Black Women Are Not the Mammy for Every Movement (audio)

AMPLIFY UNHEARD VOICES. SHARE THE INFORMATION.

Mammyism. That’s a term I am hearing more and more often. Mammyism is the demand for Black women and Black girls to do more while accepting that they will get less. One of the major tenets of Mammyism is that Black women and Black girls labor for people who have no intention, and therefore no plan to labor for us in return.

Black women toiled for generations to get where we are today. But to hear organizations and individuals tell it: “That’s nice, but now you need to save the rest of the world.” If the activism were mutual, this would be a different and perhaps maybe even more productive and hopeful conversation.

The rate of sexual assault and rape jumped by almost 40% from 2016 to 2018, and for women veterans, the rate increased by over 50% to the highest level since 2006.

Are mainstream/social justice organizations supportive of women caregivers? As of 2015, approximately 67% of caregivers for older adults in this country were female, either wives, daughters, or other family members. One study shows that 52% of female caregivers have incomes below $35,000, but still spend more than 20 hours weekly providing informal family care.

Are mainstream/social justice organizations supportive of affordable and accessible healthcare for all women?

A 45-year-old woman today will pay 27.5% more for health care expenses compared to her male counterpart during retirement.

A recent study found that the cost of intimate partner violence for a woman totals $103,767 over her lifetime compared to $23,414 for men.

Are mainstream/social justice organizations actively supportive of developing new strategies to help Black women leaving violent relationships? Black women face a particularly high risk of being killed at the hands of a man. A 2015 Violence Policy Center study finds that Black women were two and a half times more likely to be murdered by men than their White counterparts. More than nine in ten Black female victims knew their killer.

Are mainstream/social justice organizations demanding change so that Black women and girls aren’t afraid to call the police if they fear for their very lives?

More Questions…

Are mainstream/social justice organizations supporting you? How exactly?

Are mainstream/social justice organizations demanding fair and equal pay for Black women?  “While white women overall have an average retirement savings of $56,514, Black women have only $13,405”

Hassani, H., Urban Institute, Women are building more wealth, but racial gaps persist (Mar. 2018), available at urban.org/ urban-wire/women-are-building-more-wealth-racial-gaps-persist.

Are mainstream/social justice organizations demanding an end to violence against Black girls in schools at the hands of police in schools?

Are mainstream/social justice organizations demanding an end to discrimination against Black women with divinely textured and coily hair?

Are mainstream/social justice organizations demanding that police stop killing you? Stop killing 15-year-old Black girls on sight? #SayHerName #MakhiaBryant

Are mainstream/social justice organizations demanding that police stop killing our sons? Our husbands? Our boyfriends in front of their little girls?  

Are mainstream/social justice organizations demanding that police stop raping Black women?  Where were they during the Daniel Holztclaw?

Are mainstream/social justice organizations demanding that there be more effort and attention paid to missing Black women and girls?

Are mainstream/ social justice organizations/individuals supportive of Black women representation in media? In politics? In paid leadership roles?

Are mainstream/social justice organizations uplifting the voices of Black women and girls? Black women and girls have our own voices.

Are mainstream/social justice organizations demanding addressing the abuse to prison pipeline that traps so many Black girls and destroys their lives?

Are mainstream/social justice organizations supportive of efforts to secure the needed childcare for our children to be kept in safe environments?

Are mainstream/social justice organizations even listening to your concerns? Are they acting on your concerns?

Are mainstream/social justice organizations devoting money to your issues and concerns? When you tell them that something that they did or said is racist, do they apologize and do better next time? Or do they ignore you?

What about when you tell them that comparing Black women to males is a white racist/white supremacist weapon used against Black women since the enslavement of Black people, do they listen? Do they ignore you? And, still expect you to help them?

Are mainstream/social justice organizations they supporting faith-based and grassroots-based activism? These continue to be a major source of healing and restoration for many Black people in communities around the world.

Are mainstream/social justice organizations financially assisting start up grass roots efforts and non-profits that serve the community?

Are mainstream/social justice organizations sharing their resources with grass roots activists and non-profits that serve the community?

Are mainstream/ social justice organizations assisting Black women with paying student loans since we are a demographic that highly values education and has the student loan bills to prove it?

Are mainstream/social justice organizations hiring Black women in high-level decision-making, influential positions?

Are mainstream social justice organizations actively supportive of efforts to address the Black maternal health crisis?

Are mainstream social justice organizations supportive of addressing Black women’s health? Medical racism? Fibroids? Breast cancer? Affordable health care?

Are mainstream/social justice organizations actively supportive of addressing the mental health and wellness concerns of Black women to include of course Survivors of violence who often struggle with varying degrees of emotional pain after experiencing trauma?

Are mainstream /social justice organizations actively supportive of addressing the fact that Black women and girls are being trafficked around the world?

Are mainstream/social justice organizations actively supportive of Black women with disabilities who struggle to pay for medical assistance equipment, medication, transportation, and everyday living needs?

Are mainstream/social justice organizations actively supportive of caregivers? As of 2015, approximately 67% of caregivers for older adults in this country were female, either wives, daughters, or other family members

Are mainstream/social justice organizations actively supportive of the call to change policies that are help-prohibitive to Black women on college campuses?

Are mainstream/social justice organizations actively supporting the fight against voter suppression of Black voters?

Are mainstream organizations/social justice organizations actively supportive of reparations for Black descendants of slavery and Jim Crow?

Are mainstream/social justice organizations actively supportive of fighting the oppression that women in every corner of the world are suffering under? Female genital mutilation~an estimated 200 million women and girls? Child marriage? (most commonly very young girls married off to middle-aged adult males)

These days, so many folks are going through some changes. Folks everywhere are going through some mighty big things. Why is it then, that only Black women are summoned like we don’t have problems to solve for our own individual lives and communities?

Why do these mainstream organizations invoke the names of the most commonly known female civil rights heroes in much the same way that white people invoke and misquote the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King when Black people finally express outrage?

Why are Black women still being sent the back of the line?

When I say that I want everyone to be safe, healthy, and get all of their financial needs met, I mean Black women too