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OP-ED: Why I’m Visiting the Border

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “I shook hands with a 13 year-old-boy whose mother told him to make eye contact and shake hands firmly. Even in the midst of horrific living conditions and imprisonment, children at the facility are still being taught to treat people with respect, while being treated less than human…”

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The crisis at the border will now create a new generation of people of color that will be reeling from the discriminatory policies of the Trump Administration.

By Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO

As I ventured to the southern border near Laredo, Texas, I could not help but think about the tragic shootings in El Paso and Dayton, which are stark reminders of the dangers that plague our communities under the resurgence of white nationalism, domestic terrorism, intolerance and racial hatred germinating from the White House.

People of color are feeling less safe today and any day when we see the realities of domestic terrorism and racially-motivated acts of violence.

However, we’ve yet to see any tangible measures and policy initiatives from President Trump, only the repeated dehumanization of people who are the opposite image of what this administration believes Americans should look like.

This is why it was imperative that the NAACP traveled to Texas, not only to raise awareness and visibility of the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the border but to examine the current plight of immigrants that have been demonized and made actual targets of Trump’s hate filled rhetoric.

As I walked through the doors of The Holding Institute – a non-profit community center located in Laredo that is committed to alleviating the cruel and inhumane conditions faced by immigrants – I was told that the facility can service as many as 25-100 people a day. Prior to coming to the facility, all processing documentation is given to people in English, which makes it more likely to be processed inaccurately and not properly vetted.

I heard stories of immigrants from Ghana, Congo, and Angola who traveled to Brazil to assist with the construction for the 2016 Olympics, who were kicked out of their home countries and remain at the border seeking asylum. This was a much-needed reminder that the immigration crisis doesn’t just reside within the Hispanic and Latin American community but touches Black people, and people of color from all over the world.

I met a woman named Maricella who had to leave her teenage daughter in Honduras. She traveled 22 days from her country to the border where she was separated from her 27-year-old son and has not seen him since. She now fears bringing her daughter to the border as most young girls have a high-likelihood of being sold into sex-trafficking.

I was also told a story of a young mother and daughter being held at a nearby detention center, who had not had a warm bath in months and were only allowed one-COLD burrito to eat a day to share between the two of them.

I shook hands with a 13 year-old-boy whose mother told him to make eye contact and shake hands firmly. Even in the midst of horrific living conditions and imprisonment, children at the facility are still being taught to treat people with respect, while being treated less than human.

As a community of people who were ripped away from our homeland 400 years ago, Black America understands the detrimental effects of family separation.

The century that followed our emancipation saw the creation of policies that discriminate against Black people and largely excluded them from wealth building, creating an inherited disadvantage for future generations.

Trump’s handling of the immigration system is racist, petty and inhumane. He is doing all he can to punish immigrants that he believes are undeserving this country and uses this as a rallying cry for his base.

The crisis at the border will now create a new generation of people of color that will be reeling from the discriminatory policies of the Trump Administration.

My heart may have been troubled when I left the facility but our work at the border doesn’t stop here. In the face of this cruelty, the NAACP – as always – is refusing to agonize, and instead, will continue to organize. We will demand that the Trump Administration and Congress:

  • Immediately remove the “zero tolerance” and “family separation” policies;
  • Limit the time to detain children to 20 days and requires immigration officials to give detained minors a certain quality of life (including food, drinking water, medical assistance in emergencies, toilets, sinks, temperature control);
  • Demand appropriate adequate funding to correct the cruel and inhumane conditions of detention centers and alleviate the current hearings backlog, shortage of judges and administrators to discharge asylum petitions;
  • Call for a moratorium on deportation raids; and
  • Continue to file lawsuits in defense of DREAMERS and on behalf of thousands of hard-working individuals negatively impacted by xenophobia and racist immigration policies

This country was built on the backs of slaves and immigrants. Now is not the time to turn away from the crisis at hand but work to create realistic, sustainable and effective pathways to citizenship for immigrants in America.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.

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#5.19.2022 HEADLINES

Buffalo’s Masten Park is one of the many Black neighborhoods across the country that has limited access to grocery stores selling …
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Buffalo’s Masten Park is one of the many Black neighborhoods across the country that has limited access to grocery stores selling …

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The Stigma Around Male Domestic Violence

NNPA NEWSWIRE — In an article done by the World Economic Forum, Vanita Sundaram stated that among the young people she spoke to about whether or not violence was unacceptable provided a variety of responses, with them stating that men are innately violent. Women hitting men was seen as “unproblematic,” with people arguing that women are physically weaker and frail (thus, their use of violence was less significant).
The post The Stigma Around Male Domestic Violence first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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How do we discuss this issue and what can we ultimately do to help?

By Brianna Patt

How Male Abuse is Minimized

In an op-ed by Neffer Kerr titled, “Strong & Silent: Breaking the Stigma of Abuse Because Black Men Are Victims, Too,” by Ebony Magazine, Kerr recalls learning that her male friend, who was over six feet tall and gave off a facade of confidence, was being abused. All of these issues entered the forefront of her mind when Yasmine Elder killed Darius Ellis in 2017, forcing him to drink bleach. Kerr went on to express the dichotomy that male victims face due to how we view Black men, as well as calling for the creation of safe spaces for them to seek the help they need.

