Monday, October 24, 2011

Prostate and Colon Cancer are killing African American Men

BH 413
October 27, 2011

The deadliest killer in the black community is not gangs, or drugs, or black on black crime, as deadly as they are. It’s the “self on self” crime of ignoring our health. The biggest killers of black males are now colon and prostate cancer. While health organizations have spent the last two decades convincing black men it is okay to get their prostates checked, most have still never had a colon exam.

Are these the results of the closing of the city hospitals, Homer G. Phillips Hospital, St. Louis County Hospital, Central Medical Center and the relocation of DePaul and privatizing health care?

Because African American men are over-affected by prostate and colon cancer, this call for action is first and foremost addressed to them. African-American men have the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world and the lowest rate of survival and the least access to health facilities. The head of the American Cancer Society (ACS), Charles J. McDonald, MD, says: "Black men in America are 1.5 times more likely to develop prostate cancer and are 2 to 3 times more likely to die of the disease than white men."

Ironically, colon cancer, along with prostate cancer, is two of the most curable of the cancer contractions when detected early. Prostate cancer deaths have been on the decline over the past years, however, colon cancer deaths are still on the incline as the message still hasn’t made it to black men in the same way. Black men are 10% more likely than white men to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recently reported that though fewer African Americans are dying from colon cancer than in previous years, our death rates rank higher than any other racial or ethnic group. Prostate cancer, particularly among African Americans, is "a disgraceful tragedy that needs immediate and drastic action," says John R. Kelly, a board director of the American Cancer Society.

If this important, potentially lifesaving information is so readily available, why are African American males so reluctant to see a doctor or a clinician who has the possibility to save our lives?
In an article in “The Black Commentator’’, it criticized the reasons Black men do not get proper prostate and colon cancer examinations. It alleged manhood, in the black community, is defined in many ways. The more mature appropriate definitions are fatherhood, bread winner, protector and role model. The more immature definitions are “Gangsta,” “Playa,” “Pimp,” “Dog”, anything but a “Man”.

One of the rarest definitions of black manhood is “healthy.” Black men often confuse physique with health. They tend to work on their physiques, thinking they’re working on their health. How wrong many of them are? As society hypes outer beauty and forsakes inner beauty, black men are so busy trying to get attention in the presentation of their outer body, they forsake their inner bodies.

In his article ‘Colon Cancer: A Killer of Black Men’, author: Matthew Lynch wrote: It is through food that we as African Americans have been able to retain our sense of culture. Nonetheless, African-American cuisine, though diverse and flavorful, is often high in fat, carbohydrates, sodium and cholesterol. Even our dishes commonly referred to as soul food, includes vegetable fixings such as greens, black eye peas and sweet potatoes, are prepared with high quantities of salt and sugars.

Aside from health issues, the percentage of black men attending and graduating colleges and universities is extremely low, and decreasing. Because of this, African American males continue to remain prime candidates for poor health and victims of poverty-stricken lifestyles, prison and murder.

Diet and nutrition, the lack of proper health insurance, and stressful lifestyles also remain large contributing factors in why African Americans are at greater risk of acquiring cancer and dying from it. Black men often do not identify trouble urinating, pain urinating, or blood in the urine as possible signs of prostate cancer.

There are still major barriers and challenges to cancer prevention among African Americans, including continued mistrust of the medical community and negative attitudes toward specific screening tests.

In addition, the numbers of minorities residing in urban communities where high levels of pollution and cancer causing agents are prevalent, such as areas located near expressways and industrial districts, often referred to as ‘the inner city’ or ‘urban areas’ also weigh heavily in the reasons why blacks are more susceptible to getting cancer than whites.

But there is hope through such support organizations as he Empowerment Network and The American Cancer Society. Also the importance of the black family, the positive influence of spouses and partners on promoting cancer screening and healthy behaviors, the roles of faith and church leadership.

All agree detection is the first step. All men aged 40 and up need their physicians to check for prostate cancer with a digital rectal examination (DRE) every year, and African American men as young as 35 should have a colonoscopy. African American men and all men with a family history of prostate cancer should also get an annual PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test. Other men can wait till age 50 for the annual PSA test.

Matthew Lynch understood it best; ‘whether or not African Americans can ever combat a system that challenges our ability to decrease the number of cancer related deaths is a question that remains unanswered. Basically, until we educate ourselves, until we obtain employment in medical agencies, public health care centers and even in senate, we will continue to hinder the health of our Black men. We must fight hard in raising and educating our boys to men so that they can become doctors and administrators in the field of medicine.

We must encourage our influential black men who are not incarcerated, dead or infected with AIDS or HIV, to get regular checkups, to eat a proper diet and more importantly, work hard at getting their families out of toxic neighborhoods crippled by social and economic factors. We must lead them to be examples, to pass on the knowledge imparted in articles such as this, so that our young ones grow up to be strong and effective’.

