Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Black women are (not) doing it up...

sigh. SIGH. Read this article....

You know when I say I'm a feminist in mixed company (especially on a date...when I want it to end early...) I usually get the negative or ignorant reaction. I'm used to it by now but inside I'm am complacently weary about the implications of the ignorance of the state of the black women.

The bubble gum colored wrapping of 'girl power'  has hidden the very real fact that, on a whole, black women are not making it.

I devour the blogging world and so many of the black blogs are dedicated to what is wrong with black men and why black women aren't getting them and lately I started to get pissed at how superficially people were treating the subject of the broken black family. It's harder for us, my cohort, to really understand (although many of our mothers were single mothers - we are not) because we are all a part of the 6% of the black community that has been educated within an inch our lives in some of the best schools in the country --  we have either been surrounded by stable families or we create them for ourselves so we don't fully live into this article....we don't have a full understanding of what the face of a lack of options, a lack of choice truly looks like. So we spend our days focused on the the tiny things, who is cooking, who let's a man be a man, does he order for you, when do you give 'it' up, etc. etc. Without a full understanding of the ways that our superficial discussions miss the true essence of the problem ravishing our communities.

Would you like some choice bits from the article?
Women of all races bring home less income and own fewer assets...than men...for single black women even in their prime working years their median wealth amounts to 5$.

[Wealth = cash in bank, stocks, bonds, etc - mortgage, cs's, student loans, etc]

Soooooooo despite the cute TV shows with us bopping around in our jimmy choos we're actually trying to raise children alone on a huge scale. 70% of black households are run by single women and it is killing our community. Its so far beyond black women and their mouths, black women and their unrealistic expectations for black men -- it's 4 out of 10 black families live in single parent households in Pittsburgh -- 1 in 3 live in poverty in my home of Philadelphia.

Black women have to bear the financial burden of raising children alone and most often while being employed in service occupations that don't provide adequate health care and no sick days etc.

So no partner to help build wealth + a inability to build a stable and secure financial future + poor health care + single parenthood = Gotta be a death wish.

As adiva mentioned in her post...the problem is that this type of lifestyle has become the norm in our communities, it feels normal, ordinary, common....but it's a death kneel to the coherency of our community and our ability to contribute to the the country as a whole. There is a line in  in the movie "Desert Flower" that says the last camel walks as quickly as the first. It is a Somali proverb that means to imply that the familiar sentiment that whatever happens to the people on the bottom will be felt by all those in the community, or we will be judged by the least of these, or injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere-- I could go on but you get my

I want to see a larger more active conversation about the affect that the prison industrial complex is having on our community, the way that the eurocentric sense of the lifting the individual hits our community in severely negative ways, the way that commercialism and gain for the self interacts with the prioritization of the individual; I want to talk about the way that sexism and classism combine to separate us from each other --  I want to see a conversation exploring the idea that the ghetto has never fully recovered from the crack epidemic in the 80's.....

This is beyond fault and just what is...why are we caught up on the superficialities?

I don't understand.

So I suppose that my long winded but heart felt plea is that folks finally see that this fight for the health and wealth of our community is a feminist fight. It's not about a bra burning, ball kicking attack on masculinity (well for some white feminist it may be - but I don't know any of them) -- it is about a profound understanding, a lived understanding, that the least of these (which somehow continues to be black women regardless of our ability to graduate at higher levels than males) will determine the quality of all of these. We, feminist, are fighting for the welfare of the community by lifting as we climb...get on board...or.... perish?

Folks who read the study and not the article...(embarrassed face....)

1 comment:

  1. Whoa, you speak the truth. I am forever getting into semi-heated discussions with a certain member of my re: feminism. When I have referred to myself as a feminist he has said all he hears is "someone who wants something for nothing." Yes, he is a Republican. The view that most men (and women) take of feminism is outmoded and flat out ridiculous -- you said it yourself, feminism is not about bra-burning, but I'm going to go ahead and say that it IS about changing the dialogue concerning HOW WOMEN ALLOW THEMSELVES TO BE TREATED, which is essentially about how they instruct society to treat them. Three waves of feminism, and our icons are still, STILL the ladies from Sex and City -- who are "free" because they are rich and live in the big city and have awesome jobs, but who still base every choice they make on the men in their lives, and who promote consumerism to an astonishing degree. again are they good role models? It baffles me that so many of my friends (seriously!) base their conceptions of success on this model, and accordingly would give it all up in a second for a man if he asked -- one way or another.

    I can't talk about being a black women because I'm not, but I am indeed a women, and I feel fucking oppressed every day. I hear your need to engage in an honest discussion about race and class (class, in America, being something we are terrified to talk about). I feel that class in African American society is a particularly thorny issue.

    Anyway, consider yourself linked at my blog. I really like this post. Thanks!