African Americans are in the midst of a social crisis that threatens the very viability of the black community. The core of this crisis is the deepening plight of black men . . .Quoted from Black Men: The Crisis Continues, by Salim Muwakkil, In These Times, http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/2621/
Throughout America, but especially in the inner cities, African-American men are disproportionately surrounded by poverty, violence, mass incarceration and disease. A confluence of ills has long conspired to marginalize black men and track them into a trajectory of failure.
Black women, when not scapegoats--think: single parent homes, juvenile
crime, and welfare--are after-thoughts. Black men's problems, we are to believe, are black people's problems . . .
Yet, without much public notice, black women have been taking care of business, and not primarily via lawsuit and bullhorn. As Woody Allen noted, 99 percent of success is just showing up--for application deadlines, for class, for birth-control pill refills, for each day on the job--and that is simply what black women have done. No magic. No treachery against black men. The continuing existence of racism, they deduced, is simply no reason not to try.
In recent decades . . . the number of African-American women earning bachelor's degrees has increased by three-quarters; the numbers attending law or graduate school have more than doubled. Between 1988 and 1998, the number of black families earning $100,000 or more almost doubled, driven largely by black women's increased earning power.
Quote from Post-Ghetto Fabulous: Coming to Grips with Black Women's Success, a review of HAVING IT ALL? Black Women and Success, by Veronica Chambers http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1316/is_4_35/ai_99988631
New statistics from the Census Bureau confirm the powerful economic advantage that accrues to African Americans who hold a four-year college degree. The most current figures, for the year 2004, show that blacks with a college diploma now have a median income that is 90 percent of the median income of similarly educated non-Hispanic whites. Blacks with a master’s degree have incomes nearly equal to those of whites with a master’s degree. Blacks with a doctorate actually have higher incomes than similarly educated non-Hispanic whites.
These are extraordinary achievements that have been consistently overlooked by most commentators . . .
When we break down the income figures for black and white college graduates by gender we find that the superior performance of black women is responsible for the progress that has been made. In 2004 black males with a bachelor’s degree had a median income of $40,329, which was only 79 percent of the $51,184 median income of similarly educated white males. Thus, a very large
racial income gap persists for black men . . . On the other hand, black women with a bachelor’s degree had a median income of $33,877, which was 111 percent of the $30,413 median income figure for non-Hispanic white women who
held a college degree. It is clear then that the strong income performance of black college graduates is largely due to the earnings performance of black women . . .
There is more good news to report . . . In 2004 blacks with a master’s degree had a median income of $49,716. This was 98 percent of the median income of non-Hispanic whites with a master’s degree. Furthermore, in 2004, the racial income gap for master’s degree holders closed substantially. In 2003 blacks with a master’s degree had a median income that was 88 percent of the median income of whites who possessed a master’s degree.
Once again, in percentage terms, black women fared much better against their white counterparts than did black men. Black women with a master’s had a
median income that was nearly 109 percent of white women’s median income at that educational level. Black men with a master’s degree had a median income
that was only 89.7 percent of the median income of white males with a master’s degree.
Quoted from Higher Education Is the Major Force in Closing the Black-White Income Gap, The Journal of Blacks in Higher Educationhttp://www.jbhe.com/news_views/55_closing_the_income_gap.html
As noted in one the the exceprts above, taken from a review of Veronica Chambers' book HAVING IT ALL? Black Women and Success, "Black men's problems, we are to believe, are black people's problems." Thus, the crisis that grips black men we are told is actually a crisis of the black community and of black people.
Yet, as the numbers make clear, black women have made extraordinary strides in recent decades. In education, careers, income, and even longevity, black women have gained parity with, and even surpassed many of their peers, despite facing obstacles that most women in our society have never had to cope with, let alone overcome. Indeed, many of the struggles that black women do continue to face are largely derivative: women of African descent who are most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS are those who are married and have only one sexual partner; most black women in poverty are single mothers of children who receive little or no support from their non-custodial fathers; increasing numbers of black women are being incarcerated for low-level drug offenses committed in support of their "man's" petty drug conspiracies.
In other words, those areas of black women's lives over which they exercise the greatest autonomy and control are the areas where they have achieved the greatest success. Nonetheless, black women continue to be burdened by the stigma of "crisis" and pathology that has less and less to do with many of our lives. This stigma follows us into schools, the workplace, and in our efforts to seek intimate relationships. Black women also struggle with the unique burden of being made to feel guilty for our achivements, as if the crisis that grips black men is a result of our incredible accomplishments, rather than the spur that has forced us to shoulder a disproportionate share of the responsibility for our families and communities. Asian women's superior academic and professional achievement has only made them more attractive mates, to Asian and other men. It has not defeminized them or made men feel "emasculated" by them; it has not encouraged Asian men to blame them for their own struggles or difficulties.
Conversely, instead of celebrating black women's achievements, and pointing with pride to this cause for optimism in the midst of despair, "the community" continues to alternately ignore, downplay or even disparage the value of black women's vibrant work ethic and unflagging commitment, despite the fact it is this very capacity that has kept "the community" going.
It is time for black women to reclaim our reputations and to start celebrating ourselves. We are truly incredible, and for men with drive, ambition, values and character, we offer a total package of womanliness and accomplishment that can simply be found no where else. No more hiding your light under a bushel ladies--Black Girls Rule! Never forget it, and never be ashamed to shout it from the rooftops.