This So-Called Post-Post-Racial Life

April 17, 2009

Old School Friday: Sounds of Silence…and Promise

Filed under: Old School Friday — Tags: , , , — pprscribe @ 9:41 am

I am so relieved that today’s theme for Old School Friday leaves the choice up to us bloggers. I would like to dedicate my selections today to the memory of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover.

Had he not taken his life, today his mother would be waking him up with a welcome to his last year of childhood before his teen years. He probably would have had a nice breakfast, maybe one last look at the mail to see if any other relatives had sent him a birthday card with a five or ten dollar bill in it. His mother would have told him the embarrassing story, for the umpteenth time, about how he used to cross his eyes when he was a baby and giggle so hard he passed gas. Or about how he used to hate wearing a diaper as a toddler and once streaked through the living room, bare-bottomed and free, where Pastor and several other church members were seated. He would have rushed at the last minute to locate his math book or his science homework, and been ushered back into the bathroom to wash a bit of toothpaste from the side of his chin. He would have left his house with a big smile on his face.

But then, likely even on the anniversary of his birth, he would have gone to the New Leadership Charter School and would have once again been taunted for not conforming to other kids’ strict narrow ideas about what a 12-year-old Black boy should look like and be like.

Besides what would have been Carl’s 12 birthday, today is the 13th Annual National Day of Silence:

The National Day of Silence brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Each year the event has grown, now with hundreds of thousands of students coming together to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior.

day_of_silenceMany bloggers have been following the story of this young man. I know I am missing many. (I’ll update as I come across more.) But a few posts I have seen:


“To Be Young, Gifted and Black” by Nina Simone

“Bridge Over troubled Water” by Aretha Franklin

“God Bless the Child” by Billie Holiday

***As always, a big thank you to OSF hostesses, Marvalus at Opinionated Black Woman and MrsGrapevine.***

March 23, 2009

Suicide is not “Rhetorical,” Senator

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — pprscribe @ 11:14 am

The Senate Armed Services Committee hearings Wednesday on the rising suicide rate among U.S. ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan revealed some frightening new data, but did little to investigate the underlying causes of what is emerging as one of the darkest, most disturbing legacies of the wars.

Last year the Army had its highest suicide rate on record — 140 soldiers. But new data from the Army on Wednesday showed the number jumping even higher. Forty-eight soldiers have already killed themselves so far this year. If that rate keeps up, nearly 225 Army soldiers will be dead by their own hand by the end of 2009. (Source)


The line between public and private in the Internet age became blurrier last week following the case of Abraham Biggs, the 19-year-old Floridian who committed suicide by overdosing on prescription medication as a populated chat room watched him via his live webcam. The voyeuristic nature of Biggs’s death is disturbing, but it draws attention to the equally disturbing rate of suicide among young black men. According to the American Association of Suicidology, the rate of suicide among black men ages 15-24 increased 83 percent in the ’80s to early ’90s. While the rate has fallen since, suicide is still the third leading cause of death among young black men, who are seven times as likely to commit suicide as black women. (Source)


The family history of poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath took another tragic turn Monday when it was revealed that their son had committed suicide after battling depression.

Nicholas Hughes, whose mother gassed herself in 1963 at her London home while her two children slept in the next room, hanged himself at his home in Alaska, his sister Frieda told The Times newspaper.

Hughes, 47, was unmarried with no children of his own and had until recently been a marine biologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. (Source)


On Monday, in an interview with a radio station in his home state of Iowa, [Senator Charles] Grassley fired a gibe at AIG executives, saying they might “follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, I’m sorry, and then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide.” (Source)


In an interview with MSNBC’s David Shuster, Sen. Grassley didn’t apologize for his comments…. Instead, he dismissed the question, saying people should know “rhetoric” when they hear it.”

“I hope you recognize rhetoric,” Grassley said, “and I shouldn’t even have to answer that question….” (Source)


I hope you recognize, Senator, that there is nothing “rhetorical” about suicide. No matter how hard times become, no matter how angry we may be at the greed of others, we do not need to call for public displays of suicide. Not even “rhetorically.”

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