SPECIAL EDITION FRIDAY: Black Racism Worst Than This Protest
The following issue was addressed by “WeThePeople.” I not only agree 100 percent, but I stamp my imprimatur upon it. If these people want to complain and accuse others of racism: let them complain about killing one another and rejecting modernity; if they want to accuse America of institutional and systemic racism, let them attack Planned Parenthood, for there is no greater symbol of racism and planned systematic extermination than that which Planned Parenthood was founded upon and remains committed to until this very moment.
BEGIN READING HERE:
MY GOD ALMIGHTY, HAVE PEOPLE GONE INSANE???….USING (UNFOUNDED), RACISM TO GET A MANUFACTURER TO STOP MAKING “FLAVORED NICOTINE”??…HAS THIS AMERICA GONE MAD??
Hoisting neon green signs reading “Black lives, Black lungs,” 10 prominent Black leaders gathered outside Tempe City Hall on Thursday to voice their frustration and call on the City Council to rethink its decision not to ban flavored nicotine.
Since August 2022, Tempe has been on the cusp of becoming the first municipality in Arizona to follow the lead of cities such as Boston and San Francisco in banning flavored cigarettes, cigars, and vape products. But after the proposal came under fire for factual errors, its impact on Arab business owners and hookah users, and unintended consequences such as fueling a black market, city leaders opted to swap the flavor ban for a seller’s license program.
Anti-smoking activists say the City Council’s action isn’t enough to curb the use of vapes by children in schools and combat the marketing of harmful tobacco products to Black people.
It was no coincidence that the demonstration was held during Black History Month, organizers said.
“It’s not just a health issue,” Tempe-based journalist Floyd Galvin Galloway said at the protest. “It’s a social justice issue.”
Menthol cigarettes are disproportionately used by Black smokers — 85 percent of Black smokers use them compared with just 29 percent of white smokers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preference for menthol cigarettes also is disproportionately high among LGBTQ smokers, smokers with mental health problems, low-income people, and pregnant women, according to a press release from Flavors Hook Kids Tempe, an arm of the national Flavors Hook Kids coalition.
Flavors Hook Kids Tempe joined 20 Black advocacy groups, including the East Valley NAACP, at the protest last week.
“Black lungs and Black lives matter,” said the coalition’s leader, Channel Powe. “Tempe City Council needs to have the moral courage to do what’s right.”
More than 45,000 Black people die every year in the U.S. due to tobacco-related diseases, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Half of youth who try smoking start with menthol-flavored cigarettes.
Phoenix pastor Thomas Russell, who represents the African-American Christian Clergy Coalition, compared the overrepresentation of Black people in tobacco-related deaths to the systemic murder of more than 6 million Jewish people in Nazi Germany.
“I’m just going to call it like it is. There is a definition that fits this situation, and it’s called genocide,” Russell said. “Genocide is the deliberate killing of an ethnic type of people, intentionally targeting them to kill them — to wipe them out.”
‘Legalized Drug Dealers’
Chandler mother Cynthia Smitherman lost her son, Rodney Michael Smith, to a tobacco-related disease. She called smoke shop owners “legalized drug dealers.”
“Let’s get angry. Why? Because we have been manipulated, used, and disrespected,” she said. “Our lives have been thrown aside like a fully smoked cigarette. We are simply a means to make the rich get richer.”
Smitherman cited the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey from the CDC, which found that 3 million middle and high school students had smoked nicotine in the past year. That this number is less than half of the 6.2 million schoolchildren who admitted to smoking in 2019. Last year’s numbers also were the lowest in recorded history.
“The tobacco industry has one saying: ‘We don’t smoke the shit. We leave that to the poor, the young, the Blacks,’” Smitherman said. This quote was allegedly the response of an R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. representative when asked in 1997 why none of the company’s executives smoked, according to the National Library of Medicine.
The broad proposed ban that Smitherman is pushing for could impact Black adults who are trying to quit smoking menthols. A peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2020 found that adults who use flavored nicotine products were nearly three times more likely to quit smoking cigarettes than those using unflavored vapes.
But Black leaders such as David Jones, a community coordinator with Tanner Community Development Corp., would rather see a total ban on flavored nicotine products in Tempe with the hope that a similar ban would be adopted statewide. Tanner is a Phoenix-based family resource center that provides support programs for low-income families in Arizona
“If you want a healthier community, why put unhealthy things in it?” Jones asked. “I’m hoping this gathering of all of us coming together this morning makes a difference.”
About the Author
Mychal S. Massie is an ordained minister who spent 13 years in full-time Christian Ministry. Today he serves as founder and Chairman of the Racial Policy Center (RPC), a think tank he officially founded in September 2015. RPC advocates for a colorblind society. He was founder and president of the non-profit “In His Name Ministries.” He is the former National Chairman of a conservative Capitol Hill think tank; and a former member of the think tank National Center for Public Policy Research. Read entire bio here