[Narrator:] Hello and welcome to Intersectionality: Black Women and the Family. My name is Dr. Sherry Boyd and I am with Dallas College, North Lake Campus. And I am looking forward to really making this presentation to you today. And I hope that you'll learn something from it. Remember that if you have any questions, don't hesitate to send me an email at email@example.com.
Today we're going to talk about intersectionality. This is the reality of race and gender bias. According to Kimberlé Crenshaw, intersectionality is about capturing the dynamics and converging patterns of advantage and disadvantage. And those will change from context to context. And when I say that, I mean, if I'm looking at ability and age, or ability and gender and sexuality.
In this presentation, we're going to be talking about the Black woman's experience with race and economic and family. And there are millions of ways that this can converge, but this is how I'm going to talk about it today.
I'd like to introduce you to my mother. This is my mother, Ruby Jean Simpson Randolph. And a lot of Black families depended on Black women's earnings. As of 2015, eight out of 10, that's 80.6%, Black mothers are the breadwinners and are the sole earners of at least 40 percent of their household. My mom and my dad lived together.
This is my mom. She was a teacher, a Girl Scout leader. She was a Get Out the Vote volunteer and a mother to all. And I want to give you a little history. And so, my father fought in the Korean conflict and he returned home and he and my mom both completed their bachelor's degree at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, which is a historically Black college.
After they moved from Austin, they've moved to Cisco, Texas and there were no schools for any of the Black children there, so my mother and my father started a school in Cisco, Texas for Black children. And they ran that school for three years. And they moved from Cisco to Odessa, Texas, which was offering better paying jobs for teachers at the time in the state of Texas. My mother was immediately hired and my father had to work three years as a cook before he was hired as a teacher.
My mom also grew up with a mother and father, but her father was not present. Again, we're talking historically because he had to travel in order to find a job. And this at the time of my mother's childhood was a traditional Black family in that the father had to travel to work and my grandmother worked her entire life as a maid.
My mother had eight brothers and sisters. And she and my aunt were the only two children who attended college out of her eight brothers and sisters. And out of my 21 cousins in that family, 15 of us earned degrees, bachelor's degrees, four of us earned master’s degrees, and two of us earned doctorate degrees.
Throughout history, Black women have taken care of blood family and found family. And this tradition reaches back to slavery. So, at this time, I would like to share with you a poem that was written by Kimberlé Crenshaw and she wrote it for Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues. And it's something that Eve Ensler does every year in order to talk about the experience of women all over the world. And this is called "Respect."
"Black vaginas are the hardest working vaginas in America. And still they get no respect. No vagina has done so much for this country and received so little. Really. Black vaginas built this country. It all started right here between blueberry black, chocolate cream, honey brown, praline pecan and French vanilla legs. It wasn't the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, or the Stars and Stripes that gave birth to America. It was the Black vagina that laid the golden egg, or rather, the chatteled slave. That's right–during America's formative years, the most valuable property produced, the property that the entire economy was based on, the property that was mortgaged to build America was property in slaves. $12 billion worth. One can't begin to fathom in today's dollars. And where does that come from? Whose vaginas passed this $12 billion mark? Whose vaginas were capitalized, colonized, amortized, all to give birth to America? Whose vaginas have been appropriated, syndicated, depreciated, and never, ever vindicated in the process of building this country?"
So this is a photo from the Library of Congress. And I want to talk about the slave owners' exploitation of the Black woman's sexuality. And this is one of the most significant factors differentiating the experience for slavery for males and slavery for females. The White man's claim to the slave body, male as well as female, was an inherent concept of the slave trade. And was tangibly realized, perhaps because, because there was no other place that that was realized but on the auction block. This is where captive Africans were stripped of their clothing, oiled down, poked, and prodded by potential buyers. And the erotic undertones of such scenes were particularly pronounced in the case of Black women.
Labor was segregated by sex and the frequency with which male slaves were sold meant that women were not only left to raise their own children alone, but they also had to rely on other friends and relatives above husbands. Because women were used to populate, to continue to populate the slave population, that segregation by sex meant that women were not only left to raise their children, but they raised other children that were brought to them who were sold from other plantations.
And so this, this I hypothesize, and other historians tend to agree with me, is, is looking at how the Black family was really started to break up and segment was because of what happened starting with slavery. And I could go into some, some deeper issues. I could talk about after slavery, post slavery, post-Civil War, Jim Crow laws. But really all, all it came down to was economics.
In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan issued a controversial report on Black family life in America. He argued that poor Blacks were caught in this, this tangle of pathology because the Black family had been destroyed by slavery. Slavery, he said, had disrupted the mother-father pair and set in place the female household. And thus, today's children, today's Black children are deprived of their complete family life that would give them the psychological strength to make it in a hostile world. And I have to personally say that you learn to make it in a hostile world as a Black woman; you either do that or you don't survive.
