The Lord lifts up the humble and downtrodden; He casts the wicked down to the ground. — Psalm 147:6
African-American women are often portrayed by media as pregnant, promiscuous, poverty-stricken, welfare cases or prostitutes. How do we continue to erase some of these hurtful and inaccurate stereotypes to reclaim a connection with our true selves?
How many of us know we are queens, and that our strength, courage and faith that has propelled generations of our foremothers into a world supported by justice, love, faith, wisdom and perseverance, all virtues that empowers us to raise strong families and have productive careers?
How many of you are like me, changing the channel when you see television programs or movies that show us in such a negative connotation? When TV producers live in communities where they rarely — if ever — see an African-American, how can they know our experiences, good or bad?
There is a book titled “Daughters of Dignity,” written by LaVerne McCain Gill, that you need to read. This book seeks to identify our virtues, traces our roots, and presents biblical and theological foundations to validate the experiences of the African-American woman. Gill shares how historical and contemporary role models such as Sojourner Truth and Rosa Parks embodies these virtues. Finally, she gives suggestions for self-evaluation and narratives on contemporary programs to successfully reestablish an ethic of black womanhood in the community.
I remember when Les Brown went to Lorton in the mid-’90s while he was here in Washington, hosting “The Les Brown Morning Show” on Radio One. Les was my mentor, as l trained under him with other aspiring speakers. One day Mr. Brown invited me to co-host his morning show. His partner was unable to be there and, as if he could foresee me as a radio personality, he invited me to co-host with him!
Great experience! Afterwards, Mr. Brown had a speaking engagement at a prison in Lorton, Virginia. His town car came to pick us up. I was excited to ride in the limo with someone as famous as Mr. Brown, one of the world’s top motivational speakers, but what stood out most for me was when we went inside, management took me to the stage along with Mr. Brown. As l looked out into the audience, l remember seeing wonderful, good-looking African-American men. They reminded me of my brothers, my uncles and my father. It was that very moment that I thought to myself, “So this is where all the black men are! No wonder 70 percent of African-American women are single.”
An article on The Huffington Post website, “The Black Male Incarceration Problem Is Real and It’s Catastrophic,” cited this statistic: “there are more African-American men incarcerated in the U.S. than the total prison populations in India, Argentina, Canada, Lebanon, Japan, Germany, Finland, Israel and England combined.”
How many of our men are in prison here in America? It is a modern-day Jim Crow era. This leaves so many millions of black women without spouses.
Last month, l was proud of former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr., who hosted a Martin Luther King Jr. panel to talk about the 13th Amendment and how that bill continues to allow law enforcement to treat African-American men and women as slaves.
Laws are not even being broken! Police can lock us up and almost throw away the key. And we black women are suffering, raising children alone, working two or more jobs, trying to make ends meet.
Yet poor African-American women are portrayed in such negative light! Wonder what would be said if the TV producers could walk a mile in our shoes!
Lyndia Grant is the host of “Think on These Things,” a radio talk show on WYCB-AM, 1340, Fridays at 6 p.m. Contact her at 202-518-3192 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.