Reform is insufficient. It’s time to democratize public safety.

Tim Wise · 8 min read

Police in Washington D.C. on June 2. Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

IfAmerica is to live, policing as we know it must die. It is that simple. If we aspire for it to become a multicultural, multiracial, and pluralistic democracy, America simply cannot go on this way much longer. Too many bodies are buried in the soil, too much blood has been spilled, and too many families have been shattered.

Those bodies and lives and families have been sacrificed in the name of law and order. But when the law becomes lawless, there is no order, and so here we are. We are watching it all collapse in real time, in HD, on the nightly news, on Twitter, on TikTok, as police respond to nonviolent protest with brutality. They gleefully shoot rubber bullets at journalistsmace children, and shove the elderly, anyone who dares criticize them for murdering black folks.

The back of the national camel has met its last straw.

That things are breaking down is no surprise. It is only surprising it has taken this long. The United States was conceived from the contradictory impulses of liberty and slavery, freedom, and oppression. It was forged from the fires of a fundamental incongruity: On the one hand, the inalienable rights of man, and on the other, the alienable lives of those deemed lesser than human.

Beset by its split personality from the beginning, America has demonstrated the impracticality of trying to walk the thin line between tyranny and liberty, of seeking to have it both ways. This doesn’t work. Once you establish a country around the precept some are to be free and others not, that some are to be protected and others subordinated, neither time nor pretty words will undo what has been done.

Law enforcement has always been the root of the problem. It is the fulcrum of white supremacy and has been so from the beginning. Remember, the Constitution says it right there in Article IV, Section 2:

No person held to service or labour in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labour may be due…

Shorter version: If an enslaved person runs away to a free state and we catch them, their ass is going back.

And who, one wonders, would be given the task of “delivering up” said runaways? It would be, of course, the 18th century’s equivalent of cops, whether recognized as members of an official law enforcement body or simply white men deputized by dint of their skin to act as such. Slave patrols had been operating since long before the nation was founded. Indeed, many white men over a certain age were required to participate in them. In this way, not only was the oppression of black people baked into the nation from the start, so too was the collaboration of white people.

It was part of the recipe. It was the yeast without which the bread would not have risen. It was the roux around which all other ingredients would blend. And how does one undo the gumbo once it has been simmering for hundreds of years? Or more to the point, how does one unwind a culture of policing fostered over centuries?

Not with simpleminded reforms, and not with more training, that’s for sure. Training suggests law enforcement’s violence and misconduct result from some kind of failure in the system. But policing has been about violence from the beginning, at least so far as black folks have experienced it. It was never Officer Friendly who came to get your cat out of the tree or gave little Johnny a ride-around with the siren going just for fun.

Policing has been about violence from the beginning, at least so far as black folks have experienced it.

For black people, police served to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act, and later, Jim Crow segregation. Sheriffs and their deputies would arrest black men, on suspicion of some fabricated wrongdoing, only to release them into the hands of a white mob that would hang them, burn them, and mutilate their bodies. Lynchings were a local spectacle and could only happen with the active collaboration of police.

How could training have made a difference? Perhaps we could sit down with the murderers and have a heartfelt discussion about their implicit bias? Please. And body cams? Those would merely have allowed us to witness the carnage in higher pixelation. Training assumes a system failure is the problem, but where is the failure?

When Jim Clark and his goons brutalized marchers on the bridge in Selma, they were doing their job, and that’s the problem. So too Bull Connor. These men weren’t failing under the terms set by the system under which they operated. Everything they did flowed from the system itself.

When cops enforced the war on drugs, they too were doing their job. It was not a system breakdown. It was the system operating as designed. Thinking that one can train one’s way out of oppression — when oppression is the point — makes no sense. It’s like standing at the end of a conveyor belt in a sausage factory waiting for it to give you chicken nuggets and becoming frustrated at its unwillingness to do so. It’s a sausage factory. Sausage is what it does. Expect sausage.

Ultimately we must envision a society without policing, at least in so far as we currently conceive of it. The purpose of such a body must be reconceptualized and rebuilt with the explicit participation of the communities it is meant to serve. Not just their participation — their control.

Police culture, as it exists, must be destroyed.

This means no more decommissioned tanks from the nation’s armed services, no more military hardware — which suggests to officers that when they go into a neighborhood, they are going to battle against a foreign enemy. No more camo. You don’t need desert camouflage in Ferguson or Baltimore or Minneapolis. There are no sand dunes with which you need to blend in. Police wear gear to feel like soldiers, and for no other reason. Enough.

The warrior mindset — which many departments openly encourage and even send officers to trainings to learn better — must be stamped out. So too must be the inward protectionism which encourages officers to place loyalty to the blue brotherhood (and sisterhood) above all else.

You’ll hear it often said by cops that “my number one job is to get home to my family each night.” No, it’s not. And any cop who thinks that’s their job should be fired on the spot. Their job is to protect and serve. It’s in the oath they took.

Ultimately we need a society built on the idea that communities are in the best position to protect themselves and to serve themselves, and that we — the collective — will provide them with the resources needed to do so. This means that rather than policing as we know it, we must move to conflict resolution models that are community-driven and bottom-up rather than top-down. Gang interrupters, drawn from the community, many of them formerly incarcerated, can prove far more effective at crime control than outsiders and enforcers, especially if we provide them with the resources we currently piss away on cops.

And I know, many will say that without aggressive policing, crime will spiral out of control. But it’s not true. Crime has fallen even in those cities that have moved away from broken windows enforcement and stop and frisk. It could fall even further were we to move to the next levels of de-escalation.

What is often missed is how criminal offense itself is a direct outgrowth not only of economic deprivation — which requires a much broader set of solutions — but also a sense of hopelessness and lack of control over one’s life. Lacking power, lacking perceived agency, folks will act out and hurt others.

De-policing cannot occur overnight, but we must begin the transition.

Some, feeling disrespected daily by the larger society, sadly, will manifest the same disrespect against others, including others in their own communities. But ask please, who taught them their lives and the lives of their neighbors didn’t matter? Where did they learn that lesson? Not on the corner. They learned it in our schools, our media, and from every instruction offered by our national history. Perhaps if we reconstituted the notion of public safety, beginning with the idea that the people themselves should have control, that sense of autonomy would translate into respect for self and others.

Such a sea change will take time. De-policing cannot occur overnight but we must begin the transition. So here’s an idea. It’s the kind of thing that activist groups like the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and others have discussed for years, and it’s time we took it seriously.

First, anyone looking to serve as an officer in a community of color — regardless of that aspiring officer’s race — should submit to a probationary period of, say, four months. During that time, they would be on the payroll, but they would not have powers of arrest. They would have no gun. Their job would be to get to know the communities and neighborhoods where they seek to serve — walking the blocks, talking to folks on their front porches, their stoops, in their barbershops, their cafés, their bodegas, their houses of worship. They would be talking, yes, but more crucially listening to the voices of those who live there. Finding out what they want and need from law enforcement. Assessing their hopes and fears.

After aspiring officers had gotten to know the people of the community — having met their families and shown them pictures of their own, and connected along the lines of a common humanity — the community would get to vote. The community would get to say yes or no to every aspirant. Having had the time to assess the humility, the character, and the commitment of each one who seeks to become a cop, the people would decide.

In all likelihood, those who weren’t cut out for this new and democratized culture wouldn’t make it four days, let alone four months. They wouldn’t even submit to the process in the first place. They would self-select out of policing as a career, at least in so far as they would be working in such communities. Good.

And those that stuck with it? Those who worked for months as community organizers, whose first job is always to listen? They would likely get the thumbs up. Either way, the control would be in the hands of the people.

This cannot be the endgame, of course. We need to rethink the entire concept of policing and move toward other forms of protecting public safety. But in the meantime, promoting self-determination would go a long way toward signaling that we were prepared to let the old ways die, to allow the scaffolding of police culture as we know it to crash and burn so that the nation doesn’t have to.

It would signal that we love the idea of America and still believe in it. Far more indeed than those who would defend the existing order.

4 thoughts on “The Fate of America Depends on Ending Its Culture of Policing”
  1. Think504.com compiles insightful and necessary information rooted in history. An absolute needed tool to navigate today’s challenges for safety, equality and justice. Smitty

  2. How does NOLA view “Due Process” for Kids and Others Madam Mayor?

    LBRC- To: Madam Mayor Cantrell, New Orleans, and Chief Shawn Ferguson et al, plus Law Enforcement and so- called “Peace Officers” Nationally- The Most “Abused” Constitutional Rights regarding “Negro Citizenship”, since the ratification of The 13th, are “The 5th and 14th Amendments! 

    Re: What constitutes Constitutional “Due Process”? 

    1. 1st and foremost- Due Process is a U.S. Constitutional “Right” and Mandate”! btw- As former Reserve and Military Law Enforcement, we have worked with others and attended lots of activities for so- called “Post Certified Peace Officers”! In our best Ebonics, “Most of ‘dees Peeps ain’t ‘gotta clue! Some are barely literate, notwithstanding the ability to comprehend “Fundamental” Constitutional concepts! And you wonder why Racist Patterns “Persist”, even after so- called “Re- training”?

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/due_process

    Amendment XIV- Section 1.

    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws./end/ 

    2. At a minimum, “Due Process” means that a citizen who will be affected by a government decision must be given notice of what government plans to do and have a chance to comment on the action. Government takes many actions that may deprive people of life, “liberty” (Including Free Movement) , or property.

