Fully understanding the plight of black women in America is not a luxury of mine because I did not grow up in American society. However, being of Liberian origin would not matter in America anyway because all people see is my black skin and female gender.
Black women seem to always get the short end of the stick because our first disadvantage is being “black” and then worst of it all “female”. “Double Jeopardy?”–Bell Hooks, anyone?
Gwendolyn Pough gives the following list of the kinds of images and misconceptions black women confront in Check it while I wreck it: Black Womanhood, Hip-Hop culture and the Public Sphere: SLAVE. CONCUBINE. MAMMY. SECOND-CLASS CITIZEN. BITCH. HO. We not only grapple with the labels from slavery but some of them have actually reached a new level of usage due to contemporary rap music. L
It is absolutely frustrating to hear black men use these words in regards to their female counterparts. Why is there so much hate between us? Haven’t we been through enough already?
Another problem is the label of “Baby mother” and “Welfare Queen”. The Moynihan report (1965) states that the black family structure is very unstable because the following reasons:
- Nearly a quarter of Urban Negro Marriages are dissolved
- Nearly a quarter of Negro births are now illegitimate
- Almost one-fourth of Negro families are headed by females.
Patrick Moynihan, the author of this waste of government money for research obviously forgot that slavery contributed to these issues within the black family. Slavery completely destroyed this idea of “family” because relatives would be sold away from one another. At any time, mothers would be torn away from their children and husbands would be sold from their wives without warning. Moreover, some slave owners would even force coupling between slaves just for breeding and economic purposes. How could the author not factor something like this into his findings?
African Americans tried to reclaim their idea of a family which would include both parents participating in the children’s lives along with the entire community; which reminds me of the way I was raised. I sincerely do not know if the community is as involved as it used to be, but I feel that the black community could become more involved with the children. After all, “It takes a whole village to raise a child”- African proverb
Now, in regards to the term “Welfare queen”, the Moynihan report states that the “breakdown” and “pathology” in the black community has led to an increase in federal assistance. According to this sorry excuse for a research study, 14 percent of Negro children are receiving AFDC (Aid for Families with Dependent Children) assistance compared to less than 2 percent of white children. It also reported that almost 90 percent of Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) families is Negro. Honestly, these percentages are completely biased because there are actually more whites on welfare than blacks.
Overall, as an outsider looking in, I think society just tries so hard to keep blacks down, especially black women because of racism and sexism. With all the pain, suffering and humiliation we have been through from slavery until our present day, could a sister just catch a break?