All Articles Tagged "black women"
Have black women been forgotten by the political machine even though they vote in high numbers? Yes, say many. According to a new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) entitled “The State of African-American Women in the United States,” the crossroads of racial and gender disparities meet at the experience of black women. Yet, in the last presidential election, black women had the highest voter turnout of any comparable group in the country.
Despite experiencing socioeconomic inequity more than anyone else, African American women vote more than all others (and generally in favor of the Democratic candidate). This is important for two reasons notes Theodore R. Johnson in Salon. First, the policy concerns of African American women have gone largely unaddressed. Second, although there is evidence of the black electorate leader, there is not much effort by candidates to work hard for those votes. And the Republican Party assumes it is impossible to grab the black vote. The Democratic Party knows it can depend on overwhelming support from the black community.
In a 2011 poll from the Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation, the issues that black women were most concerned about included employment/personal finances, healthcare, and crime. Even exit polls from last month’s Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial elections highlight the same concerns.
Stats will tell you these concerns are not being met. The CAP report reveals that 1 in 4 black women are uninsured. In education, African American women are underrepresented in college degrees, have the slowest increase in graduation rates of all women, and are the most severely underrepresented in technical fields, reports Salon. Economically, black women have a higher rate of unemployment than white women. This rate rose in 2013. Also, black women’s income is less than all men and white women, and their poverty rate is the highest in the country.
Even will all these disparities, the Washington-Kaiser poll discovered that nearly 3 in 4 black women felt it was a good time to be a black woman in America, and 85 percent say they are happy with their lives in general.
“Perhaps most interesting, black female entrepreneurs are the fastest growing segment of the women-owned business market. They are starting up at six times the national average, grew in number by 258 percent over the last 15 years, and generated nearly $45 billion of revenue this year,” reports Salon.
The surprising thing is that even with this political alienation, black women still vote. A Harvard Journal of African American Policy paper titled, “Political Cynicism and the Black Vote,” points to an important difference in black voting behavior. The authors theorize that unlike other races, when black voters have high cynical attitudes – such as the feeling of political alienation – they vote in higher numbers. So this could explain why black women voting rates consistently rise despite their political alienation.
“The political alienation of black women may prove beneficial to the winners who are swept into office from their high turnout, but the failure to adequately address the disparities they experience dooms any attempt at sound social policy,” notes Johnson in Salon.
What do you think?
Niecy Nash is always up for a challenge. So when her agents told her about a role in HBO’s new comedy Getting On where she didn’t have to be “the sassy Black momma, the sassy Black neighbor or the sassy Black friend,” she jumped.
Nash plays nurse Didi Ortley in the half-hour comedy about a group of women caring for the elderly. Here, she shares why she calls this this a “delicious” character and why roles like this don’t come everyday.
ESSENCE.com: You’ve called this a delicious role. What about it is delicious?
Niecy Nash: Because it’s so far from anything that I’ve had to play in such a long time. It’s exciting when you’re still discovering things about not only the character but yourself as a performer. That’s what makes the words taste good in your mouth. It’s like ‘How am I going to say that? How am I going to interpret that? How does this character feel about that?’ That’s the thing that makes it exciting.
ESSENCE.com: Is there a part of you that feels like you’ve been typecast?
Nash: I don’t think it’s just me. I think there are a lot of similarities in the roles that come out for Black women. In my career, I’ve been the sassy Black everything, from the sassy Black momma, the sassy Black neighbor, to the sassy Black friend. Roles like this one on Getting On don’t come along every day, where not only are you scrubbed down in the way you look, but the texture and tone rest in a very real place. We just don’t get scripts like that every day.
ESSENCE.com: Everyone on the show has no makeup on. It seems very practical.
