Saggy Pants, Hood Disease, More Black-Firsts: Things You Need To Know This Week [The Lookout]

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WHAT THE HELL IS ‘HOOD DISEASE’?

Here’s what isn’t helpful when it comes to diagnosing a very serious health concern in the Black community: calling out its name, therefore minimizing its impact and disrespecting its victims.

That’s just what researchers at Harvard did last week after the Centers for Disease Control released a report indicating 30 percent of poor inner city kids suffer from PTSD. They allegedly labeled it a “hood disease.”

Since then someone clearly got the memo that not only is referring to the psychologically damaging trauma that impacts the lives of thousands of people living in violent areas as “hood disease” is not only inappropriate, it’s offensive.

Most of us already feel like we’re under a microscope, studied and inspected like lab rats rather than the human beings that we are. The least we can do is insist the ailment that affects us not be assigned some flippant, hip-hop catchphrase.

UPDATE: According to CBS San Francisco reporter Wendy Tokuda, Tokuda herself came up with the phrase “Hood Disease” in her coverage of the Harvard and CDC reports.

FASHION POLICE?

Speaking of hip-hop and microscopes let me say that while I agree with officials in Tennessee who want to do away with the terrible baggy pants our kids wear down to their ankles what I won’t do is co-sign them issuing fines to “offenders.”

The Root reports that in a move that is being embraced by a growing number of towns across the country the mayor of Pikeville has written an ordinance that will fine anyone caught wearing pants more than three inches below the hips with public indecency.

Look, it’s one thing to discourage our teens not to mimic prison culture – it’s another to give the police another reason to racially profile.

To my point it’s already happening in states like South Carolina: earlier this week two 22-year-olds were arrested at a Waffle House in Spartansburg for allegedly refusing to pull up their pants.

It’s just another example of how the Black youth’s civil liberties are being trampled on in ways that the white youth’s aren’t.

Hello, has anybody heard of freedom of expression — even if its bad expression?Hey…maybe we should also fine people with full body tattoos.

DEUCES, DUDE

And it’s adios to the police commissioner in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, who expressed himself in the most offensive of ways.

You may remember Robert Copeland, who admitted to calling President Obama the “n” word recently and refusing to apologize – well he stepped down under heavy pressure on Monday.

He caught fire from Democrats AND Republicans it seems, including former presidential candidate and Wolfeboro homeowner Mitt Romney, state senator Jeb Bradley and others. All of them called for him to apologize and step down. And it didn’t help that the people in his town were circulating a petition to get him outta there too.

Welp, one racist down and many more to go.

SEPARATE AND UNEQUAL

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had lots to say about racism during a commencement speech at Morgan State University over the weekend.

When speaking about the upcoming 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown Vs. Board of Education decision, he warned that in some school districts throughout the country segregation has reoccurred. He also said that Black males are being disciplined more for their perceived infractions in class than their white peers, according to The Grio.

Holder added that covert, institutionalized racism has a more profound and far-reaching effect than the occasional bigoted outburst, perhaps in a nod to folks like Donald Sterling.

During his last year an office the first Black U.S. Attorney General has vowed to reduce racial disparities in prison sentencing and challenge the voting restrictions some states have put in place disproportionately impacting African Americans.

PROPS

We may have taken two steps back but we’ve also taken three steps forward.

Congratulations are in order for Demetria “Dina” Elosiebo, the first African American pilot for the D.C. National Guard and Dean Baquet, the first African American executive editor for the venerable New York Times. We are also popping our collar for Paulette Brown, the first Black woman President-Elect of the powerful American Bar Association. Say what you like — we’re doing big things, y’all.

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