Jazz owner denounces racism

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Jazz owner Miller addresses fans after Westbrook encounter

Friday, March 15

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller released a statement and spoke to the crowd prior to a game Thursday night to address a heated verbal altercation between Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook and a fan earlier in the week.

Utah permanently banned the fan from all arena events, and Westbrook was fined $25,000 by the league for a shouting match Tuesday night.

Miller, who has owned the Jazz for 34 years with her late husband Larry, implored the crowd to do better and said, “We are not a racist community” before a 120-100 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

She implored fans to enjoy the competition and cheer the Jazz as loudly as ever but cautioned, “No one wins when respect goes away.”

Players from both teams listened intently and applauded the speech.

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


White Supremacy Is a Genuinely Global Threat

It’s inspired terrorist attacks — and entire governing structures — on multiple continents. Can we name it?

By Tracey L. Rogers | March 20, 2019

It’s time to talk about white supremacy.

White supremacy — the belief that white people are somehow superior to people of other racial backgrounds, and should therefore politically, economically, and socially rule non-white people — isn’t going away any time soon.

It’s been deeply woven into the fabric of our culture, systemically and institutionally ingrained into this country’s DNA. It’s at the root of every racist act. It’s metastasized into the soil of this land and beyond, shaping our nation — and our world — as it stands today.

White supremacy is a disease that’s never been quarantined or contained. It’s as widespread and destructive as it’s ever been, erupting in extreme displays like the massacre at twin mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand by a self-proclaimed white supremacist.

President Trump is quick to exaggerate any alleged threat posed by immigrants or Muslims. But when asked by reporters if he believed that white nationalism was a rising threat, he responded: “I don’t really. I think it’s a very small group of people that have serious problems.”

Trump’s dismissive response echoed similarly jarring comments blaming “both sides” for the 2017 white nationalist rally that left one person dead in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The real problem is that the attacks in New Zealand indeed reflect a growing threat worldwide of white supremacist terrorism, according to former FBI and Homeland Security officials.

In the United States, domestic terror at the hands of white nationalists is on the rise. The most recent incident involved a U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant, a self-proclaimed white nationalist, who created a “hit list” of progressive leaders, activists, and media personalities he intended to kill.

In fact, one recent study showed that white supremacists committed virtually every single act of terror in the United States last year. These incidents and others documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center expose a new iteration of white supremacist resurgence, with hate that dates back centuries.

You can see it even in “ordinary” political speech.

Rhetoric used throughout history labeling Indigenous people as “savages” and Africans as “brutes” is shamelessly being repeated by Donald Trump to describe immigrants seeking asylum in the United States. His reference to Haiti and African nations as “s—hole” countries bespeaks an oppressive colonial mentality that depicted non-white countries as being uncivilized.

In his 74-page manifesto, the New Zealand terrorist admitted he committed his crimes to “show the invaders that our land will never be their land,” and praised Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”

We’re not witnessing the acts of “a very small group of people.” We’re witnessing a terror that has spanned the globe, from the British Empire to Nazi Germany to the Jim Crow South and now to New Zealand.

Is it a coincidence that Trump would deny white nationalism is on the rise, while simultaneously using it as a framework to impose harsh restrictions on immigration and other policies?

This resurgence of white supremacy is rooted in a fear of what activists refer to as its “dismantling” — the stripping away of white supremacist rules, systems, beliefs, and ideologies. That can’t be done without understanding its origins or its fundamental violence — or the fact that ideologues like those in power today have little else to offer working white people.

To state it plainly, all people are equal. The perpetuation of racist ideas is one big fallacy; so too is the legacy of white supremacy. The sooner we name it and dismantle it, the better for all of us, whatever our color.

Tracey L. Rogers is an entrepreneur and activist living in Northern Virginia. Distributed by OtherWords.org.

The Conversation

Beyond blackface: How college yearbooks captured protest and change

March 12, 2019

Author: John R. Thelin, University Research Professor, University of Kentucky

Disclosure statement: John R. Thelin does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Ever since a photograph surfaced of someone in blackface – and another dressed in a Ku Klux Klan robe – on the medical college yearbook page of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in February, efforts to scour college yearbooks have focused on finding similarly racist imagery.