Nash: You say practical, I say brave, because we are giving you old hags on this one right here. We move around in a world where makeup is so much a part of our lives. Between photo shoots and red carpets and meetings and lunches, you always have to be dolled up; you always have to have your tracks in; you always have to have good eye lashes and glue in your purse because you never know. Because I was filming Monday through Friday, on Saturday I would miss looking glamorous so much I would do a little bit too much. I was missing was the short skirt and the clear heels, my husband was like ‘Where are you going with all that stuff on your face?!’ and I’m just like ‘I don’t know!’
You can check out the rest of ESSENCE’s interview with Niecy Nash over on ESSENCE.com. She is really doing big things and this new show should really push her into a new realm with all new fans. Getting On airs Sundays at 10p on HBO.
If you frequent social media, chances are you’ve stumbled across an interesting meme, which points out that Morris Chestnut is the only Best Man Holiday cast member who is married to a Black woman. What began as a simple social media dig eventually evolved into a full-fledged satirical Internet “report” by Cream BMP Daily, which claims that Taye Diggs made some not-so-nice comments about his fellow cast members and Black women in general.
“Let’s just say it’s not a stereotype that black women are less submissive and harder to deal with. Being around them black women made me really miss my wife. The only Black woman I ever loved is my mama,” Taye supposedly said.
Unfortunately it seems that some folks are unaware of what satire means, so they took Taye’s alleged quote and ran with it. Chances are you may have even witnessed a few of your Facebook friends going in on Taye over the alleged comment. Taye recently took to his Twitter page to address the report and inform fans that he has never, nor will he ever, make such a comment.
Regarding the preposterous quote about black women: It is false. I have not and would never say such a thing. Ever. Period.
— Taye Diggs (@TayeDiggs) November 24, 2013
And there you have it.
Were you aware that this quote has been floating around the web?
Jazmine Denise is an entertainment and celebrity news blogger. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise.
A new fact sheet delves into statistics about the big picture for African-American women from an educational and economic standpoint, Center for American Progress reports.
There is some good news! Among the black population, African-American women earned more than 50 percent of all degrees in the science and the engineering field. This figure far surpasses the degrees obtained by black men. But when we compare black women to the female population as a whole, this is where the bad news seeps in. Of all the bachelor’s degrees earned by women, African-American women only hold 8.6 percent of them.
Women in total make up about a quarter of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce — black women, in particular, only take up two percent of STEM employees.
But don’t let this piece of data discourage you! More black women are becoming their own bosses and turning to entrepreneurship. “African American-owned businesses are the fastest-growing segment of the women-owned business market,” CAP adds. These businesses are sprouting up six-times higher than the national rate — between 1997 and 2013, businesses by African-American women grew 258 percent!
There are an estimated 1.1 million black women-owned businesses in America and all have generated a combined $44.9 billion in revenue and have employed 272,000 workers.
Unfortunately, for women who choose to be an employee rather than an employer, statistics do not emerge in their favor. Compared to white women and black men, African-American women continue to take home lower earnings — Caucasian women earned a median of $718 a week while black men earned $666; black women only earned $610 a week.
The unemployment rate isn’t looking too great either. About 11 percent of Black women are jobless while only six percent of white women are in the same boat. CAP also highlights the dramatic dichotomy in African-American income between single and married households: “Married or cohabiting African American households have a median wealth of $31,500 while single African American women have a median wealth of only $100. African American women with children, however, have zero median wealth.”
On a happier note though, CAP adds that teenage birth rates among Black women between 2011 and 2012 has plunged by seven percent.
In a nutshell, these statistics show that although black women have made significant steps in the right direction, the gender and racial disparities are still too conspicuous. There is still a disappointing lack of black female representation among STEM workers, politicians (only 14 black women in Congress), and high-income earners.
“This fact sheet provides a snapshot [...] that should guide our choices to enact sensible policies to unleash the potential of this growing demographic and benefit our economy,” CAP concludes.
