day, I send out news and information and write about the
ongoing extermination of women of color. Mostly, but not
only, I write to women of color because if we don’t organize,
collaborate and develop a major, immediate effort to save
ourselves, we will not be saved. I have been writing to
hundreds, surely thousands, in the last few years. I started
a petition to insist that the Census Bureau issue reports
on the specific status of women of color, by group and age
cohorts. I wrote and published the book, The Constructive Extermination of Women of Color: Consequences
of Perpetual Socio-Economic Marginalization.
than 20 people have responded to the letters and postings
in this period. Less than 10, including me, signed the petition
to the Census Bureau. We are dying from every social-consequence
and our deaths are not even adequately acknowledged by our
own communities, including most women of color, let alone
doing anything about this situation. It should be no surprise
to anyone that people of color, especially African Americans,
along with white poor and homeless of all colors are being
widely murdered with murder victims being maligned and murderers
being excused and unpunished.
the Occupy movement has continued, they have been vilified
so that even people they are advocating for are speaking
out against them and in favor of those who are oppressing
us all. Laws have been passed and signed to end civil rights
and courts are upholding the idea that corporations are
people with rights and people are not human and therefore
have no rights to be informed about allegations of violating
laws, or to have attorneys, warrants, hearings, trials or
face accusers. Everyone can now be incarcerated indefinitely
by the military under the authority of the president or
executed without ever knowing why and without family, friends
or the public having any information. We can just disappear
without explanation. These new laws and policies apply to
citizens and non-citizens alike inside the US and around the world. Last
week it became unlawful to protest some of these actions.
recent report by the Secretary of Defense indicated that
3000 women serving in the US Armed Forces were raped in
2009 by our own military members. Disproportionately, such
rapes are women of color. Previously, reports and testimony
to Congress documented that women in the Peace Corps have
been raped for decades, refused help or medical and psychological
treatment and put out of the organization if they complained.
Similar treatment has been accorded women in the military.
It has never been clear to me why so many men see war or
military service as a reason to rape women, who are not
the reasons for the wars nor are directing them or the governments
represented by the military.
recently, a 64-year-old African American man with a heart
condition, wearing a medical alarm which went off erroneously,
received a visit by police, supposedly to see if he was
OK at 5 AM while he was sleeping. He answered from inside
his house that he was OK but was afraid to open the door
(inexplicably, one of the police officers was in some kind
of head to toe riot-type protective gear). So the police
broke down his door, tazered him while he begged to know
why, then shot and killed him - reminding of Amadou Diallou
who was shot 40 times by police when he reached for his
wallet after being asked for identification. Who is compiling
the data on all of the deaths and assaults which are occurring
and being excused?
and over again, people are being murdered with impunity,
with no consequences to the murderers. The murders are justified
by constitution-bearing politicians. When are people going
to face that there has been no more democracy here than
in Greece, where the term “democracy” was coined without
including women, immigrants, or non-property / wealth-owning
Greeks. The US Constitution has never been just to women,
people of color - indigenous or immigrants - and is not
just now. The recent decision of the Supreme Court regarding
Troy Davis made clear that innocence, like justice, are
not considerations for us. All that matters is that procedures
are followed-procedures that are obviously unjust. Where
is the justice in the justice system? It was not there in
the Dred Scott Case in March 1857-155 years ago-and is
not there now. In this case, the US Supreme Court declared
that “all blacks - slaves as well as free - were not and
could never become citizens of the United States.” To make matters
worse, the court decided that the 1820 Missouri Compromise
was unconstitutional, thereby continuing the legality of
slavery in all US territories.
Scott v. Sanford concerned a slave who had lived in a free state and a free territory of the US, where slavery was illegal, before moving back
to the slave state of Missouri.
Dred Scott appealed to the Supreme Court for freedom based
on these and other facts which he asserted had ended his
condition of slavery. In the opinions of the Chief Supreme
Court justice and 6 other justices, because Scott was black,
he was not and could never be a citizen and had no right
to sue. Theses justices wrote that the framers of the Constitution,
or as they are often referred to still-”the forefathers
of our nation” - believed that blacks “had no rights which
the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might
justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.
He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article
of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made
by it.” Chief Justice Taney took note of the Declaration
of Independence phrase, “all men are created equal” and
stated that “...the enslaved African race were not intended
to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed
and adopted this declaration...” The same conditions seem
to exist today for African Americans and a host of others
who are being denied justice. Though together we now are
the majority of the nation, we have yet to attain citizenship.
There is no such thing as partial citizenship. Either one
has it or one doesn’t.
the US suspends food aid to North Korea, threatens to attack
Iran, refuses to leave Afghanistan and Iraq despite the
will of their people, supports an assortment of dictators
like the Saudis, and kills anyone who gets in the way, where
is the outrage? What is the role of the religious communities?
Where are the legions of activists, progressives, educators,
environmentalists, civil/human rights advocates, people
on any side with enough sense of human decency to speak
out in opposition to what is taking place?
about what must lie ahead for us is horrifying, terrifying.
Willie Lynch strategies are rampant so that there are people
within the same and different ethnic groups denouncing each
other. Younger generations are attacking older ones, hoping
they will die and not collect Social Security and Medicare.
