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Are Black Woman Guided More by the Advancement of African Americans or Women's Rights?



February and March are important months in black women's history.  In February, we celebrate the important strides people of color have made and this month we observe women's history in America.

Since the beginning, Black women have been on the forefront of civil rights, supporting greats like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Stokley Carmichael and have celebrated the strides people of color made in the U.S.  Black women have also been on the front lines of the women's liberation movement, rallying along side of such historic figures like Gloria Steinem and Betty Frieden.  However, at the height of these movements, respected leaders for minorities and women were Caucasian women and black males who were credited with improving women’s rights and civil rights, while African American women were viewed merely as loyal followers who aided in the process of these unprecedented triumphs.  One glaring exception was Rosa Parks whose defiant bus seating action energized the non-violent civil demonstration.

Today's African American women are faced with a much tougher dilemma in terms of loyalty and equality.  Is she guided more towards the advancement of people of color or the advancement of women’s rights?

The 1960’s were a time filled with racial unrest, some black women marched and fought alongside their men while working as nannies and housekeepers for wealthy white families.  The 1990 film, “A long Walk Home” starring Whoopi Goldberg and Sissy Spacek captures the duality of the time.  Goldberg plays a nanny and Spacek plays the white employer who bonds with her during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

In recent years, however, African American women have come under fire for seemingly abandoning the women's movement in favor of the civil rights agenda.


Conservative pundits point out that 95% of African American women voted for the all-male Barack Obama ticket, while only 5% voted for the McCain/Palin and that most African American women continue to support Obama, who is part black, rather than Caucasian women like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman.  Oprah Winfrey is a perfect example of this theory of someone who introduced Barack Obama to her mid-west viewers and who continues to disapprove of Palin.


Pundits cite for decades that black male activists continually take African American women for granted and that these same women blindly follow African American males and their political views.

Nevertheless, a large percentage of today’s modern black women are well educated, stay informed and make their own wise political decisions.  They vote not because of a politician’s race or gender but rather, for his/her stance.  In the November's primaries, the vast majority of African American women did not vote for right wing Florida Congressman Allen West, even though he is African American.

In brief, African American women remain loyal to the same women and civil rights issues in which they always have been loyal.  Today, it is not whom African American women will follow but rather, what other groups will follow them on their long walk for equality.


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