NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams kicked-off a 5-part series entitled:"African American Women: Where Do They Stand" tonight.
Some of the observations offered is that women make up 64% of all African Americans in college. It is said that African American men are outnumbered "7 to 1 in some colleges" across the US.
Rehema Ellis reports that the rise of African American women in business is just as impressive. And that many African American women hope that this "positive revolution" will continue.
See the first installment below:
More black women taking care of business
Though this series is aimed at African American women, tonight's opening segment raises the now habitual question about the relative 'failure' of African American men in general.
In my experience this is the kind of topic that can grab and hold the attention of students in a class that deals with race/class/gender in the US.
Most everyone will want to know why African American women are succeeding and what this means for the relationships between men and women?; Are successful African American women a threat to African American men?; What are consequences for the African American family?; are among the kinds of questions that may be posed for discussion (often heated).
The problem with this kind of surface analysis is that it focuses on race by making race a marker of identity while also making the historical racialization of the workforce opaque at best.
The unequal gender stratification between African Americans is a product of slavery and Jim Crow discrimination. In effect, racism is the dominant reason that explains why African American men find themselves outside the oppressive patriachal benefits that favour their white counterparts.
The more pressing questions would not be a comparison between African American women and men, but African American women and white women. Tougher questions would have to be posed. For example, why do white women still earn more than African American women? Or, why are white women still more likely to be employed above the povery line than African American women and men?
And, if the conversation is made even more complex we would have to factor in the experiences of Latinas and Native women in the same comparative context.
What is quite apparent in this prototype liberal posturing is the assumption that the US is mostly an egalitarian society where 'success' is linked to personal initiative. It is the old boot strap theorizing which hides whiteness (racism) and wants us to see the failure of African America men as a matter of personal, but also collective dysfunction.
This is absolute nonsense that serves hide the face of racism and its structures that disfavour African American, Latino/a, and Native life in general. What is also advanced it the usual benign success of whites without referencing racism or whiteness and its default privileges.
What is interesting about this series is an earlier linked report which looks at African American women who date white men. In this report African American women who are middle class and above are found to be frustrated with the absence of men from their community who meet their relationship needs.
The outcome of this 'frustration' is that more and more African American women are dating, and marrying, white men.
Again, the social capital of African American men is shown to be so lacking that the success of African American women is leaving them frustrated enough to consider white men as relationship material.
You can see the NBC report on African American women dating white men below:
Love, in black and white
Am I the only one who is absolutely fed up with this inane type of analysis? I am interested in your thoughts.