The Emotional Toll of Fighting Racism

According to the APS, American Psychological Association, discrimination is a public health issue. According to the 2015 Stress in America Survey, people who say they have faced discrimination rate their stress levels higher, on average than those who say they have not experienced discrimination.


Chronic stress is the number one symptom when suffering racism and discrimination. Chronic stress can lead to a large variety of physical and mental health problems. Indeed, perceived discrimination has been linked to health issues including:

  • Anxiety
  • depression
  • obesity
  • high blood pressure
  • substance abuse
  • Low self-esteem
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Family and relationship interference/issues.
  • Financial and economical stress due to an inability to get promoted due to race.

Reading the stories of struggles among thousands of profound civil rights fighters, never had I once considered the massive emotional toll the fight against racism on the mind, body and soul.

I am currently in a battle and I spend nights up tossing and turning with anxiety. I get frequent headaches from built up frustration of having to wait out the legal process of proving I am being devalued due to the color of my skin. A common story stained in the fabric of America, will it ever end?

One thing I know is I must stay in the fight. I refuse to continue to be a runner. Running from one job to the next due to discrimination, moving from one neighborhood to the next to try to get my daughter into a decent school in a white neighborhood because improving schools in black neighborhoods appears to be out of the question. The only sub par solution is to bus our children to schools outside our neighborhoods because our schools lack, just like we do!


Our communities is our problem as if it’s not a part of America, as it’s a third world country. How is it that we pay taxes to a government hell bent on passing off investing in our communities as if we are not citizens?

Police brutality is an American problem, black poverty is a systemic, American problem, the violence in Chicago is an American problem fueled by poor education, high unemployment among black men being denied opportunities and systematic poverty riddled in every layer of politics and social class in America. Their is no black problems, there are only American problems so when are we going to demand they fix what they originally broken? The time is now.

Living in a state that is ranked #2 for the highest wage gap between blacks and whites is enough stress to keep most people who look like me up all night stressing about the rising cost of living and the plummeting wages. If not that it’s those long conversations over the phone listening to my family and friends vent about how they are underemployed.

According to their analysis of the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation data, in 2011 the typical white household had $111,146 in wealth, compared to $7,113 for blacks and $8,348 for Latinos.  –Washington Post

Their college degree is not an asset, it’s a bill that creeps up every month they are forced to pay, but the degree does not change the fact that despite our education we are still underpaid. How is it that the average black woman with a college degree gets paid less than the average white person with a high school diploma.

What did I go to school for? To collect debt? I am still seen as inferior, unqualified and not having enough experience. If it’s not that I lack soft skills, which are social skills. How is that? I guess it’s always something when you’re under the thumb of a racist, narcissistic regime.


The insidious, passive aggressive regime. The smile in your face but make sure you don’t move up in this place management. The cult of supremacy is raining down on me and I have no shelter from the storm. Hell, I don’t even want a shelter from the storm. I want to stay in trenches and ride this shit out like the loyal Floridians who stayed in Miami despite Hurricane Irma’s imminent destruction.

I refuse to keep running for the sake of my daughter, it’s time to fight! For the sake of descendant of slaves still unpaid for the services forcefully rendered from our ancestors. This looming wealth gap and what I have to deal with daily at work. The covert orchestrators in the back round at work making sure I don’t get nowhere fast.

Fighting takes it toll. Now I know the fear, anxiety and depression that comes with standing up to racism. The mental fatigue, the physical draining, the emotional distance from my family and friends.

They know I’m fighting a war the majority denies even exist. My people are like isolated soldiers fighting a war guerrilla style were we don’t even have the education or resources to come together and assemble a strategic defense against the economic crisis that we are drowning in.

By Janell Hihi Copyright@2017

Juggling Knives

They are too determined in their game to win. Relentless in their pursuit to oppress the oppressed until they are pressed into some block, like a cell… invisible.

I am stretched beyond the yoga of Nirvana locked into scarcity

Trying to make crumbs into a loaf of bread – singled out, single black female…

A tapered loneliness covered in photos on my wall

The other half of me is not here with me

And the substitutes won’t due

Artificial sweeteners never measure up to honey.

The blackness they hate




By Janell Hihi Copyright@2017

Keepers of The Light


Final Shots for Manipulated Light and Power Series
Final Shots for Manipulated Light and Power Series

The suppression of light denies it’s existential right to shine upon what hides in fear of being highlighted by that blazing, neon fury of getting to the bottom of surfaces masked with theory, conditioning.

