Texas Liberal

All People Matter

AIDS & Black People

A new study says that the rate of AIDS in the United States is 40% higher than previously thought and that black Americans are bearing the brunt of this epidemic.

From the Black AIDS Institute

“The rate of new infections among non-Hispanic Blacks was seven times as high as that among whites in 2006 (83.7 versus 11.5 new infections per 100,000 population),” the CDC said. “Blacks also accounted for the largest share of new infections (45 percent, or 24,900). Historical trend data show that the number of new infections among Blacks peaked in the late 1980s and has exceeded the number of infections in whites since that time.”

The CDC acknowledged what activists have being saying all along: More concentrated prevention efforts are needed if the virus is ever going to be contained among African-Americans.

“The continued severity of the epidemic among Blacks underscores the need to sustain and accelerate prevention efforts in this population,” the CDC said. “While race itself is not a risk factor for HIV infection, a range of issues contribute to the disproportionate HIV risk for African Americans in the U.S., including poverty, stigma, higher rates of other STDs, and drug use.”

The following is taken from the Centers for Disease Control report on AIDS as excerpted in Louisiana Weekly

€ Standing on its own, Black America would constitute the world’s 35th most populous country, but would rank 16th in the world in the number of people living with HIV.

€ A free-standing Black America would rank 105th worldwide in life expectancy and 88th in infant mortality. Blacks in the U.S. have a lower life expectancy than do citizens of Algeria, the Dominican Republic or Sri Lanka.

€ Outside of sub-Saharan Africa, only four countries – and only two in the Western Hemisphere – have adult HIV prevalence as high as the conservative estimate (2 percent among adults) for Black America. Blacks represent about one in eight Americans, but account for one in two people living with HIV in the U.S.

€ Despite extraordinary improvements in HIV treatment, AIDS remains the leading cause of death among Black women between 25-34 years and the second leading cause of death in Black men between 35-44 years.

€ Black women in the U.S. are 23 times more likely than White women to be diagnosed with AIDS.

€ Blacks make up 70 percent of new HIV diagnoses among teenagers and 65% of HIV-infected newborns.

Here’s the bottom line–People of color can die in this country and the majority culture will–in most though not all cases– not care. Black folks themselves are going to have address AIDS. Part of this will be demanding that elected officials tackle this problem.

Another solution will be admitting the problem exists.

In 1994 I was part of a campaign for the Ohio State Senate from an urban district centered on the city of Cincinnati. The candidate I worked for was a black member of the Cincinnati City Council. 

This candidate discussed AIDS. He said condom distribution and needle exchange were needed to help lower rates of AIDS. For this message, his Republican opponent and some local black preachers used these assertions effectively against him in the campaign. They said he was promoting immorality. These folks should have been run out of town. Instead, they were listened to as people got sick and died.

A society that does not care if you live or die is given a free pass when you do something self-destructive.

AIDS requires the attention of all people. But it is the folks most impacted who will have do the heavy lifting needed to fight the plague.

August 5, 2008 Posted by | Cincinnati, Politics | , , , , , | 6 Comments

1948 Republican Platform On The United Nations

Below is the 1948 Republican convention platform position on the United Nations—

We believe in collective security against aggression and in behalf of justice and freedom. We shall support the United Nations as the world’s best hope in this direction, striving to strengthen it and promote its effective evolution and use. The United Nations should progressively establish international law…and be provided with the armed forced contemplated by the Charter.

What a difference 60 years makes. Imagine today’s Republicans discussing collective security, international law and arming the United Nations. 

Though none of this is to suggest that Republicans of that day lacked a full compliment of Commie-hunting paranoids. Maybe though they were, for a brief moment, not fully in command of all the party.

The 1948 Republican convention was held in Philadelphia and nominated Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York (below). Though Mr. Dewey began the campaign as the strong favorite, he was defeated by President Harry Truman.

August 5, 2008 Posted by | Political History, Politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Though He May Ignore Texas, Texans Should Still Vote For Obama

My friends at the Texas political blog South Texas Chisme feel that because Barack Obama does not seem to be running very hard in Texas, voters here should not cast any vote for President in 2008. 

I disagree with this view. Here is a link to the post I am referencing. 

Senator Obama has to make decisions about where to put resources. Texas is a big place with millions of voters. If the Obama campaign feels it cannot win here, it makes no sense to try very hard in Texas.

Senator Obama is a historic nominee and I frankly want to see a black President of the United States in my lifetime. I understand that many Democrats wanted to see a woman President in 2008. These questions of the race or gender of a candidate are not small matters. These are issues closely tied to our politics and history, and to the core personal identity and hopes of many voters as individuals.  

I feel Mr. Oabma is as progressive a candidate we are going to see at this point in our politics.

These things said, South Texas Chisme makes a valid point. We do not “owe” candidates of any party our votes. I have often said in this blog that the poor record of many municipal Democratic parties across the nation makes me wary of voting for Democrats every two years in City Council elections.

An election is about the immediate question of who will win the offices on the ballot. Elections are also about how we see ourselves and what we expect for the people who want our votes. Mr. Obama does not get votes automatically because he is the nominee of the Democratic Party.

Without forgetting the logic and virtues of strong political parties that serve as a shorthand to help voters navigate the large number of issues in any election, every voter has the obligation to apply his or her own standards to political office seekers.

August 5, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics, Texas | , , , | 4 Comments