What minorities in America. Today, new activist groups

      What does the civil rights movement and
the abolition of slavery have in common? They both revolved around gaining the rights
of African American people. For decades, equality has been a constant struggle
for the African American race. Even in today’s advanced society, racism and
segregation still exist in discrete ways. Society claims that most large
problems consisting of race are vanquished in America, but racial statistics
argue otherwise. Just because these prominent issues sometimes go unnoticed doesn’t
mean they do not exist. Minorities are still treated as inferior in multiple
categories; the African American race is one of the most discriminated against
out of all minorities in America. Today, new activist groups like Black Lives
Matter or the Black Girls Code organization have been created in order to fight
these racial problems. Among ethnic groups, women who are also African American
get the brunt of discouragement and negative influences from society. It is
time a change is brought upon how our society perceives these women based solely
on skin pigmentation and gender. After all, humans are identical anatomy wise
without looking at skin color. We tend to think and learn in the same ways. So why
is it deemed so important that one is defined by something ridiculously biased
as skin pigmentation? African American women face this judgement almost every
day. That is not acceptable that they are treated differently because of gender
identity and racial status. It is time to review the disparities against
African American women because this difference is prejudiced and it is time for
a revision.

      A
dominant way society retains segregation between African American women and
women in other races is education. It is already established that black women have
lower wages and less advanced careers than other women. This stems from a lack
of quality education available for black women; it also occurs because of
social stigmas that degrade the self-esteem of African American girls. Most
African American students grow up in inner city schools that are stripped for
money; many of these schools are in high poverty areas that are typically not
safe. The deficit of reliable education in inner city environments leads to a fewer
amounts of successful career options for African American women. Employers may be
biased towards black women not only because of gender, but also because of their
race.  This perpetual segregation of African
American women in the work force causes a double jeopardy against the black
women seeking suitable career options. As mentioned earlier, some activist
groups such as Black Girls Code encourage African American women to pursue
higher achieving careers. Black Girls Code is a non-profit organization that
provides schooling for young African American girls in technological fields
such as STEM and computer science. Even with the aid of programs that encourage
higher education and more successful careers, there is still a gap between
African American women and others when statistics looking at education
enrollment Is observed. For instance, the data represented in the book The Gendered Society depicts the
difference of enrollment rates among women of various races. It is pointed out
that in universities “black women have a thirty-six percent enrollment rate compared
to the forty-two percent of white women that were enrolled” (Kimmel). Among all
those surveyed which included Asian, Hispanic, and Caucasian females, black
women had the lowest percentages for being enrolled in college; this includes
looking at all social classes, so out of low-income, middle-income, and
high-income situations, black women were the lowest percentage for all
categories. When it comes to overall wage, the unfortunate situation does not improve.
Wages for women overall are known to be lower than men, but African American
women have even lower incomes than women in other races. Again, it is shown
that black women earned less average income than both white and Asian females.
According to Kimmel, “the average income for white females was $684 dollars in
2010, for Asian women it was $773 dollars, but for black women, it only
averaged $592 dollars.” Is this gap the sole result of a lacking amount of
decent education for a large proportion of African American females? Or is this
gap attributed to a racial bias? The cause of this gap incorporates both of
these ideas plus other stigmas that surround black women. Because there is a
defined gap between African American women and women of other races in both
education and the workforce, it can be safely assumed that being a black female
can be a disadvantage in the working world.  

