Daily Kos: They sang, they motivated and they mobilized

Daily Kos: They sang, they motivated and they mobilized.

Double Jeopardy: Black and Female

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African AmericansDouble Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female

Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female

Jul 18 | 2,577 views | feministezine.com

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Arrested Justice: Losing the Movement: Black Women, Violence and Prison Nation

We heard it before & Resist racism – StumbleUpon.

by Guest Contributor MK, originally published at Prison Culture

Last week, I was privileged to organize an event for a project that I am affiliated with called Girl Talk. As part of the event, my friend, the brilliant Dr. Beth Richie, spoke about her new book Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation. I can’t recommend the book any more highly.

Beth suggested on Thursday that the book is to some extent autobiographical, in part tracing her personal involvement as an activist in the anti-violence against women and girls’ movement. In reading the book, I found my own story also represented in the history that she illuminates through her research.

Today, I want to focus on one key aspect of the thesis that Beth advances in the book. She contends that the “success” of the anti-violence against women and girls’ movement in passing legislation and gaining public legitimacy was in large part due to the increasingly conservative political climate that was emerging in a parallel way. That conservative political climate emphasized a “law -and-order” and “tough-on-crime” approach to addressing social problems.

Beth pointed out in her talk that many activists within the anti-violence movement (particularly women of color and queer people) spoke out about the fact that increasing criminalization would adversely affect certain populations. Their voices, however, did not win the day.  (Click Links Above for Rest of Article)

Researchers Puzzled by Rising Death Rates for African American Women in Childbirth – Inland Valley News

Researchers Puzzled by Rising Death Rates for African American Women in Childbirth

June 20, 2012 | Filed under: Health | Posted by: Admin

Community African American Women in Childbirth 300×224 Researchers Puzzled by Rising Death Rates for African American Women in Childbirth

By Marjorie Valbrun

Washington, DC–High rates of obesity, high blood pressure and inadequate prenatal care cause death from childbirth more often for African-Americans in the United States than for whites and other ethnic groups. Worsening this trend are the increasing numbers of cesarean sections nationally. These procedures can result in deadly complications for women dangerously overweight or suffering from hypertension or other ailments.

Nationally, blacks have a four-times greater risk of pregnancy-related death than whites—a rate of 36.1 per 100,000 live births compared with 9.6 for whites and 8.5 for Hispanics, according to a 2008 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Maternal mortality rates have been rising in the United States since the mid-1990s. In 1997, the black maternal mortality rate was 21.5 per 100,000 live births compared with 8.0 for Hispanics and 5.2 for whites, according to the CDC. The rate for other races was 8.8.

By 2007, the black maternal mortality rate had jumped to 28.4, roughly three times the rates among whites and Hispanics at 10.5 and 8.9 respectively. Statistics were not broken out for Asians/Pacific Islanders and Native Americans.

Trends show that black maternal mortality rates are increasing in some parts of the country, and two recent studies highlighting the problem have renewed calls for increased focus on reducing the deaths.

According to the new reports, the pregnancy-related mortality rate in some states rivals that in some developing nations. The problem is particularly acute in New York City, where blacks are nearly eight times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than whites, and in California where pregnant blacks are four times as likely to die from childbirth.

“The magnitude of this black-white gap in maternal mortality is the greatest among all health disparities . . . and that gap is growing. It’s unacceptable,” Michael Lu, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and public health at UCLA and an expert in racial and socio-economic disparities in maternal and infant health, recently told PBS NewsHour.

The black-white gap also stubbornly persists for a variety of socio-economic reasons, including education and income levels, access to and quality of health care, and lifestyle and diet. Improved health care could reduce the maternal death rate by 40 percent to 50 percent, according to CDC estimates, but medical attention has been focused more often on reducing infant mortality during the past decades.

“When we look at some of the factors associated with maternal mortality, most of the underlying factors tend to be dominant in the African-American community, and it is manifested in the health disparities that affect our population,” says Dr. Kerry M. Lewis, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Howard University’s College of Medicine and chief of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

Lewis, who specializes in high-risk pregnancies, says the mortality rate reflects lack of access to specialized health care that integrates comprehensive skills and technology. Too often, he says, patients are treated by family practitioners, nurse midwives, general obstetricians and gynecologists instead of specialists trained in high-risk pregnancies and medical problems that can cause complications during birth.

via Researchers Puzzled by Rising Death Rates for African American Women in Childbirth – Inland Valley News.

Black Women, Racism/Sexism and Weight

Is Racism (& Sexism) Making Black Women Angry & Fat?