Slow absorbing particles of articles that lurk in the darkness, making my cocoa into chocolate, as unpure as the hormone filled milk mixed to make your Milk Way so delicious. Is good really good?

She plays hide in seek behinds systems, cloaked in robes, sending men to warehouses to be tucked away into that oblivion which perverts my black into something sinister.

She lies naked in soiled beds with me, baptizing in my sweat but she won’t draw her weaponry of privilege to gain me even a spectacle of opportunity.

Her supremacy comes before her God, but she goes to church faithfully. I get superficial light from her that feeds my ego and rapes my soul.

I craved solar light infused with fire, youthfully riding the earth to reach the g-spot of my equator. Not the dim light she emitted like a dying bulb in a musty basement bathroom.

Her real light is given through her vote only to her own tribe despite the fact that I make her sing in orgasm and smile from genuine giggles only a belly laugh has the nourishment to invoke.

I hoped my kindness would provoke reciprocation but she dangled my climax like a carrot in my face – and like a silly rabbit, I chase. A race without a finish line. Running in the dark without light.

Nothing about what corrupts the dark is fictitious. My black was non-mythical until they wrote the stories, attached the records and gentrified it’s habitats at the peak of it’s thriving.

Blinding light is what has us all in a chokehold, gasping for air and fighting blindly because we can’t see.

Are you among them? The keepers of the light. Who swallow it just so they don’t have to share it with others. Who sells it for shares? Who manipulates it into other knock-off forms, bootlegging life?

Who won’t use it to look beneath the 50 shades of black stacked with generations of pain plagued in each membrane of the DNA passed along like a bucket of chicken at Ray Ray’s family picnic?

What has been passed along to me is suffrage uncorrected by those who inflicted it. Point the light into the depth of my dark and swim in it until you get the nucleus of truth oceans deep, where your ancestors hid it. Truth is the treasure that awaits you to create the bridge to unification. Where you can replenish all that you have taken away from us.

By Janell Hihi @Copyright 2017

How Officer Yanez Created an Altercation Out of Thin Air & Murdered Philando Castile.


Officer Yanez shot and killed Philando Castille in front his girlfriend and 5-year-old stepdaughter. He fired 7 shots into the car landing 5 bullets into Philando’s body while two stray bullets hit the back seat, missing the child in her car seat by a few inches.

Philando Castille was respectful and polite to Officer Yanez as you can see in the dash cam video circulating around the internet. (And in the Youtube video I posted below) He gave Officer Yanez his ID then begins to dig for his insurance. He politely tells the officer he has a gun on him. He NEVER said he was reaching for the gun.

Officer Yanez created an altercation in a calm and civilized situation by yelling “Don’t reach for the gun!” No one was reaching in the first place, Philando was looking for his insurance. Philando also said, “I am not reaching sir.” 

Because Yanez has a history of over-reacting and is plagued with a severe anxiety disorder, he shot Philando by creating a violent situation where there was none, to begin with. Why would a man inform a police officer he has a weapon if he intends to use it? Why would Philando Castille have a motive to shoot Yanez? Philando Castille only has a driving record. He has no criminal record.


Have you ever been in a calm situation and suddenly a trouble maker emerges who wants to disturb the peace? It’s similar to being bullied. I was bullied in school, unfortunately, and the bully always had this way of approaching me to start an altercation.

The bully would say, “Why were you looking at me like you have a problem?” I’d be confused because I never looked her way in the first place. So I would respond by saying, “I wasn’t even looking at you.” She would push me really hard and say, “Yes, you were! Stop staring at me like you want to fight me.”

I’d always be confused and extremely hurt after the incidents because it amazed me how she could provoke altercations with me out of thin air. She creatively found an issue with me by stating I was doing something to her that made her have to hit me.

Officer Yanez created a situation, in his imbalanced head, where he would have to shoot Philando. Assuming a reach when there was no reach. Similar to people who suffer from severe paranoia. Suspecting a threat when there is no real threat.

The best breakdown of the Philando Castile Murder was analyzed by The Breaking Brown Family hosted by Yvette Carnell. An extremely informative and educational show on YouTube educating viewers regarding African American politics, history and reshaping our minds to come to terms with the tremendous amount of work that needs to be done in our community to fight against inequality all across the board.

