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.

NCES : Black Women Most Educated Group in the U.S.|WIFOTIT

UIUC
UIUC

When Chesley* entered the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2010, black women were making history as the most educated group in the United States.

The National Center of Education Statistics1 reports for the academic years 1999-2000 through 2009-10, degree-granting institutions conferred more academic degrees to women than men.

Black women received the highest percentage of the millions of associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctor’s degrees awarded during this time period than all other ethnic groups.

If Chesley’s academic success is any indication, she continues the most educated trend after receiving her Bachelor’s of Science degree (Psychology/Statistics) in 2015.

The academic boon for black women, however, is bittersweet.

The higher the percentage of degrees also means black women are also carrying the higher percentage of student loan debt2 .  Sallie Mae’s, “How we save for college” indicates that some black families have saved an average of $11,000 for college 3 – with the average public college annual tuition costing more than $18,000.

This shortfall, Gallup, Inc. reports, means that 50 percent of black college grads are saddled with more than $25K in student loans.   Even when students, such as Chesley, have a full-ride scholarship, the student may have to take on an academic loan just to enjoy a quality of life during those lean academic years.

But it is not all doom and gloom.  There are a few ways for black women to make those academic degrees work for them instead of having extra student debt work against them.

As President Obama said in his commencement speech to Morehouse College graduates “As African-Americans, you have to work twice as hard to get by.”

Therefore, as a black woman that means get ready to do some heavy lifting.

If you’re starting college in the fall;

  • Continue researching and applying for all the federal, state, municipal, academic grants available
  • Ask your School’s financial aid representative if there is money available. Don’t let him/her tell you what you qualify for, instead ask what is available. Decide if you qualify -then apply!
  • Where do you shop? What is your favorite store? Airline? Who is your favorite designer? Who is favorite musical artists? Actor/Actress? Athlete? Ball Player? Many of our favorite places to spend time, money and our favorite celebrities have foundations and charities. Use your search engine to find out who awards academic scholarships and apply.

If you already have student loans; in addition to the Federal Student Loan Forgiveness plans5, another way to pay down on your loan is:

  • to join a forward thinking company who has added student debt repayment as a benefit. The U.S. Government, and a host of companies will pay off up to $10K of their employee’s student loan.  Check out these companies that are offering ways to ease their employees’ student loans burden.6
  • Go to benefits.gov 7 The resources may not help to pay off student loans but there are some grants, scholarships and fellowships to help you advance in your field.

* not her real name

  1. https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=72
  2. http://www.theguardian.com/money/us-money-blog/2014/oct/07/expensive-college-education-reinforces-racial-inequality-us-america
  3. https://salliemae.newshq.businesswire.com/sites/salliemae.newshq.businesswire.com/files/doc_library/file/HowAmericaSaves2014_FINAL_4.9.14.pdf
  4. http://www.demos.org/blog/9/23/14/white-high-school-dropouts-have-more-wealth-black-and-hispanic-college-graduates
  5. https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation
  6. http://www.aol.com/article/2016/04/12/5-employers-who-will-help-pay-your-student-loans/21342750/

Oh by the way, this video from attn: is actually What I found on The Internet. It’s the source that is the inspiration for this article.

More of What I Found On The Internet Today, next Thursday!

Black women are now America's most educated group.

Posted by ATTN: Video on Sunday, May 22, 2016

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