Black male health statistics are even more dismal. “Black men live 7.1 years less than other racial groups They have higher death rates than women for all leading causes of death They experience disproportionately higher death rates in all the leading causes of death 40% of black men die prematurely from cardiovascular disease as compared to 21% of white men. They have a higher incidence and a higher rate of death from oral cancer Black men are 5 times more likely to die of HIV/AIDS.” If it weren’t for an excellent health plan and devoted physicians, this black man would have been dead.Let me add to Mr. Reed's commentary to point out that black men die of many non gender specific diseases more than anybody else in America. Mr. Reed points out that white men are committing suicide at the highest rates in America.
The suicide rate among white men has soared more than that of any other ethnic group; instead of this report drawing urgent media attention, it came and went with little comment. Though those who label me a “racist” after having come to my work with their minds made up before reading it, I expressed alarm about the rising rate of suicide by white males in 1988. I blamed it on the popular media requiring white males to not only be Alpha males but James Bond and Superman combined. The problem has gotten worse.And while I agree that official statistics on white male suicide are what they are, I believe that the relatively low level of black male suicide is not properly understood. There is an extremely high taboo against suicide in black communities which explains why official reports of suicide are so low. However I believe, with absolutely no data to prove it, that many black males, particularly young males, commit suicide by proxy. Many young black males, particularly those who are poor and reside in marginal neighborhoods do not believe they will live past the age of 21. And since they do not believe they will live longer than that, they do not plan on living longer than that. Therefore they decide to engage in activities that all but guarantee they will be killed. Gang violence and other types of crime that leads to suicide by drive by or suicide by cop are epidemic in black communities. Technically these may not be the "I put a gun to my head..." but if I don't care whether I live or die and therefore take my chances walking down an active railroad track and have an "accident". That IMO is a form of suicide. When massive numbers of black males are killed both by each other and the police one has to ask if these males have actual death wishes. *I'm a fan of Ishmael Reed. He has consistently written incisive pieces on racism and sexism but he, IMO, ruined his reputation defending policies of the Obama administration simply because Obama was the target of racist commentary and actions. That has not sat well with me and I won't stop reminding him of it. It is quite possible to point out racist attacks on Obama without carrying water for him.