I just completed a questionnaire about black women’s body image, eating habits and racism (shout-out to Vizionheiry for bringing it to my attention). I love participating in marketing and psychological research, so completing this survey was a no-brainer for me. The following warning made me pause for a few seconds, though:

The potential risk associated with this study is the possibility of discomfort in disclosing your feelings about yourself and your experiences in life.

But I jumped in anyway. Hell, I’m just thankful that someone cares enough to actually research these topics.


As I answered the questions, I began having some “aha!” moments. Questions about how we view ourselves that itemize our physical features helped me realize which parts of me I find more attractive than others and why. Questions about how much our self-evaluations of our beauty is influenced by others (specifically, black men) highlight how much of my opinions are based on my own values vs. other people’s values. Questions about how much of other people’s reactions to me that I ascribe to my race and how I feel about these illustrate the level to which I identify with “the black experience” – namely, the experience of being a victim of racism.
Yep, as I moved down the questions, it dawned on me why these beauty and racism topics are linked together. A great deal of Black women’s stress (numbing the pain -> overeating -> obesity), hostility towards other women (even other Black women), difficulties in interpersonal relationships, etc. can largely be attributed to, or at least understood through, our responses to this survey. It may also explain Black women (and men)’s easy camaraderie with other Blacks who can “feel their pain”, who have similarly processed the racism they experience, why certain Blacks are distrustful of Blacks who don’t wallow in their reactions to racism (as if not wallowing means they haven’t experienced the same level of racism), etc. So when given the option to receive the findings to this study, I jumped at this opportunity, too. These findings can be a great conversation starter for Black women to own some of our feelings about racism, and confront how these often suppressed feelings are affecting our lives.

I’m extremely in favor of ALL Blacks getting psychotherapy. Maybe if we did, Black women would learn how to recognize the symptoms of anger and depression that we exhibit without knowing it. Maybe if we did, Black Men would learn how to recognize how they contribute to our daily stress by compounding racism with sexism…and they’d learn how to understand and cope with Black Women’s Anger instead of entering interracial relationships solely based on the pretense of escaping this condition. Many of us complain about our voices being ignored. Well, here’s a way for us to be heard.

If you’re a Black woman, I highly recommend that you participate in this important study and share it with your sister circle. It took me about 27 minutes to complete (while multitasking).


Take the study here.


In the interest of pulling our skeletons out of the closet & facilitating some group healing, here are my responses to some of the social questions:


As someone with a marketing/psychological education and background, I greatly respect a well-designed questionnaire. The way the questions are split in this section between 1.) How often do you experience this because of race? and 2.) How much does this bother you? is brilliant. Very well-done.

What do you think of the idea of this research study? Do you plan on participating? What do you expect to be in the findings? Is there a connection between racism & Black women’s eating habits and body image? If you’re a Black woman, have you noticed a connection between your feelings of stress, anxiety, anger and loneliness and your eating habits? Can this research shed some light on the chasm between Black women and between Black women and Black men? What’s the one misconception about you or Black women in general that you would like to eliminate or clarify? If you’ve completed the survey, wanna share some of your responses/reactions? Anything else on your mind?

African-American Women and Depression

Stigma of mental illness: treating African American women for depressionPosted on July 28, 2010 by shlimentalhealth

Providers who successfully treat African-American women understand that treatment has to be personalized: contextually relevant to the client’s life. Black folks as a rule take extreme exception to being treated as “a case” of a diagnostic category. The quality of the interpersonal relationship regardless of the type of treatment is crucial to effective care outcomes.
One of the things that would help reduce the stigma of depressive illness is to more widely inform clients that: mild to moderate depression may be effectively treated with psychotherapy; and medication is more likely to be effective in severe cases of depression in concert with psychotherapy.
Our women need to know that therapy will help their unique and highly personal situation with clear benefits:
I can talk to somebody who will understand (my situation, race, religion, and family contexts).
I can change how I think view situations and think more positively in the moment.
I can learn about healthy options and practice preventative strategies.
I can practice new behaviors that will bring me peace of mind and/or social success.
I can get the emotional support that I need without burdening my family and friends.
I can learn to become more confident, empowered.
I can learn how to let go and let others do things for me sometimes.
I can feel worthy, unashamed, attractive, smart…
I can feel healthier, stronger, sleep better, eat wisely…feel well again.
More African-American women who have been successfully treated for depression need to have their stories publicized or shared among friends/family so that the word gets out: “I had issues and dealt with them. Hallelujah!”
Reference: Dr. Carlene Smith, Ph.D. 
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