Yesterday, I learned that Lily Allen was back on the music scene. And according to Jezebel, it was clear that she had to something to say in her new single “Hard Out Here.” The song is all about how women often feel pressure to objectify themselves in one way or another to be successful in this male-dominated world. And throughout the video, we see Lily fighting back against the machine in some ways and contemplating the decision to shake her booty or bounce her tits. Ultimately, she states that it’s not easy out here for women. Some of the lyrics read as follows:
Don’t need to shake my A$$ for you cuz I’ve got a brain…
If I told you ’bout my sex life, you call me a Slore
When boys be talkin’ bout their bitches no one’s making a fuss
You should probably have somebody who objectives you
Have you thought about your butt, who’s going to tear it in two?
Forget your balls and grow a pair of tits
It’s hard out here for a b!tch
Clearly, there are some parts that are satirical and some parts make statements that explain that satire. And in the video, there are images of black women doing the very things the industry uses to make money. Women twerking, dancing, popping their booties to the beat. And since booty is most commonly found in women of African descent, these are the women who are most prominently featured in the video. Take a look below.
While some were praising the video for its pro-feminist statement and critique of pop culture, others took issue with the ways in which black women were portrayed in the video. They found it exploitative. Even though there were white women in the video and Lily did some of the dance moves herself, black women’s bodies were the ones that were on display.
I agree that there was gratuitous booty. But I also understand the use of it in the point she was trying to make. After all, how many videos contain similar images which are not meant to critique culture but sell sex? I will say she did highlight what is a very real issue in the music industry.
The question is, in an attempt to make a statement did Allen perpetuate the very same behavior she was trying to condemn? One tumblr user wrote:
The video is meant to be a critique and satire of popular culture and manages some deserved jabs at Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” videos among others, but in the end it just reduces itself down to elevating Lily Allen’s white female body and objectifying and utterly denigrating those of the black female dancers she deliberately surrounds herself with from start to finish.
But Lily Allen took to Twitter to explain the process of how the women were cast in the video and why the images appear the way they do.
You can read Lily’s response to the controversy on the next page.
Twenty years ago I was 14 and suicidal. Twenty years ago perms were in their heyday. Dark & Lovely is my brand—cheap and titled for a black, black girl. I wake up for school, stare into the mirror brushing my teeth, then style my hair five “different” ways with Jam, Ecostyle gel, and Cream of Nature moisturizer. (My Isht is glistening). I check the line of mirrors in the dining room for an overview, and then head back to the bathroom for more adjustments. I add a ridiculous amount of makeup to my clear skin. I’m trying to add contour. The faces in my beloved magazines – Essence, Glamour, and Seventeen – contour. I’m 14 and the last thing on my mind is trusting my own power, my own beauty. Instead of telling the mag models kick rocks, I’m just a little girl, I buy their ad products and make them role models.
So it’s 1994 in Miami—hairdo capital of the American ghetto—and defusing new growth is more important to me than keeping up in my honors classes. My mom works two jobs (always assume two full-time jobs for us). I don’t realize the term for my existence is latchkey kid, but my mom, Toni-anne’s mantra y’all grown, is almost a direct translation. What it means is I find something to eat in the fridge when I get home from school and I better do my homework and clean the house before talking on the phone. I better do this and my older sister, Tanesha, better look after me when she gets in. I call this law and care instead of love and care. The tender part of tender, love, and care is me. Am I too tender for a family of strong, black women?
Well, I’m not just tender or sensitive; I’m moody, disorganized, obsessive, standoffish, and attention-seeking (at the same damn time). Something is terribly wrong with how I process emotions. I’m always yelling or crying. I’m lonely in crowds and daydreaming about ways to die when I’m alone. I’m 14, 15, 16…. The unstable patterns of behavior continue. If I were this way all the time then maybe I’m just a little-girl b!tch. Maybe I like being a drama princess. But people like me, a lot. I’m smart, funny, and very outgoing. I’m down with all the high school cliques: White, Asian, Latino, Black, cool, athletic, and counter culture. What the f**k? Actually, what’s happening is very serious, but it’s unrecognizable by everyone in my life. For one, there’s no TV commercial about borderline black girls. And as far as folks are concerned, I got an attitude problem.