This show exhibits recordings of other incidents Officer Jerimino Yanez was involved in with various drivers he has pulled over in the past. It allows you to understand the mental instability and over the top anxiety Officer Yanez suffered from. In each recording, he responds irrationally and out of proportion to the situtaion at hand.

For example, in one recording you will hear Yanez have a panic attack because he almost got hit by a car while pulling over a driver. He was standing too far off into the street, obviously unaware of his surroundings and not of sound mind. After the truck almost hits Yanez, he totally goes into shock and has a full blown anxiety attack where he is breathing so hard and screaming so loud, other officers on the scene had to console him to calm him down.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Officer Yanez is taking Xanax and other pysch drugs to control his paranoia and anxiety.

Officer Yanez has a history of overreacting. Not a good quality for a police officer to possess. Hopefully, Yanez stays out of law enforcement and never returns. He is no longer working as an officer in Minnesota.

Rest in Peace Philando Castile. As usual, Justice was NOT served.


By Janell Hihi


Social Capital: It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know.

social circle

The concept of social capital and its contribution to success and well-being in a variety of settings has the potential for academic library outreach.

Research has found that those with extensive and varied networks of social relationships can benefit in myriad ways, including academic and professional achievement.

A connection has also been found between lower levels of social capital and negative effects on individuals as well as communities generally.

Unfortunately, I can count on two hands how many times I’ve been overlooked by an employer for a promotion because they decided to promote an employee that is in their social circle.

In fact, the sociological literature suggests that those with higher levels of social capital have greater social and economic opportunities. Following a Bourdieusian approach, we define social capital as the resources that are potentially available in our social ties. If your social ties consist of mainly poor people who match your economic status, you have no social capital.

I had the qualifications, but my college degree and ten years of experience was trumped by employees who had social capital with their manager/employers.

Social capital is when your supervisor or managers decide to promote a person based on personal relationships. Even if you have a higher level of education, higher performance stats and years more of job-related experience, that means nothing when it comes to a friend hooking up another friend with a job.


Unfortunately, it is not illegal in the workplace. What is unfortunate, however, is how employers try to hide the obvious by questioning your ability to do the job. When they tell you that you were not chosen for the promotion, they offer what they call “Constructive criticism,” by saying things like you do not have the leadership skills for the job, or they think you need work on your “Personal Brand.”

It’s all bullshit, and as much as I want to tell them to FUCK OFF, I can’t. I’d like to just be direct and tell them the following:

“Look, I know you hooked up your friend for the promotion and my qualifications had nothing to do with your decision not to promote me.” 

In a perfect world, things would be fair and just. This world isn’t perfect nor is it fair or just. It is corrupt and for anyone who believes if they just work hard, get a degree and show leadership skills that they will get a job or be promoted strictly on work ethic is truly disillusioned!

Let’s add gender and race into the scenario and the obstacles are almost insurmountable.

It is tragic how social capital economically isolates people whose parents and ancestors are poor and lack generational wealth. I came from a low-income family and I was the first to graduate from high school and college out of 6 siblings! My parents didn’t graduate from high school either.

My parents were poor and had a low social status, my grandparents were also poor with a low social status and the list goes on addressing generations of poverty caused by slavery, Jim Crow and general exploitation of the poor.

How can I compete with a Jessica who comes from a middle-class family and her parents know many other middle to upper-class people that will allow their daughter to work for them mainly through social connections? I am no competition despite my fancy college degree because I lack the social capital. There are different types of capital, and social capital plays a huge role in determing life success.


I once believed that it was my fault. I thought that I wasn’t presenting myself good in interviews or maybe I should turn that Bachelor’s degree into a Master’s Degree and I’d have a better shot at succeeding. That was far from the case.

I was good enough to be promoted. I was smart enough to perform all job duties. I had more than enough experience. What I didn’t have was social capital.

How do you get social capital if you come from a lineage of generational poverty?

The most effective way to stop the unfair advantages people who have social capital have over those who do not is by getting involved with politics and changing employment laws. There is no way more effective than creating a law that makes this practice illegal. If we do not act politically on this matter, we will see the income and opportunity gap widen even more as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

You can marry into a family with social capital if you’re lucky. People with connections like to marry other people with connections, so the likelihood of them considering you for marriage is slim to none. They don’t look at marriage purely from a perspective of love and compatibility. They also seek a partner who has something to bring to the table.