“We need to make sure we are open to what someone is saying and not negating their experience by telling them they are allowing it to happen or laughing at them because of their gender. The most detrimental thing you can do to someone who is attempting to share their pain is to minimize, ridicule, or call them a names. We always claim we want the men in our lives to be honest with us, but that cannot happen in an emotionally hostile or dismissive environment. Abuse knows no color, race, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, or gender,” Kerr said.

According to Analysis of Family Violence Fatalities in 2020 found that of the 228 Texans killed by their intimate partners, 40 women killed their male partners, a 28% increase from 2018 and 2019, with 30% being Black.

The downplaying and ridicule male abuse victims face is something, according to Ryan Thomas, Community Education Program Manager at Hope’s Door New Beginning Center, linked to how children are socialized.

“From a young age, girls are taught to disregard their boundaries, or you have to let boys cross if it’s because of love or affection, and boys were told, “stiff upper lip, don’t cry, you play like a girl.” So, we’re taught from a young age to devalue women. Society wants us to be in the “man box.” So, men are supposed to be dominant and aggressive and all this stuff. That sets up a hierarchy already where one gender has power and control over the other. Essentially one’s dominant, one’s submissive and that’s the exact power and control dynamics of an abusive relationship. Society tells us that men should be dominant and women submissive. So, this doesn’t line up with reality, that oftentimes men are abused. So, those gender stereotypes- we know that the more than someone adheres to them more strictly, the more likely they are to be accepting, abuse or violence in a relationship both as the abuser and as the victim as well,” Thomas said.

In an article done by the World Economic Forum, Vanita Sundaram stated that among the young people she spoke to about whether or not violence was unacceptable provided a variety of responses, with them stating that men are innately violent. Women hitting men was seen as “unproblematic,” with people arguing that women are physically weaker and frail (thus, their use of violence was less significant).

“This distinction between different forms of violence makes wholesale prevention difficult. Given that gender appears to be a primary influence on young people’s views on violence, schools should prioritize teaching about equality between the genders in order to effectively challenge the acceptance and justification of some forms of violent behavior,” Sundaram said.

The Effects of Domestic Violence On Men

Thomas points out that while the physical scars of the abuse men face will inevitably dissipate the deeper wounds are emotional.

“The pain is temporary but being made to feel stupid, ugly, worthless, lazy. That lasts a whole lifetime. And so that’s also minimized as men are not allowed to show emotions. So being made to feel stupid or to wear this and lazy, doesn’t just show on the outside,” Thomas said.

In a paper titled, “Black Men’s Intimate Partner Violence Victimization, HelpSeeking, and Barriers to Help-Seeking,” Meagan A. Stewart explains that for Black men, there’s pressure to maintain “hegemonic masculinity” (the masculine ideal that society tells men to aspire to and the standards against which men are compared). However, due to white supremacy, they can’t get these masculine ideals and are instead stereotyped. Stewart argues that this leads to an environment where Black men are less likely to be believed about their abuse.

“Men of Color are often unable to reach hegemonic masculine ideals due to white supremacy embedded within these ideals (Connell & Messerschmidt, 2005; Romero, 2017). Black men specifically have been stereotyped to be aggressive, hypersexual, routinely labeled as criminals (Collins, 2009; Roth, 2004), and have a history of police, legal system, and medical maltreatment (Griffith et al., 2011; Jaiswal & Halkitis, 2019). These contexts create an environment where Black men may not seek IPV-related help when needed, and if they do, they might experience disbelief by professionals and systems, and encounter police brutality as assumed perpetrators (Fugate et al., 2005; Graham et al., 2020; Jaiswal & Halkitis, 2019),” Stewart said.

According to Thomas, the effects of intimate partner violence on men range from physical issues like a shortened life expectancy to mental health issues.

“Devastating losses to life expectancy and health, all sorts of physical ailments like Alzheimer’s, and of course, cortisol and adrenaline, pumping through a system that can have not only those physical effects which could be stomach issues. It could be complex PTSD, anxiety, depression and self-destructive behaviors. I think the emotional toll that it takes, often, the deepest and then the things that we can you know when we’re young filter, you know, forever retained a kind of, you know, how we are going to react in future situations and so, the real tragedy of the year and so, that gets passed down generations,” Thomas said.

As for what we can do both systemically and individually to help work against intimate partner violence, Thomas states we should work to stop using gendered reasons for how we treat others. He also states that when helping victims, we should focus on offering concern and validation.

“The goal for anybody should be to show concern and validate. Hey, I see you, and I’m concerned, I’m worried about your safety. Then how can I help you explore options and resources? How can I support you in that endeavor, rather than saying, “you need to get out.” Because what makes somebody a victim of abuse is that somebody is constantly telling them what to do with that power and control. So even if we’re trying to be helpful to a loved one, and say, “You need to get out, we’re disempowering them.” So really, it’s about understanding that anybody can be a victim of abuse, it doesn’t discriminate- grandson’s abuse grandmother, males abuse males. We don’t have to be experts in it. We just have to be compassionate human beings,” he said.