    3. Citizens “Paid” via taxes for the various roads, expressways, streets and salaries of those who intentionally or unintentionally violate their rights of ingress and egress! Yes, Public Safety requires examination, however- Let’s examine what happened regarding the “Chemical and/or Tear Gas incident several nights ago. 

    a. Children were among the “Petitioners aka Protestors” on and approaching the bridge!  What is so “Prudent” about Tear Gassing “Children” in 2020? Now say anachronism!!! In 1960, Bull Connor and other Southern Racist weren’t prudent either! In 202 Covid in on attack as well and flourishes with coughs induced by Gassing, especially kids and the  the elderly! We used to say- “If they did it to Christ, whatever, then they’ll do it to you”! Now we say- If Caucasian Racist leaders  and their ilk, did it to Dr. King, then their proxy Negro Willie Lynch Prison Industrial Complex Negroes will as well! Negro Children and The Elderly are still not exempt! Where was the Due Process for all those Kids? You didn’t see Them? The Most High did!!! 

    b. Protestors were already on the Bridge, and “Vehicle Traffic” had already been halted! (Disclaimer: “Citizen Protest and Democracy, as Rumsfeld, Bush Administration stated- “Is sometimes messy”, most Bobble Heads” nodded in agreement”! Those apart from all the “Bobble Heads” said ‘Nuttun or wrote no dissenting opinion as per our research, not even anecdotally! 

    c. Every action taken by government and its agents are funded by “Citizen Tax Dollars”! When Government errs via “Ignorance”, citizens pay and most egregious Madam Mayor and Chief- “Citizens paid for ‘Dat Tear Gas and The Time it took Chief et al, to Gas our Kids and The Elderly plus “Deny” others access to the Bridge, when hundreds of Petitioners with Children, were also De Facto Gassed and already “on the bridge”! 

    “Why didn’t you PROTECT them? Not all “Provoked” your so- called “Peace Officers”, who refused to turn a cheek like Dr. king did! 

    Orleans Parish has “More Wrongful Convictions than any city in the U.S.!!! Who trains your cops, and what has your (j)ustice system produced? Even the “Violent” deserve and are “Entitled” to “Due Process”! It begins on the streets!!! Neither you Madam Mayor or “Your” Chief has the authority to abridge it! Problematic is? The very reason you are in a 2020 Consent Decree, is you have established over decades, a “Culture” of “Non Compliance”! Non Compliance is “Law” via “Ignorance, Conformity and Submission” to the same!!! Solution: Read and if possible comprehend-  The 5th and 14th Amendments to The U.S. Constitution!!! 

    No Respect for Constitutional Rights, No Peace!!!

  3. btw…, Sent to The NOLA Mayor, Council and others et al…
    LBRC- Who should be held “Accountable” for Police Abuse in NOLA? ‘Simps will never get it and neither do most vote anyway!

    1. Children were “Gassed” on a bridge in NOLA. It’s not enough to say “Oops…, sorry”, because you do not comprehend the true role of “Peace Officers”! Police Aggression” against the whole (Including Children) of a Peaceful “Petition Mrch”, is not only counter- productive, but violates the rights of those “Petitioning Peacefully”!!!

    2. Where’s the “Logic”- Meaning?

    a. Peace Officer work requires discretion! Discretion is highly dependent on and related to “Intellectual Synthesis”! Show us a “Poor Thinker” and we’ll show you poor processes  with a high “Correlation Coefficient” to “Poor Outcomes” aka like “Innocent Children” and other citizens,  being denied their “Due Process” and frankly “Humanity”! A 2020  Edmund Pettus Bridge action? Poor thinking plus Racism and complicity,  promotes poor and Tragic outcomes! Just like George Floyd! In NOLA, the Mayor and Chief of Police are Negro!!! How can this abuse be in 2020? 

    b. The truth? In 2020, reigning “Cultures” have more to do with the perpetuation of linear traditions, than they do with solid or “Moral”  linear reasoning, i.e., Pork might be high in unhealthy Fat, ‘Greezy, High in Sodium, plus Pigs are “Slop Eaters”- But it taste good, right? So what’s the issue about its relationship with “High Blood Pressure and Kidney issues, right? Your Tradition says, generations of my family ‘Luved- ‘dead-ed’ it, and so do I”! Though “you” might have “High Blood Pressure” and Kidney issues, so what, right? Deep 6 the Logic of Eating to live in 2020? So… 

    c. NOPD has developed a “Culture of Policing Negroes and others over decades void “Consequences” and in fact- “They and their Complicit Negroes have doubled down”!!! In majority Negro cities, Negroes have moved into ‘Massa’s house and all the Negroes in it are Neo House Negroes! Even while under a Consent Decree since its inception in NOLA, “How many NOPD officers have been indicted, including so- called brass? What does the “Data” and “Facts” say? Most if not all of their brass are remnants of “Pre Consent Decree” and “Remain”! What was the current Chief doing during “Katrina” and “Pre Consent Decree” (Complaining?)? Citizens on The CCC were being fired upon by Jefferson Parish Deputies and others? What about the Superdome Chamber of Horrors? What about when “Riley” went house to house “Confiscating” weapons from “Law Abiding Citizens”, used for their protection, notwithstanding The 2nd Amendment? ‘Oops…, says The NOLA Culture of Policing, right? Who was held “Accountable”? We  ‘askin…

    3. The Point of all? Ans. Accountability!!!

    a. The current NOPD Chief is a Mayoral appointee!!! This makes The Mayor accountable for actions “Sanctioned by and even defended by The Chief”!!! ‘Oops is no longer a viable justification for abuse aka “Gassing Kids/Others” and denying them “Due Process”! 

    b. Additionally- Here is a “Moral Hazard” as we see it. We call this, The Negro “Preacher Apostate Syndrome” aka “Never Removed not even for egregious Sin”, just like Judas 32 Pieces of Silver Politicians! Traditionally, The Negro Church has been seen as a Sanctuary from overt and covert “American Injustice”! Once upon a time, especially when Negroes had little to no resources, especially ‘Mulla (Most Still Don’t, except in their Castles they build in skies), Negro Preachers were hardly impeached for Immorality, Greed for Filthy Lucre, Corruption”! Enter the “Post” so- called Civil Rights Era! Now? Negro Preacher Apostates require Luxury Jets, Planes, Autos, Houses, Disposable Income, High Maintenance life styles for themselves and so- called Ladies and Mistress, yada…! Priest Apostates aren’t exempt either! “Children” for “Sex Toys”? Their temples are Bankrupt and in fact have filed for it! Not until “Truth” got exposed by others, are lay and Priest been made to “Account”! 

    c. More egregious, Negro Apostates have imbedded and aligned themselves with Politicians!

    d. The Negro Apostate Syndrome refuses to abide by what “Clear Scripture” says about “Who and What” makes an “Altar”Holy (What happened to pretenders who went behind The Holy Curtain anyway “Old School”?).  “Deep 6 Holy” aka- “We forgive our Apostates for Theft, Greed, False Claims about The Levites and Tithes, Worldly Ambition and yada…, and btw- Moses left The House of Pharaoh, their City Hall and once gone? He never “Sucked- up” to ‘Dat government to regain his once prestigious place in it! In 2020, not only do Negro Preacher Apostates vie to get in, but Filthy Lucre is ambition and “Haughty” Appearances is Priority!! 

    e.We’re still talking Accountability Madam Mayor! You are admonished again- “Gassing innocent Children is totally unacceptable! You nor Chief are commonly regarded as “Spiritual Leaders”, but? Oops doesn’t cut it in 2020!  

    f. Negro Preacher Apostates have no place near an Altar, let alone on it (Read Requirements in Scripture for The Office of Bishop)! The altar of Public Service is a “Public one” and Literacy counts! We vote and our ranks are growing! Remember when Polls predicted Desiree, the so- called  chosen “Creole” aka “Light Bright and Darn near White aka close, to win by a landslide? We rallied and made waste of ‘Dat old “Tradition” of “Racist Press” determining who’ll rule in a “Majority Negro City”! Unfortunately, a few  still got in! Didn’t get the memo? YOU WILL!!! Deep 6 all the speeches, ‘oops…, “Bobble Heading”, Grandstanding and “Articulated BS!!! 

    No Constitutional Rights or Due Process for Us and our Other Brothers and Sisters/Multi- Ethnic, marching alongside and with us, especially Children- No Peace!!! 

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New Orleans Must Improve the Lives of ALL African Americans

By Jeff Thomas

Many people often say I’m too focused on race. But look around our city. Most of the big social problems are in the African American community. Murder. Car jackings. Poverty. Covid hospitalizations. Drug abuse. Unemployment. The list goes on and on and on. Fixing these problems in that part of the African American community that struggles makes the city great for EVERYBODY. So if you are black or white or Asian or Hispanic and doing pretty good want to live in a safer cleaner city, let’s fix the problems in the ailing parts of our city. Helping poor black people benefits everybody.

Good news is we can do it. And it is not that hard. New Orleans should be a sanctuary city for the poor and struggling African Americans.  Every policy and regulation possible should support this notion.  And given the egregiously regressive and burdensome past, city government should fast track all current, available solutions.   Even a cursory glance at   the plight of  hard-working African Americans  in the city provides ample evidence of the urgent need for change.

Broken Paradigm

Our current paradigm has created and sustains the crime-plagued, underperforming city. Low-performing schools contribute to the highest dropout rates in the country.  Gentrification and low-paying jobs force many into the rental market in our city.  And people who own their homes are nearly 90% less likely to commit crimes compared to those who rent. Though the murder rate is once again the highest in the country per capita.  African Americans in NOLA die at alarmingly high rates. Especially when it comes to young people.  We must fix serious and deeply-entrenched problems here quickly.  It can be done with surprising ease if a coordinated attempt is employed.