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Lavar Ball just created a show because he refuses to wait on Nike to give his son a shoe deal. Since Lavar Ball has no social capital despite the money he can invest from his son’s basketball career, he lacks the manufacturing connections to get a good deal creating a shoe. As a result, he can’t compete with Nike or any other shoe manufacturer with social capital and he had to sell his shoe for $495 because it cost him an arm and a leg to create the shoe. Yvette Carnell with Breaking Brown News brought this great example to my attention.


Byron Allen is another example of how wealth with no social capital can stop you from succeeding. Bryon is a billionaire who is suing Charter Cable for discrimination. Calling it an historic ruling, Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Networks, Inc. (ESN) announced today that Federal District Court Judge George H. Wu denied Charter Communications’ Motion to Dismiss ESN’s $10 billion lawsuit against Charter for racial discrimination in contracting, in violation of Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. §1981.

Now imagine if Byron wasn’t black and he had social capital with the elite, majority white media and TV network corporations? There would be no lawsuit, he would have easily gotten a seat at the table.

For information on this lawsuit visit:

Even if you get the financial capital to create a business, the monopolies that are set up in America automatically locks you out of succeeding and competing with existing corporations who have elite social capital.

Another way to get social capital is to try to form friendships with people who have connections maybe by attending networking groups. Don’t attend networking groups with people on your socioeconomic level. Network with people who are far ahead of you financially who can benefit your advancement.

It is very to difficult to try to enter closely knit and well established social networks of people who have a higher social capital than you do. By all means, try to enter these groups but be aware of the odds that are stacked against you so you do not feel bad about yourself if you are not able to enter their elite social circles.

Yvette Carnell with Breaking Brown, Enlightened me to the meaning and devastating effects of social capital on African Americans and poor people in the United States.

Please check out her website at:

Also check out her very interesting, and insightful show on Youtube! Follow the links on her website to check out her Youtube show which airs live on Youtube Mondays & Wednesdays 9pm Eastern Time/8pm Central Time.

By Janell Hih


The Poison of Privilege

I did some investigating and I found out that Privilege is the killer of empathy… she murdered that bitch… we’ve made empathy into a weakness instead of utilizing its inherent strength

It’s weak to feel

Appears as if we’ve become reducers… extracting the value out of everything sacred and true and assigning it to a group… liberal, conservative, female, white, black, rich, poor…

Narcissism is now strength and we are weak and codependent worshipping cruelty while we pledge allegiance to ignorance 

Privilege severs empathy like feeling for others is a poisonous gangrene in a limb that must be amputated.

we are cutting away pieces of ourselves to avoid feeling, to avoid relating, to avoid giving into or our humanness. 

Oh look at us! Celebrating our separateness like a happily broken family

Privilege is a toxin, the tumor in the body of humanity that wants to mutate a natural habitat in exchanged for egoic power. It is the stunt in the growth of our evolution and the death of a world that had a choice but chose domination.

Why is it we fear surrendering power for equality?

Where is the fear of equality born from?

Is it the things? We live for the accumulation of them & we’ve exchanged them for our own salvation…

Things have taken over, not the robots, not the faith in God we proclaim we have…

Only the things have power over us. All the gadgets, the cars, the designer labels, the shoes, the TV – THE THINGS.

I look forward to the day we can walk each other out of our egos.

In that day we will succumb to the drum of our hearts and dance to it’s beating.

By Janell Hihi Copyright@2017

The Midwest is the “Old South” The Worst Cities For Blacks Americans


Is your life a perpetual challenge of overcoming obstacles that appear to be purposely set up for your failure?

Do you live with self -doubt and guilt because the majority of white America believes racism no longer exist because we recently had a black president? Maybe you’re not working hard enough… Maybe you are lazy and not making the proper social connections to get you where you need to be…

Maybe that SBA loan you applied for to start your dream business fail through because you lack the business foresight and assets to secure the loan… Or maybe the SBA is discriminating against you? Data reveals that SBA loan approval for African-Americans dropped from 7% to 1% when Obama took office.

