I recently came across Feminista Jones’ 2014 New York Times article (Why Black Women Struggle More With Domestic Violence). The article begins by describing domestic violence, or intimate partner violence, as a “family secret” in Black Communities. Jones’ piece uses the case of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his then-fiancée Janay. Jones elaborates on the lack of support and compassion shown to Black women who choose to stay with their abusers. Reading her piece one can be shocked by the alarming statistics surrounding the issue. (Please keep in mind these statistics were from nearly 5 years ago, domestic violence still remains a major concern for many).
“According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an estimated 1.3 million American women experience DV/IPV each year. Women make up 85% of the victims of DV/IPV. For Black women, it’s an even bigger problem: Black women are almost three times as likely to experience death as a result of DV/IPV than White women. And while Black women only make up 8% of the population, 22% of homicides that result from DV/IPV happen to Black Women and 29% of all victimized women, making it one of the leading causes of death for Black women ages 15 to 35.” Jones believes the major reasons why Black women are disproportionately represented in domestic violence is because of racism and sexism. Because racism is seen as a bigger issue than sexism, some Black women tend to put racial issues ahead of sex-based ones. For some Black women speaking up against Black men would be like surrendering them to a brutal system that is already against them. Others experience domestic violence from the backlash Black men feel from unequal and frustrating economic obstacles. Not to mention how economically limited the Black women has been for such a long time in America, seemingly forcing some to remain in abusive relationships for financial security. I saw that this tied very well with what we’ve been talking about in class these past couple of weeks, on the rights of domestic workers. Because Black women face multiple facets of oppressions, their representation is not equal to any other group. Racism and sexism has too often neglected or silenced the voices of Black women. To change this, we must start within our own communities. By providing Black women more agencies and a platform to fight against sexism, capitalism, racism, etc. we can individually play our parts in pushing for justice for all.
The article, Black Women in Black Power, by PhD Professor Ashley Farmer is an interesting read. The article starts with mention of the limited recognition Black women experience in the fight against contemporary issues. Farmer sees the political and social activism of Black Women as historically rooted within the Black Power. Her piece analyzes the role Black Women played in (micro)mobilizing, organizing and agatized the 1950s and 1960s Black Power Movement. Much similar to the Civil Rights, the Black Power Movement played a major role in the advancements of Black people on an international dimension, political spectrum and psychological level. The heroics of these memorable moments are often associated to significant Black male leaders. In doing so we often forget the role Black women played in the movement. “Some joined national organizations and served in both rank-and-file and leadership roles. Others found a way to enact ideals like community control and self-determination through local neighborhood or welfare rights organizations.” The efforts of Black Women in the movement allowed for greater inclusivity within the movement by challenging “many organizations to adopt a more radical critique of racism, sexism, and capitalism.”
Farmer’s article does a great job of illustrating the important roles women such as Tarika Lewis (the first female Panther), Ericka Huggins and Elaine Brown. “As they organized, they challenged their male counterparts to rethink their commitment to patriarchal ideas of leadership, activism, and revolution, openly debating sexism within the movement and developing artwork and articles that framed black women as the consummate political actors.” The article then goes into discussion of the Third World Women’s Alliance (TWWA) as part of the “Black Power Feminists.” Rather than fighting equality on one front, the incorporation of women in the movement helped fight oppression on all fronts. The author ultimately makes the argument that these grassroot female activists are who paved the way for Black women activists today. In doing so, Farmer encourages readers to refrain from seeing the contemporary political activism of Black Women as a new phenomenon. Instead she shows readers how their efforts are in fact rooted to common activism practices conducted by Black women throughout American history.
OneUnited Bank is the largest black-owned bank. This bank has been empowering black people by placing black images on all the cards they issue to their customers. Their motto is “Join the Movement.” Last month they released the Queen Visa Debit Card as a part of their royalty collection. The bank stated that the campaign is celebrating, ” a new generation of Queens in America who are claiming their thrones.” This mentality is important for all black Americans to understand the power the black communities posses. The card was purposely released during Women’s History Month hence, “reclaiming the throne.” OneUnited Bank President and COO Teri William is stated that the bank was created to encourage the black community to celebrate themselves and their past. Black women have been contributing greatly to the growing of Black Owned Businesses, women firms have grown percent since 2007.
OneUnited is the greatest bank in America to be a part of regardless of race. This bank promotes and assists its community with financial literacy and offer affordable services with unique banking options such as simple interest-checking.
Jordan Peele’s Us debuted in 2019, a previous post covers the nuances about the film. Other critiques focused on the duality of individual people created by society, or in the movies case “the government”. The golden rule of looking into ones self in times of fear is a major theme throughout the film. I’m not trying to spoil the film too much, but in this post I will discuss the particular parts of the film that relates to black women and their narrative in their own freedom struggle movement.
The leading lady(ladies) of the film was played by non-other than oscar winning Lupita Nyong’o. In one of the first few opening scenes, the family links up with another family that happens to be white. When Lupita’s character Adelaide is talking to the other wife there, Kitty, the dialogue seems forced and strange. Kitty tells Lupita how she’s got a few new operations done to her face and after she spitefully adds that Lupita Nyong’o’s character would never need work done. Flashing forward to the part of the film where Kitty’s doppelgänger has tied Adelaide to a table. Kitty traces Adelaide’s face with a pair of scissors and runs to her mirror to mimic Adelaide’s face. Peele has a tendency to nod towards social issues and this part of the film definitely dances around the topic of beauty standards in the US. In regards to the black women freedom struggle movement, the movie could be seen as an aid in that it showcases and represents a black female leader as the face of a revolutionary movement. While engaging in the beauty of Lupita’s character, Peele does not take away from the strength of Adelaide’s role. What do you guys think?