Mammy and first lady Michelle Obama may seem like an odd pairing – two figures that couldn't be more different, some might say. One being a Princeton University and Harvard Law School alumna; the other a symbol of joyful servility, a stereotype used to justify slavery.
At first blush, just the consideration of the two might seem to indicate that perceptions of African-American women have come a long way and evolved for the better. But how much progress has actually been made relative to perceptions about African-American women?
March annually is observed as Women's History Month. And with scholars such as syndicated columnist Julianne Malveaux noting that, "It pains me to watch Black Women's History so swallowed that we are almost invisible," The New Tri-State Defender decided to probe the stereotypes and perceptions.
The Dilemma: I've been married for 35 years to what I thought was a wonderful man. Last week I went on a trip with my girlfriends. I missed my husband so much that I decided to return home early to surprise him. Well, low and behold, I was the one surprised.
I walked into our bedroom and he was in bed with another woman and a man. I was furious! I'm 56 yoa and look really good for my age. My husband claims he is not on the DL or bi-sexual. But what am I to think? I don't know what to do. I love this man and afraid if I divorce him, I will be alone for the rest of my life.
We talked and he wants to start swinging! I believe in monogamy! I thought he was faithful, but now he wants me to join in or look the other way. This may be the only way to save my marriage by allowing this to happen with or without me. I'm a homemaker and too old to start working now. He is a good provider.
Remember back when you were in school. At some point, you probably wanted to play for the basketball team or be a majorette.
Now, you knew they wouldn't take just anybody. You had to show the coach you could play, so you would go in and show that you could shoot or handle a baton. You tried out.
The academic subjects – your reading, writing and math – are no different. You have to show your teachers that you'll have the skills you need to graduate and get a job.
The Tennessee state legislature is currently debating two versions of a bill that would bring school vouchers into existence in our state. The Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) welcomes and encourages the delivery of means-tested school vouchers to Tennessee, but our reasons for supporting vouchers aren't for any of the politically charged ideas that are often cited when school vouchers are discussed.
No, we support vouchers simply because they can help low-income and working class families access quality educational options for their children that would otherwise be out of reach for them.
The side that typically opposes school vouchers is interested in making sure the financial stability of public school systems remain in tact. The opposition is also well known for its willingness to fight to prevent parents from utilizing vouchers as a way for their children to leave failing schools. And while some may find their arguments valid, BAEO rests with our message that all families need access to high-quality options despite their income-level and geographic location. Access can come in form of a voucher, tax credit, charter school, or even in a traditional public school.
Do you know about Elizabeth Keckley? Maggie Lena Walker, Sarann Knight Preddy, Gertrude Pocte Geddes-Willis, Trish Millines Dziko, Addie L Wyatt or Marie-Therese Metoyer?
What about Ernesta Procope, Dr. Sadie Alexander, Or Dr. Phyllis Wallace? What about Bettiann Gardner, Lillian Lambert, or Emma Chappell? What about Ellen Holly, Mary Alice, or Edmonia Lewis?
If we knew anything about these women, it might cause all of us, African-American men and women, to walk a bit more lightly, hold our heads a bit higher.
This past week I had the opportunity to spend time with just over 100 women leaders who were part of BET's Leading Women Defined. These leaders are changing the perceptions about the potential of women to preside over companies, households and break barriers.
Part of the experience was being in the room while Robin Roberts interviewed First Lady Michelle Obama. Robin Roberts, one of the first women sportscasters on ESPN, is herself the epitome of strength that is so often seen in women. She broke barriers in sportscasting that ultimately opened doors for other women who are now commonly fixtures in sports reporting. But, more recently, her fight against breast cancer led people to see the true warrior that she was as she exposed her fight to the world.
It's that story of strength that is interwoven anytime you hear about women who are at the helm of a corporation, household, church, or plainly, at the top of their game. As Beyoncé said, women are able to bear the children then write a check for millions. We are leaning in, working, mothering, serving and often doing it at the same time. It would be easy to think that women, as strong as we are have reached the pinnacle of our success. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of work to do. Simply put, this is a man's world and to this day, women are blocked from achieving true equality with their male counterparts.
By all accounts, Ben Carson wowed them at the CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, this past weekend in Washington.
The retired Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon rallied the troops with a fiery speech and he came in third place in the CPAC straw poll behind Senators Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Ted Cruz (R- Texas), a strong showing.
Might Dr. Carson be the conservative movement's political reincarnation of Herman Cain? It certainly looks that way.