morton has done with “Hoodwinked,” is commendable. But, dismissing the data and failing to provide evidence of your claim is without merit. Even if information about our health is skewed and/or falsified, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to us to believe the data and change our eating habits and/or intimacy patterns? Think about it: If I’m reading that nearly 60 percent of black women are obese and I decide to cut back on fatty foods and exercise more, is that really hurting anything? If I’m told that 50 percent of black women have herpes and I decide to wear a rubber the next time I engage in intimacy, is that a poor decision?

We asked fans of the I Love My Blackness and Your Black World Facebook fan pages one question: Why do you believe some African-Americans become offended by statistics regarding blacks and health? The question acquired more than 12,000 views, 185 “likes”, 100+ comments, and 10+ shares. Below are the top six questions/comments the Your Black World Network receives regarding our coverage on health.

  1. “Why are you always portraying black women in a negative light?” 
  2. “These statistics aren’t true. This is what ‘they’ want you to believe.”
  3. “Where are the statistics about black men with diseases? You’re just trying to make black women look bad.”
  4. “Why do you always focus on black people? Where are your statistics for white people?”
  5. “Me and my friends don’t have herpes, so this isn’t true.”
  6. “I’M black and I don’t have these problems. This is stupid.”

In conclusion, I am urging the black community to take data about our health seriously. As I posed before, what does it hurt? If you don’t like reading statistics about out-of-wedlock childbirths, STDs, heart disease, obesity, etc. challenge yourself and everyone within your grasp to take better care of their health. If each one teaches one, we’ll all be educated about these matters and how they affect our well-being as a community.

Maria Lloyd (@WritingsByMaria) is the Business Manager for the Your Black World Network and Dr. Boyce Watkins. She is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and an advocate of dismantling the prison industrial complex, increasing entrepreneurship, reforming education, and eradicating poverty. 

 

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