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        At
first glance, it is commonly assumed that an African American individual
usually originates from a poor residential neighborhood where incarceration and
drug rates are high. While this stigma is not true for all cases, it is proven
that neighborhoods do tend to be racially segregated. According to a recent
study, even “high-income blacks will
live in poorer neighborhoods on average than their white counterparts” (Bruch).
So as one can see, even those African American individuals who have a fairly prosperous
job tend to occupy poorer more segregated neighborhoods. This living situation
is worse for black women because the average income for African American women
is much lower. This proves these women are pre-disposed by society to live in impecunious
residential areas even if they manage to share equal wealth with their white compeers.
Being in these characterized neighborhoods causes many problems for black women,
especially health issues. These poverty-stricken areas give birth to many
health issues which heavily affect the black women who reside in these
locations. For black men in these conditions, “there was no association of residential segregation with
obesity,” but “among black
women, higher segregation was associated with higher obesity prevalence”
(Kershaw). According to this statistic, the African American men are not as
affected by obesity when living in the same neighborhoods as the African
American women; however, the women do have a higher prevalence of obesity in
this environment. Obesity is a deadly disease that can cause future health
issues. Furthermore, these neighborhoods can lead to the exposure of
many harmful actions such as increased drug and violence rates. Intimate partner
violence (IPV) rates are more common in black predominant neighborhoods; even
though these rates are higher, most cases go unreported.  Social pressures and stereotypes could be at
fault here for the lack of reporting violence outbreaks against women. Because
of social stigmas, “the enduring discrimination against Black men places a
responsibility and a burden on African American women related to their decision
to call the police” (Grossman). Black women might be more fearful to call the
police for a number of reasons. After all, “African American women need to consider that their calls for
help to the police may result in the incarceration of the batterer and/or their
own incarceration as well as further stigmatization of Black men as inherently
violent” (Grossman). They also might
be fearful of not being able to access the help they require. All of these addressed
issues come from the way society allows residential segregation to occur. It is
ridiculous that African American women are suffering because of residential
segregation in modern society. Our society needs to move past this issue to
help end the suffering endured by many.             

            Media is another way that society can
negatively influence African American women. The media’s portrayal of black
women in society is depicted in a variety of offensive ways including the
stereotypical strong and angry black woman, or as subservient. Media often
depicts black women in a negative light. Because of the media, women are generally
targeted as a whole to be sexual objects, but African American women have more
on their plate than women in other racial identities when media is involved. They
have to balance the demands of both the gender driven media and their racial
identity. It can be said that “in managing their intersectional identity as
women of color, African American women must negotiate both mainstream American
and culture-specific norms of femininity” (Jerald). It is unjust to force black
women to balance these biased standards more than other women. Women in general
should not have to face the social pressures of the media. This negative
influence especially impacts younger girls. When they see the advertisements
that tell them 1) their race is inferior to others and 2) they need to strive
to be consistently sexier, for this causes low self-esteem in many young black
girls. This perspective that the media radiates steals the ambitions of young
African American females and sinks their aspirations. Now even though the
majority of media is a negative influence, there are some positives that have
been created. For example, the coverage of inspirational black women such as
Michelle Obama, the first African American woman to be a first lady of the
White House, or Oprah Winfrey, who is a phenomenal role model for black women,
is a start to positive media coverage. The coverage of empowering women figures
has emitted a positive message to black women everywhere: success is possible
no matter what kind of background you come from. Also, more black actors and
directors are starting to gain increased recognition for their work. Movie and
TV casts are starting to become more inclusive when it comes to race standards.
A new movie was actually just released titled Hidden Figures; the plot revolves around three African American
women who are mathematicians who were employed at NASA during the time of the space
race. They were the ones who calculated the entire launch of astronaut John
Glenn into space, but at the time were not given very much credit. In today’s
media, a movie was made in recognition of the accomplishment these women had achieved.
This generates a more positive scene for African American girls in today’s
society. But even with these small steps forward, there seems to always be a large
setback. Even with this progress, “the frequency of the appearance of positive
images in mainstream media is low compared with the appearance of negative
stereotype characters” (Adams-Bass). The ratio of positive images is relatively
low compared to the amount of negative content that plagues the screens of thousands
of African American women. It is time society makes a larger push for
positivity involving media content.

      Overall, it has been discussed that there
are small positive changes in favor of black women, but this is still
outweighed by the negative affects that come from being both a female who is
African American. There are multiple ways society can limit the outreach of
these individuals. This ranges from income and residential areas to media coverage
throughout America. This “double jeopardy” against black women is unfair and
requires change. Other social issues can be resolved as soon as this major
inequality against African American women is terminated.  Society needs to step up its game in order to
help make the reality that black women face every day different. 

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