The Western Journal of Black Studies

Volume 30, Issue 1

Reassessing the Sources of Racial and
Ethnic Disparities in U. S. Adult Mortality
Augustine J. Kposowa—University of California, Riverside
Davison Bideshi—University of California, Riverside

The purpose of the study was to examine racial and ethnic disparities in all-cause mortality, and deaths stemming from 8 of the leading causes in the United States. It was hypothesized that African Americans and other disadvantaged minorities will experience higher overall risks of deaths than whites. Data employed were from the U.S. National Longitudinal Mortality Study to estimate the effect of race on all-cause and specific cause-specific mortality. Statistical methods used included Cox proportional hazards regression. It was observed that African Americans had mortality risks that were 15% higher than whites. Asians and Hispanics had lower overall mortality risks than whites. African Americans had much higher mortality risks than whites on three of the leading causes of death. It was concluded that the observed effect of African American race on mortality cannot be explained by socioeconomic and demographic factors alone. Lower Hispanic mortality was explained within the framework of immigration. Other reasons for the observed effect of race on mortality were explored in the study.
pp. 1-14

A New Model For Developing Technology and
Manufacturing Initiatives for Sub-Saharan Africa

William Ebomoyi—Chicago State University
Siaw Akwawua—University of Northern Colorado

Following the proposed geopolitical model for the development of Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA), this project explores the strategy for raw material sourcing, innovative processes for converting crude-materials into finished products and the educational curriculum to promote sustainability. The Venn diagram in the model identifies the link between manufacturing technology, human resource development and sustainability. The rationale for this model is the alleviation of suffering among SSA people and their emancipation from the tragedy of ignorance, poverty and diseases. Existing challenges of the model include the consequences of globalization, weak public health infrastructure and inadequate manufacturing base. We therefore emphasize the introduction of technologically –driven curriculum to infuse a profound background in information technology to enhance acquisition of knowledge needed for human resource development, capital in-flow and social economic-development of SSA people.
pp. 15-24

Quest for Identity in Richard Wright’s The Outsider:
An Existentialist Approach

Umar Abdurrahman—International Islamic University, Malaysia

The paper critically examines Richard Wright’s The Outsider as an existentialist novel. Using different critical approaches, it probes the personality of Cross Damon not only as a black man in quest for identity but also as an existential hero. Jean Paul Sartre’s philosophy of existentialism is used as the basis of exploration of the predicament on Cross Damon on his existential journey. References are also made of the profound influence of Sartre’s existentialist theory on major writers including Richard Wright. Specifically, a parallel is drawn between Albert Camus’s The Outsider and Wright’s own novel in which similarities in characterization and theme are drawn. The analysis of the character of Cross Damon both as a black man and an existentialist has revealed Wright’s disillusionment with communism and existentialism.
pp. 25-34

International Concern for Haitians in the Diaspora
Jake C. Miller—Professor Emeritus, Bethune-Cookman College

Because of economic and political conditions in Haiti during the last quarter of the Twentieth Century, many Haitians sought refuge or work in nearby countries. While some entered these countries legally, most entered or sought to enter by non-traditional means. Both the danger they risked in attempting to reach a “better land”, and their receptions upon arrival have been the concern of the international community. This paper is an assessment of the international response to Haitians in the United States, Dominican Republic and Bahamas Islands, who have been the victims, or alleged victims of discrimination because of race or nationality.
pp. 35-45

The “Art and Protest” in Ralph Ellison’s “Anticommunist Rhetoric”
Amy E. Carreiro—University of Tulsa

This paper analyzes Tupac Shakur’s Greatest Hits (1998) to reveal: 1) Shakur’s rhetoric employs three African American cultural values (the oral tradition, a diunital orientation, and spirituality), which further defines the unique characteristics that comprise African American discourse; 2) when interpreting Shakur’s message through the lens of African American cultural values, his Greatest Hits functions as a musical autobiography that constructs identity and provides a voice for the Black youth culture. Given these two findings, Shakur extends the cultural values that underlie African American rhetoric to construct a message that is more complex, enlightened, and introspective than what tends to characterize the public criticism of gangsta rap. A rhetorical criticism of Shakur’s Greatest Hits also highlights how using cultural values as a theoretical framework is a way for rhetorical scholars to demonstrate a more complete understanding of the cultural meaning of texts that are created and consumed in the African American community.
pp. 46-53

NAACP Support of the Vietnam War: 1963–1969

Glen Inghram—Empire State College

Roy Wilkins, head of the NAACP during the Vietnam War, provided strong support for President Lyndon B. Johnson’s policy in Vietnam. Wilkins shared a friendship with President Johnson as well as a concern for alienating a President who had done so much to advance the cause of civil rights for African-Americans. Wilkins set the tone for limiting, if not outright banning any critique of U.S. policy in Vietnam by NAACP officials very early in the war. Local NAACP officials were asked not to participate in anti-war demonstrations to avoid potential conflicts of interest between their personal views against the war and their roles as officers of the NAACP.

From 1963–1969, numerous articles, editorials, and photo essays within the pages of the Crisis highlighted the accomplishments of African-American involvement in the Vietnam conflict, the first racially integrated war fought by the U.S. government. During the same period, the NAACP received an increase in external funding of $2,212,000, suggesting that Wilkins’s policy of supporting Johnson’s policies in Vietnam were financially worth the efforts (at a time when other civil rights organizations that spoke out against the war watched their funding decline).
Wilkins also believed that the increasing role of young African-American males in Vietnam would further legitimize their overall stature within American society, a view also held by prominent leaders including Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Many of the soldiers approved of their participation in the war, with some even espousing views critical of Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali, and others who spoke out against the war. Armed service in Vietnam provided many African-Americans well-integrated soil upon which to prove their manhood—a manhood so many times denied within American society at large.

The year 1968 marked a turning point in the Vietnam War on a number of fronts. First, the Tet Offensive and the My Lai massacre offered the American public a glimmer of the reality of the situation in Vietnam, in contrast to the constructed reality provided by their government. Johnson’s decision not to run for a second term in 1968, the growing unpopularity of the war efforts, the rise of the Black Power movement, and increasing racial tensions both domestically and within the armed services ranks led Wilkins to shift his attention toward a critique of the Vietnam war under the Nixon administration.

NAACP support for the Vietnam War failed to adequately reconcile the increased economic and social standings of young African-American males with the high percentage of African-American soldiers who were killed or injured in combat. The emergence of the Black Power movement polarized young African-Americans against a historically conservative civil rights organization that, by the end of the 1960’s, could no longer connect with a majority of African-American youth, many of whom had grown disillusioned with the promises of integration.
pp. 54-61

Zora Neale Hurston’s Construction of Authenticity
Through Ethnographic Innovation

Jennifer Staple—Yale University

This paper examines the innovative ethnographic and dramatic techniques employed by Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston in her play “Mule Bone” (1930). Hurston engaged in the authentic inscription of her hometown’s culture (Eatonville, Florida) by integrating oral tradition, folklore, and fieldwork. Her innovative postmodernist style lifted the veil that had previously shrouded African American theater.
pp. 61-68


Book Reviews

White Money/Black Power:
The Surprising History of African American Studies
and the Crisis of Race in Higher Education

Author: Noliwe Rooks
Reviewer: Jonathan Fenderson,
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
pp. 69-70

Hoodoo: Transforming Arthur Flower’s
Another Good Loving Blues

Author: Arthur Flowers
Reviewer: Bess Montgomery
pp. 70-74

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