There’s been some considerate press dealing with the views of female black voters recently. It’s a pleasant change from the never-ending heedless political banter of major television networks.
In an article titled “A Vote of Allegiance,” Washington Post staff writer DeNeen L. Brown details the multiple “isms” that black women have had to endure and the insulting call from white feminists for black women to pick an indentity to associate with on election day. Mark Morial from Copley News Service reveals statistics showing that the subprime mortgage crisis has severely impeded the economic foothold of black women who are homeowners. Morial writes, “When black women hurt, the American family suffers. When we ignore black women’s issues, we ignore an entire community. But by uplifting black women, especially those struggling hardest to keep their families together and their dreams on track, we lift up every American community.”
Dr. Julianne Malveaux, president of Bennett College for Women, commented in Final Call’s “The State of the Black Woman,” that, “Black men and women both experience higher unemployment rates than the general population. However, the unemployment and underemployment of Black men shifts a disproportionate economic responsibility onto the shoulders of African American women, who then must support households and children without sufficient contribution from spouses, partners or fathers.”
We expect unending strength and endurance from black women. They are often the last to be heard and the first to be discarded. The media may not believe it, but black women are paying more attention to the issues than the color of their skin or their gender. Black women don’t expect pity from society for their burden, but they are certainly more cautious of politics. What black women are waiting for are specifics. They’ve heard it all from Capital Hill before – what they want is an economic plan that includes major cities, a change in direction for the war in iraq, transportation, and most importantly, education.
Funding for college education and dismantling “No Child Left Behind” will be on the focus of many female black voters on election day. The war in Iraq, which seems to be fought around the black community by politicians and protesters, involves black fathers who proudly serve abroad, leaving black mothers behind to head the household and bear the economic responsibilities. Next American City’s Sheamia Smith says she can’t speak for all black women, but agrees that she has been frustrated with the racial and gender issues in the presidential campaign. “It’s annoying to me that Barack Obama has to deal with the race issue because he’s black. People say that he doesn’t talk as much about the issues, but it’s because he’s had to face the racial issue. Why? It’s the same with Hillary Clinton, she’s had to deal with being a woman. But black people and black women want to hear about the other issues. It’s more important to them.”
There’s going to be a record number of black voters in this upcoming election. One of the positives of this very negative campaign between the democratic challengers is that it has energized formerly apathetic voting communities with candidates who promise drastic change. For the sake of these communities, one can only hope these promises are kept, as four more years of the “same old, same old,” could lead to a sense of bitterness that will take decades to shake.