The Mend Project refers to this as harmful, and backs Thomas’ statement, arguing that it can be beneficial to the well being of the victim.

“On the other hand, providing much-needed emotional validation is easy to do and will go a long way in helping the victim. Emotional validation is the process of learning about, understanding and expressing acceptance of another person’s emotional experience. You do not need to understand their emotional experience, agree with it, or know the facts behind it in order to validate it,”

Thomas also states that women are not the main assailants, which leaves a gap in the abuse that women perpetuate against men, which goes unnoticed.

“It’s more likely that for the women who do perpetrate violence against men, they’re not the primary aggressors. That does leave, of course, this gaping hole of women who do use and are violent towards men, right. They’ll oftentimes that’s not noticed, or it’s overshadowed because of you know, the stigma. But I always just like to say, women do suffer disproportionately more,” he said.

Hope for Change & Understanding

While Thomas hopes the recent Depp vs Heard defamation trial can shine a light on this issue, he still does not see much change on the horizon.

“I think if any positive that could happen is that the recognition that this- whether it did or not happen to whomever-it could happen to men, right? It can have just the same social, psychological, emotional and social consequences. For the children, we cannot forget about the kids who are witnessing this are going to be much more likely to grow up to be abusive or victims themselves. But the short answer is no, I haven’t seen that stigma change much yet,” he said.

Thomas states that we can better understand intimate partner violence than men are afflicted with, we must better understand abuse as a whole.

“I think understanding that domestic abuse is about power and control and that it’s not about why you stay or reasons to stay. It’s what are the barriers to leaving, right? Because only when we can understand the whole power control dynamic, can we then understand the barriers? And then can we find a pathway out of that forest,” he said.

Resources for Black Men Facing Domestic Violence:

Hotline Resource: thehotline.org/what-to-expect-when-you-contact-us

Shelters for Male Victims: FamilyPlace.org

The post The Stigma Around Male Domestic Violence first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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FILM REVIEW: The Bad Guys is a Good Film for Everyone

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Coupled with a duplicitous diabolical villain Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade) and overzealous police chief Misty Luggins (Alex Borstein), The Good Guys is an animated film that teaches integrity and important life lessons without sounding preachy. What’s even better about this film are the Easter Eggs (intertextual references) strewn throughout the film referencing iconic heist and action-comedy films like this one.
The post FILM REVIEW: The Bad Guys is a Good Film for Everyone first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Nsenga K. Burton, National Newspaper Publishers Association Culture and Entertainment Editor

Summer brings beaches, bikinis, barbecues, and blockbusters at the movies. While folks are planning outings to see Top Gun, Jurassic Park Dominion, Thor: Love and Thunder and DC League of Super Pets, they might want to make room for The Bad Guys, an animated film about a group of animal outlaws who execute a legendary heist. Although this film is not a summer blockbuster (it was released in April), it is fun and imaginative and has as much entertainment value for parents as it has for kids.

Based on a New York Times best-selling book series, the motley crew of criminals go on a mission to pull-off their biggest heist ever. When the heist goes awry, the crew must pull-off the biggest scam of their lifetime – becoming good guys. Played out against the backdrop of New York City, the crew must figure out who they are and who they want to be and in the spirit of Oceans 11, look good while doing it.

The Dreamworks action comedy has some heavy hitters voicing the team. Academy Award winner Sam Rockwell plays Mr. Wolf, a flashy pickpocket who is the leader of the pack. His lifetime best friend and safe cracker Mr. Snake (Marc Maron), master-of-disguise Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson), hot-head enforcer Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos) and expert hacker Ms. Tarantula a.k.a. Webs (Awkwafina) round out the crew too bad to be good.

The names are reminiscent of a classic Quentin Tarantino film as is the action that takes viewers all over the island of Manhattan with complex car chases, daring escapes, slick heists and the “hot guy” (Mr. Wolf) dancing around a romance with Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz), the Governor of California with a secret past of her own.

Coupled with a duplicitous diabolical villain Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade) and overzealous police chief Misty Luggins (Alex Borstein), The Good Guys is an animated film that teaches integrity and important life lessons without sounding preachy. What’s even better about this film are the Easter Eggs (intertextual references) strewn throughout the film referencing iconic heist and action-comedy films like this one. There’s nothing better than a children’s film that speaks to adult audiences without ruining it for either group.

The Bad Guys is a film for everyone. So, grab the kids for an afternoon of fun at the movies. Thank me later.

The Bad Guys is playing at a theater near you. For couch squatters, The Bad Guy is currently streaming on Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime and YouTube.

This article was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., entertainment, and culture editor for NNPA/Black Press USA Newswire. She is also founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire, and award-winning news blog covering the African Diaspora. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual or Instagram @TheBurtonWire.

The post FILM REVIEW: The Bad Guys is a Good Film for Everyone first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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