AALBC Discussion | I’m Not Your Mule

“Until Negroes address the twisted culture that spawns these violent, hyper-aggressive young males who are toxic by-products of fatherless homes and a celebrated impoverished American Negro “baby mama society” ~ 12, DEAD,Christmas Night,Chicago.

Twisted Culture? Qu’est-ce que c’est “Twisted Culture?”

“violent, hyper-aggressive young males who are toxic by-products of fatherless homes

Well this would make black boys & black men the key challenge that needs addressing in this cyclical problem. Black women (including single black mothers) are the most educated and employed according to the US Education and Labor Department 2015 statistics. Therefore, it would seem they’re the only responsible group in service to the black community. But they alone are not enough.

So, what is to be done about these black boys and men? How, when and why did they become the black community’s weakest link and make themselves the target of the former and current president?

Mel, I would not characterize Black men as the weak link, the entire chain is broken. Both men and women will need to repair it.

I don’t like to characterize black men as being the weak link either especially when 46% who handle their family responsibilities aren’t. But that leaves black women with sole-custody of 54% of the nation’s black children.

So, if we’re to believe “X” claim of “a celebrated impoverished American Negro “baby mama society”, in which black women give birth to the children, raise the children, work a job/start a business to maintain the household and get advance academic degrees to provide some semblance of a life for herself and her children; then the only person missing from the 2-parent equation is the man who sired the child(ren).

Black women are left holding the chain. So, you’re correct. Black men who choose to be absent aren’t weak – they’re the missing links.
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There’s no excuses for fathers/men who choose to be absent. Nor is it a woman’s responsibility to get him to return. A mother/woman raises her children but it’s not her responsibility to raise, repair or rehabilitate a broken man or the relationship from which he walks away. That is all very much an inside job. His job.

But back to the this “twisted culture”. Since 2008, births for unmarried black women have declined. During that same period, there was an increase in advanced degrees conferred to black women, black women started more small businesses even when not receiving the same amount angel funding as their white counterparts; and they became the most employed yet underpaid of all ethnic groups except non-white Hispanics.

A quick search of how black women were able to advance under the Obama administration revealed:

Health & Safety

Affordable Care Act 2014 Preventive Care Clause offered better access to early screenings.

reduced coverage disparities for millions of black women allowing them access to routine health care treatment and check-ups with a primary care physician.

As of January 1, 2017, 32 out 50 states had expanded Medicaid to include most low-income Americans. Health Care Coverage for dependent children up to age 26

“Teen pregnancy among African-American women was at an historic low (2016).

The birth rate per 1,000 African-American teen females has fallen from 60.4 in 2008, before President Obama entered office, to 34.9 in 2014.”

“Obama administration was a critic of domestic violence/sexual assault.

Produced National Awareness Campaign “It’s on Us”.

The Reauthorization of the Violence against Women act in 2013.

Wage Inequality and Economic Marginalization

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in January 2009 (lengthen the statute of limitations for discriminatory pay claims.

Paycheck fairness act in 2014 (failed to pass)

Recovery Act 2009 – increased minimum wage. provided protection of Temporary Assistant to Needy Families. Expansion of income tax credit with most single-headed households receiving a minimum of $1000 per tax return.

JumpStart Our Business Start-up (JOBS) Act

“resulted in a major shift in securities laws that meant the emancipation of capital for minority and women-owned businesses, who traditionally have struggled with gaining access to capital through traditional means. a start-up can publicly raise capital, participate in equity-based crowdfunding and use online tools to find investors, as well as raise up to $50 million from both non-accredited investors and accredited investors (those making at least $200,000 a year or have a million-dollar net-worth).”

Education

$118 million in public-private fund investments to improve the Lives of Women and Girls of Color. Summit focused on 5 issues areas where intervention can promote opportunities for success – Fostering School Success; Reducing unnecessary of exclusionary discipline, meeting the needs of vulnerable striving youth; inclusive STEM education; sustaining reduced rates for teen pregnancy and aiding in economic prosperity.

Historically Black Colleges & Universities funding to $4 Billion and Pell Grant programs increased by 300 million to $824 million in 2014

Legal and Judicial

Loretta Lynch, Attorney General, Justice Department First African-American Woman

Carla Hayden; Librarian of Congress, First African-American & Woman – Librarian of Congress

“Nominated more than 300 judges – 19% confirmed judges are African-American; 62 lifetime appointments & appointments of 53 African-American District Court Judges including 26 African-American women.”

