Monday, December 22, 2014

Of course 'All Lives Matter'

According to US Census data, females outnumber males throughout the United States between 50 percent and 56 percent. Niagara and Erie counties are both 51 percent female. Have you ever wondered how females are defined as a minority even though they’re actually the majority of our population?

Demographically, it doesn’t make sense. Maybe issues concerning females are a minor concern of the dominant society. Maybe it’s because females don’t share the power, opportunities, rights and privileges as their male counterparts. Here’s some facts to consider:
• Even though females are out-graduating males in college they’re still under-earning males in almost every degree.
• Females earn about 75 cents on the dollar compared to males.

• Unlike many countries, the U.S. still doesn’t have a national law to guarantee paid maternal leave for females.

• Females make up only 4 percent of the CEOs of the S and P 500 companies.

• There has never been a female vice president or president of the U.S.

Because of this historical and present day reality affecting our female population, there have always been people, organizations and movements dedicated towards establishing human/civil rights and fair economic opportunities for women. The facts I’ve shared, and other statistics, show a historical sexist and misogynistic sentiment that has pervaded American society since its 1776 conception. Females lives matter and we cannot diminish, minimize or trivialize this. That would be equivalent to going to a woman’s rally against domestic violence and arguing that they need to stop talking about this because “All Lives Matter” and men are DV victims too. Some may even advocate that dogs lives matter because x amount die every year protecting their owners from home invasions. 

Whatever a person’s reasoning is for hijacking an important narrative like this, and redirecting attention away from the main concern that females lives matter, it’s one of the main reasons institutional sexism persists. The same lack of consideration and engagement also applies to the infamous “R-word” — Racism.

On Dec. 13, in conjunction with an International Day of Resistance, there was a rally held at Legend’s Park to bring awareness to the disproportionate instances of police brutality toward African-American citizens. The rallying cry was, and is, “Black Lives Matter.” According to data from 1999-2012 from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice on police brutality:
• A black person is killed extra-judicially (unlawfully) every 28 hours by law enforcement.

• Black men between ages 19 and 25 are the group most at risk to be shot by police.

• Black youth are 4.5 times more likely to be killed by police than any other age or racial group in America.

• Black people comprise 26 percent of police shootings we only makeup 13 percent of the U.S. population.

Like females, and various segments of our population deemed “minorities,” African-Americans are also disproportionately affected by socioeconomic conditions including police brutality. Although some of you would love to believe these issue are because black people are on welfare, criminals by nature and/or uneducated, many times we are discriminated against simply because of the color of our skin — the same way many females are discriminated against because of their gender. This also gives you some insight into the degree of scrutiny, bullying and outright attacks black women, double minorities, have historically received when they play prominent roles or hold executive positions within this society. Of course “All Lives Matter,” including females and black lives.

In this critical day and time it’s important to understand that in the U.S. there are still marginalized segments of our society, deemed minorities, that are outright disrespected and discriminated against simply because they’re female, they’re black or both. These problems specifically affects these groups, not all people, and it must be discussed and resolved because whatever is allowed to happen to the least of us eventually affects us all. We share neighborhoods. We are your co-workers, doctors, public officials and prepare your food at restaurants. We are your children and grandchildren’s peers. We are your family members through marriage or birth.

Learn more about the plight of your fellow citizens and what you can do to be a positive agent of change. Knowledge empowers you to “know” the “ledge” or limitation of certain ideas that no longer reflect our changing societal landscape.
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