If you feel you are not good enough and you need to continue to work harder to achieve what white people achieve so effortlessly, you more than likely live in the Northern or Midwestern part of the United States. The Midwest somehow had the reputation of being liberal and liberalism is supposed to equate to equality for all. Unfortunately, we find out the hard way that passive aggressive liberalism reveals it’s racism in numbers.

Why are liberal cities bad for blacks? 

Minneapolis-St. Paul. San Francisco. Chicago. Even Madison, Wisconsin. If you are politically liberal and value relatively high levels of income equality, you might live in one of these quintessentially liberal U.S. cities. Yet all four lurk in the bottom half of the 2014 National Urban League’s State of Black America report on income inequality between blacks and whites. – By Francis Wilinson via Bloomberg

Luckily to your relief, you realize that according to data, African Americans are being shut out economically in the Mid-West by astronomical proportions. I realized the only way I could continue to live in Minnesota is unless I get involved in community organizing and politics.

In addition to feeling like your career is going absolutely nowhere despite your Master’s Degree or PHD. Not only are you interviewing weekly only to be turned down constantly, but the anxiety to pay back your student loans keeps you up at night.

You realize you were sold a dream. Remember they said education will set you free? Reality sets in and depression manifest when we realize living in the mid-west, more than likely we will result in working for 40% less than what we are worth in a job we are well over qualified for because all the prestigious positions are filled by white people.

Of course, in order to get a job, during the interview process we need to downplay our blackness by straightening our hair and appearing as white-washed as possible in the tone of our voice, appearance, and overall demeanor. If we get the job, statistically we are paid less than our white counterparts who more than likely have less experience and less education.

In addition to getting paid less, we will experience racism and shade every day at work from management and fellow co-workers who make snide, insensitive comments regarding your culture, your hair, and politics that adversely affect African-Americans.

Living in the Midwest is torture! I’ve lived here all my life and as a black woman, the insidious, passive aggressive hatred towards blacks has affected my psyche on a level that is hard to shake.

At times, I’ve wondered if I was good enough. Self-doubt and self-hate can creep up on you like the cops who are hell bent on pulling blacks over in Minnesota to ensure their driving record is irreversibly destroyed. Philando Castille, who was gun down by police had no criminal record but he was pulled over around 49 times in 13 years!

44% of Black Men Marry Non-Black Woman in Minnesota

Because of this statistic, I was left with no other option than to marry outside my race. Most of the more eligible black men I was interested in were not mutually interested in me. I was single, educated, no kids and had a good career. They chose otherwise. Many black men in Minnesota say things like, “Love has no color.”

If they are non-white women like Native American, Asian, Indian or Hispanic, they use that as a justification that they are not selling out because they are still dating “Women of color.” I’m not bitter, I’m just stating facts. Being a black woman in Minnesota is very difficult on all fronts. Socially, romantically, economically and residentially. If you’re planning on moving to Minnesota, don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you are not open to interracial dating this is NOT the city for you to live in long term.

I am mixed so please refrain from calling me racist because I do not desire men outside my father’s race (African American) because it is who I relate to best.

The dating scene and social life of African Americans are almost non-existent in places like Minnesota and Iowa. It seems the only way into the circle of white privilege in Minnesota and Iowa is to date a white person, marry and breed so that hopefully one of their kinfolks can put a good word in for you at a corporation you are seeking employment at.

Social Capital – Relationships, clicks and groups blacks are refused entry into.

mn lol

I am analyzing whether or not I want to continue to live in Minnesota because the odds are stacked so high against me. My dating life is mediocre at best because I lack the desire to date outside my race. Black men are scarce and most of them are dating non-black women. Black women are demanding unrealistic expectations of black men because we live in an illusion, most black men are broke yet we expect them to take care of us.

Black men are 40% unemployed, they need our support, not our ignorant criticism. Employment is tough for black women considering we get paid the least for the same positions as white females. The chances of promotion are slim to none and the chances you’ll file discrimination against your employer at some point in your life in Minnesota is 100% guaranteed.

Buying a home in Minnesota? Watch out! Most banks in the Twin Cities will deny you despite your perfect credit score or offer you a predatory loan you will more than likely default on.

Midwest Jim Crow is in full effect. Below I listed the worst cities for African-American in the United States and it is NO coincidence all 10 Cities are in the Midwest.

