Updated: Dec 18, 2020
A simple “thank you” is not enough for saving the vote.
Opinion by Savannah Simmons, Managing Editor
Black women constantly show up and demand change by exercising their right to vote and saying “thank you” is not enough.
For the last three elections, voter turnout among Black women has been higher than any other group of women and has been a steady Democrat anchor. Democrats and liberals have praised Black women for their support which led to the defeat of President Donald J Trump.
“I want to speak directly to the Black women in our country. Thank you,” tweeted Kamala Harris after the election. “You are too often overlooked, and yet are asked time and again to step up and be the backbone of our democracy. We could not have done this without you.”
It is estimated that 91 percent of Black women voted for Joe Biden and Harris last November and without their votes in battleground states like Georgia, the Biden Harris ticket could have been lost. Key findings in a Black Women’s Roundtable/ESSENCE survey showed that the most important issues for Black women were racism, the rise in hate crimes, affordable healthcare and criminal justice and police reforms. National concerns that benefit everyone, not just Black women or people of color.
A 2016 study revealed that many white medical students believed that Black patients had a higher pain tolerance than white people, which is not only racist but completely false. Things like stronger immune systems, thicker skin and less sensitivity of Black patients were among the false ideas that 73 percent of the participating students believed.
Maternal mortality is also high on the list of dangers for Black women and in the United States the gap in death rates for different ethnicities are massive. In a 2020 report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the highest is non-Hispanic Black with 37.1 deaths per 100,000 live births, non-Hispanic white at 14.7 and Hispanic at 11.8. Black women to be two times more at risk is unacceptable.
"Maternal mortality is an important indicator of the health of a nation," said Bob Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at the National Center for Health Statistics. "These are deaths that are almost entirely preventable."
Black women are in danger because of racism in healthcare and something more must be done. Knowing that Black women are at higher risk right off the bat, healthcare workers should take extreme precautions when caring for these patients.
Black women are also 2.5 times more likely to be killed by a man than white women and 40 percent of Black women will experience domestic violence according to blackburncenter.org.
“The issue is even more intense for Black women, who struggle against stereotypes and are seen as angry or threatening when we try to stand up for ourselves and our sisters,” wrote Thee Stallion in an essay for the New York Times. “There’s not much room for passionate advocacy if you are a Black woman.”
It has long been time to listen to Black women, respect Black women and protect them when they have done so much to protect us.