THE SANCTUARY CITY MODEL

Characteristics of the sanctuary should include

Combined, these targets will dramatically reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for all our citizens.  With access to good-paying jobs and pathways to home ownership, crime will drop precipitously.  Working men, who earn living wages, will fatten city coffers via property and sales tax payments.  Needing fewer police officers, more money could then be shifted into job training programs. These programs prepare young people to enter the workforce and become taxpayers.

SWB JOBS PROGRAM

The Sewerage and Water Board can be the greatest jobs program in city history.  Billions of FEMA dollars are scheduled to be spent repairing crumbling infrastructure. The board must hire, train and demand excellence from its repair people.  Our ability to pump water is our lifeline. We must invest in training our people to protect our property. The SWB is more important than the NOPD.  SWB must pay enough to enable employees to purchase homes. 

HOME OWNERSHIP

Eighty five percent of people who commit crimes do not own their homes. Neighborhoods where people own their homes are cleaner, safer. And they provide ancillary activities (kids sports programs, block parties, etc.) that promote healthier living.  Living wages help people qualify for mortgages.  City-sanctioned home ownership classes would motivate and inspire people to save for down payments and improve their credit scores.  The soft second mortgage programs should also be expanded.

NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS

Working families need close and convenient good schools for their children.  Our experiment with charter schools must shift to emphasize local school excellence.  Good neighborhood schools reduce stress, increase participation and reduce dropout rates, which in turn strengthen families.  Parent-school partnerships are easier when parents are able to access school personnel close to home.  Friendly rivalries centered around athletic and academic achievement will transform educational achievement[  in The Bowl.  Businesses could offer cash prizes to the students who perform best and the schools which achieve great successes.

COMMUNITY POLICING

Police Chief Shaun Ferguson rose through the ranks. And he is a man from our streets who now leads the men and women who patrol our streets.  He says, “The community and police must form a partnership.”  He is correct when he says the NOPD needs citizen support.  Right now, our NOPD is dangerously understaffed. Shifting to 12 hour shifts increases presence on the streets. Good move Chief. Also moving more desk and clerical jobs from police to citizen staffing will enable more officers to get out. And top brass should patrol our neighborhoods. They are our best and brightest. They have the experience and authority to effectively decipher complex situations. Is a shouting match serious?

We know arresting and jailing people for minor crimes, even for short periods of time, has dramatic and real effects. And ironically results in yet more crime.  Instead, community policing operates in an atmosphere of cooperation and respect.  Too often, police have operated with rigidity and oppressiveness. That stifles the community support it needs, desires, and deserves. 

For too long, New Orleans and other municipalities have focused on fines and fees to finance government.  Police decide who gets pulled over and issued a ticket.  Furthermore, rigid rules and immediate late fees from municipal utilities create undue stress in an already overburdened populace. 

In the 21st century, our cities must uplift the lives of all the citizens who make these places home.

It happens everyday in America!

By Jeff Thomas

Black men kill each other at alarming rates all across America every day. Nearly every city’s daily news casts reports, “Today in our city three (or thirty depending on the size of your city) men were shot and killed in three (or thirty) separate shootings.  Police have no suspects in any of the cases.”  And immediately and innately you know that the people killed were black and the killers were black.  This has been going on for the last 30-40 years and no end is in sight.  New Orleans has one of the highest murder rates nationally.  Why do black men kill each other?

First Let’s Dispel a Racist Myth

First thing you have to know is that 99.999% of black men do not commit murder ever in their lives.  That is a fact!  This is not a black man issue.  There is nothing genetically or intrinsically wrong with black men. But the fact remains that daily hundreds of black men across this country are murdered everyday by another black man.  Why does this happen with this subset?

Common factors to Black men murdering other black men

RACE

The first thing about murder is that people usually kill people who are similar to them in many ways, particularly race.  White men normally murder other white men and black men normally murder other black men. 

PROXIMITY

In the black community, these killings are normally city events.  Rarely do you hear of a drive by in the country.  Most of these daily killings occur on the city streets.  People kill others who they interact with.

AGE

Young men engage in risky and violent behavior.  Most of the men dying on our streets are between the ages of 17-35. 

EDUCATION

Nearly 95% have not graduated from college and 65% have not completed high school.   

Socioeconomic Status

100% were not upper class in America. The links between poverty and crime are well documented.  And black men have lived in depression level economic conditions for the last 50 years.

But these are often cited, unsurprising factors.  More salient is what goes into the psyche of a guy who can look into the eyes of another man and pull the trigger at close range or jab a knife with the intent to murder another man?  What are the other factors that contribute to becoming a murderer? Why do Black men kill each other

Habitually Hostile Men

The guy who ain’t never scared and always looking to escalate a situation.  Down for whatever.  Nothing to live for and anticipating the day he will either kill or be killed.  This mindset is cultivated in a limited option, few chances, success deprived life.  This guy has had a number of arguments and fist fights throughout his life.  He hates authority and frequently feels angry or resentful towards people.  He often seeks to overcome a feeling of powerlessness.  This guy is a walking heap of rage.  He is always nothing but a gun and an argument away from murder.

The Disrespected Man

A man who feels like everybody but him gets respect.

For this guy, respect is everything and options to express anger or refutation are often limited.   He often seeks to overcome a feeling of impotence. If another who seems unworthy of disseminating criticism or scorn or generally crosses the line of imagined respect, then a high level of response will be meted out.

The Wannabe

When challenged by a non-believing skeptic, this man often acts in unnecessarily violent ways in unnecessarily violent situations.  Often seeks to overcome a feeling of powerlessness.

Self-Hate

The daily feeling of isolation, powerlessness and impotence is like being a prisoner of war.  One reason black men grab their genitals is to stress their vitality.  Men who have been literally stripped of the ability to display their manhood – great jobs, big houses, educational attainment and all the other accoutrements of modern society- are literally killing to express their power in life.  Twisted but true.

Have you ever heard of the true East? Not the East where black people live. But the other one — you know, the one that matters. You haven’t? Well, you are missing out.

Picture it: a home where the nutria and possum roam, where the skies are always blue, and crabs and catfish frolic and flop in the most pristine waters. In this Eden, birds soar to atmospheric heights, only dropping their poop in polite places. It’s a hidden gem between Michoud and Slidell where alligators cross the road uninterrupted and crime is non-existent. Crawfish jump in their own pots of boiling water there. And at the end of the day, old men sit back in their rockers, sipping Sazeracs as the sun sets over a grateful Bayou Sauvage. Oh, and apparently this is all dependent on poor, governmentally neglected black people staying poor and governmentally neglected. What a win.

Some People Want to Keep the East Poor and Economically Disadvantaged

This is per James Gill, illustrious op-ed writer for nola.com. In his latest yawner, Gill envisions this breathtaking landscape and the horror that would ensue if this East, the true one, was ever discovered. The discovery in this case wouldn’t involve Columbus or the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. Instead, it’d involve the state and city investing time, energy, and money into promoting Bayou Sauvage as a tourist attraction. “Come take a walk through nature.”

Gill’s article was basically a hit piece, a way of tattling on Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “Billy met with some black people at the PJ’s on Read, and they talking about pimping this place out.” But there’s one thing standing in the way, that other East, the black one. Where the people actually live.

Apparently, in Gill’s circles, that East is regarded as a “drab, crime-ridden wasteland” that would make T.S. Eliot shutter. But New Orleans East is home to some of the best new housing stock in the city. Some of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city are out east. In fact more property taxes are generated in New Orleans East than any other single neighborhood.

But like most other areas in New Orleans, there are some poorer parts that generate the headlines. Most decent people will pass through these areas and ask, why is this area struggling? But Gill would respond, thank goodness.

Because if the city actually continues to invest in NO East, it’d apparently makes the trek through it to Bayou Sauvage less treacherous. Next thing you know, a throng of tourists would descend upon this Eden. And the economic development would begin.

There’s always been a word for people who hoard wealth at the expense of others. In previous days when America was “great”, we called them massa. Today, the more appropriate term is miser. Gill, knowingly or unknowingly, went full miser.

Here it is, we have a wildlife preserve that could possibly become a major tourist attraction. Combine that with the Bayou Phoenix development, and the East becomes a major economic driver in the region. Jobs and business opportunities will be everywhere. But the response is basically alligator’s lives matter too.

That’s great if you’re an alligator or an old journalist who wants to sit on the porch and bask in the glory of your hidden treasure. Meanwhile across the Sauvage, people in the East we’ve always known are left having to pull themselves up by their own imaginary boot straps. What a way to treat the biggest suburb in the city.

But the ships have been chartered and the discovery may be inevitable. The aforementioned Bayou Phoenix is coming and a throng of side businesses will probably pop up around it. Faubourg brewery already dropped anchor. And more business is to follow. The East is silently growing, under Councilman Oliver Thomas’ leadership and vision.

So kick back in your rocker, Mr. Gill. Have a Sazerac. Keep your eye on that sunset. Enjoy the last rays of light while they last.

 Deconstructing Racism: A Path Toward Lasting Change by Barbara Major and Joseph Barndt         

by Orissa Arend

            The book is new; but the authors’ involvement with my church is not. Barbara and Joe are anti-racist trainers and organizers, each with a lifetime of experience. However, their experiences are very different. Joe is an 88-year-old white Lutheran pastor and respected author. As we so blithely put it, he’s not from here. Barbara is somewhat younger and Black, a long-time pillar of the New Orleans community. She was not a church person when she met Joe; and she had never planned to write a book.

