Friday, March 13, 2009

Commentary: Black Women Ignored by Mainstream Media

By Dr. E. Faye Williams


Washington, DC – “Day after day, in all forms of media – print, radio, and television - we see, hear, and read the perspectives of non-Black women and women of color who are not actively involved in the struggles of Black women - especially on so-called ‘women’s issues’.. Well, as Sojourner Truth would ask, Black women are also asking, ‘Ain’t I a Woman?’, says Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq, National Chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc.

“What’s with the media? Don’t they know Black women and other minority women have ideas, too—especially when the subject is about women? There are many Black women leaders, and we don’t all agree with what others say about issues involving us. Many of us attended the White House ceremony where President Barack Obama announced his White House Council on Women and Girls. Yet, we haven’t seen one comment by a Black women’s organization because nobody from mainstream media asked us”, Williams said.

“To set the record straight”, Williams said, “most Black women are very happy with what President Obama has done for women and girls in his first 50 days in office. We are not angry with the President as one major network recently indicated-- and used our photograph in its story to prove it! Do we want more? Sure we do, but we don’t expect all of it to happen in the first 100 days. We are pleased with the First Lady and the causes she chooses to lead. We’ re ‘sick and tired of being sick and tired’ of being ignored or spoken for by others, and being treated as though others always have the authority to speak for us. Many of us are ready, willing and able to speak for ourselves—and I am sure Latino women, American Indian women and others feel the same way. While we women have a lot in common, we are not generic or one size fits all. We’d at least like to be asked what we are thinking on all kinds of issues”.

“As for Valerie Jarrett”, says Williams, “I don’t know where anyone got the idea that she’s not a feminist because she is. During the campaign, we could depend upon her to be very responsive to issues concerning women and girls. As a single woman, she raised her own child, and was an extremely successful businesswoman. We should be very pleased to have her looking out for us by coordinating the entire Cabinet on behalf of women. It’s no secret that she has the President’s ear daily. If I wanted someone to advocate for me on anything, it would be Valerie Jarrett. We as women will never succeed if we are always critical of each other instead of working together to advance our common causes.”

Dr. E. Faye Williams is National Chair of the National Congress of Black Women and former Counsel to the US. Congress

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