And so it's whether you have two parents or not I think that there are parents that are always trying to help their Black children survive in this world. Now, the Moynihan Report, its fault doesn't lie in the fact that of looking at family stability. And it is desirable. We know that when children grow up in a two-parent home that's stable what privilege that gives them. But here is the insistence of the Moynihan Report is that the Black structure, the family structure, and the Black pathology is a primary driver of poverty and inequality. In effect, saying in his report that because of poverty and inequality, it was the Black families' fault of why they were not, why they were not surviving.
So this, this look at this inaccurate cultural narrative, it, it, it, it does imply that Black families, Black people are to blame for the effects of institutional racism, sexism, classism. And that really diverts the attention from the whole cause of inequality, which was economic inequality. And looking at economic inequality, I'm going to jump ahead to look at where we have been in the last five years.
So, pay gap by gender and race. And this is from a 2015 study. So Black women are paid less than White men and White women, on the average. Black women in the U.S. are paid 38% less than White men and 21% less than White women. If we look at that at an early age, when Black women start working at the age of 16, there is a 21% pay gap for between a Black woman and a White man at the ages of 16 to 24. From 24 to 54, that gap increases to 32% between a Black woman and a White man, and to 37% at 55 plus for a Black woman and a White man.
Why is this important? We'll talk about that. Even in the same job, Black women get paid less. Black women are ambitious. They're just as likely as White men and more likely than White women to say they want to become top executives. But even in the same job, Black women are paid less than White men. For example, Black women sales, Black women sales professionals earn 53% less than white men. If you look at the pay gap for nurses, it's a 19% gap between Black women and White men. If you look at the gap of cashiers, which is one of the lowest paying jobs one can get, It's the 18% gap. Between White women and Black women, It's a 6% gap. But if we look at computer scientists, analysts, and engineers, there's a 29% gap, 29% pay gap between a Black woman and a White man. And there is a 19% pay gap between a White woman and a Black woman.
Did you know that 53% of Americans are not aware between, of the pay gaps between Black and White women? We always look at male and female and we look at those pay gaps and we know that that pay gap exists. But when you break it down by race, the pay gap is even more incredulously different.
The reason why I bring up pay gap because over a lifetime there is a loss of $941,000. Black women are asking for more. They are asking for promotions and raises at about the same rate as White women and men. Yet, the broken rung, broken rung still holds them back at the first critical step for manager. For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 58 women, Black women are promoted.
The average Black woman, as you can see, loses out on almost a million dollars over the course of her life. And the importance of that is is if you are a single Black mom raising children, that has an impact on what you can do with your family. If you are a married Black woman, that still has an impact.
As an educator, what I have realized coming in early on in my career, coming into Dallas College, I came in as a visiting scholar. I was really excited about that. I'd wanted to teach. I came in as a visiting scholar at Brookhaven College. And I took a pay cut to come into that visiting scholar. But then I realized as I started doing my research about Dallas County Community College at the time, is that I came in with nine other people who did, who came in as visiting scholars. And what I saw is that men got brought in at a higher rate than women, even though we had the same degree. And some of the women had more experience than the when, the men. And that goes back very much to our patriarchal system of the man is going to be taking care of the family.
But we have forgotten, we have not watched our statistics as they grow, that there are more single Black females out there with children and single White females and single Hispanic females that are head of households. And when we look at head of households and who the breadwinners are, we see that 50% of White mothers are the breadwinners and 81% of Black mothers. So, if you're losing almost a million dollars because of what you're getting to the dollar that a White man is getting, that affects what you can do economically. More than four in five Black mothers are the breadwinners for their family, meaning that their household depends on their paycheck.
So, when Black moms are paid less, they have less money for the basic family necessities like rent and groceries and school supplies. And over time, this ability to invest in savings and higher education, or property is not within their reach because of how salaries are conducted with Black women. And when we look at this current coronavirus, this pandemic, this has exacerbated a deep and long-standing bias against Black women that are trying to build up their wealth. Black women are shouldering more responsibility at home with less financial security. And according to research from leanin.org, Black women are almost twice as likely as White men to say they've been laid off or furloughed or had their hours and pay reduced because of COVID-19.
And I'm hoping that in looking at these statistics that we see that it's not, it's not about that women are single. And I'm speaking of all women at this time that are taking care of their children. It could be a divorce. It could be, it could be having a baby and being unmarried. It could be widowhood. Currently, we've lost over 500,000 people to COVID-19. And that loss has impacted so many families.
