As I sit on my computer scanning blogs and news outlets, doing my best to avoid the list of menial household chores that await me, my count of articles about Black women doing or achieving some out-of-this-world, magical shit, hits three. That’s three stories in less than 10 minutes about Black women doing unicorn-esque, phenomenal, newsworthy things. But not major-network-newsworthy because, of course, they are still women and Black; let’s not get crazy here (that’s to be read with the heaviest heaping of sarcasm you can muster).
I can’t help but think, as I often do, WTF?! As accomplished and talented and educated and trendsetting as Black women are, we are constantly disrespected, marginalized and ignored. Even at the highest levels we are scrutinized and attacked over our physical appearance (former FLOTUS Michelle Obama), we are continuously interrupted and silenced (Senator Kamala Harris), we are mocked and made fodder for parody (Representative Maxine Waters) and our very character and capacity for truthfulness is challenged relentlessly (Representative Frederica Wilson). I suppose not much has changed since brotha Malcolm declared that, “The most disrespected woman in America, is the Black woman. The most un-protected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America, is the Black woman.”
According to the the National Women's Law Center's 2017 report, Black women are paid only 63 cents for every dollar paid to white men. A Black woman has to earn a master’s degree to only make just a tad more than a white man with an associate’s degree. The Center for American Progress points out that though white women are more likely to have breast cancer, more Black women die from breast cancer. 12 percent of white women lack health coverage, compared to 1/3 of Black women , according toThe Hill. Per the NAACP, Black women are imprisoned at a rate twice than that of white women.
And this is just the tip of the shitty iceberg.
Now I could get on my Hotep soapbox and delve into structural inequities, white privilege and the caucacity and beckery it breeds. I could engage in the very important discussions being had about how and why the system is in fact operating as designed, but on today, I’m not here for all of that. Today, my point is that despite the aforementioned and the countless other cards stacked against Black women, we’re still out here doing it!! We’re saving our families, our communities and the whole damn country! Oh yes, the entire U.S. of A. Lest we not forget that 94 percent of Black women saw 45’s name on the ballot and were like, “Nah.” We tried to tell y’all.
Black women are out here toppling confederate statues, creating and leading major socio-political movements, shutting down white patriarchy on major news networks (for your viewing pleasure: a compilation of sister Angela Rye's greatest hits), advocating for quality education and health care, leading Fortune 500 companies, sending men and women into space, dominating in the fields of athletics and entertainment, setting fashion trends, getting degrees on degrees on degrees, making a dollar out of 15 cents, and on and on and on. Because this is what Black women do. We sacrifice — often at the expense of our own physical and mental health — for others.
So today, I’m putting this one in the air for us! On behalf of Black women all across this country, “America, give us our things!” For your review, I’ve compiled a very short list of the things you owe the collective body of Black women.
The list is as follows:
- A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
- A Purple Heart
- A damn raise
- The Presidential Medal of Freedom
- A monument on the National Mall
- The Senior Pastor’s parking spot
- 40 acres and a mule
- The Noble Prize for … just give us all of ‘em
- A spot on Mt. Rushmore
- The big piece of chicken
- The Lifetime Achievement Award for EVERYTHING
Yes, the list is far-reaching, but so is the influence and impact of Black women. We know we’ll never get what is truly owed to us. As much as we’ve given of ourselves, that would be next to impossible. But just because they don’t see our light, doesn’t mean we’re not shining. So to all of you, all of us, from the very depths of my soul and the top of my lungs, "Yassssssss, sis!! Shine on!"