[Section Editor’s Note: The following contains an excerpt from “A Torchlight for America,” pages 148-150.]
Beyond preventing disease and cutting this country’s health-care bill, Black people in particular have even more reason to make a change and adopt healthful living as a priority. We already know we live in a racist society.
But did you know that the very stress of racism cripples us in a way that leaves us susceptible to illnesses and lifestyles that lead to illnesses and death? The constant ever presence of racism in every aspect of our lives triggers physiological responses that release hormones into the body that can harm us.
One leading doctor, Dr. John L. Mason, wrote in his book “Guide to Stress Reduction,” that “if a stress response is chronic, the constant presence of stress hormones begins to wear down the body’s immunological systems.”
The stress from the constant bombardment of racism, from our being in America under this system of hatred toward Black people, works to increase the heartbeat, tense the muscles, increase the blood pressure and ultimately release adrenaline and other hormones into the body. Without a physical outlet to free you of the buildup of these hormones and adrenaline, these things wear down the immunological systems and leave you vulnerable to illness and disease.
Or, you begin to seek mood-altering substances like drugs, alcohol, food, or even sex or violence to help make you feel better. After we destroy ourselves, through our response to the destructive enemy assault of racism, we then look to the doctor or the government to help us.
Let me remind you, the key to solving our problems begins with self-improvement. The government and the medical community cannot be relied on to solve our problems. Take cancer as an example. When former President Nixon launched the National Cancer Act in 1971, he funded the National Cancer Institute with a $1.4 billion annual budget.
Since that time there has been no marked improvement in cancer death rates. All we’ve received is warnings that smoking, improper diet, lack of exercise, getting an annual checkup, all of these simple guidelines to healthful living can dramatically reduce the risk of cancer.
However, according to the Public Health Service, given the excessive deaths in the Black community, the government has written off the possibility of closing the gap in the near future. And if we are written off in the near future, then what future is there in continuing to look to the government for help?
We must now look to God and ourselves for solutions to our problems. The route to economic and political empowerment begins with affirming the Will of God and living in accord with His directions. Why would we add poor health to a condition that is already economically, socially and politically disadvantaged?
We compound our own disadvantage by partaking of the slough-trough of the degenerate life of America’s popular culture instead of raising ourselves up and being a beacon of hope and an example to every oppressed group of people on the earth.
We need a healthy community to shoulder the responsibility of self-determination. You cannot fight for self-determination when you are at war with your own body and mind.
I’m urging you to adopt healthy lifestyles, not for vanity’s sake, but for the sake of our future, and our grandchildren’s future. Because without healthy, strong bodies, wise and disciplined minds, we only help the enemy by serving as the instruments of our own extinction.