"African-American Women: Where They Stand"
The average African American woman faces a lot of issues in modern day America. Its no wonder NBC news decided to take a look at these issues in a new series "African-American Women: Where They Stand." This series which has been airing throughout the week of November 26 covers a wide range of issues from the roles of African-American women in the '08 Presidential race to the increased health-risks that they need to be concerned about.
Monday's episode Rehema Ellis touched on African-American women's progress in the education. Big mama has always taught the black woman to learn to take care of herself with or without a husband so it is imperative that young African American women develop these skills.
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The number of African American women earning college degrees and taking up leadership roles in today’s society is impressive to say the least. Nearly two-thirds of African-American undergraduates are women. And the ratio of women to men in black colleges is 7 to 1. This achievement gap is beyond belief.
However, going by the above statistics, most people automatically assume that a lot of African American women own their own businesses. Sadly, this is not the case. Just like other female business owners, there still lacks some parity with men in some key areas. Given the above statistics and the fact that majority of African American women are undergraduates, one tends to wonder why there exists this disparity. So there is still a lot to be done.
On Tuesday, Dr. Nancy Snyderman discussed the increased risks for breast cancer for African-American women. Although black women are less likely to get breast cancer in comparison to white women, Nancy pointed out that when they do, they are nearly 30% more likely to die from it than white women and are less likely to get life-saving treatments. Pre-menopausal black women are more than twice as likely to get a more aggressive form of the disease. Other issues discussed were the mortality rates for African-American women being higher than any other racial or ethnic group.
Dr. Snyderman will profile one of the only oncologists in the world who specializes in the treatment of African-American women with breast cancer.
Come Wednesday, Rehema Ellis looks at relationships within the African-American female community. Many people will agree that the gender disparity in education and business among African-Americans has a spill over effect on relationships that African American women have. And like I said above, big mama taught women to move on with their lives even without a husband. According to some, these implications have redefined Black America's family and social structure. The percentage of African American women between 25-54 who have never been married has doubled over the fifty years, from 20% to 40%. This is more than that of white women (16%).
Question to ask is, are black women’s empowerment and achievements making them neglect family values and family life? Is this positive or negative?
Ron Allen asks one good question on Thursday, by taking viewers to South Carolina: “Will race trump gender or gender trump race?᾿ According to statistics, African American women made up nearly 30 percent of all democratic primary voters in 2004. This year however, polls indicate a significant number are undecided. The point of contention is whether to choose the first African-American or first female Presidential candidate. Allen talks with the undecided and state directors for the Clinton and Obama campaigns, who happen to be African-American women.
On the final day of this interesting series, Dr. Snyderman will bring out the frightening statistic that African-American women are 85% more likely to get diabetes, a major complication for heart disease. And, just like the case of breast cancer, more black women die from heart disease than white women.
Mara Schiavocampo, Digital Correspondent for "Nightly News," will also address two most controversial topics in the African - American community: interracial dating and the impact of hip hop music on black women. Most will agree that interracial dating is a growing trend in the African - American community. According to an Essence.com poll, 81% of the participants approved of black women dating non- black men. But what about the attitude of black women themselves dating non-black men? Do the statistics reflect the true picture on the ground?
To address this, Schiavocampo will talk to experts about the trend of interracial dating and discuss how this defines the "Black family" of the future. Schiavocampo will convene a panel of leading black men and women from the hip-hop industry to discuss and debate on whether hip hop lyrics and videos positively or negatively affect black women. How do these portrayals affect relationships between black women and black men?
Having looked at the issues that will be discussed, the above series has stirred some negative opinions. One blogger felt the first part of the series seemed to be explaining why black men are doing so poorly instead of enumerating all of the reasons that black women are doing so well.
"They make it seem like black women aren’t really making such great strides, and it’s just that the system is failing black men. Surely you can’t discuss one without the other to some extent — if everything was 50/50 between black males and females this series probably wouldn’t exist — but it’s unfortunate that positive news about black women must go hand-in-hand with dismal news about black men. Dismal news that also summarily ignores the large number of black men who are college-educated and/or successful."
Another one said that part one, much as it was meant to be about the black woman ended up being about the African American man “as usual᾿. This is what Rehema Ellis had to say “I have read almost all of the blog entries that we've received. Many of them were complimentary. But some were angry or disappointed in Part One, which I wrote, saying it had not lived up to all of their expectations.᾿ (Click here for more...)
Well, there you have it. What are your thoughts on this focus on the African American woman?
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