“If folks would get themselves in line with God’s word, then Black lives would matter…we wouldn’t have all of these out-of-wedlock babies and we wouldn’t be talking about same sex marriage.”
That was the warning a Black male pastor issued his congregants and us new visitors at a service late last year. His logic subsumes that reading the Bible will make police stop killing unarmed Black Americans, men stop raping and degrading women, and anti-gay and anti-trans organizations stop erasing LGBTSTGNC folks. Except we’ve tried prayer already. And, I’m certain oppression doesn’t only happen to people who don’t have their lives “in line with God’s word.”
This Black male pastor, speaking specifically about the killing of Michael Brown, turned the narrative of oppression into one to chastise Black youth and perpetuate respectability politics. He later called a sex worker in the Bible, the “President of the Kitty Kat Club.” As expected, his use of the Bible to demean women’s sexuality was met with laughter from his congregants. His words confirmed two things for me: first, I wouldn’t be joining, and second, the Black Church still can’t productively address social justice issues which matter to many Black women.
Looking for a Black church – since we recently moved to the area – has resulted in Sunday after Sunday of oppressive, hateful, anti-queer, anti-gay, and misogynistic language from Black Pastors. What used to exist in public has become the “new normal” within God’s holy sanctuary.
Read more at EBONY http://www.ebony.com/news-views/hate-in-the-pulpit-503#ixzz3P2VCyZDw
As I sit here gazing at my newborn son, I can’t help but reflect on my experiences in parenting over the years. Having given birth to three beautiful children, I have spent almost three of my seven years in corporate America pregnant. It hasn’t been easy. It has been extremely difficult. But with Congress recently introducing the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act—mandating paid leave insurance for workers— it seems our political leadership may be taking these struggles more seriously.
A placement counselor once mentioned to me that the automobile company I was interested in would want “foot soldiers” as opposed to people who were interested in starting families. I then imagined myself wearing Army fatigues in a sea of cubicles tucking and rolling over to the printer station. No, I was not a “foot soldier” if that was the criterion. When that company made me an offer, it was one I definitely could refuse. I was married and I believed I had the right to start a family whenever I wanted. Who were they to tell me I wasn’t “soldier” enough?
After suffering a miscarriage that year, I unexpectedly became pregnant again. I had already interviewed at several companies and not working simply wasn’t an option for me. So, I started my first job in an industry that I thought would be the perfect fit for an expectant mother. I trudged around attempting to look normal for three weeks until I had no choice but to tell them I was three months pregnant. I could sense the disappointment from pretty much everyone.
On December 30th, 1.3 million Americans saw an end to “long-term” unemployment benefits. The 113th Congress allowed these emergency benefits to expire before taking a holiday recess. And while all Americans collecting long-term – longer than 26 weeks worth – benefits have been impacted by this lack of movement in Washington DC, Black women stand to face distinctly difficult circumstances if those benefits remain suspended.
Most states originally offered no more than 26 weeks of unemployment “insurance” or aid. But after the Great Recession— which began in late 2007–benefits were extended across the country. In some states, benefits could be collected for two years or longer. President George W. Bush ushered in these changes to unemployment insurance as he exited the White House. This infusion of capital into the middle and lower classes was seen as a method to keep the country afloat and stimulate the economy via consumer spending,
Six years later, the very same workers who were so integral to America’s economic recovery have fallen victim to Congress’ “government by crisis” style of legislating. The Republican-led House of Representatives signaled in early December that they would be working to end long-term emergency unemployment aid. Amounting to nothing more than a bargaining chip for congressional Republicans, emergency unemployment insurance benefits contribute to a healthy and thriving economy.
Black women have been were hit hard during the economic recession and continue to struggle even during the country’s recovery. In 2011, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) published a study which found that Black women only made up 12.5 percent of all female workers in June of 2009, yet accounted for over 42 percent of job losses for all women between June 2009 and June 2011. Similarly, Black women’s unemployment rate increased 2.1 percent in the same period— three times the increase of the next highest unemployment rate (Black men).