            I met them both 25 or so years ago when Joe was running Crossroads Ministries and Barbara was a fiery trainer for the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. Today, both are core trainers for the Institute.

Book Attempts to Dismantle Racism

            In the early 90’s, my church, Trinity, a wealthy, conservative Episcopal church bordering the Garden District was trying to figure out how to become an anti-racist church. That was the language we used. But we never put ourselves in a position to be accountable to anyone but ourselves. So really, we were trying to be non-racist. We were trying to not be racist. However, “non-racist” is a category that does not exist. Unless we are actively working to dismantle racist systems, which involves the hard work of honest accountability to people of color, we are part of the problem.

            These were our good-faith efforts: We joined the St. Thomas Irish Channel Consortium (STICC, as in forget the carrot) and spent a lot of time in the People’s Institute’s Undoing Racism workshops. These workshops were transformative two-and-a-half day affairs. We formed an internal group called Trinity Undoing Racism Now (TURN.) Joe and Crossroads, a sister organization to the People’s Institute, trained and consulted with TURN.

            One of the hardest things in the world for white people to do is to take direction from Black people. We find it difficult to let Black people define the terms, set the agenda, make the decisions even about matters of race. STICC and TURN and the Institute gave us at Trinity plenty of opportunities to try. Some of us, a small but committed part of the congregation, were oh so very willing. We tried mightily for 10 or so years. Most of the time we failed. STICC actually gave us a failing letter grade in one humbling public meeting! Sometimes we learned from our mistakes.

            That was back when the St. Thomas Housing Project was a vibrant functioning community with a strong resident’s council and a disciplined community safety patrol called Black Men United for Change. Barbara ran the St. Thomas Health Clinic on principles of accountability to the people it served. Trinity’s counseling center interns, who worked in and around St. Thomas, relished the opportunity to attend Communiversity, taught by the Institute, to learn how to go beyond being well-meaning do-gooders. Our rector told me that in his retirement he wanted to become an anti-racism trainer. That was then.

            Our cadre at Trinity knew back then that racism was more than bigotry or individual race prejudice – that it was rooted deeply in our systems and institutions, including the church. None of this was commonly accepted at the time. We felt the excitement of being on the cutting edge. It kindled in us an evangelical spirit, rare at our staid church.

Session on Undoing Racism

            Fast-forward a couple of decades. Barbara and Joe wrote this book during the pandemic, after the brutal murder of George Floyd in 2020. It was becoming clear to many Americans that racism is indeed systemic and vicious and cunning and evil and that it will never fade away of its own accord. Barbara and Joe saw an opportunity in this new awareness to take the long view. They examine two distinct efforts to reconstruct American society without obvious racism. They looked at the first Reconstruction after the Civil War (1865-1877) and the second Reconstruction, the Civil Rights movement (1954-1968). Both were brief and both were stymied by violent back-lash. Barbara and Joe wanted to glean lessons from these reconstructions to prepare us for the hoped-for third Reconstruction. “God is giving us another chance to get it right,” they believe.

            These first Reconstructions didn’t stick, the authors claim, because we never deconstructed the myth, the lie, of race. Deconstruction of this tragic illusion involves some shocking ideas. For example:

1) Racism is real. Race is not. This nation must ultimately abolish the concept of race which is a complete fiction, an illusion, dreamed up rather recently (during the 17th and 18th centuries) for nefarious reasons – colonization, slavery, white supremacy, materialistic greed.

2) Racism can be ended. This is not an unrealistic or whimsical wish or dream.

3) Race is nowhere to be found in the Bible.

4) “Power is the ability to become all that God intends us to be. Power is not evil; nor is it neutral. Power is good. Racism is the misuse of God’s good power,” the authors explain.

5) Racism morphs in sneaky ways. Following the Civil Rights movement “multicultural diversity and inclusiveness programs and social services proved a way to distract us from the struggle to end systemic racism,” Barbara and Joe note. Charity easily becomes paternalism. Advocacy can drown out the voices of those we speak for. This is “friendly” racism.

6) Many of the foundational documents of our nation need to be completely rewritten. Their footnotes (amendments) don’t negate the fact that they were written to protect white people exclusively and preserve white power.

Book Attempts to Dismantle Racism

            Maybe it’s not a good idea to cherry pick these possibly shocking ideas. But if any of them challenge you, I encourage you to read the book’s convincing context and evidence for each one. As Barbara said at a recent book signing, “Don’t get mad at the truth. Question the lie that made you comfortable.”

            I was particularly interested in the deconstruction strategy in the book. We attempted that decades ago at Trinity. We formed a team. And we got trained. We worked through many of our issues with each other. We forged authentic relationships. After a couple of years, our ad hoc team was officially commissioned as an anti-racist organizing team by our governing body, the vestry. We developed a long-term strategic plan to provide anti-racist training to staff and volunteer leaders. We planned for the deconstruction of race-based identity, history, and culture at Trinity through an examination of mission, vision, tradition, by-laws – places where the roots of racism abide and hide. That took about 10 years. We were surprised that it took that long; but we shouldn’t have been.

            But that’s as far as we got. If we want to measure outcomes for ending racism, we have to measure results. Today the “anti-racist” training at Trinity is shorter, more transactional or superficial, less transformative and systemic. Our sanctioned ad hoc team was disbanded in favor of various  committees. Some of these committees have established relationship with organizations run by people of color like Justice and Beyond, Ubuntu Village, Sixth Baptist Church. But where is our accountability? We haven’t attracted many congregants of color.

            I sense some re-claiming of our sacred stories. Our rector, Andrew Thayer, proclaims the Gospel as the revolutionary, egalitarian tome that it is. I think we are better listeners and readers and critics of the world around us than we used to be. Our Bishop has formed a committee to promote racial healing in our diocese because we realize that racism works against our Baptismal Covenant. Bishop Morris Thompson sent one of his priests to the Justice and Beyond Reparations town hall meeting to acknowledge the long list of racial harms committed in our diocese in the name of the Church and to apologize.

            When some of the “remnants” of that original anti-racist Trinity group sat down with Joe recently for brunch at the beautiful Peter and Paul Hotel, we asked for his advice about how to go forward. I came away with more questions than answers but with a new determination to work within the church that I love, to uproot for good the lie that race even exists.  

Take time and read a book that attempts to dismantle racism.

Orissa Arend is author of Showdown in Desire: The Black Panthers Take a Stand in New Orleans, a member of Trinity Church, and a pillar representative for Trinity Church to Justice and Beyond. She can be reached at arendsaxer@bellsouth.net. 

According to a Dietitian

All your questions about booze, diet, and health—answered!

BY ERICA SWEENEY

ENJOYING A NICE glass of red wine with dinner, sipping a tumbler of bourbon after a long day, trying a new craft beer, or mixing up your own cocktail. Everyone loves a good drink from time to time. Though drinking too much (and, we’ve all been there) isn’t good for you, it is possible to incorporate your favorite alcoholic beverage into a healthy lifestyle.

So, what is healthy drinking? “Moderation is key,” says Brittany Kunza, M.D., a medical director at virtual health platform PlushCare. “Alcohol really shouldn’t be considered ‘healthy,’ but it certainly can be part of social gatherings.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women. But, two-thirds of adults say they drink more than that at least once a month.

Drinking too much long-term can bring many health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, and stomach problems. It can also weaken your immune system and increase your risk for certain cancers.

Either inspired by these health risks or striving to cut back for other reasons, many people are partaking in Dry January or permanently embracing a “sober curious” lifestyle. And, non-alcoholic, booze-inspired drinks are becoming more popular.

Many aspects of drinking can affect your health—how much you drink, how often, and your beverages of choice. A healthy approach to drinking alcohol is part of a healthy approach to life. Often, that means choosing drinks that are lower in sugar and calories, such as skipping sugary mixers and using seltzer in place of tonic.

What’s the best way to balance drinking and a healthy lifestyle?

It’s best not to overdo it when it comes to alcohol and stick to two drinks or less a day. But, having a few more from time to time likely won’t harm your health—just don’t drive when you’re drinking.

Everyone is different in terms of how they handle alcohol. Some people can drink more than others before they feel drunk.

“Alcohol impairment is an individual number that is different from person to person,” says Ernest Gelb, D.O., president of the American Osteopathic Association. “The legal limit is 0.08, but there are many individuals who can’t tolerate that much alcohol. The end result of impairment is the same and will not end well.”

It’s a good idea to understand what’s considered a “standard drink,” too, says Dr. Kunza. According to the CDC, standard drink sizes include:

What Kinds of Alcohol Are the Healthiest Options?

Ignore the myths you heard in high school about your body processing certain alcoholic beverages in different ways. Your liver doesn’t recognize wine from beer from a Long Island Iced Tea—it only processes alcohol.

That said, if a drink is higher in alcohol, your liver has to work hard. So if you’re drinking a finger of Scotch whisky neat (typically about 40% alcohol by volume, or ABV), your liver is going to have an easier time than with that Long Island Iced Tea (typically four shots of alcohol—all of which are roughly 40% ABV).

So, usually, the simpler the drink—and the less of it that you’re drinking—the better off your liver (and you!) will be. Here’s what to know about drinking different kinds of booze.

Beer

Beer can contain anywhere from 103 to 350 calories per 12 ounces. Craft beers often have a higher ABV than traditional macro-beers. And more alcohol means more calories.

