Black Women's Empowerment

Flashpost: Military is Studying the “Secrets” of AA Women – Is this a “Positive” or is this more “Othering”?

“Brenda 55”
Evia posted this article and question on her site. I would like to answer the question that she poses because it is a good one.

Her question is regarding this article re-posted from The Grio, and you can read it here.

Some facts from the article”

While the government does not break down military suicides according to race, among the general population African-American women have the lowest suicide rate of any group.

Surprisingly, white men die most often by their own hand. “The suicide rate among white men was 25.96 per 100,000 from 2005 to 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention related Government Executive magazine in its piece on studying black women to reduce soldier suicides. “By comparison, the rate for black women was less than three suicides per 100,000.”

Why? What is it about black women that the suicide rates are so much lower?

Some possible answers from the article.

“Veterans Affairs mental health director for suicide prevention, Jan Kemp, told the publication that the specific social qualities black women exhibit will be examined by her group to determine how they might be applied for military personnel. Desirable features of how African-American women relate include open and honest communication, strong social support, and positive encouragement.

Note that last line. Makes us great wife material does it not?

And this:
“The sense of community among themselves, and the … built-in support that they get from each other is something we’re paying a lot of attention to, and trying to find ways to emulate,” Kemp told Government Executive. “I think often that veterans and men don’t have that same sort of personal support, and we have to build that for them.”

As well as this:
““Two things make a black woman have a lower suicide rate,” Sophia Nelson, the author of Black Woman Redefined, told theGrio. One of the main sources of strength for African-American women according to the MSNBC analyst is a long-standing tradition of deep religiousness. “Black women are considered the most loyal faith-based group in the country. It’s really black women’s coping mechanism. Black people go to church at the highest rate in this country, black women being the largest portion of that group.”

Is this othering? I do not think so. In my opinion this is this people finally waking up to what many of us have always known. Waking up to what too many of our sisters fail to realize as valuable about ourselves to the point where too many of us allow those closest to us to take it for granted.

Why is it that the office of veteran affairs affairs and these women here can look at the same data about black woman’s strength and see the positive a positive for the greater good while we too often see the negative? Why is it that those who are closest to us trumpet these same qualities as a negative while benefiting from them.

Don’t get me wrong the “Strong Black Women” meme has been turned into a club to beat our femininity and humanity into dust. But we know better. We know about the quiet strength we posses that is the true measure of who we are as women. That quiet strength that many of our rainbeaus have told us is the basis of their attraction. That quiet strength that manifests itself in our resilience, persistence and loyalty. We have many gifts. What we need to do is see them for the gifts that they are not squander them of those who cannot appreciate them and cannot return them in kind.

Your thoughts?

Follow Christelyn on Instagram and Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel. And if you want to be a little more about this online dating thing, InterracialDatingCentral is the official dating site for this blog.