Nationally and in Chicago, Black and African-American women are over-represented among people experiencing homelessness. These disparities are not a coincidence. Rather, they are the result of decades of institutionalized housing and racial discrimination.
The Intersection of Race and Womanhood
The lived experiences of Black women are not compartmentalized by race and gender. At the intersection of being Black and female, are innumerable complex issues that the feminist movement has failed to address.
We are reminded that although the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote in 1920, discriminatory practices such as poll taxes and literacy tests continued to oppress Black women’s right to vote until the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
What are some ways in which Black women suffer at the oppressive hands of both racism and sexism?
- Health inequities: Black women are 2 to 6 times more likely to die in child birth.
- Pay wage gap: Black women make on average 62 cents on the white man’s dollar, 17 cents less than white women.
- Fractured family structure: The mass incarceration of Black men as a result of decades of racist legislation places a significant burden on Black women who have to shoulder the household on a singular and already deflated income.
- Voting Rights: After the ratification of the 19th amendment, the battle for voting was ended for white women. Meanwhile, African American women voters in the Jim Crow South continued to encounter disenfranchisement strategies faced by their African American male counterparts.
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