In reality, I have a personality problem, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I was diagnosed this year after many years of treatment for depression and anxiety, including taking medication and signing a No-Harm Contract, and I am here to share my heartbreaking, funny journey to mental health.
Next time: My dad is caught stealing in a department store while I’m with him and has the nerve to wonder why I cried all the way home.
Confessions of a Borderline B!tch is an open, honest, and humorous column about living with Borderline Personality Disorder.
From Hello Beautiful
The exact same weekend we try to uplift our young Black women with the star-studded event Black Girls Rock, the Internet erupts in a racist firestorm with the offensive hashtag: “#StopBlackGirls2013.” This judgment-drenched hashtag littered Twitter timelines on Sunday with photos of various Black women — many of them being compared to zoo animals — with the object of said photos the target of offensive comedy. Black girls weren’t the only victims of this racist hashtag as others targeting Mexican girls, Indian girls and more popped up during the frenzy, but it was the #StopBlackGirls2013 hashtag that had the longer shelf life.
At first, it skyrocketed to the number five trending topic and within 20 minutes, it was second. An hour later, #StopWhiteGirls2013 was born and landed in the sixth spot for trending for a short stint, and then it was completely void as a trending topic altogether. This proves one thing: making jokes at a Black girl’s expense is a lot more fun for ignorant folks than any other race. What’s worse is that Black people started participating too!
Read more at HelloBeautiful.com
From Black Enterprise
Kanyessa McMahon recognized an opportunity and jumped on it. In 2008, after a frustrating four-month stint working at a video production company, she acted on her entrepreneurial aspirations.
“I was 25 at the time,” says McMahon. “My job wasn’t working out because I wasn’t getting paid on time. My paychecks were bouncing, and my skills weren’t being utilized.”
McMahon left the company and, through an industry connection, acquired her first client—Nike. The 31-year-old now calls the shots as head of her own production company.
“Most people who become wealthy do it through entrepreneurship,” says Lanta Evans-Motte, a financial adviser at Raymond James, a diversified financial services holding company.
A recent study by U.S. Trust, which surveys high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth Americans, revealed that 84% of the survey’s 450 wealthy respondents earned their wealth themselves.
Read more at BlackEnterprise.com
Researchers found that the two cervical cancer vaccines that are recommended for all pre-teen boys and girls don’t protect against the strains that will likely infect black women.
With 40 different strains of HPV, the virus which can lead to several different types of cancer, including cervical cancer, may be the most common Sexually Transmitted Infection. The CDC estimates that nearly 79 million Americans are infected with HPV right now with 14 million contracting it every year. Apparently, virtually everyone who is sexually active gets infected with at least one strain of the virus at least once in their lives. Typically, the body can fight it off but sometimes it damages cells which can ultimately cause cancer.
The fact that the commercial vaccines don’t protect against the strains most likely to infect African American women, has raised questions about the adequate representation of minorities in research for new drugs and vaccines.
Research shows that genetics play a significant role in how people respond to treatments and the type of viruses passed from person to person can vary based on ethnic and social groups.
Catherine Hoyo, an associate professor in Duke University’s obstetrics and gynecology department told NBC News, “It looks like we have different strains by race.”
Of the 516 women Hoyo and her team studied, more than 70 percent of the women had HPV infections. Most had more than one strain. White women had the most common strains: HPV 16, 18, 31, and 45. African American women were more likely to have HPV 33, 35, 58 and 68.
According to Hoyo’s research, African American women were half as likely to carry HPV 18, the strain that is found in both commercial vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix. Gardasil protects against HPV 6, 11, 16 and 18 and Cervarix protects against 16 and 18.
Not only are the strains different, according to Hoyo, “African American women are about 20 percent more likely to develop cervical cancer and almost twice as likely to die from the disease compared to non-Hispanic white women.”
Gardasil is in the final stages of developing a new HPV vaccine that will protect against 9 different strains of HPV. It will add HPV 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58– two more of the most common strains infecting African American women.