Wednesday, March 5, 2008

We still don't have equality in the U.S.

Not that that should come as a surprise to anyone. But a report by the National Urban League helps make it official:
Julianne Malveaux, the president of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C., contends in the report's opening essay that the image of black women in popular culture has barely improved in the year since the Imus incident.

White men continue to dominate on TV's Sunday morning news shows, she writes, while "the gyrating, undulating image of African-American women in rap music videos and, by extension, on cable television is as prevalent as ever."

The report delves deeply into economics, noting that black women are more likely than white or Hispanic women to be running a household and raising children on their own. According to Malveaux, black women hold more jobs nationwide than black men, yet — despite their breadwinner roles — earn less on average, $566 a week compared to $629 for black men.

In an essay about the home loan crisis, Andrea Harris, president of the North Carolina Institute for Minority Economic Development, suggests that black women have suffered disproportionately. Assessing recent federal data on subprime loans, which are a main culprit in the foreclosure epidemic, Harris says black women received far more of these loans in 2006 than white men.

"It is easy to imagine the devastation that is headed toward African-American women and their communities," Harris writes.

An essay by Dr. Doris Browne, a public health expert, details the above-average rates of cancer, diabetes and heart disease among black women.

It requires more than passing a law saying "let's not discriminate any more" to reverse hundreds of years of entrenched racist patterns, methods, and stereotypes. We need positive--dare I say affirmative?--action to make up for all that white America has done to black America.

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