So why is it for the last 8 years, under the Obama’s Administration black women have flourished, yet many say he did nothing to help black people.

Maybe “the twisted culture”, the commenter is referring to is the one where black women are out-of-order since they’re no longer as Zora Neale Hurston described;

“De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see”

~Janie Crawford, the heroine of her epic 1937 novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God,

Not anymore. Someone came along, offered a helping hand and black women accepted.

Friday Fright Fest | Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Survey Says…Probably not.

Less than 10% percent of Americans interviewed in The Chapman University Survey of American Fears 1 2015 admitted they’re afraid of the dark.   The California university study found that adults have traded in the childhood phobia for fears of political corruption and technology.  .

https://blogs.chapman.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/15/2015/09/Top10Fears-740×572.jpg

In fact, if you find yourself on the game show, “Family Feud” – here are the top three answers to what Americans say they fear.

  1. 58% fear of corruption of government officials
  2. 8 % are afraid of Cyber-terrorism
  3. 6% fear corporate tracking personal information.

So while we’re no longer afraid of the dark itself, we still fear what might be “done in the dark.”

Contrary to conventional wisdom, however, good things happen in the dark.  A fetus forms into a human in the dark, then emerges into the light to take its first breath of life. Before the cork is popped on a bottle of fine wine, it must first undergo the aging process in a cool, dry and dark place. A dazzling array of celestial bodies are visible to eye as they dance across the darkened skies.  Darkness is the cornerstone of any successful metamorphosis.

The dark isn’t just a catalyst for big productions either.  It also plays a role in our recommended daily requirements.   In fact, 7 years ago, in 2009, American Medical Association members voted to keep us in the dark after researching and observing the effects of artificial light.2

The AMA indicated that without darkness

  • humans lose the ability to use their vision’s natural low-light function.
  • our circadian rhythms which regulate a host of biological activities including the sleep pattern are thrown out of whack.
  • the production of melatonin, the miracle hormone and antioxidant, from the pineal gland doesn’t occur.

The AMA voted they would support any efforts to curtail artificial light pollution. They said it would not only save the environment but help earth-dwelling species who need the natural darkness to survive and thrive.

Since our physical well-being relies on the darkness; could it be possible our mental well-being might be dependent on the darkness, as well?

Just as artificial light is weakening our natural abilities; hiding from our fears instead of examining it, is causing many of us to become time bombs.

There is an old saying “what is done in the dark will come to light.”   This aphorism may conjure up a caveat to exposing evil deeds.  Looking at this old saying with new eyes, however, may provide an invitation to expose the impetus of our fears before it exposes us in the most unflattering way possible.

Fear is the master of disguise. It may appear to some as butterflies in the stomach; or metallic taste in the back of the throat. It resides in darkness, yet has far-reaching effects.  Unchecked, however, fear controls its host with an invisible hand as a ventriloquist would control and speak for her/his “dummy”.

Except, fear isn’t seeking to control us; it works for us. Fear reminds us:

  • what is important to us, but tucked away
  • of our creative abilities
  • of our descent into uncharted territory
  • we’re about to enter into a danger zone

Fear beckons us to the dark side so we can regain intimacy with our self. In doing so, we remember our agreements we’ve made with ourselves a long time ago or just yesterday.   When we confront our fears we gain control of our actions. We can decide whether we should honor our covenant or write a new one.

For example, you arrive at the airport two hours ahead of your flight’s scheduled departure. Today is your day to meet with the executive panel of your prospective employer. You and another candidate have made it to the final round of interviews.  It is Thursday morning, May 12, 2016 and hundreds, if not thousands, of travelers are queued up from Chicago Transit Authority ‘s Orange Line train station – to Midway Airport’s TSA security checkpoint. You are at the end of this line. .

@iamtomsroka/Instagram
@iamtomsroka/Instagram

What would you do?

  1. Bum rush the security line and run through the airport to catch your flight?
  2. Jump in front of all the waiting passengers?
  3. Believe it is a conspiracy as one visitor stated on the video’s page -“Take heart sheeple, they will soon offer you a 666 chip which catapult you to the front of the lines.” .

News media reports of Transportation Security Administration under-staffing at the nation’s airports has littered the airwaves.  Together, you and the other travelers can easily overtake the few TSA agents on duty.

But you don’t.

“F-E-A-R”, a small four-letter word, is keeping you and the others in line, literally. It’s not that you fear being arrested.  You along with the rest of the obedient travelers have silently acknowledged fear of terrorism and anarchy.  The possibility of insurgency coupled with another 9/11 attack is the architect of this fear.

