The National Urban League has released its State Of Black America report, and as you may expect, there's good news and bad news. Bad news first: Black women hold more jobs nationwide than black men, but, even though they're often referred to as the "backbone of the black family," black women earn less: $566 a week compared to $629 for black men, on average. More subprime loans were given to black women than white men, so black women have suffered disproportionately in the mortgage crisis. This is especially devastating since black women are more likely than white or Hispanic women to be running a household and raising children on their own. Also: Black women have above-average rates of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. On TV, white men dominate news programs while black women are "gyrating, undulating" images in rap videos. (Black females are also much less likely than white women to receive media attention when they have gone missing.)
And we're still living in a world where a woman can be kidnapped, sexually assaulted and forced to eat animal feces simply because she is black. But there is good news, thankfully:
The number of businesses owned by black women increased by 147% between 1997 and 2006, compared to an overall business growth rate of 24%. And lately, there have been black women in the spotlight for amazing accomplishments — from Oprah to Condoleezza Rice to Michelle Obama. Marc Morial, the president of the Urban League, writes: "When black women hurt, the American family suffers. 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." Adds Avis Jones-DeWeever, from the National Council of Negro Women: "For us, it's two steps forward, one step back. But we do have a lot to be proud of."