Older generations are attacking younger ones whom they consider
the cause of problems by the music they listen to and the
clothes they wear, who they believe are mostly gang members,
substance abusers, unwed mothers, baby daddies and undeserved
users of food stamps and Medicaid. Too few in any of these
groups have full factual information about each other or
even adequate information about their own groups.
issues like environmental racism are rarely mentioned, though
the newly recommended and unsafe nuclear reactors are headed
for minority populated areas and the old reactors, despite
radiation leaks and other problems, are not being forced
to shut down. Food and water, along with air, are widely
contaminated, as is medicine. People are under surveillance
through their cell phones, computers and televisions, with
appliances like refrigerators and dish washers being developed
to do the same. The absence of overwhelming, nationwide
reaction to all of these events and circumstances, added
to the denial of global warming and the insistence that
creationism is equal to science, is equivalent to a conscious
or unconscious mass death wish. The two million people who
signed petitions insisting on justice for Trayvon are not
enough. A hundred million and more must speak. Below is
one more story about the problems.
Women Can’t Afford Basic Expenses, Study Finds *
Posted: 03/29/2012 6:15 pm
demonstrate against cuts to federal safety net programs
Huffington Post - Doing Without: Economic Insecurity and Older Americans, No. 2: Gender
| March, 2012
Every day, more of America’s older women reach retirement age - and
then struggle to pay for the simplest things.
new analysis of US Census Bureau data performed by Wider
Opportunities for Women (WOW) finds that 52% of elder-only
households report incomes that do not cover basic, daily
expenses. While the threat of economic insecurity affects
elders of all backgrounds, it varies substantially by gender,
race, age, household composition and other demographic characteristics.
In order to assess the economic security of today’s older
adults, WOW compared 2010 incomes for elders who live alone
or with a partner to the US Elder Economic Security Standard™
Index for their household compositions and housing statuses.
Without series presents findings from this analysis
all women in the United States, age
65 or older, living alone or with a spouse, 60 percent have
trouble covering their monthly expenses such as food, housing
and health care, according to research published Thursday by the nonprofit group Wider Opportunities
for Women, based on an analysis of U.S. Census data.
a problem that Donna Addkison, the president and chief executive
of WOW, called “staggering.”
talking about what it takes to just simply cover the everyday
necessities,” Addkison told The Huffington Post. “Older
women are very quietly making decisions at home to split
their pills in an attempt to stretch their medication. They’re
choosing between having heat in the winter and having nutritious
food on the table.”
situation transcends geography, with “no states in the nation”
that can be described as “a haven for older adults,” she
with the economy the way it is, older women aren’t the only
ones being forced to make these kinds of decisions. In post-recession
America, deprivation is increasingly a way of
life for millions.
the jobless rate high and wages more or less holding steady,
vast swaths of the population today are leading a precarious, savings-less existence, in which one financial
emergency is all it would take to tip a family into poverty. Record numbers
of Americans are now counted as poor, and the percentage of people who say they
can’t afford food is at its highest level since the financial crisis.
all this, seniors face their own set of challenges, from
rising health care bills to the growing industry of financial
scammers who target elderly people.
than 9 million people age 65 and older don’t have enough money
to cover their basic costs, according to a separate WOW
report published earlier this month.
within that group, women are having a rougher time of it.
While 60 percent of women are unable to pay for necessities,
only 41 percent of men wrestle with the same problem, WOW
women of color, the problem is more pronounced, according
to WOW: While about 49 percent of older white women have
trouble covering their basic costs, the rate for older Asian
women is 61 percent, older African-American women 74 percent
and older Hispanic women 75 percent.
goes beyond staggering,” said Addkison. “That becomes epidemic.”
gender gap is the result of a lifetime of imbalances, Addkison
earn less than men - the disparity varies by industry, but averages out to about 77 cents on the dollar. For college graduates, this pay gap
tends to emerge within a year of their entering the workforce,
and it only grows wider over time.
the result is that most women, compared with most men, have
smaller Social Security benefits waiting for them when they
reach the end of their working lives.
roots of the disparity are so multiform that it’s hard to
know how to begin fixing them.
the state and federal level, Addkison said, policies that
encourage pay equity would be welcome, as would efforts
to protect safety-net programs like Social Security, Medicare
and Medicaid. Looking at how young men and women make career
choices - how students at high schools and community colleges
separate themselves or become separated, onto different
vocational paths, for example - could also contribute to
an understanding of the pay gap, Addkison said.
also important, she said, for working-age women to look
at the statistics about widowhood and divorce and understand
that they’re real possibilities.
are life events for which we have to plan,” Addkison told
HuffPost. “At some point, we as women may be taking care
of ourselves alone.”
the economic shockwaves of the past few years - the collapse
of home equity, the spikes in unemployment - it seems likely
that more retired women might find themselves financially
challenged, Addkison said. “My suspicion is that things
are certainly no better than they were five years ago, and
have the potential to be much worse,” she said. “That doesn’t
mean that we can’t do something about it. It just means
that we have to start paying attention.”
BlackCommentator.com Columnist Suzanne Brooks is the founder
and CEO of International Association for
Women of Color Day and
CEO of Justice 4 All Includes Women of Color. Click
to contact Ms. Brooks.