For example, a 12-ounce beer with 9% ABV (typical for craft brews) has about 270 calories. But because craft breweries don’t have to list the calorie count on their beers, you can use this handy equation to estimate the number of calories in your beer: Multiply the ABV by 2.5, then multiply that by the number of ounces in your beer.

Vodka, tequila, and other spirits

Put this in the myth category. Tequila—as well as vodka, rum, and gin—all have zero grams of carbs, so they won’t raise your blood sugar if you drink them straight up. If you have diabetes, you should count your drink as two fat exchanges.

But don’t fall for the hype that choosing a tequila made from 100 percent agave changes the impact. All of the health attributes of agave (aka lower glycemic index, etc.) are gone once it’s been distilled into tequila. That said, choosing pure, agave tequila means you’ll typically skip unnecessary additives like caramel coloring. It’s also gluten-free.

Most distilled alcohol, including gin, rum, vodka, and whiskey, contains between 97 and 116 calories per 1.5 ounces.

Hard seltzers

Most hard seltzers are lower in alcohol, ranging from 4% to 6% ABV. But, they can contain added sugar.

Look for brands that offer very little sugar per serving. Otherwise, you’ll take in an overload of calories, mainly from the sweet stuff. Spiked seltzers, on the other hand, aren’t a bad option. Ideally, you want one that’s zero-calorie flavored sparkling water with booze added.

Wine

Most wines contain 120-130 calories per 5-ounce glass. But, the sugar content can vary. A glass of red table wine contains about 0.9 grams of sugar, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Some white wines, like chardonnay, can contain 1.4 grams of sugar, and super-sweet dessert wines can have 7 grams.

Cocktails

Determining the calorie and sugar content of a cocktail is tricky, as it depends on what ingredients they contain. A simple vodka soda with seltzer and a squeeze of lime would be a low-calorie, low-sugar option.

But, sweet cocktails like a mai tai can have as much as 300 calories and loads of sugar. Creamy drinks like a White Russian or Piña Colada can clock in at more than 500 calories.

It’s always a good idea to opt for low-calorie mixers and avoid drinks overflowing with sugar, Dr. Gelb says.

You also need to drink plenty of water, too

Alcohol is a dehydrator. So, it’s crucial to drink plenty of water while you’re enjoying a beer or cocktail.

“Physicians recommend a one-for-one ratio, which is one 8-ounce glass of water for every alcoholic drink,” says Brian Fiani, D.O., attending neurosurgeon at Weill Cornell Medicine/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and vice chair of the American Osteopathic Association Bureau of Emerging Leaders.

Drinking alcohol can also irritate the stomach, worsen acid reflux, and contribute to gastritis, Dr. Kunza says. So, it’s a good idea to eat something before you drink or while you’re drinking.

How Drinking Too Much Affects Your Body

Having a few too many glasses of wine or overdoing it on the beer is OK every so often. Drinking too much of even low-calorie alcohol long-term can be detrimental to your health.

For one, it can affect the brain and spine. “Specifically, regarding the central nervous system, alcohol slows down the cerebral cortex process, which can lead to poor judgment,” Dr. Fiani says.

Long-term drinking can damage the brain’s frontal lobes, which can affect decision-making, memory, judgment, and impulses, he adds. It can also lead to degenerative disc disease of the spine and cause back pain.

Excessive alcohol intake over a long time period can cause a thiamine deficiency, which might lead to someone developing the brain disorder Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, Fiani says. “This condition can cause irreversible mental confusion, loss of coordination, and memory problems similar to dementia.”

Overdoing it on alcohol can cause (or increase your risk for) a number of other health problems, like liver disease, pancreatitis, cancer, high blood pressure, anemia, GI problems, and other conditions.

Signs You Might Be Drinking Too Much

Excessive daily drinking could signal a drinking problem. “Individuals who can’t just have one drink would be a warning sign,” Dr. Gelb says.

If you feel you fall into this category, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is a good place to start.

The bottom line is: When alcohol or any substance use begins to interfere with your life, it’s problematic, says Lea McMahon, LPC, Ed.D., chief clinical officer at Symetria Recovery.

Mental health and addiction professionals use criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to assess substance use and how it affects someone’s life, she says. Patients are asked a series of questions, including:

“The number of yes answers determines the degree to which one’s substance use is problematic,” McMahon says. For example, two or three yeses might signal a mild alcohol use disorder, four or five a moderate disorder, and six or more a severe disorder.

by Mark Travers Ph.D.

Successful couples’ counseling starts with a shift in these four behaviors.

Many people assume that a successful relationship is something that happens by itself. They may have the idea that some people “just click,” and that the more effort one has to put into their relationship, the less likely the partnership is to work.

But the truth is that all relationships take work and we should always be striving to be better partners. In this article, I’ll talk about four habits you can develop to manage what psychologist and relationship expert John Gottman views as the most common relationship killers.

1. Be gentle, not critical.

Criticism is a direct attack on someone’s character or behavior. It may be expressed as an accusation or judgment about one partner’s personality rather than a specific action or event.

Criticism sounds like, “You never help around the house!” instead of “I feel frustrated when you don’t help with chores.” Criticism often leaves people feeling attacked, unheard, and defensive.

While it’s not likely realistic to tell yourself that you’ll never be critical of your partner again, you can work on how you deliver your critiques. For instance, use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. Express a positive need instead of negative judgment. Avoid making your partner feel attacked.

Here’s an example. Instead of saying, “You always talk about yourself. Why are you so self-obsessed?” try reframing it as “I feel left out in our conversations. Can we please talk about my day as well?”

2. Appreciate instead of being contemptuous.

Contempt goes beyond criticism. It’s a damaging form of communication that involves attacking one’s sense of self-worth with name-calling, hostile humor, body language, and/or sarcasm.

A contemptuous relationship often involves using sarcasm or making disrespectful jokes about a partner’s character traits or behaviors, behind their back and to their face. Contempt sounds something like, “Oh, don’t start your emotional drama again.”

To cure contempt, build the habit of nurturing fondness and admiration in your relationship by engaging in appreciation.

Here’s an example. Instead of saying, “You forgot to do the laundry again? Why are you so lazy and forgetful?” try reframing it into “I understand that you’ve had a long day, but could you please remember to do the laundry on days I work late? It would be really helpful and I’d really appreciate it.”

3. Take responsibility instead of being defensive.

Defensiveness occurs when one or both partners respond to conflict by denying responsibility for their contribution to the problem and shifting blame onto their partner instead.

Defensiveness can include phrases such as:

When people go on the defensive, it leads to further arguments without resolution because both partners feel like they have been unfairly accused or blamed for something they didn’t do.

The antidote to defensiveness is to accept responsibility for your role in a conflicting situation. Develop the habit of taking mutual responsibility.

An example: Instead of accusing the other person by saying: “It’s your fault that we’re late because you take way too much time to get dressed!” try reframing it as “I like to be on time as much as possible. But it’s OK, we can be flexible at times.”

4. Try self-soothing in place of stonewalling.

Stonewalling occurs when one person withdraws emotionally from an argument to avoid further conflict. This can take many forms—such as avoiding eye contact, walking away from discussions before they’re resolved, refusing to talk about certain topics altogether, and shutting down conversations if things get too heated.

Stonewalling does nothing to address the underlying issues between two people. Instead, it increases feelings of isolation and disconnection which can then lead to further resentment between partners over time.

Self-soothing is an antidote to stonewalling. When you sense an impending stonewalling situation, instead of shutting yourself down completely, first stop the conversation, communicate with your partner, and take a break to practice physiological self-soothing for a minimum of 20 minutes.

Here’s an example of how you can go about it: “I am feeling overwhelmed with our conversation. I need to take a break. Can you give me twenty minutes to take a walk around the block and I will get back to you after that?”

Conclusion

Relationships are like most other living things: They need constant nurturing to achieve their fullest expression. Take time to reflect on how you can approach your relationship with more patience, appreciation, and responsibility-taking. Things can, and will, get better.

If only Alvin Richard and Jimmie Woods had identified as black women. Maybe then Mayor LaToya Cantrell would’ve given their trash contracts the first-class treatment.

Surely, if a black woman requires $30,000 in upgraded “protection” to travel on an airplane, then black businessmen must require so much more to traverse the treacherous process of getting a major contract, then keeping it in this city.

Instead, the mayor has smeared mud on their names. And given them both a lesson in the politics of trash. Politics can get dirty in New Orleans.

Why Is Mayor Cantrell Discriminating Against Black Business?

As Gerod Stevens once said on WBOK’s The Reality Check, “Ever since these two black men got these contracts, they’ve had to fight like hell to hold on to them.”

Mayor Cantrell has had no time for their struggles. Whenever they’ve brought up an issue, her response has simply been: you can miss me with that. And she proceeded to channel her inner Mitch Landrieu and get down to the business of running these two high performing businessmen out of business.

Jimmie Woods, owner of Metro Service Group, tried to inform the administration that his company was owed more money. He explained that his company was picking up trash from more houses than initially estimated. The mayor heard that and essentially flipped him to voicemail. She then proceeded to not pay an extra dime. And that was despite a mutually agreed upon 3rd party concluding that Metro’s contract stipulated the city did in fact owe the company more money.

Then Woods and Alvin Richard of Richard’s Disposal informed the administration that COVID and Hurricane Ida had both companies hauling a larger tonnage of trash. As a result, their dump fees increased. Again, the contract required the city to pay for the extra trash. But again the mayor refused. And this too was despite both being eligible for emergency funds the city had already received from the federal government.

You can run scenario after scenario. And no matter what, the mayor’s response to the city’s legal obligations to these two black businessmen has been silence or a big so what.

