from the world's big
In the Shadow of Civil Rights
In civic life, Jealous is a board member of the California \r\nCouncil for the Humanities and the Association of Black Foundation \r\nExecutives, as well as a member of the Asia Society. He is married to \r\nLia Epperson Jealous, a professor of constitutional law and former civil\r\n rights litigator with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Question: What first motivated you to pursue a career in social justice?
Ben Jealous: Yeah, my parents were both active in the 1950's and '60's, and my grandparents as well. And I was raised in a family where we were taught that the best thing you could do with your life was to really kind of push the cause of progress and justice and human rights in this country forward.
Question: What forms of discrimination have you experienced personally?
Ben Jealous: Yeah, growing up black in the States, even in the 1970's, meant that you were subjected. And probably the things probably the most glaring to me was I think both the way I was treated as a child in stores, like the local five and dime. I grew up in a town that didn't have many black folks, and it was pretty clear that the black kids were treated different than the black kids; more suspect, more shop owners were afraid we might steal something. And also the white people responded to my parents’ marriage. My dad's white and my mom's black, and it wasn't very socially acceptable. When I was born it would have been legal for just over five years. So, it was a different time.
Question: In what ways does the perspective of your generation influence your NAACP leadership?
Ben Jealous: You know, my generation, they used to refer to us as the "children of the dream." The kids who were born just as and just after the big civil rights victories were born. And we were told when we were coming up, look, all the big victories have been won. Your job, young man, or young woman, is to just go out and play hard by the rules, because the rules are now fair. And that worked well for many of us. I mean, I went to great universities and won great scholarships and all that stuff. But for many of us, it didn't. I mean, we came of age as a generation just in time to find ourselves the most murdered generation in this country and the most incarcerated generation on the planet. And that's the shadow, if you will, of the shining victories of the 1960's.
Question: How does the older generation feel about your generation’s handling of civil rights issues?
Ben Jealous: The battle at any given moment is multi-generational. My parents and my grandparents were both involved in the battles of the '50's and '60's. And so who’s ever on the battlefield agrees there's a reason to be on the battlefield and there's a reason to be fighting. So the leaders of the civil rights movement who are still active, people like Joseph Lowery, like Julian Bond, like Merilee Evers, like Dr. Hazel Dukes here in New York, couldn't agree more. I mean, we have great – because they have lived their whole lives with their eyes wide open. And they understand just how far we've come; perhaps better than my generation does because they lived through it. But they also understand how far we haven't come. Again, because to the extent that there are similarities, to the extent that there are whole groups of people in the black community, or in the country as a whole who have gone backward in the last 40 years. Well, they've watched them go backward too.
Recorded March 10th, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen
The NAACP president grew up hearing that civil rights was a settled issue, only to find that cancerous racial problems still persisted.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
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