USA Today, for instance, sent 78 reporters to page through more than 900 college yearbooks from the 1970s and ‘80s. The newspaper not only discovered photographs of students dressed in KKK robes and blackface, but also at mock lynchings and other blatant “displays of racism.”

This focus on the racist reveling of college graduates from yesteryear who are today’s power elite is justified. However, as one who has studied college yearbooks – and who has written a book about going to college in the sixties – I believe this narrow focus on racist imagery obscures a similarly important element of college yearbooks that began to appear during a critical turning point for higher education in the United States.

Black representation

One of my biggest concerns with the current focus on racist imagery in college yearbooks is that in the search for images of blackface, journalists and others are overlooking the importance of the faces of black students. Black representation is important to consider because it wasn’t until the latter half of the 20th century that many of America’s colleges and universities began to accept black students.

Because of the topic of my book, I’ve mostly studied yearbooks from the 1960s – some 20 years before Northam graduated from medical school. During this time period, in the Southeastern Conference – where a Confederate legacy still loomed – the first African-American student on a varsity basketball team was Perry Wallace of Vanderbilt during the 1967-68 season when he was a sophomore. Wallace appears on five different pages of the 1969 edition of The Vanderbilt Commodore, the college yearbook at Vanderbilt University. Perry majored in electrical engineering. He graduated from Columbia Law School and went on to become a distinguished law professor at George Washington University.

The 1968 and 1969 editions of The Kentuckian – the college yearbook at the University of Kentucky where I teach – are also interesting case studies.

The University of Kentucky is home of the first African-Americans to play football in the Southeastern Conference: Greg Page and Nate Northington, later joined by Wilbur Hackett and Houston Hogg. The 1968 edition of the university’s yearbook – The Kentuckian – focused on a team tragedy – Page’s death. “Page had lain paralyzed for over a month due to an injury suffered in preseason practice,” an entry in the yearbook states. “But as it had to be, football continued.”

The appearance of black students in college yearbooks during this time period serves as a historical reminder that even though many colleges had become racially desegregated earlier, campus activities were still often racially exclusive. Black students were first admitted to the University of Kentucky in 1949 but were not allowed to participate in many student activities until much later – 1967 in the case of varsity sports. That’s a long delay. It indicates that admission did not necessarily mean full citizenship within the campus community.

An era of protest

My other concern about the focus on racist imagery is that it distracts from the fact that, particularly during the late 1960s, college yearbooks helped chronicle an era of student protest and campus activism. Sometimes, college yearbook editors deliberately put images of traditional campus events alongside images of demonstrations and protests.

That’s what Gretchen Marcum Brown, editor of The Kentuckian had in mind during her stint as editor for the 1969 edition, which is particularly noteworthy for the amount of material that reflects black culture and politics. For instance, the 1969 yearbook features speakers such as civil rights activist Julian Bond, The Supremes, and extended photo caption information about a black history course and the Black Student Union. In a recent interview for this article, Brown told me she wanted to document the intense political events taking place on and off campus during the 1968-69 academic year.

In her acknowledgments, Brown credited the influence of Sam Abell, her predecessor who went on to become a renowned photographer for National Geographic. Abell had advised Brown to start the 1969 yearbook with a photo essay in which traditional campus events, such as a Greek life prom in which students were dressed in Confederate regalia, would be placed alongside or near images of student groups seeking to uproot the status quo.

A student shown in a 1969 University of Kentucky yearbook examines African art in one photograph, while in another photograph in the same book, a student dances while draped in a Confederate flag. The Kentuckian, 1968-69

The yearbook included extended coverage of controversies within student government. This included the house speaker of the student government telling the 40 black students present to “protest his bill requesting that ‘Dixie’ be played at athletic events, that the song was not racist.”