You couldn’t blame Richard and Woods if this left them feeling like they’re in a similar situation as the soon-to-be ex-Mrs. Vappie claims— wondering if their contractual obligations were being screwed by the mayor.

But with Metro driven out of the residential trash disposal business in New Orleans, the mayor apparently has had no qualms about spreading her wallet wide for Sidney Torres.

With much fanfare, the mayor signed a new contract with IV Waste, Torres’s company. Now the city is paying twice as much per household than it was paying Metro. And this is for half the service — one day a week picking up, instead of two. Maybe citizens should identify with Mrs. Vappie, too.

Why all the hostility, though? Why would the mayor agree to this ridiculous contract when the city could’ve gotten better service for less. There’s a simple answer: the mayor is using Torres’ inflated contract to try and drive Richards out of business, too.

Richard’s Disposal is hiring drivers now!

As Alvin Richard said, if you’re going to pay the competition double, then they are just going to lure his workers away. That has already started. And it hasn’t taken long for the mayor to pay Torres even more money. She quickly hired him to cover the parts of a route after Richards fell only a couple of days behind.

This is typical New Orleans politics, and politics in general. You support my campaign, and when I get elected, I’ll throw contracts your way. This is the politics of trash in New Orleans.

Remember back when Cantrell was a councilperson running a tight mayoral campaign against Desiree Charbonnet?  Just as he is today, Torres was a known supporter of Cantrell then. And he took it upon himself to not only sponsor a debate, but also host it as well.

The Politics of trash in New Orleans

Attorney Suzette Bagneris made an important point on WBOK radio. Paying for a debate is a slick way of skirting campaign finance laws. Campaign finance law caps individual contributions to a mayoral candidate at $5,000. Clearly, putting on a televised debate costs a lot more than that.

Of course, Desiree Charbonnet didn’t show up. Torres then set up a PAC to attack her candidacy. And Cantrell went on to win the election. Now it seems that Mayor Cantrell has finally found a way to pay Torres back. Typical politics. Typical New Orleans.

Mayor Cantrell can get this one right. Councilman Freddie King asked Mr. Richard how much the city owed him. He replied about $5,000,000. The administration knows Richards picks up more houses than the city pays for. He deserves the full amount owed. And he should be paid the market rate of at least $28 per house. That’s what the city is paying IV Waste. So Richard’s should be equally paid for doing the exact same work.

Richard’s contract should be extended, too. For the last 15 years it has been the best disposal company in this city. They are a local success story. Celebrate and promote them. Don’t destroy another successful home-grown Black business.

Clearly, this is one of those teachable moments former president Barack Obama always talked about. From allegedly sleeping with her security detail officer, to overseeing one crime wave after another, to discriminating against two major black businesses, this mayor has given a lesson in the politics of trash. Now suddenly she finds herself surrounded by a city full of adversaries who are looking forward to a day when she and her tonnage will be hauled away.

The politics of trash in New Orleans.

@freddieking

@barackobama

@latoyacantrell

@sidneytorres

Black owned businesses operate in every business sector.  Many are small shops.  But others are some of the biggest businesses in the country.  These companies’ stocks are sold on national stock exchanges. They employ tens of thousands of people.  These biggest Black owned companies earn billions of dollars annually.  This is our list of the 20 biggest black owned companies.

20. Salamander Hotels & Resorts

Revenues: $220 Million

Employees: 2500

CEO: Sheila C. Johnson

Owned by Sheila Johnson, cofounder of Black Entertainment Television, Salamander Hotels and Resorts is a 168-room luxury hotel, resort, and spa located in the Virginia countryside. The hotel is built on a 340 acre property and boasts a 230,000 square foot spa with many outdoor activities such as hiking, zip-lining, and horseback riding. The resort took ten years to build, finally opening in August 2013.

19. Devon Industrial Group

Revenues: $234 Million

Employees: 70

CEO: David A. Burnley Sr

Devon Industrial Group is a construction company located in Michigan. They specialize in construction projects in various sectors, including commercial, health care, industrial, and educational. The Devon Industrial Group’s main target market for its services is across the midwestern states of the United States, with the headquarters in Detroit Michigan.

18. Georgetown Metal Processing

Revenues: $235 Million

Employees: 30

CEO: Kirk Lewis

Georgetown Metal Processing is a steel processing service center, specializing in blanking and warehousing located in Georgetown, Kentucky. Their produce range includes aluminum, flat-rolled steel, cold-rolled steel, coated and exposed steel products. Georgetown Metal Processing boasts an 80,000 square foot facility, which is climate controlled due to the nature of their work.

17. Bird Electric

Revenues: $238 Million

Employees: 587

CEO: Dale LeFebvre

Founded in 2004, Bird Electric is a leading full-service electric company. Services provided by the company include transmission, maintenance, instrumentation and electrical construction, automation, and storm restoration. Bird Electric operates in over ten states in the United States including Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Florida, Mississippi, Idaho, California, New Mexico, Alabama, Maryland and Puerto Rico.

16. Baldwin Richardson Foods

Revenues: $252 Million

Employees: 350

CEO: Eric G. Johnson

Richardson Foods is a leading custom ingredients manufacturer for the food and beverage industry. It is a family owned company originally founded as Baldwin Ice Cream in Chicago. Illinois in 1921. In 1997, five years after current CEO Eric Johnson purchased the company, Baldwin Ice Cream Company purchased Richardson Foods, creating Baldwin Richardson Foods. Over the next twenty years, the retail business grew to become a custom ingredients manufacturer making many kinds of liquid products for the food industry, including condiments, sauces, and syrups.

15. Adams Communication & Engineering Technology

Revenues: $253 Million

Employees: 385

CEO: Charles M. Adams

Founded in Maryland in 1999 by Charles Adams, Adams Communication & Engineering Technology is a leading technology company providing services for Government Defense, Intelligence, and other Federal Agencies of the United States. The company provides products and solutions in information systems, healthcare systems, aerospace, and electronics.

14. Millennium Steel of Texas

Revenues: $266 Million

Employees: 86

CEO: Andrea M. Jackson

Founded in San Antonio Texas by Henry Jackson in 2005, Millennium Steel of Texas ia a steel company providing automotive grade outer body steel sheets to auto makers across the state of Texas. Their services include steel processing, warehousing, and storage.

13. Global Automotive Alliance Corporation

Revenues: $275 Million

Employees: 1647

CEO: William F. Pickard and Sylvester L. Hester

Global Automotive Alliance is a holding company of many different companies originally founded by William Pickard in 1989. It is a consolidation of logistics and automotive manufacturing companies with eight plants in the United States and Canada. GAA supplies to top three United States automakers: Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler. In addition, it also supplies to other global companies such as Boeing, Mercedes Benz, Starbucks, and Home Depot.

12. Millennium Steel Service

Revenues: $312 Million

Employees: 51

CEO: Andrea Jackson

Sister company of Millennium Steel of Texas, Millennium Steel Services is an automotive steel processing and warehousing company based in Princeton Indiana. It provides warehousing and supply chain management including inventory managements, inspection, slitting, and information technology system services.

11. Fair Oaks Farms

Revenues: $342 Million

Employees: 257

CEO: Michael L. Thompson

Fair Oaks Farms is food services company which produces fresh, ready-to-cook, and fully cooked beef, pork, and poultry products. Products offered by the company include sausages, cured meats, smoked meats, and canned meats. Founded in 1985 in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin in the United States, Fair Oaks Farms distributes its products to a variety of national and international restaurant chains and food companies.

10. Hightowers Petroleum Co.

Revenues: $435 Million

Employees: 52

CEO: Stephen L. Hightower

Operating for over 58 years, Hightowers Petroleum Co. is a petroleum products distribution company founded by Stephen “Steve” Hightower in 1982. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, Hightower built the company from humble beginnings to a well-established business through persistence, drive, and determination. It is a family business providing services in bulk fuel delivery, HPC fleet cards, inventory management, emergency fuel, and supply chain managements.

9. Urban One (NASDAQ:UONEK)

Revenues: $440 Million

Employees: 1058

CEO: Alfred C. Liggins III

Based in Silver Spring, Maryland, Urban One Inc is a publishing and broadcasting company primarily providing content aimed at the African American community. Self-titled as the “leading voice speaking to Black America “, Urban One Inc is the largest distributor of urban content in the United States since 1980. It is the largest Black-owned broadcasting company in the United States, with 53 radio stations, cable network TV One, digital media company iOne, and news provider NewsOne all under its belt.

8. The Anderson-Dubose Company

Revenues: $703 Million

Employees: 543

CEO: Warren E. Anderson

Launched in 1991, The Andersons-Dubose Company is a distribution company providing logistics services to McDonalds and Chipotle fast food restaurants in the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia in the United States. Their services roster includes transportation of groceries, happy meal toys, paper products, dairy products, frozen meat and fish, and other food products. The Anderson Dubose Company operate from two locations, one is a 210,497 square foot facility in Lordstown, Ohio and the other is in Rochester, New York.

7. Thompson Hospitality

Revenues: $760 Million

Employees: 6,000

CEO: Warren M. Thompson

Thompson Hospitality Corporation is a food and facilities management company providing hospitality services in the United States. It is the largest minority-owned Food Service and one of the largest Retail Food and Facilities Management companies in the United States. Thompson Hospitality Corporation was originally founded as a restaurant company in 1992 and has now branched out to offer all services of the hospitality industry.

 In 2010, the company was awarded the Black Enterprise Award of Company of the Year. In 2017, Washington Business Journal ranked it #1 Minority Owned Company. And in 2019 they were again recognized by Washington Business Journal as the Largest Independent Employer Company.