So Black men, the choices are yours. What would you prefer, a biopsy or an autopsy?

Please listen the Bernie Hayes radio program Monday through Friday at 7am and 4 pm on WGNU-920 AM, or live on the Web @

And please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at:

Be Ever Wonderful!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Who are the Real Tyrants?

March 24, 2011
BH 405

This column was supposed to be dedicated to the late civil rights and women’s right advocate Fannie Lou Hamer, and highlighting Women’s History Month. But the developments in Libya and in response to President Obama suggesting that military action would aim to change conditions in Libya, while authorizing U.S. and British warships and submarines to launch 110 Tomahawk missiles against air defenses around the capital Tripoli and the western city of Misrata changed my mind. It leads me to ask ‘who are the tyrants’?

The reasons given were to force Muammar Gaddafi's troops to cease fire and end attacks on civilians, but are we getting the real story? There was no mention of protecting the oil fields, or a mention that Gaddafi was defending himself and his country from rebels who were trying to overthrow him and seize power by force. I am not surprised at the actions taken against Mr. Gaddafi because recently radio talk show and late night Television show hosts have been laughing at and making negative references to ‘Khadafy’s bad hair’. I also notice the many ways his name is spelled and pronounced.

In common usage, the word "tyrant" carries connotations of a harsh and cruel ruler who places his or her own interests or the interests of a small group of people over the best interests of the general population, which the tyrant governs or controls. That sounds familiar. Is this the argument that is used to justify the attack on Libya? We must remember that we are getting only one side of the story.

In his book Media Control, Noam Chomsky noted The United States pioneered the public relations industry. Its commitment was "to control the public mind," as its leaders put it. Since there's no way to get together with other people who share or reinforce that view and help you articulate it, you feel like an oddity, an oddball. So you just stay on the side and you don't pay any attention to what's going on.

Was Thomas Jefferson a tyrant? Did he inflict dictatorship or oppression on Americans? Jefferson wrote “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” He asserted “the policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits. No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him. When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty”. Was he a liar and a hypocrite?

On January 10, 1806, President Thomas Jefferson addressed a gathering in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. The occasion was a concluding ceremony following a series of meetings with the chiefs of the Cherokee Indian Nation, and others, who had been invited to Washington as a gesture of friendship. Jefferson opened with: "My friends and children, chiefly of the Cherokee Nation.

Seven treaties with the Cherokee later, the United States, "because he happens to be stronger," took all Cherokee land East of the Mississippi River. In exchange the Cherokee were given $5 million and an Indian Reservation in Oklahoma Territory. Of course, the Cherokee were never handed $5 million. That's the amount that was to be spent on their behalf, for public facilities and "mills to grind your corn."

But he also wrote about Africans and African Americans in his Notes on Virginia. Let me warn you that you might find what Jefferson said disturbing.

He wrote: Are not the fine mixtures of red and white, the expressions of every passion by greater or less suffusions of color in the one, preferable to that eternal monotony, which reigns in the countenances, that immoveable veil of black which covers all the emotions of the other race?

Add to these, flowing hair, a more elegant symmetry of form, their own judgment in favor of the whites, declared by their preference of them, as uniformly as is the preference of the orangutan for the black women over those of his own species. The circumstance of superior beauty, is thought worthy attention in the propagation of our horses, dogs, and other domestic animals; why not in that of man?

. . .

They seem to require less sleep. A black, after hard labor through the day, will be induced by the slightest amusements to sit up till midnight, or later, though knowing he must be out with the first dawn of the morning. They are at least as brave, and more adventuresome. But this may perhaps proceed from a want of forethought, which prevents their seeing a danger till it is present. When present, they do not go through it with more coolness or steadiness than the whites.

They are more ardent after their female: but love seems with them to be more an eager desire, than a tender delicate mixture of sentiment and sensation. Their griefs are transient. Those numberless afflictions, which render it doubtful whether heaven has given life to us in mercy or in wrath, are less felt, and sooner forgotten with them. In general, their existence appears to participate more of sensation than reflection.

. .

Comparing them by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination, it appears to me, that in memory they are equal to the whites; in reason much inferior, as I think one black could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid; and that in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.” These are the thoughts and words of slave owner Thomas Jefferson, who compared black women to orangutans

We must remember that America was the model for Apartheid in South Africa, and America created the eugenics movement. Eugenics, a term invented by Francis Gaiton that refers to ensuring "the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable", had from its beginning in America, a political orientation. Wealthy individuals from within the highest levels of the American exploiting class funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into the eugenics movement. Laws were implemented in state legislatures to prevent the procreation of "inferior families:"

Fannie Lou Hamer felt the stings of apartheid, racism and tyranny. On August 22, 1964 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in testimony before the Credentials Committee at the Democratic National Convention, Mrs. Hamer said “I question America. Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives are threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings, in America? Mrs. Hamer said “What was the point of being scared? The only thing they could do to me was kill me and it seemed like they'd been trying to do that a little bit at a time ever since I could remember.”

