Healthcare Struggles While Black

After giving birth to her daughter via C-Section, Serena Williams, a world-famous tennis player, suffered several complications and had to endure two other surgeries to help correct her blood flow. Williams has said that she has a history of struggling with blood clots, and after giving birth she developed an embolism. Two surgeries and one restitching later, Serena has fully recovered and returned to her passion of playing tennis. But the experience opened her eyes.

According to the CDC, black women are three to four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related┬ácomplications in the United States. The CDC even suggests that the reasons for these deaths are often preventable (about 50%). In the United States, women’s health issues are often not taken seriously because women are often seen as dramatic or said to be overreacting to their symptoms. Williams was able to receive excellent healthcare in the face of her after pregnancy issues, but she is a black woman with fame and enough money to cover those costs. Most black women are not that fortunate. If the pregnancy doesn’t go smoothly for other black women, women that are not as well off, there is a good chance that the doctors will leave them to their own devices. And that is just a nice way of saying “let them die.”

Natural Hair, Don’t Care

For black women, and other women of color in general, hair has always been an issue. Not only is it difficult enough to get a job with an “ethnic-sounding” name, but our natural “nappy” hair is seen in most settings as unprofessional. For example, if you’d like to do a little experiment so you can see for yourself, do a quick Google image search. First, search “professional hair”. Then search “unprofessional hair”. Unless Google has suddenly done an update in their imagery, you’ll likely find that under “professional” styles, there are a lot of white women with straightened hair. But not only that, there are several images of black women with straightened styles. However, the unprofessional category is almost entirely composed of women of color with their natural curls in a fluffy afro or even pulled into afro puffs. The world has been force feeding women of color the idea that their natural hair is something to be ashamed of. But black women have started to fight back.

The Natural Hair Movement was popularized during the 1960s and 70s with the Black Panther women rocking their afros, and black women have been carrying the fight since then and turned it into festivals of celebration for themselves. Natural Hair Festivals are increasingly popular and have spread across the sea even. For some black women, freedom just means keeping their hair healthy and having society accept that our hair isn’t meant to be straightened repeatedly.