Source: Huffington Post –

10. Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA
> Pct. residents black:
> Population: 169,993
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 54.9%
> Black unemployment rate: 24.0%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 4.9%

Based on a range of socioeconomic factors, Waterloo-Cedar Falls is the 10th worst urban area for black Americans. The metro area is at once relatively difficult to live in as a black person, and relatively favorable for white people. For example, the median income for black households was equal to less than 56% of income for a typical white household, which at $54,802 was slightly lower than the national median but still higher than in most metro areas.

While the Waterloo area labor market is relatively strong overall, black residents clearly do not have the same job opportunities as their white peers. The unemployment rate among black residents of 24% — the sixth highest among black city-populations — is in stark contrast with the white unemployment rate of just 3.9% — one of the lowest such rates.

ALSO READ: America’s Most Segregated Cities

9. Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA
> Pct. residents black:
> Population: 611,549
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 57.1%
> Black unemployment rate: 10.6%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 4.2%

The more than 30,000 Des Moines residents identifying as black make up just 5% of the population. However, as Wilson suggested, African Americans in communities with relatively small black populations may be even worse off. In the Des Moines area, racial disparities are indeed especially pervasive. Just 33% of black households are owned by their occupants, for example, versus the homeownership rate of 72.2% among white families. Also, while 38.0% of white adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, 20.5% of black area adults have the equivalent education.

Despite the difficulties facing Des Moines black communities, the area’s black unemployment rate of 10.6% was lower than the national black jobless rate of 13.2% — one of only three of the 10 worst cities for African Americans with a black unemployment rate not exceeding the national rate. Still, the black jobless rate was several times higher than the 4.2% jobless rate among white residents, itself one of the lowest in the country.

ALSO READ: 10 States with the Most Gun Violence

8. Kankakee, IL
> Pct. residents black:
> Population: 111,375
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 48.7%
> Black unemployment rate: 20.6%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 8.1%

More than one in five black workers in Kankakee is unemployed. The black unemployment rate exceeds 20% in only 16 other U.S. cities, three of them among the worst cities for African Americans. Lack of job opportunities likely contribute to a higher poverty rate among black residents. At nearly 40%, the poverty rate among black residents is not only far higher than the comparable rate for white residents of 7.3%, but also one of the highest in the nation. A typical black Kankakee household earns $31,119 annually, lower than the median annual income for black households nationwide, and less than half the median income for white Kankakee households.

The Kankakee metro area is about an hour’s drive from Chicago. It is also one of four metro areas located in Illinois on this list.

7. Lima, OH
> Pct. residents black:
> Population: 105,040
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 36.5%
> Black unemployment rate: 22.9%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 5.7%

The typical black household in Lima makes just 36.5% of what the typical area white household earns annually, a smaller share than anywhere else in the country. Median annual income among white households is $49,125, more than $31,000 greater than the median income among black households of $17,908. High poverty rates accompany the low income in Lima. While 12.4% of whites live in poverty, more than 46% of the city’s black population are living below the povertyline.

Socioeconomic disparities are likely driving the income gaps among Lima’s black and white populations. The unemployment rate among the city’s black workers is nearly 23%, more than triple the 7.1% rate among the city’s white workers. The difference in educational attainment by race is similarly striking. While more than 90% of white residents have at least a high school diploma, less than three quarters of Lima’s black population has a similar level of education.

ALSO READ: 10 Cities Where You Don’t Want to Get Sick

6. Peoria, IL
> Pct. residents black:
> Population: 379,520
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 49.1%
> Black unemployment rate: 16.5%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 7.2%

Located in central Illinois, Peoria is one of the worst cities in the country for blackAmericans. The poverty rate of 28.2% among the city’s black population is well above the poverty rate among the city’s white residents of 10.4%. Similarly, the median annual income of $58,563 for white households is more than double the annual income of $28,777 for a typical black household.

While black Americans are about five times more likely to be incarcerated than their white counterparts, in Illinois, they are more than eight times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. As is the case in many other U.S. cities, the incarceration rate is likely far higher in urban areas such as Peoria.

5. Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI
> Pct. residents black:
> Population: 1,027,703
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 44.6%
> Black unemployment rate: 13.0%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 5.0%

Slightly more than 1 million people live in the Grand Rapids-Wyoming metro area. The typical black household in Grand Rapids earns $25,495 annually, less than half of the $57,186 the typical white household earns and also about $10,000 less than the $35,481 the typical American black household earns in a year. High income disparity between the area’s black and white residents has likely contributed to disparate poverty rates. About 38% of the black residents in Grand Rapids live in poverty, nearly four times the 10.3% poverty rate among the area’s white population.