6. Bridgeman Foods

Revenues: $870 Million

Employees: 20,000

CEO: Ryan Bridgeman

Located in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, United States, Bridgeman Foods is a part of the fast-food and quick-service restaurants industry. Formerly known as Manna Inc, Bridgeman Foods was founded in 1988 in Louisville, Kentucky. Currently Bridgeman Foods affiliates operate 139 Wendy’s restaurants, 27 Golden Corral Buffet and Grill restaurants, 83 Fazoli’s restaurants, 6 Mark’s Feed Store restaurants, 7 Blaze Pizza restaurants, Napa River Grill, Jimmy John’s, and The Layover Bar.

5. Modular Assembly Innovations

Revenues: $1,042 Million

Employees: 259

CEO: Billy R. Vickers

Modular Assembly Innovations is one of the United States’ largest black-owned businesses. Based in Dublin, Ohio, Modular Assembly Innovations is the parent corporation of a group of certified, minority-owned companies part of the Machinery Manufacturing industry. MAI companies include Great Lakes Assemblies, Gulf Shore Assemblies, Indiana Assemblies, and North American Assemblies. These are all aware winning, tier one suppliers of automotive parts to customers in both the United States and abroad.

4. Coca-Cola Beverages Florida

Revenues: $1,310 Million

Employees: 4,800

CEO: Troy D. Taylor

A family owned company, Coca-Cola Beverages Florida L.L.C. is an independent Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) beverage bottler company with over 18 million consumers across 47 counties of the state of Florida. This includes all the major metropolitan markets of Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. Coca-Cola Beverages Florida L.L.C. , or Coke Florida as it’s known for short, manufactures, sells, and distributes over 600 products of the giant Coca Cola Company as well as many other partner companies.

Coca-Cola Beverages Florida has received a number of awards. They received the Minority Business Enterprise Supplier of the Year Class IV honor in 2020. The Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council also recognized Coca-Cola Beverages Florida L.L.C. as the Supplier of the Year Class IV in the same year.

3. Bridgewater Interiors L.L.C

Revenues: $ 1,969 Million

Employees: 2,400

CEO: Ronald E. Hall Jr.

Founded over 20 years ago, Bridgewater Interiors is an automotive seating manufacturing company based in Detroit, Michigan. The company specializes in JIT (just-in-time) manufacturing, sequencing, and delivery of seating in automotive vehicles. The company does assembly for 15 car models belonging to four automotive manufacturers. Bridgewater Interiors has four facilities at its two locations, three in Michigan and one in Alabama.

Bridgewater Interiors L.L.C has received a number of accolades throughout the years. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Commerce, through its Minority Business Development Agency, named Bridgewater Interiors its Manufacturer of the Year. General Motors (NYSE:GM), Honda (NYSE:HMC), and Ford (NYSE:F) have all recognized Bridgewater Interiors for their quality and service.

2. Act 1 Group

Revenues: $2,800 Million

Employees: 2,000

CEO: Janice Bryant Howroyd

ActOne Group is a privately held corporation based in Torrance, California founded in 1964. The ActOne Group, stylized as Act 1 Group, is a global enterprise that provided employment, workforce management, and procurement solutions to a wide range of industries. ActOne is the largest debt-free woman-owned, minority-owned workforce management company in the United States. ActOne is a global leader in the human resources industry and currently operates in 19 countries around the world with 17,000 clients and 2,600 employees worldwide.

The CEO, Janice Bryant Howroyd was awarded winner of the 2016 Peter Yessne Staffing Leadership Award for all her efforts.

1. World Wide Technology

Revenue: $11,287.419 Million

Employees: 5,378

CEO: David L. Steward

Topping the list of 20 biggest black-owned companies in the United States is technology solution provider World Wide Technology with $11.2 billion in annual revenue and more than 5,000 employees. Founded in 1990, World Wide Technology provides supply-chain technology to 45% of Fortune 500 companies. The company provides information technology and software solutions. Some of the world’s most recognizable brands are WWT’s customers, namely Boeing, Cisco, AT&T, Microsoft,  and the US Air Force. World Wide Technology employs more than 3,800 people and operates in more than 20 facilities throughout the world.

New Orleans has a crime problem.  The solution is not more police.  The solution is more and better jobs.  In New Orleans, that means more and better black owned businesses. Black businesses create better jobs for African Americans.  And that is because black businesses hire African Americans at a higher rate and pay them more money.  Our community needs more black jobs.  Those are jobs for us by us. 

We Need Black Jobs

Black jobs by definition are offered by African American businesses to African American people.  Black companies hiring black people. Strong African American companies create generational wealth.  People with good jobs are good tax paying citizens.  Our city council must create meaningful pathways to black jobs.  Creating access to contracts and the capital to fulfill them is the proper role of our city council.  Some states offer free land or no taxes to attract businesses.  The New Orleans City Council must offer contracts and capital.  That creates Black jobs – African American companies hiring African Americans people to do work.

Black jobs are the key to our city’s future. Growing an African American business class provides long-term stability for our families.  Hiring African Americans and providing good paying jobs has immediate impacts.  People with good jobs are much less likely to engage in crime.  If you got a good job – paying all your bills and have some left over – you don’t need to be on the corners involved in street crime.  If you have a good paying job, you will not be angry all the time.  You will have something to live for.  And you won’t shoot the guy next door over “disrespect!”  And having an African American company to offer the jobs means better jobs.

The best employers for young African American men are African American businesses.  A reason white owned companies hire more white employees is because people like to work with people who are like them. Cohesive happy environments foster creativity, productivity and profitability. Yes diversity is very important.  But we just do not have enough successful African American businesses. This dearth contributes to the troubled neighborhoods. We must do better in New Orleans. We must develop, support an grow more African American businesses.  Creating business opportunities in our communities strengthens our communities.  Good jobs help young men develop into good citizens.  And growing Black businesses promote other ancillary Black businesses. Those will also hire African Americans.  Black jobs are the best jobs.

For our existing African American owned businesses, we need to support and protect them. Bigger companies want their valuable contracts.  But the city council must protect these contracts.  We need successful African American companies to support our communities.  The profits stay here and are multiplied when the companies are New Orleans based.  New Orleans based African American companies help reduce crime, grow the tax base and create more business opportunities.  More black jobs make New Orleans a better city.

We must support our local businesses.  Our political leaders must contribute to their success.  If they need help, that is precisely the role of government.  Instead of tax breaks to attract big businesses, we need tax incentives that support local businesses.  Support our local African American owned businesses. They create black jobs.  Black jobs are the best jobs. 

We published a list of things that white people should never say to their black co-workers. Now, Risha Grant, a public relations professional and diversity and inclusion expert, asked white people on her Facebook feed, to list the things that black people say or may do that annoy them.

Here are 16 of the top annoyances (mild and otherwise) that white people said they felt about black people mostly in the workplace, but also in general (these are posted verbatim from Risha Grant’s Facebook feed):

WHEN YOU WANT TO BE FRIENDS WITH THEM AT WORK BUT THERE ARE OTHER BLACK GIRLS SO YOU JUST CAN’T GET CLOSE CUZ UR JUST THE WHITE GIRL WHO IS HELD AT ARMS LENGTH. YOU GET THE FEELING THAT THEY DON’T BELIEVE YOU WANNA BE THEIR FRIEND. THEY THINK WE ARE TOO DIFFERENT.

…THERE HAVE BEEN TIMES THAT CONVERSATION WITH A BLACK PERSON SOMEHOW TURNS TO THE TOPIC OF INEQUALITY…I HAVE NO WAY OF TRULY KNOWING ALL THE PRIVILEGE THAT I ENJOY AS A WHITE, STRAIGHT MALE. I JUST KNOW THERE ARE TIMES, I’D LIKE TO LEARN MORE AND THE DOOR CLOSES.

…ANY TIME A BLACK PERSON WALKS INTO A ROOM — SAY A NEW EMPLOYEE IN AN OFFICE — THEY MAKE A BEELINE TO THE OTHER BLACK FACES. IT CAN BE DISAPPOINTING BECAUSE I MAY KNOW FROM ADVANCE NOTIFICATION ABOUT YOUR HIRING THAT YOU AND I HAVE A LOT IN COMMON, BUT I HAVE TO WORK HARDER TO BE YOUR FRIEND.

ON SOCIAL MEDIA, A LOT OF MY ACTIVIST BLACK FRIENDS WILL POST COMPLAINTS ABOUT “WHITE PEOPLE SAY …” “WHITE PEOPLE THINK…” “WHITE PEOPLE DO …” AND I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE SAYING, “NOT ALL WHITE PEOPLE!”

[RELATED: 27 THINGS WHITE PEOPLE SHOULD NEVER, EVER SAY TO THEIR BLACK CO-WORKERS]

… MORE COMMON AMONGST MY BLACK FRIENDS THAN ANY OTHER GROUP. I DON’T LIKE IT WHEN BLACK PEOPLE BRING UP MY ‘WHITE PRIVILEGE’ FOR THE REASON THEY AREN’T AS WELL OFF AS THEY THINK I AM

I FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE JOINING AMAZING ORGANIZATIONS IF PREFACED WITH ‘BLACK’. LIKE BLACK NURSES ASSOCIATION. THESE ARE AMAMAZAZAZING COLLEAGUES I WANT TO NETWORK WITH BUT….I’M NOT BLACK.

