Friday, June 17, 2011
Carole White, Modeling Agent: Milan & Paris 'Absolutely Don't Want Black Girls'
Carole says the problem stems from the influential fashion capitals of Milan and Paris.
Posted by Richelieu at 7:01 AM
Destiny Mathis, a young woman in Indiana, reached out to President Obama for a sign of hope in tough economic times, and was initially thrilled to receive a handwritten reply from the president. Now, however, the same economic hardships that prompted her to write to Obama last November have prompted her to put up the letter for sale on an auction website--marking the ninth such sale of an Obama letter that the online auction service has handled.
Mathis, a single mother of three from Indiana, wrote to the president that even though she graduated at the top of her college class and worked for years as a surgical technologist, she had lost her job in January after complications with her pregnancy. "I am so afraid this dreaded economy is going to have my family homeless," she wrote, according to NBC5, the Chicago network affiliate. Mathis is now weeks away from being evicted from her home.
The president wrote back a handwritten note on White House stationery. "Please know that things will get better for you and your family," he said. You can watch the NBC5 report on the letter's sale above.
The 26-year-old is now selling the note to Gary Zimet, who has sold eight other letters from the president so far for up to $20,000 on his site, Moments in Time. He's asking for $11,000.
A Michigan woman sold a letter from Obama in October for $7,000 to help pay for her cancer treatment and for a downpayment on a house. "Thanks for the very kind and inspiring letter," Obama wrote to Jennifer Cline, after she told him in a letter that she was struggling to make ends meet and had lost her health insurance. "I know times are tough, but knowing there are folks out there like you and your husband gives me confidence that things will keep getting better!"
Clara Robertson has traveled many miles from her home in Montgomery, Ala., to walk dirt roads, knock on doors of trailers and help black women face cancer.
Robertson, 52, finds free transportation for women who can't get to a screening or an oncologist. She hands out pamphlets. She comforts. She explains that cancer won't care that they don't have the time or money for treatment.
"In the South, it's so different," Robertson says. "My mom didn't believe in going to doctors."
As a volunteer for a program organized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and theUniversity of Alabama, Robertson is a diplomat, working to erase nagging health disparities between black Americans and all other Americans.
Death rates for black Americans surpass those of Americans overall for heart disease, cancer, diabetes,HIV and homicide, the CDC reports.
"Educationally, we're doing better. Economically, we're doing better, so why is it that this gap will not go away?" asks Michelle Gourdine, a pediatrician at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and author of the newly releasedReclaiming Our Health: A Guide to African American Wellness.
Reasons for the gap, according to Gourdine and other experts:
•Poverty. Many black Americans have no health insurance and a trip to the doctor is a major expense, says Mona Fouad, director of the Minority Health and Disparities Center at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
Take Renee Harris of Flomaton, Ala. The 41-year-old wife and mother has diabetes, high blood pressure and a benign breast lump doctors are watching. She has had her gallbladder removed. Harris can't swing her share of the health insurance offered through her security job at a paper mill, especially since her husband was laid off.
"I just can't afford it right now," Harris says.
•Fatalistic outlook. Leandris Liburd, director of the CDC's Office of Minority Health and Health Equity, says she is taken aback when she visits her hometown of Richmond, Va. "It's not uncommon for me to come upon people I grew up with who are in their early 50s who are double amputees" and who see this as the natural course of aging, Liburd says.
New efforts are attacking the gap. As part of last year's health care law, the Department of Health and Human Services put forth a plan in April to better understand and find solutions to health disparities. One element: expand data collected on hospital admissions to include the race, ethnicity and language of patients. "Health disparities … are often driven by the social conditions in which individuals live, work and play," according to the action plan.
In May, the department announced $100 million in community grants for programs that promote healthier lifestyles among groups that experience more chronic illness.
Separately, the CDC is targeting health problems that occur more frequently in African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities through a program called REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) that steers grants to local organizations.
In Alabama's Black Belt, an area named for the color of its fertile soil but also associated with a high black population and poverty, the CDC and UAB are working to get more black women screened and treated for breast and cervical cancer. Staffers and volunteers are picked from community members who know everyone.
Judy Compton, a retired second-grade teacher, holds weekly classes for two groups of eight to 10 women at Little Zion Tabernacle Holiness Church in rural Dixons Mills, Ala. She gives advice on transportation and on agencies that can help with low-cost care and screenings.
Compton finds women ages 45 to 65 who are not getting regular health screenings by speaking at churches and social functions.
"Insurance is the biggest problem," she says.
Jennifer Cole is the Lowndes County, Ala., coordinator. She teaches healthy eating and says she finds her students have limited access to low-cost nutritional foods.