According to the Survey of American Fears, man-made disasters such as Terrorist Attacks, (44.4%) Civil Unrest (32.0%), Economic Collapse (39.2%) rank the highest in the domain of fear.   When a group experiences collective fear, they are willing to endure a host of inconveniences to protect against those who we believe have refused to abide by a social agreement or rules of engagement.

As individuals, we tend not to be as submissive when it concerns our personal fears. Ranking at the bottom of the domain of fear, on this survey, are those that are personal in nature.

The individual plays host to a fear that remains hidden behind some agreement that no longer serves her. But as long as her personal fears goes unchecked, it stands to reason, that she’d be willing to stand on a too long line to go through a security checkpoint.    She knows she’s hiding something and that means others may be hiding something too.

No one’s afraid of the dark because we have artificial light to hide it. But if by some chance, we really no longer fear the dark; then turn off the lights and enter the darkness.

Our fear is calling and it’s ready to have a long talk.

  1. https://blogs.chapman.edu/wilkinson/2015/10/13/americas-top-fears-2015/
  2. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/u-s-physicians-join-light-pollution-fight/
  3. https://youtu.be/byUVR04CMBU

Black Women are Working in Record Numbers and Black Men Declining Death Rates| WIFOTIT

death-164761_960_720What I found on the Internet today may bolster the clarion call #BlackLivesMatter; and it seems some credit may actually go to past presidential administrations including the current one for  helping to preserve black lives.

Let me backtrack, my research actually began in February of this year.  It was then when I learned the suicide rate for black women was practically non-existent and black men weren’t far behind. I posted my findings in the African-American Literature Book Club AALBC discussion forum.

Fast forward to earlier this week when I found The Atlantic’s The Mystery of Why Black Americans Are Living Longer.(10 May 2016) The title is a bit misleading because African-Americans aren’t living longer but we are dying less frequently in comparison to our white counterpart.  The author of The Atlantic article cites many reasons for this phenomenon but it appears African-American death rates have been on the decline for the last 20 years due to economic and healthcare policies aimed at helping black communities.

Who knew?

Animated video interview
Animated video interview

While reading the article a video caught my eye.  In a little more than 3 and half-minute interview “Will Single Women Transform America” highlighted what the author believes is the need for socioeconomic policy changes to accommodate single women.

Almost 140 years ago feminist Susan B. Anthony predicted in her essay, “In the Homes of Single Women” there would be a change in the balance of power of the traditional heterosexual family.

Before that could happen, however, Anthony predicted there would be a period where women would have to go it alone. That period is upon us now.  There are more singles than married couples. Currently, there is a record 46 percent of those under the age of 34 who have never been married.

Black Women Working
Black Women Working

While this change is the impetus for equal status in the home when men and women do marry; black women are the mule of this transition, bearing the brunt of the weight when going it alone.

According to the Women’s Bureau at The Department of Labor, 4 out 10 black families are headed by single mothers with children under 18. In fact, 79.1 percent of those black working mothers have children between the age of 6 thru 17 years of age.   Further, black women have the highest labor force participation rate with 6 out of 10 black women working or looking for work. Yet black women earn 20 percent less than white women and 40 percent less than white men.

While we’ve heard these numbers many times before, including during President Obama’s epic speech at the historically black university, Howard University commencement (7 May 2016) it’s not all bad news. The Department of Labor officials report they’ve been working on policies that are aimed at mitigating the hardships black women endure in the labor force.  Those policies include paid family leave, a hike in minimum wage, opportunities to close the wage gap in an effort that single black women can earn more to contribute to their retirement fund, subsidized child care for ALL working families to name a few.

So as Rebecca Traister, author of “All the Single Ladies” ponders in her video presentation “Will Single Women Transform America? I say, “Yes, black single women are doing just that, just as we helped transform America during the Civil Rights movement of the 60s.

ICYMI here are the links mentioned in the story.

http://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/482058/america-epoch-of-single-women/ 10 May 2016

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/05/black-americans-living-longer/481968/ 10 May 2016

http://aalbc.com/tc/topic/3583-suicide-statistics-by-race/#comment-17328  4 February 2016

http://blog.dol.gov/2016/02/26/black-women-in-the-labor-force/  26 February 2016

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/21/fact-sheet-helping-all-working-families-young-children-afford-child-care 15 January 2016