…HAVE NOTICED A LOT OF TIMES WHEN I EXPECT THE BLACK FRIEND OF MINE TO FOLLOW THROUGH OR FOLLOW UP ON A CONVERSATION, WEATHER [SIC] IT BE TO CONTACT SOMEONE IN BUSINESS OR TO GET BACK WITH ME WITH SOME INFORMATION IT DOESN’T ALWAYS HAPPEN. SO I WOULD SAY FOR ME IT’S FOLLOW THROUGH OR FOLLOW UP WHEN CONVERSATIONS ARE MADE ABOUT MOVING FORWARD WITH SOMETHING.

…WHEN I WAS WORKING WITH CHILDREN IT SEEMED MORE COMMON FOR BLACK ADULTS TO COME DOWN ON A CHILD FOR CRYING OR HAVING EMOTIONS (PARTICULARLY WHEN LITTLE BOYS AND YOUNG MEN CRIED, TELLING THEM TO “MAN UP.”)

I CAN SAY THAT IN MY TRADITIONAL CLASSROOMS OVER THE YEARS I’VE HAD MORE BLACK KIDS THAT SEEM TO GO RIGHT TO FIGHTING ON THE PLAYGROUND- NOT A LOT OF BUILD UP, JUST STRAIGHT TO THROWING PUNCHES

“THE VICTIM.” THE ONES THAT MAKE ANY NON BLACK RACE FEEL LIKE A DOG FOR WHAT THEIR ANCESTORS MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE DONE DURING THE PERIODS OF SLAVERY, AND ACT LIKE THE CURRENT PERIOD NON BLACK RACES OWE THEM SOMETHING FOR IT. 

SPEAKING AS IF THEY ARE UNEDUCATED. NOT ACCENTS BUT REFUSING TO SPEAK CORRECTLY.

…IT SEEMS LIKE AFRICAN AMERICANS NEVER USE A CROSSWALK. EVEN IF IT’S RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM, THEY WILL GO OUT OF THEIR WAY NOT TO CROSS AT THE LIGHT. IS THERE SOMETHING THERE OR AM I IMAGINING THINGS?

POOR GRAMMAR

IT REALLY IRRITATES ME THAT Y’ALL CAN DANCE SO MUCH BETTER THAN ME! (NO ONE WHO WITNESSED IT HAS EVER FORGOTTEN YOUR VALIANT ATTEMPT TO TEACH ME THE WOBBLE!)

…PLEASE DON’T ASSUME ALL WHITE PEOPLE SUPPORT TRUMP. BECAUSE WE DON’T.

A WHITE PERSON HAS TO WALK ON EGGSHELLS WITH CAVEATS TO KEEP OVERLY SENSITIVE PEOPLE FROM BEING OFFENDED — THAT SEEMS TO BE ONE THING THAT BLACK PEOPLE DO—GET OFFENDED TO EASILY.


BY MALAIKA BATES

The Center for Disease Control defines health disparities as “preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations .” As the second-largest minority population in the United States, African Americans have been disadvantaged racially, socially, and economically for decades and their health has been drastically affected by this trend through a number of factors.

Factors outside the community

The socioeconomic status of African Americans is a determinant of healthcare access and is an integral part of how race affects health . Racism in healthcare is not new. On average, African Americans have limited access to good quality, conveniently located healthcare facilities. In communities with a high proportion of African Americans, these necessary facilities are placed few and far between and are of poor quality. This has fostered a mindset that is in denial of health issues amongst the community members as there are most times no affordable treatment available, increasing the percentage of chronic illnesses. Research has shown a high correlation between low income and being uninsured, implying that African Americans struggle to afford any insurance.

A racial and economic gap has existed between African Americans and white Americans since 1968 with no significant sign of change. People assume that the amount of money someone makes is based on their job, but for African Americans, their race is tied to their income level and as a result, their health. The average black person has earned about 57 percent of what the average white American makes from 1968 to 2016 . The U.S. economy enforces regulations that keep the majority of the finances in the hands of the richest members of society, excluding most people of the African American race .

Still today, the average white American household earns 6.5 times the amount of an African American household, despite a thriving U.S. economy. Income level is also reflected in the type and placement of housing, allowing for large groups of people within the same race and income level to form their own neighborhoods and attracting those who wish to take advantage of this.

The health and safety of any individual is a priority.

Factors within the community

Health starts with what you eat. Everything you put inside your body is either nourishment or a detriment and for African Americans, the latter is more often true but not by accident. It has been found that unhealthy foods are promoted heavier in African American communities as they are often cheaper and what can be afforded, leading to drastically reduced access to healthy food choices, even in grocery stores. Studies have shown that there is a higher prevalence of fast-food restaurants among and an inverse relationship with low-income neighborhoods, even at the national level . This means that as the overall income level of the neighborhood goes down, the number of fast-food restaurants increases. 

In most cases, the population of African Americans per area was a better indicator of fast-food restaurant density than household . Essentially, increasing proportions of African Americans in a neighborhood is an indicator of average decreasing income levels and is positively correlated with an increasing number of fast-food restaurants. The conclusion can be made that these fast-food establishments follow elevated African American populations because they are guaranteed business as their prices are more affordable, but the food rarely has any great nutritional value and is highly fattening. What can be seen as somewhat healthy, such as a side salad, is often twice or three times as expensive making it the least likely to be bought by people with limited funds or knowledge of healthier food options.

Effects and implications of these factors 

It is no surprise that with all these factors in place to promote unhealthy eating amongst the African American population, a frightening number of health concerns have also raised. The risk factors, morbidity, incidence, and mortality rates for the top ten leading causes of death are disproportionately greater for African Americans than white Americans . This leads to elevated death rates for heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma, influenza and pneumonia, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and homicide, and decreased life expectancy overall for African Americans at an average of 76.1 years compared to 79.8 years for white Americans .

Another obvious effect would be the high obesity rates among adults and children that contribute to a number of additional health risks such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attacks, and strokes, not to mention decreased performance in completing everyday tasks. The strategic placement of and excess access to unhealthy food without the same ease of access to health facilities to combat the issues that arise shows that the U.S. economy has no intention of closing the racial or socioeconomic gap between white Americans and African Americans soon. 

What can be done to alleviate these effects?

This issue with African American health disparities is a matter of environmental justice because it is concerned with the equal distribution of environmental burdens such as health hazards and other inequalities . It is the responsibility of the U.S. government to provide all citizens with equal access to healthy food choices and healthcare facilities. The implementation of universal, race-neutral policies would be a step in the right direction . Other means of solving the food situation in African American neighborhoods directly might include improved transportation to facilitate access to healthful foods or mobile markets to increase the supply of fresh produce, and nutritional education . There is too much of U.S. history built out of racism for all of our problems to be fixed with any one solution, but these propose a good start. Until the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities between African-Americans and white Americans are dissolved, environmental justice cannot be achieved.

If you haven’t tried some of these, your waistline really wants you to.

If you haven’t tried some of these, your waistline really wants you to.

HOT PEPPERS

There’s a good reason that some like it hot. Capsaicin — the compound that gives peppers their fiery kick — helps boost metabolism by raising your body temperature.

BELL PEPPERS

Surprise! Contrary to popular belief, hot red peppers aren’t the only veggies that contain metabolism-boosting capsaicin. Though bell peppers have smaller amounts, they still allow you to get your fix.

CELERY

Celery might not seem like it has any superpowers, but it’s blandness can be beneficial. It doesn’t have much taste on its own, but chomping on the super low-calorie food stimulates digestion, keeps your body hydrated, and has plenty of fat-burning fiber, all of which amp up your metabolism.

TUNA

Nothing to be sorry for, Charlie. Tuna — along with salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines — contains omega-3 fatty acids, which stimulate the production of hormones that regulate metabolism and appetite.

WATER

You need water to survive — and drinking eight glasses a day is also great for your metabolism. A small study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that consuming 500 ml of water caused metabolic rate to spike 30 percent within 10 minutes, an effect that lasted for around a half hour.

SUNFLOWER SEEDS

These nuts are rich in polyunsaturated fats, which studies show could help melt belly fat. The how isn’t totally clear, but it could be because mitochondria, the energy factories of cells, need polyunsaturated fats to help burn flab.

MATCHA

Yup, that’s just a fancy word for green tea. It not only packs a bit of caffeine, which speeds up your heart rate and thus your metabolism, but it also has norepinephrine-stimulating EGCG, a nutrient that helps boost your metabolic rate.

PAPAYA

Keep the taste of the Caribbean alive in your kitchen. This tropical fruit contains papain, an enzyme thought to improve digestion — a key to boosting metabolism and torching fat.

ALMOND BUTTER

This nutty spread is a low-glycemic food, meaning it helps keep your blood sugar levels stable. That’s crucial when your blood sugar spikes and crashes on the regular, it slows down your metabolism.

OATS

Don’t vote all carbs off the island. Oats are loaded with beta-glucan, a special type of fiber that helps slow the digestion of carbohydrates, which releases sugars at a slower rate. This triggers certain metabolic responses that decrease appetite.

GRAPEFRUIT

Move over apples and oranges! This tart citrus fruit contains naringenin, an antioxidant that helps keep your blood sugar consistent and helps improve calorie burn.

YOGURT

People who upped their yogurt intake — eating at least one serving a day — dropped almost a pound every four years, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that followed nearly 120,000 adults for two decades. Those who skipped a serving a day gained weight.

RED WINE

If you’re going to cut back on an Italian dinner, it’s better to ditch the pane than the vino. Refined carbs found in white bread and pasta trigger a release of insulin, which can then store as extra fat. Red wine, on the other hand, contains resveratrol, which may help you better metabolize the sugar you do eat.