Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Building Black Women's Unity through Anti-Ageism

Working on building an anti-ageism movement is the area that I am going to invest a portion of my time and energy into because of the advantages that this type of coalition gives when Black women are engaged in struggles against the system of white institutionalized white supremacy.

Relationship building between older Black women and future older Black women can be an influence in the type of community planning that needs to occur now and also in the future.

The trends in the area of employment earnings for Black women span the generations in the same pattern of economic gaps when compared to the earnings of white male and white women. 

In an article titled "Single Older African American Women", the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) cites the following statics:

  • The poverty rate for all women aged 65 and older as 10.7 percent
  • For single women (unrelated females) is almost twice as high at 17.4 percent
  • The poverty rate for single African American women over age 65 is 32.5 percent;Hispanic women 15.3 percent; and white women at 15.3 percent.
  • Black women earn $471,000 less than the average white man over a 35 year period
  • A single older Black woman is only receiving an average $997 in monthly Social Security benefits. $11,964 annually. An income below the poverty line.(source)

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The National Women's Law Center cites in the article, Equal Pay for African-American Women, the following wage earning disparities between Black women and white men: 

  • Among workers, ages 25-44 African American women make just 63 cents for every dollar while non-Hispanic men make
  • Black women ages 45-64 make just 60 cents for every dollar earned
  • African American women would have to work 66 years to earn what white non-Hispanic men earn in 40 years
  • Black women would have to work longer to keep up over the course of a 40-year career if the current wage gap does not close. (source)

There are additional benefits to integrating anti-ageism into progressive movements.

Ashton Applewhite a notes in her article, "Building an Anti-Ageism Movement: The Time is Now that age integration struggles ahead means coming to grips with our own internalized ageism, the voices that whisper "too old" or "too young" that make us complicit in our own marginalization. (source)

One of the experiences that I would like to see reduced is the invisibility of older Black women in conversations regarding organizing around social justice issues and also in discussions and narratives that speak about the experiences we incur as Black women. 

Our common bond with younger Black women is not limited to just the economic gaps that we experience. When I look at the areas of health care, housing, and safety we are having some form of the same experiences. We should not allow ageism to be the barrier that keeps us from working together. 

"Every stage of life has its strengths, from physical resilience to historical perspective, and we are strongest when we collaborate".Ashton Applewhite

What are your thoughts on developing multi-generational coalitions of Black women?

What advantages do you see in this type of merger?

What disadvantages do you see in the type of merger?

I would like your input because it will help me to consider different factors about promoting this type of organizing to deal with our common issues. Please share your views in the comments. 

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