Imagining a better future

At the end of a lengthy section on Greek life, the yearbook editor quoted fraternity leaders who invoked the importance of “brotherhood.” But she didn’t just let the brotherhood claim go unchecked. Instead, Brown broached the sensitive issue of racial exclusion. “Brotherhood is cheering together at a football game. Brotherhood is hanging together when the going gets tough. Brotherhood is borrowing your roommates’ clothes. Brotherhood may or may not be a ‘Caucasian only’ clause in your constitution.”

This wry observation showed awareness of both inclusion and exclusion in campus life.

The yearbook concluded with a photograph of a campus demonstration in which a student holds a placard that asked the University of Kentucky campus, “Will You Grow Up?” The editor’s final comment was, “This book is dedicated to those who have the courage and foresight for true reappraisal.”

The Kentuckian was not unique in its attention to social change. A review of yearbooks from Louisiana State University, North Carolina State University and the University of Mississippi shows a similar emphasis on student awareness of the political climate at the time, balanced by coverage of traditional campus life activities.

Yearbook editors challenged readers to reconsider what college education was about and what a university should be. For example, the 1969 Agromeck yearbook of North Carolina State University, stated: “N.C. State’s heritage is essentially like that of any other predominantly white, southern technically oriented institution. The virtues which the school extols are Discipline, Patriotism, Hard Work and Good Grades.”

However, the yearbook editor continued: “There are changes afoot. From the past comes a dual tradition of technical and liberal education and the factors have clashed openly in the present.” Its major photographic essay presented themes of conflict and change within the university.

College yearbooks were built to last. They were also meant to commemorate the worlds that students created. This means that in 2019 alumni, and now the public, can look back at the blackface parties of 1984, the year of Gov. Northam’s medical college yearbook – but also at the student protests of 1969.

The Conversation

Doctors need to talk through treatment options better for black men with prostate cancer

March 14, 2019


Rajesh Balkrishnan, Professor, Public Health Sciences, University of Virginia

Randy A. Jones, Professor of Nursing, University of Virginia

Disclosure statement: Rajesh Balkrishnan receives funding from Merck and Company. Randy A. Jones receives funding from NIH.

Partners: University of Virginia provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.

African-American men have the highest risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer as well as dying from it compared to any other ethnic group in the U.S. This trend has remained unchanged for over four decades.

Although research has focused on identifying the biological differences that may lead to this difference, there’s growing evidence that distinct racial and ethnic disparities in prostate cancer treatment, and the quality of medical care in African-American men, contribute to this disparity.

African-American men are less likely to receive more aggressive treatments than their counterparts. And, if and when they do receive those treatments, they receive them later than their counterparts. For example, access to early effective survivorship treatments such as androgen deprivation therapies remains a challenge in African-American patients.

Our multidisciplinary research program in cancer population science at the University of Virginia has been examining reasons for poor prostate cancer outcomes, especially in African-American patients. Recent, as yet unpublished research from our group highlights several issues related to medication challenges in elderly prostate cancer survivors. We found there is a clear link between improved use of these treatments and reduced mortality. In addition, both access and use of these life-saving treatments remains low among African-American survivors.

A history of gaps

African-American prostate cancer patients face unique challenges in the treatment decision-making process. These include lower rates of understanding of treatment options, less time and interaction with medical care professionals and, often, poorer quality of medical care. Those challenges particularly affect both their access and compliance to medications, and, in turn, outcomes in these patients.

For example, a 69-year-old African American man whom we interviewed for our research, Mr. Tyler (name changed), along with his wife, Mrs. Tyler, sat in an exam room while his doctor told him he had stage 4 prostate cancer. Stage 4 cancer is cancer that has spread from its original site to distant organs and, in prostate cancer, even the bone.

Mr. Tyler was shocked. He had not noticed any health issues besides getting up in the middle of the night to urinate and some hip pain. He thought that was normal as men age. When he went to the clinic, he thought he had arthritis in his hip and would be prescribed pain medications for that. He could not imagine hearing that he had cancer.