Over 2,000 black people per 100,000 residents are incarcerated in Michigan, lower than the nationwide black incarceration rate. However, black Michigan residents are still nearly six times more likely than their white peers to go to jail or prison, slightly higher than the nationwide black to white incarceration ratio.

ALSO READ: America’s Richest (and Poorest) States

4. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
> Pct. residents black:
> Population: 9,553,810
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 50.1%
> Black unemployment rate: 18.5%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 7.0%

Slightly more than 7% of white Chicago area residents live in poverty, while the povertyrate for the city’s black population is nearly 30%. Similarly, while 43.7% of white adults had at least a college degree, 21.8% of black adult Chicagoans were college educated. In addition to socioeconomic racial disparities, black area residents had far higher mortality rates compared to white residents. The Chicago metro area black population leads the nation with 1,550 deaths per 100,000 African Americans in a year, versus the mortality rate for white Chicagoans of 713 per 100,000 white people.

Chicago is one of the nation’s most diverse cities. It is also one of the nation’s most segregated, however, and in the city’s neighborhoods there is little racial diversity. Wilson explained that outcomes worsen for anyone — black or white — living under poor socioeconomic conditions. However, she added, not only do black urban dwellers suffer more under such conditions, but also racial inequality and segregation are themselves harmful to communities.

3. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
> Pct. residents black:
> Population: 3,495,176
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 37.9%
> Black unemployment rate: 12.8%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 3.9%

One of the largest metropolitan areas in the country, the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area is home to nearly 3.5 million people. It is also one of the worst cities for black Americans. The disparity between the median householdincomes of white and black residents is especially stark. The typical white household earns about $73,700 annually, one of the highest incomes in the country. The typical area black household, meanwhile, earns just under $28,000 annually. Low wages often come with high unemployment rates. While only 3.9% of all Twin City residents are unemployed, one of the lowest figures in the country, the unemployment rate among the city’s black residents is 12.8%.

About 20% of the area’s black residents have at least a bachelor’s degree, roughly in line with the corresponding national rate. Still, more than 35% of the area’s black population lives in poverty, a significantly higher rate than the 27% of black Americans living below the poverty line.

ALSO READ: America’s Most and Least Educated States: A Survey of All 50

2. Rockford, IL
> Pct. residents black:
> Population: 342,411
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 44.2%
> Black unemployment rate: 28.9%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 8.3%

Located less than 100 miles northwest of Chicago, Rockford is home to about 342,400 people. Rockford is struggling economically. The area’s unemployment rate of 8.3% is more than 2 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate of 6.2%. While pooreconomic conditions affect everyone, the city’s black population has been hit the hardest.

Of the 201 metro areas examined, the median income of $22,651 among black households in Rockford is lower than in all but 10 other cities and significantly lower than the $51,264 median income among white households. Even more astounding, 28.9% of the city’s black working population is unemployed, a larger share than in any other city in the country. Thepoverty rate among the city’s black residents is 43.1%, over four times the city’s white poverty rate.

1. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
> Pct. residents black:
> Population: 1,572,245
> Black median household income as pct. of white: 41.6%
> Black unemployment rate: 17.2%
> Unemployment rate, all people: 6.0%

Like in other parts of the Midwest, large numbers of African Americans travelled to the Milwaukee area in the 1960s to take advantage of the booming manufacturing industry. Soon after a black community formed, however, the city’s industrial base all but collapsed, contributing to racial disparities in the region. An estimated 16.7% of the Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis metro area identify as black, higher than the nationwide proportion. In Milwaukee proper, however, roughly 40% of the population identifies as black.

A recent report from researchers at UCLA found that African American high school students were more likely to be suspended in Wisconsin than in any other state. The plight of students in the Milwaukee area — the worst city for black Americans — is perhaps even worse. The difference between white and black high school attainment in the area, at 94.9% and 80.7% the respective adult populations, is 14.2 percentage points, nearly double the national average disparity. White area households are relatively wealthy compared to thenation, with a median income of $61,675. Black area households, on the other hand, are relatively poor, with a median income of just $25,646. This was one of the nation’s largest income disparities.

