March, Women’s History Month, is a time to celebrate the contributions that women have made, or are making, to the world. This year, it seems as though women’s history is taking on extra importance. Black Lives Matter was started by women a couple of years ago and is still going strong, and the movie “Hidden Figures” recently highlighted the role that African American women played in NASA’s Moon program.
One of the biggest catalysts, though, for the growing profile of women was Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful run for president. Of course, a lot of people thought she was going to win, and this created a lot of enthusiasm among many women and girls. They were proud to see a successful, intelligent woman hold her own in an arena that is usually the domain of men, as a serious presidential candidate.
The truth be told, however, is that women have been doing great things for many years. Black women in particular have done a phenomenal job in keeping families and communities together. From slavery days to the present, Black women have taken a big hit for the things that they have done.
For instance, there is an African American pundit with a number of YouTube videos that blames all of the ills in the African American community on Black women. He basically says Black women raise their girls while being single mothers to be “hoes” and hood rats with the main goal of destroying Black men. Interestingly, he has nothing to say about the fact that men also bear half of the responsibility for raising Black children. But this is a digression.
He also said that Black women today are the worst examples of women that the world has to offer. The truth of the matter is that the Black community would be much worse off if Black women didn’t hold down the proverbial forts. Suppose Black women decided to abandon families …what would happen to our children? They have done a yeoman’s job, often sacrificing their own wellbeing to ensure that Black men survived. They have had to raise their boys defensively, often without men, by equipping them to deal with a world that has been hostile to them.
Historically, and even today, Black women have taken the lead in all types of initiatives. Many sheroes too numerous to name have helped forge a successful path for African Americans. Women have made inroads into just about every area of endeavor even though women still do not have the support that is due them from a patriarchal society.
Women are often paid less money for the same jobs that men have, and there is definitely a glass ceiling in America. Yet, if we look around it is becoming more and more evident that women are succeeding at a phenomenal rate in nontraditional fields. There are women at the heads of corporations, there are airline pilots, award-winning architects, race car drivers and other movers and shakers. Think of Oprah Winfrey and OWN; Ava DuVernay and her television and video projects; Cathy Hughes with TV One; and thousands of other female entrepreneurs who are changing the face of things in America. Women have come a long way.
Considering the hostile climate that will probably impact the African American community during the current presidential administration in America, it would behoove us to ensure that both Black women and men work together to better community fortunes. This would mean that women must develop a greater trust in their men and that Black men must put aside their chauvinist demeanor (those that fit this category) to work together to ensure the viability of the Black community.
This would mean that Black pundits (and rap artists, both male and female) strive to project a better image of Black women. It has been said that a society can go no further than its women. If they fail, so does the society. We should all take heed of this admonition and become “the wind beneath the wings” of our Black Queens. A luta continua.