As part of the minority, I often feel excluded.
My race constantly dictates what forms I have to fill, what places I should attend, what jobs I should have, even, where I should live.
Our race is a bittersweet curse.
We are proud of it, we celebrate it and we are marginalized by it.
In an attempt to increase health awareness in black males, the University of Southern Indiana joined the Indiana Commission on the Social Status of Black Males (ICSSBM) to bring the Annual Indiana Black Barbershop Health Initiative.
The initiative offers free health screenings in barbershops in 15 cities across Indiana.
As a foreigner, I applaud the inclusion and the education being brought to ¨minorities,¨ but I also become aware of how race conscious we always are.
Why do we, minorities, keep making everything about race?
Let’s be honest.
If you heard the Indiana White Barbershop Health Initiative was going to take place, what would you think?
Does this sound racist to you?
If we want less racism and more tolerance then why are we still dividing ourselves?
Human beings have basic needs and, like Maslow described it in his Hierarchy of Basic Needs Theory, we have the need to feel like we belong somewhere and that’s why we divide.
“The person will hunger for affectionate relationships with people in general for a place in the group,” Maslow said.
As part of the minority, I have experienced that need.
I want to be part of something.
I often feel excluded.
I want to spend time with people who share my beliefs and interests, but I don’t care what color their skin is or where they are from.
The ICSSBM states in its 2009-2010 Annual Report that, ¨Black males have the highest mortality rates and continue to die at higher rates from preventable diseases like Cancer and HIV/AIDS¨.
This is the motivation behind the Annual Indiana Black Barbershop Health Initiative, but why are there no recent reports to see if this initiative is actually working?
Are we taking the right steps to bring awareness?
I encourage not only black males, but all males, and women, to take control of their health and educate others in their community regardless of race.
I understand people want to feel identified in a group, but why do we have to be identified by race?
Why can’t we be a raceless community?
We can celebrate our history and not lose our roots and culture.
But in matters of health, how are races anatomically different?
The ICSSBM has a community action initiative that: “State and local health agencies, along with public and private health systems, should increase the distribution of TANF, Medicaid and Food Stamp programs to address the lack of awareness and access among black males.”
We should increase health awareness among all races.
According to a 2011 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading cause of death for Hispanic males is cancer and heart disease for white males.
What are we doing about this?
Is there an awareness event that would provide all males with the service and education they need?
I respect and appreciate every race, but I have to ask, are we really integrating everyone?
We have forgotten that we are all, at some point, part of the minority.
Why are we so race conscious?
Strength comes from unity and equality.