As a Black/African American woman, with too many names to classify over time– I have finally come to grips with a conclusion as to why we are working so hard, but the hard work is not payin off. I wanted to write this really to the point blog post about it, yet it was much easier for me to “reclaim my time” by researching what others were saying– that validated my own personal and professional opinions.
An article written earlier this summer in the Washington Post headed: Report: Black women are working hard but ‘our country is not working for them’
I was drawn to the fact that there is so much research out there to see where or where not Black women are able to keep up within today’s ever evolving societal shifts. The opening line read:
A new report about the nation’s black women paints a familiar portrait of a group that is working hard on many levels to achieve the American Dream but is still falling short.
That hit me pretty hard. The first part that stumped me was the wording the writer used to tell her story– the nation’s black women paints a familiar portrait– It immediately made me think of how often Black women are socially identified as cold, hard core, and incapable of feeling pain- at least in the portrait of this nation.
I also began to question my own work ethic. The level of self care I promote to others that I often neglect for myself. It makes me stop to think of how often Black women engage in such behaviors that are unhealthy trying to thrive in a country that is not designed to support such ambitions.
Then I thought about the images that we often paint for our children. Showing them how hard we go for them to have the best opportunities. The best new fashion trends and electronic trinkets… Regardless of a father being in the home. Then when we do have a dual parent household, if there is any lack of partnership, children learn how to wallow through disfunction in order to lead a life of pseudo sustainability.
I know that I said, I was going share with you about an article I found… So here is the next segment.
Black women vote at high rates, have made significant improvement in earning college degrees and are succeeding in opening their own businesses, according to “The Status of Black Women in the United States.” Yet they continue to be underrepresented in elected office, earn less than white men and women and are twice as likely as white women to be incarcerated, the report says.
“They have all the makings of what should be success, yet their contributions are undervalued and under compensated,” states the report, released this week by the National Domestic Workers Alliance. The report was prepared by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a nonprofit organization affiliated with George Washington University.
[Read the full “Status of Black Women” report]
The report’s findings are similar to previous studies on the state of black women in the country, including a widely discussed 2014 paper by the Black Women’s Roundtable titled, “Black Women in the United States, Progress and Challenges.” It also noted that despite high participation in the workforce, educational institutions and the political process, black women are underpaid and underemployed, suffer at a higher rate from major illnesses and are vulnerable to violence at home and in their communities.
There are perks as well as opposition to being a Black business owner. There is more scrutiny within the community to get started. Often times it is harder to get loans.
TRUE STORY: I was once referred by a White associate of mine to a personal banker friend of hers to apply for a small business loan. I was nervous because I had be turned down before and was trying to rebuild my credit, yet at the same time needed capital to expand my business model. The associate made sure to inform me that she only had a 502 FICO score and was able to get $50K from this particular bank. I was like HELL YEAH! I had at least a 620 so we should be good! Our debt to income ratio was good and all was well, until we got hit with– We are no longer offering that program. I told the loan officer that we had been referred to him by my associate by name and this is how the story played out.
Loan officer: Yeah that was a special program that no longer exists.
Me: How long ago was this program terminated?
Loan officer: Almost a year ago.
Me: Oh, well that is great, because she just got approved for the loan a little over 90 days ago– What program was that?
He was dead faced.
Loan officer: — There is nothing that we can do for you here.
BINGO! We still have so terribly far to go_______.
Here are some of the key findings of the new report:
• More than 6 in 10 black women are in the workforce. But between 2004 and 2014, black women’s median annual earnings declined by 5 percent. As of 2014, black women who worked full-time and year-round had median annual earnings that were 64.6 percent of that of white men, $53,000.
• The number of businesses owned by black women increased 178 percent between 2002 and 2012, the largest increase among all racial groups. In 2012, black women owned 15.4 percent of all women-owned businesses in the United States. Yet nationwide, businesses owned by black women had the lowest average sales per firm, at $27,753.
• The share of black women with at least a bachelor’s degree increased by 23.9 percent between 2004 and 2014. About 22 percent of black women over age 25 had a bachelor’s degree or advanced degree in 2014, a higher level than black men, but lower than other racial and ethnic groups.
• Nearly a quarter of the nation’s black women, 24.6 percent, live in poverty, more than twice the percentage of white women — 10.8 percent — the group with the lowest poverty rate among U.S. women.
• Black women were twice as likely as white women to be imprisoned in 2014 — 109 per 100,000 black women in state and federal prisons vs. 53 per 100,000 white women.
The report calls on government and other institutions, including nonprofit think tanks and philanthropic groups, to develop policies that provide higher wages and paid leave, improve access to health-care services, combat racism and sexism throughout society and push for criminal justice reform, both to protect black women from violence and to reduce their numbers in prison.
In conclusion of my thoughts– It is imperative that we learn how brainwashed many of us are to believe that we are not facing a dark component that reinforces white superiority, on a subconscious level that perpetuates lack of agency, while promoting destruction of a population just like in Colonial times.
~ The InTune Mother
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