So who are the tyrants? Who is being oppressed and by whom? Are they the people of New Orleans who are still suffering from Katrina and Rita, or the people of Haiti? What about the people in North St. Louis who are without hospital facilities or those in E. St. Louis who must travel miles for any type of health care?

Who are the tyrants? What is the definition of tyranny?

Please listen the Bernie Hayes radio program Monday through Friday at 7am and 4 pm on WGNU-920 AM, or live on the Web @

And please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

I can be reached by e-mail at:

Be Ever Wonderful!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Should Easter Be An African American Holiday?

Bernie Hayes Understands
February 24, 2011
BH 404

Holidays often bring families closer together and millions are already planning to celebrate Easter although it will not be observed this year until April 24. I ask this question because often what we celebrate is not the truth and often rooted in lies, erroneous beliefs, legend, falsehood and fallacy.

The National Network for Child Care says some aspects of holiday celebrations may seem innocent or harmless at first, but it is vital that early child care professionals think about the curriculum and how it affects children. Halloween colors, for example, include orange and black. Black is generally not presented in a positive way, but a scary and dark way. What does teaching the color black in this way do to children whose skin is dark, and who are sometimes called black? What does it do to children whose skin is not dark? The effect on the self-concept of all children, whether the teacher's intent is "only Halloween fun" can be intense for children of all ethnicities and colors.

So how does this relate to Easter? Because the day that we celebrate Easter this year, April 24th is because an African Pope set the standard. Yes, a Black Pope designated the period for which the Holy Day would be observed. He was Pope St. Victor I.

Saint Victor was born in Africa and bore a Latin name as most Africans did at that time. Saint Victor was the fifteenth pope and a native of black Africa. He served from 186 A.D. until 197 A.D.
A troublesome controversy over when Easter should be celebrated occurred during the reign of Victor, with the result that Christians observed different days for the most important feast of the year. Victor decreed that Easter should be celebrated on a Sunday

Easter is the oldest and most important Christian festival, marking the end of the fasting season of Lent and the death, on Good Friday and resurrection of Jesus Christ, on Easter Sunday. It has deeper and more complex associations than Christmas.

There are many customs and traditions associated with Easter which, like most other holiday and feast days, are derived from a combination of both Jewish lore and pre-Christian and pagan practices. It is named after Eostre, the goddess of fertility and birth, worshipped by first-century pagans at the vernal equinox, who believed she would bless both their families and their crops. Christian missionaries saw this celebration took place around the time of the resurrection of Christ, so they adopted Easter as a Christian holiday to increase conversion.

However, for many years it has been agreed that Easter falls on the first Sunday after the Full Moon that occurs on or after the Vernal (spring) Equinox (21 March). If the Full Moon falls on a Sunday then Easter is the next Sunday. This means that Easter can fall as early as 22 March or as late as 25 April. Next year it falls on 23 March, the second earliest date possible. Easter last fell on the latest possible date, 25 April in 1943, and will next fall on that date in 2038. However, this year it will fall on 24 April, just one day before this latest possible date. It is the origin of the phrase "moveable feast".

What if our African American family knew that there have been three African Popes of the Catholic Church? Why is it hidden?

Gandhi wrote “and where there is Truth, there is also is knowledge which is true. Where there is no Truth, there also is knowledge which is true. Where there is no Truth, there can be no true knowledge."

And Buddha said “The energy of the Truth is a powerful protection and an energy that sends waves of influence throughout the world and down the ages, unlimited by space or time. Truthfulness is much more than not telling lies.

Without truthfulness there can be no society. Without truthfulness human communication breaks down and distrust, hostility and force take over. Truthfulness is, therefore, of fundamental importance to a harmonious and peaceful society and of fundamental importance to the harmonious and peaceful individuals who constitute that society. There is also a false speech of omission. This is when what we say is strictly true but because of what we leave out it is not the whole truth. In fact, it may even convey a completely wrong impression. And that can be the intention.

So by being honest we create a world of honesty and also by being untruthful we create a world of dishonesty, which is an unpleasant and tiring place to live.”

So when you celebrate Easter this year, with your new suits and dresses, expensive fancy hats and shiny new shoes, remember why that Sunday is special and say thank you to one of our ancestors. Happy Easter!

Please listen the Bernie Hayes radio program Monday through Friday at 7am and 4 pm on WGNU-920 AM, and watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

I can be reached by e-mail at:

Be Ever Wonderful!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The History of Black Hair

You can read this piece, published on February 2, 2011, at the St. Louis American's site.