ALSO READ: The Most Dangerous Cities in America

To determine the 10 worst cities for black Americans, 24/7 Wall St. created an index of nine measures to assess race-based gaps in access to resources and opportunities in each metropolitan area, rather than measure the availability of resources and opportunities in the city. Creating the index in this way ensured that states were ranked based on differences between black and white Americans and not levels of socioeconomic development. For each measure, we constructed an index from the gaps between black and white Americans. The index was standardized using interdecile normalization so outliers in the data did not skew results. We excluded metro areas where black residents comprised less than 5% of the population.

To construct the index, we used 2014 data from the U.S. Census Bureau on medianhousehold income, educational attainment rates, homeownership rates, the percentage of people without health insurance, and unemployment rates. Data on incarceration rates came from The Sentencing Project and are for the most recent available year. Because states, rather than metro areas, are responsible for the prison population, incarceration rates are for the state where the metro area is located. If a metro area spanned more than one state, we used the state in which the metro area’s principal city is located. From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we used age-adjusted mortality rates by race for each county in the U.S. from 2009-2013 to calculate mortality rates at the metro level using a variation on the indirect standardization method. Incarceration and mortality rates are per 100,000 residents.

Dear Racist Grandfather

Profile of little African girl writing  in classroom.
Profile of little African girl writing in classroom.

I remember that rainy day. The sky was a heavy gray, clouds were low and depressed as if the sky wanted to collapse and submerge into earth.

Even clouds don’t want to fly sometimes. We think ecstasy is in the sky but we learn that there is freedom in the fall.

When we surrender. Gravity is a fierce teacher.

Like all the bodies do when they get buried from gun violence. Bang bang is all I heard. I smell gun smoke mixed with the smell of ghetto rain, someone down the street was frying chicken too. When aromas merged they stink. The urban life.

I turned to my mother who was desperately rummaging through papers on the kitchen table. Rollers in her hair, her night gown unbuttoned on the top. I could see her pale white breast as she slouched over, eyes piercing blue with a watery gloss over them.

She was about to cry.

“What’s wrong mommy?” I asked with a shaking voice. Afraid of the answer.

Tears raced down her red cheeks. She put her hands over her face as if she was ashamed of crying. But crying was brave in my eyes. Hiding feelings was cowardly. Hiding feelings is what I did often as a child.

Finally she blurted out the words like she suffered from a severe version of terrets and said, “My father just died.” I walked up to her to give her a reluctant hug. She wrapped one arm around me loosely for two seconds then quickly turned away.

Mommy wasn’t very affectionate. And I never knew my grandfather so I couldn’t share in her grief. All I knew was his name was Lawrence. He is German and he once threatened my fathers life with a gun.

My grandfather didn’t want his daughter dating an African American man. He disowned her and all of her kids. I felt unloved from a young age. From racist family members who never even considered meeting me, not even on their death bed, just because of my genetic blessing of melanin.

Thankfully, I’m beyond his disdain for me. I heard he was a proud Christian but white supremacy was his real religion. Racism before God for his kind. Of course if the world truly practiced it’s so called religions, the world would be damn near perfect. Heaven would anchor down to earth…

The comedian George Lopez talked about racism during one of his shows. He said “Mexicans have two rules, don’t marry a black person and don’t Park in front of my house.”

Most immigrants and older generation white Americans have that rule. I don’t take offense to it now but as a biracial child it cut at my heart. Seeing my mother suffer because she loved a man that society taught her to hate. People think racism towards blacks is an American thing. Nah, it’s everywhere and in every country. Ask me how it feels to be hated for my DNA. Ask me how I manage to carry on carrying it. Ask me…

One thing is for sure, mommy went against the grain. I don’t descend from sheep, I was birthed by a soldier of love.

I still blink twice and swallow hard as I stare at Her. Even today, her wrinkles on her face can trace a maze of pain, but mostly triumph and raw, down to the bone, pure love!

The unapologetic bravery and supreme level of not giving a fuck she emits, her aura is not even a color, it’s an element, fire!

Her warmth unprecedented.

And fuck you Lawrence Von Raduenz, the grandpa who put his racism before his so-called god and before his family.

Before his humanity

Before his daughter

Before me.

This is how iron is split open. When they hate that you LOVE.

By Janell Hihi