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Where WE Stand

Many of you have probably heard about the series being done on NBC Nightly News this week.  The title is African American Women: Where They Stand, and it attempts to highlight some of the issues facing African American Women. *sighs*  I guess I applaud NBC for their efforts, as it’s nice to see someone in mainstream media addressing my demographic, but on the other hand I wish those four minutes a night could have talked about something most of us didn’t already know!

The title of Monday’s segment was, More Black Women Taking Care of Business.  A major stat that stuck out was 64% of black college students are women, and black women outnumber black men on some campuses 7 to 1.  As staggering as the stat was, it’s no surprise.  I was in college in the early to mid 90’s and there were definitely more women on the yard than men.  It was nice to know that the number of black businesses owned by women is up 75%, but again I would have preferred that they use those broadcast minutes to let the world know about Dunbar Village.

Tuesday’s segment was about Black women and breast cancer.  While technically black women are less likely to get breast cancer; when we do we are younger, the cancer is more aggressive and we are more likely to die from it.  Again, I appreciate NBC News highlighting such an important issue.  Because black women are so busy taking care of everyone else, we tend to put our own healthcare on the back burner.  Ladies (and men who know and love ladies) monthly self-breast exams and annual clinical breast exams are critical.  Women with no history of breast disease are getting diagnosed in their thirties.  We gotta stay on top of our own health!

Wednesday’s segment was about redefining black relationships.  I don’t know how I feel about NBC putting us on blast with regards to being single in the city, but I digress…..  70% of African American children are born to single women.  We all know this is a touchy subject in the black community, but I am not about to judge single mothers or predispose children born to single mothers to having a bleak future. Ideally a two parent household filled with love and balance is probably best, but we all know it’s not the only way.  I am not sure of the titles for the segments on Thursday and Friday, but I suspect they will include topics that are common knowledge to “us”.  Rather than regurgitate more facts that are no brainers, I’ll dedicate the rest of this blog to two topics that deserve recognition, but probably won’t make the nightly news. 

For those that don’t know, Dunbar Village has to be one of the most deplorable acts of violence I’ve heard of in my lifetime.  Please google it or go to www.whataboutourdaughters.org for specific details but the short story is this:  A black woman in Florida was terrorized by armed burglars when they broke into her apartment.  She was violently raped and sodomized while her son watched.  The assailants forced her to perform oral sex on her son during the ordeal.  The crime took place in a low income housing project and national media attention has been slow coming.  With all the attention our “leaders” gave to the Jena 6, you would think they would be up in arms about something so vile as Dunbar Village!  Why is it that a black woman victimized by the system (at one point there was talk about throwing out this poor woman’s case because of lack of evidence) doesn’t warrant the same attention as young black men unfairly prosecuted?  No offense to the Jena 6, and I fully support all the efforts undertaken on their behalf, but the fact of the matter is they did assault someone.  Granted the prosecution of their case was more about race than justice, but what about justice for a woman who is mentally and physically scarred for life? 

I would have LOVED to see NBC Nightly News cover the disparity in media attention given to black women that are victims of crime.  I would have loved to hear someone ask Reverend Al or Reverend Jesse why they didn’t rush to the aid of this black woman that was blatantly being victimized by the criminal justice system.   Where do you stand when it comes to crimes committed against black women?  Is it going to take another Chester Turner (Southside Murders in Louisiana) or a repeat of The Boston Murders to garner national attention for black women?

Finally, with World AIDS Day only two days away, I wanted to take a moment to discuss where “we” stand with regards to the AIDS epidemic.  If you didn’t already know, heterosexual black women are pretty much the new face of AIDS.  We are the fastest growing group of newly diagnosed cases and unfortunately majority of those women (about 65%) were infected through heterosexual contact.  Black women are being infected at alarming rates because they are not taking proper precautions to protect themselves.  Many of us saw the Oprah episode about men on the “Down Low”, so we know the deal.  I doubt if you’ll hear about it on the NBC News this week, but according to the statistics published last year, black women accounted for 67% of all AIDS cases in the United States.  (It should also be mentioned that we only make up 12-13% of the population!)  Why can’t we make up 67% of all new millionaires in the United States?  Why can’t we make up 67% of Nobel Prize winners or 67% of all CEO’s?  Ladies, and men who know and love ladies, AIDS is real and it can kill you.  Stop faking and be safe! 

We’ve all heard the expression “Stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything”. Where do you stand on the issues that effect black women in America, or are you okay to let plight of black women fall by the wayside!


November 29, 2007 Posted by | Health, HIV, Life, News, Race, Society, Women | 5 Comments