So, as we, as we look at where we're going, we really have to start looking at pay equity because if women, as a whole, got paid the same as men for doing the same job, that would economically affect so many children. And the, the, the, the home, the supplies, the groceries, the rent, all of that could help children really move forward.
And we talk about so much how we want to help children. We help children by helping families. And I speak mainly of the Black family because it has been so broken by the system that has existed in the United States. Even if we don't go back as far as slavery, we can talk about eugenics and how Black women were sterilized, were given hysterectomies without permission so that they wouldn't have more children. Yet within that, you still found that women, women brought in other children into their lives.
And I really want to talk about four women who made a difference historically to the Black family, as women continue to make that impact on the Black family. So here are the four women that I want to talk about. I want to talk about Mary Ann Shadd. She was an American Canadian anti-slavery activist. She was a journalist, a publisher, a teacher, a lawyer. She was the first Black woman publisher in North America and the first publisher in Canada. In doing that, not only was she teaching people to read, she was also keeping them informed. This had a great impact on Black women.
And here's the thing, is we talk about Black women and the Black society as a whole in America being a matriarchal system. It's been made a matriarchal system because of how discrimination and inequality has been built into the United States system.
Clara Hale is next. She is known as Mother Hale. She is an American humanitarian, and she founded the Hale House Center. And it's a home for unwanted children and children who were addicted to drugs. She changed the lives of so many children in the neighborhood that she worked in. And this is something that while she was, was recognized for.
I can tell you, growing up in my family, I had cousins that stayed with me when their family couldn't take care of them. My parents raised two or three people that were in our family. My father being a police officer and my mother being a teacher, our house was never empty of other children being in our house that needed help.
So, while Hale, Clara Hale is famous for that, I am telling you that that is a typical thing that happens in our, in, in, in my family and I think in the Black families as a whole.
The next person I want to talk about is Mae Mallory. She was an activist in the civil rights movement, and she was founder and spokeswoman of the Harlem Nine. Now Harlem Nine was a group of African American mothers who protested the inferior and inadequate conditions in the segregated schools in New York City. And so they were looking at inexperienced teachers, overcrowded classrooms, dilapidated conditions. They were looking at gerrymandering that was promoting segregation in New York. And because of that nine, the Harlem Nine, they changed how their children went to school. They wanted and transferred their children to integrated schools that offered a higher quality of resources.
So, the last person that I want to talk about is Fannie Lou Hamer. She was a voting rights activist, she was a women's rights activists, a community organizer, and she was one of the leaders in the civil rights movement. In 1961, Hamer received a hysterectomy by a White doctor without her consent. In fact, for the longest time, it was dubbed the "Mississippi appendectomy."
And I think that if we really want to think, I'm just touching on this, how Black women, Black families tend to question medicine. This is one of the things that did that. I could talk about the Tuskegee experiment. But there are so many things that, that made Black women and Black men distrustful of a system that was supposed to support them. But because Fannie was unable to have children, she adopted two daughters.
And while she was very active in the civil rights movement, there was still that that, that wall of, "You're a woman, we're men. Let the men do their work here." And so in 1968, she decided that she was going to look at other problems that were happening with Black families.
So she started a pig bank. I found this fascinating. So, she started a pig bank and she provided free pigs for Black farmers to breed and to raise and slaughter. And the next year she started a freedom farm cooperative. And she bought up land that Blacks could own and farm collectively. And with the assistance of donors, she purchased 640 acres and launched a co-op store, a boutique, a sewing enterprise. And she single-handedly ensured that 200 family units of low-income housing was built in Ruleville, in Ruleville, Mississippi, and there's, it still exists today.
These are four women that we don't talk about that really built stairsteps for families that helped them change lives. So these are the ones that we know about, but there are so many that exist out there that help families take the next step. What I am hoping as we look at this, that we don't forget that it took women and men to build this country and not leave women out of, out of the picture. Because we still tend to do that. Yet, if we look at our schools, if we just look at K through 12 and we look at education, a majority of the people that are in that field are women. They're teaching our children. They're laying a path for our children. And we need to support that.
And I would like to end by reading part of a poem written by Maya Angelou called "Phenomenal Woman."
"Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I am not cute, or built to suit a fashion model's size. But when I start to tell them, they think I'm telling lies. I say, it's in the reach of my arms, it's in the span of my hips. It's in the stride of my step. It's in the curl of my lips. I am a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman. That's me. Now you understand just why my head's not bowed. I don't shout or jump about or have to talk real loud. When you see me passing, it ought to make you proud. I say, it's in the click of my heels. "It's in the bend of my hair. It's in the palm of my hand. The need for my care, 'cause I am a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman. That's me."