In Flint, Mich., the CDC and the Genesee County Health Department have tackled disparities in infant mortality by hosting tours that take new doctors to the poorest parts of Flint so they can see the barriers their patients face.
"We forget, for instance, there are no stores in the neighborhood, and that may be why I'm not following your medical regimen for good vegetables," says Bettina Campbell, founder of a social service organization in Flint who works with the program. "If I'm not on time for your appointment, your staff may see it as me being willfully late, but in actuality, I had to take three buses."
Robertson, the Montgomery volunteer, says some of the women she visited who were diagnosed with cancer came to rely on her for support. One showed Robertson her mastectomy scar. Another produced a bag of hair that had fallen out during treatment.
"One thing I've learned: They don't want sympathy. They just want to get through it," Robertson says.
"Sometimes, it's just listening, getting them transportation, getting the utility bills paid so they can begin to recover."
By Jessica Ryen Doyle
Michael Nuccitelli and Helen Driscoll are successful, confident adults – they own their own businesses and you wouldn’t know by looking at them that they are a part of a growing trend of adults who are being diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5.4 million children have attention deficit hypersensitive disorder (ADHD), and while the vast majority of kids will grow out of it, about 4 percent of the U.S. population will continue to suffer with this condition.
However, ADHD is a fairly new disorder, which means adults who are in their 40s and beyond were left to suffer silently as children.
“The interesting thing is that (this condition) didn’t exist 20 years ago,” said Dr. Dale Archer, a psychiatrist who is based in New York and Louisiana. “So there is a lot of controversy surrounding this. And a recent study said that this was vastly overdiagnosed, and the younger the child, the greater the likelihood of diagnosis.”
Nuccitelli, a forensic psychologist who lives in New York’s Hudson Valley, said he never felt hyper as a child, but always had difficulty concentrating on the task at hand or paying attention; often people would ask him why he seemed to be “in another world.”
“Being ADHD and not being diagnosed or receiving treatment made school much harder than it had to be,” said Nuccitelli, 46. “I hated to study, to read, to write, or anything else academic that required focus, sustained attention, and the ability to complete mundane tasks.”
Adults who suffer from ADD (doctors say they lose the hyperactivity part of the condition after childhood) can have all or some of these symptoms:
*Poor organization skills
*Low frustration tolerance
*Difficulty concentrating while reading
*Poor organization skills
*Low frustration tolerance
*Difficulty concentrating while reading
Nuccitellli said he was diagnosed in November 2010, after talking to his family doctor and visiting a psychiatrist. For Nuccitelli, medication (Vyvanase) was one of the answers to his problems.
Other coping mechanisms include list-making and cognitive behavior techniques.
He said without medicine, he has difficulty paying attention to details and keeping on task, he makes careless mistakes, he is unable to listen when someone is speaking to him, he has difficulty following directions and avoids tasks that involve effort.
For Driscoll, a wedding planner who works in Pasadena, Calif., diet and exercise – along with a mix of alternative medicine (including self-hypnosis) – is how she treats her ADD.
“What I didn’t like about meds is that I stopped exercising as much,” said Driscoll, who is in her 50s and enjoys kickboxing, Kung Fu and Tai Chi. “Meds ramp up your adrenal response and adults really have to take adrenal fatigue seriously.”
Archer, who has been practicing psychiatry for 25 years, said he tends to agree more with Driscoll’s logic. He feels the American society is overmedicated, and he prefers not to treat ADD with a pill.
“A recent study says that one in four people have a mental illness. We have started shrinking the ‘normal’ box,” Archer said. “Anything outside of that, we treat with a pill. There’s a spike in diagnoses with kids, and then the adults say, ‘You know what, I have those symptoms as well…a little inattention, a little anxiety.’ In reality, those are the very traits of who we are.”
On the other hand, Archer said ADD in adults can be a very real thing, if diagnosed correctly.
“Clearly there are individuals who have it,” he said. “And this absolutely impacts their jobs and their families, they have more problems at work, often because they are trying to do things they are not cut out to do. So I say, let’s look at the things you are good at, they are good in crisis situations, and they rise to the top, they get activated. They get bored with routine.”
Driscoll, who was diagnosed in her 30s, said if she starts too many projects at once and feels confused, she knows it’s time to “get a grip.”
When she is doing paperwork, she listens to binaural brain entertainment sounds in gamma frequency, so she is not distracted by her own mind, which she described as “noisy.” But, Driscoll did admit that a “noisy” mind can sometimes be a good thing.
“ADD is not just about being distracted easily, it's also a way of perceiving the world,” she said. “So we tend to be creative, big thinkers. And don't sweat the small stuff, even when we should. “
Doctors are unsure what causes ADHD, but studies have suggested that genetics could play a role. Scientists are also researching the effects of environmental factors and nutrition and how they might contribute to ADHD.