He had not been to see a health care provider in about 12 years. He was always so busy at work and did not really feel comfortable going to a health care provider, having heard stories from family members and friends that other African-Americans are not treated well at the hospital.

The doctor gave Mr. Tyler a few options such as surgery, radiation and androgen deprivation therapy, considering his age, ethnicity, comorbidities and other related factors. But Mr. Tyler and his wife did not know what treatment options to seriously consider.

The health care provider gave a recommendation, but his wife was unsure. They were confused and anxious about making such a big and complex decision. The couple relied on information they received from speaking to friends, church members and relatives and ultimately made a decision, but it was not easy. And, it was not free from some regrets. Ultimately they chose to receive the radiation treatment and start the androgen deprivation treatment, which Mr. Tyler stopped because of discomfort. Mr. Tyler unfortunately died shortly after he discontinued treatment.

Treatment decision process improvements may be paramount

Careful sharing of information and helping patients to decide treatment are especially important to help close the gap in outcomes between black men and other ethnic groups with prostate cancer. Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

This scenario of confusion and anxiety is not so uncommon. Cancer is a terrifying diagnosis, and making decisions about treatment can be overwhelming.

Studies have suggested that patients with cancer feel more comfortable expressing their concerns with their health care provider when there is a trusting and supportive relationship developed along with adequate time for treatment discussion. This in turn leads to more comfortable treatment decisions, which often works to improve patient outcomes.

Prostate cancer treatment in particular often brings harsh side effects that severely affect a man’s quality of life. These side effects include erectile dysfunction, hot flashes, muscle loss, hair loss and urinary issues such as incontinence. These may be short term, but they can last for years.

The matter is complicated because many of these harsh side effects stem from androgen deprivation therapies, which can improve survival. Because of the complicated nature of assessing the risk of side effects with the potential benefit of survival, the use of androgen deprivation therapies should carefully be considered by the patient and his doctor.

Research has shown that these treatment-related decisions are very different in African-American prostate cancer patients compared to white patients and those residing in urban and rural communities. Therefore, there is a need to study treatment decision-making in both settings to formulate effective educational interventions.

Aids that can help

In one of our recent studies, we found that decision aids may help. Decision aids are electronic or paper tools involving a set of questions and information related to treatments. They are used to assist patients and caregivers in making informed decisions about the types of treatments and procedures, or both, that are more suitable for their particular case.

Decision aids are effective in a shared decision-making process, in which the doctor or nurse navigator sits down with a patient and walks through the process. There is active participation between the patient, caregiver and health care provider.

Decision aids can help patients apply specific health information while actively participating in health-related decision-making. Primarily, decision aids that have been applied to prostate cancer have been focused on knowledge or treatment options only, which patients often complete themselves. These types of decision aids are quite limited and do not allow patients the time and true engagement with health care providers to really understand their disease and the options that are available, and ultimately become satisfied with that decision.

Decision aids are most effective when they are tailored to the individual patient, rather than being generic. For example, researchers have developed an individualized decision support system BreastHealthDecisions.org, which represents a new approach to breast cancer prevention care.

In our study that developed an interactive decision aid for treatment decisions among advanced prostate cancer patients, we found that not only did the decision aid enhance patients’ and their caregivers’ understanding of the options that they had for treatment, but it also built more trust and engagement between the patient and the health care provider, which is valuable. The study also revealed that by using the decision aid, patients were more concerned with the quality of their life after treatment than extending the number of years of life.

Developing decision support systems for prostate cancer is paramount as we move towards an era of precision medicine treatments, such as proton therapies, which are used only after decision support system plans are in place for the prostate cancer survivor.

Often, the conversations between health care providers and the patient are focused around the quantity of life. The patients in our study said they felt empowered enough through the use of the decision aid to discuss quality of life, and how that was a critical aspect within their conversations.

There is much work to do to provide optimal health care to patients with cancer, including African-Americans with cancer. Tailored decision aids that focus on the priorities of the patient and their caregivers and that promote trusting relationships with health care providers is key to helping patients feel satisfied with their health care decisions and have less regret.

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