Looking at the amount of work that needs to be done to create a Nu World Order across the African diaspora is daunting to say the least. We took an overall look at the topic in the initial column in this series, Creating a Nu World Order. We followed up by determining a path to follow with the second column, Creating a Nu World Order: Part I. Now, we begin to drill down to the individual in trying to determine “what can I do?” in order to contribute to building a better world for people of African descent. Although the task at hand seems near impossible, a movement so grand can be achieved. How do you begin to tackle it? In the words of my mother; “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
Let’s start with the person in the mirror. Remember that all of us have a storied lineage that led us to where we are today. It was easy for some, difficult for most, but we are here. And now that we are here we must realize that care of “self” should be at the top of our list. That’s not easy in a world where our physical and mental well-being is constantly under attack.
First, our physical well-being.
The way our societies are structured (promoting inactivity, poor eating habits, poor health education, stressful lifestyles, etc) one can see how physical health has become an issue with every group of people in western society. Couple that with the stressors of being a person of color (bigotry, racism, lower wages, access to financial resources, fewer healthy food options, dumping of illegal drugs, environmental issues, etc.) then you have a group of people who face hardships on a scale of epidemic proportions. Now multiply that over several generations. When you add global mistrust of majority held healthcare systems, one begins to get the picture.
Let me be the first to say that the above scenario does not hold true for all black people. With the advancements of medicine, blacks moving into middle class status, and a better job of managing health in black enclaves throughout the diaspora, many people of African descent are doing quite well around the world. Yet, even for those that are doing well, the number of people who are not is staggering. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2015 study on the leading causes of death for black men and women help drive the point home.
Keep in mind these figures are reflecting numbers in the United States alone.
And the rest of the diaspora?
A report from the World Health Organization (WHO), The African Regional Health Report: The Health of the People, paints a challenging picture regarding the health of the people in Black Africa.
In fact, Dr. Clarence Spigner, Adjunct professor at the University of Washington, states in his publication, “Race, health, and the African Diaspora”, what is already known by most people;
“Health inequalities exist throughout the African Diaspora and are viewed in this article as largely color-coded. In developed, developing, and undeveloped nations today, “racial” stratification is consistently reflected in an inability to provide adequate health regardless of national policy or ideology. For instance, African-Americans experience less than adequate health care very similar to Blacks in Britain, in spite of each nations differing health systems. Latin America’s Africana Negra communities experience poorer health similar to Blacks throughout the Caribbean. The African continent itself is arguably the poorest on earth. A common history of racism correlates with health disparities across the African Diaspora.”
A stark picture, yes, but not all is lost.
“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
We all have to take control of our individual health. This will then trickle outward to family, community, and so on. The discussion of good health radiating from the individual outward will be covered in future discussions. For now, let’s discuss nutrition and diet. I want to stress that it is certainly not the intent of this column to pressure anyone into adopting certain dietary habits. Determining what one should or shouldn’t eat can be a tricky business. Many of us can point to uncle Earl who smoked, drank liquor, ate pork daily and lived until the ripe old age of ninety. We can also discuss cousin Johnny who always ate healthy, yet died at an early age from heart disease. There really is no simple remedy to all of this, BUT, there is plenty of science that provides powerful insight into how improving one’s diet can help address many of the ills listed in the CDC tables above. Small changes to improve one’s diet while still maintaining a sense of culture can easily be found online (Remember, Google is your friend). I’ll only state that one can joyfully eat to live, not just live to eat. Also remember, “moderation” isn’t a bad word.
Several items to note here:
- First, following the diets of majority cultures is not necessarily in your best interest. (Please see Naturally Gina’s video below, The Dangers of The Standard American Diet For Black People)
- Second, if recent news reports about what goes on in fast food establishments have not deterred you from eating the poison that’s peddled in your communities then we have a lot more work to do.
- Third, an occasional trip to a farmer’s market, especially if it supports black farmers, wouldn’t hurt any of us.
- And finally, I love seeing the growing phenomena of a return to growing our own food. It really would behoove us to see this take off on a micro-to-macro scale. More on that in an upcoming column
Remember…you, the individual should determine the best course of action in improving your diet, which in turn will improve your health.
A healthier you makes for a better diaspora as you are an important building block in the creation of a Nu World Order.
Let the conversation begin…