I know as a black Christian woman that I should be grateful that NBC News even bothered to devote a weeklong series to African American women. But I’m not. I have not been impressed. If I were a sister from another planet and depended upon a satellite of NBC’s “African American Women: Where They Stand” to give me my first introduction to the lives of black women I would probably conclude, “I’m glad I’m a sister from another planet. It must suck to be a black woman.”
In case you didn’t know, because you live on another planet that doesn’t have satellite, a special series has been airing all week over at “NBC News with Brian William” focusing on a wide-range of issues affecting black women entitled “African American Women: Where They Stand.” Night One of the series aired on Monday night with a discussion of black women’s educational achievements. Did you know that nearly two-thirds of black graduates are women, and at black colleges the ratio of women to men is a staggering 7 to 1?
On Tuesday, Night Two, the series focused on the increased risks for breast cancer among black women. Black women with breast cancer are nearly 30% more likely to die from it than white women. Lord have mercy.
A roundtable talk about relationships was the format on Wednesday, Night Three, with NBC correspondent Rehema Ellis facilitating the intimate chat with three members of a Chicago book club. Here we learned, as if we didn’t know already, that the percentage of African-American women between 25-54 who have never been married has doubled from 20% to 40% in the past fifty years. (Compared to just 16% of white women who have never been married today). Many feel that the achievement gap in education and business among African-Americans is having an effect on relationships, changing “Black America’s family and social structure.”
Last night’s segment on black women and heart disease reiterated the well known fact that we’re all just one hamhock away from a heart attack, to quote my friends over at WAOD. Put soberly, heart disease is the leading cause of death among black women.
After four nights of watching NBC’s reports on the sorrowful plight of black womanhood, all I could do to dull the pain afterwards was to grab the tv monitor and turn to the UNC-Purdue women’s basketball game.
The truth will set you free, but first it will hurt your feelings. Not to mention make you look bad in front of others.
Listen up: I am a black woman. Hear me roar — It does not suck to be a black woman! Heartache, loneliness, disease, suffering, and poverty are not the sum total of our existence as black women. We laugh, love, play, sing, work, fight, cry, pray, jump, dance, work, smile, kiss, hug, fight, cry, pray, work, raise our families the best we can and trust God to do the rest, like every other woman who knows that life is what you make it. Life is tough, but there is joy.
If Friday’s segment is as forecast on the black woman vote in South Carolina, perhaps things will look up tonight. Hopefully, black women won’t come off looking like such an unhealthy, downtrodden, lonely race of women. After all, in South Carolina half of Democratic voters in the state are African American, and most of those are female—40%of whom have yet to settle on a presidential candidate. You guessed it. The latest flavor of the month in South Carolina Democratic circles is the black female vote. Battling for dominance in the region, the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are in hot pursuit of black women. My suggestion to black women voters in South Carolina this morning after this week long NBC series is to play hard to get. Leverage your power. Make the candidates address the issues that matter to you. Take your time to decide.
On second thought, things could go from bad to worse for black women tonight. Seems like reporters and pollsters covering the South Carolina primary race have the bright idea that the black beauty shop is ground zero for finding out what’s on black women’s minds. Depending upon what you think about the public display of nappy roots, if NBC’s “African American Women: Where They Stand” cameras bust up in black hair salons to interview black women voters, things could get real kinky.