Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Where Are Today's Leaders for African American Women?
With the passing of Rosa Parks, and now Coretta Scott King, the end of an era is upon us. Throughout the American civil rights movement of the 20th century strong men and women led the battle for equality and recognition through action and example. The African American women who helped in that struggle have historically and unfairly been given less attention than the men, but their contributions were equal to those of their male counterparts. Now that the last of those courageous women have passed on, who will now take the helm as today's role models for African American women?
If you look at a list of notable women in African American history you'll see that nearly all that are mentioned were actors, writers, or teachers. As writers, Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou have contributed immensely to the consciousness of America, yet they're not as famous or recognizable as Oprah Winfrey, Halle Barry, or Lil Kim. Even worse, many of the teachers recognized are even less celebrated, yet they contributed as much or more to the cause of equality and freedom.
In today's post-civil rights era who will take the lead as role models for African American women? As usual musicians and actors get the most attention, yet they're almost always the worst role models for young girls and women who are looking for encouragement. When I look for examples of success and strength, the two African American women that immediately come to mind are Condoleeza Rice, the U.S. Secretary of State, and Janice Rogers Brown, a Justice on the California Supreme Court. Both of them started out with very little, yet they took command of their lives and became strong women and leaders.
Sadly, both women are considered outcasts from their own race because they're politically right of center. These women should be held up and exalted for their success and their continued contributions to our nation and to African American women, yet they're shunned, criticized, and even discriminated against by the very people who claim to support equality for all.
Who can African American women look up to today? Who will lead the way through action and example to become role models for young girls and women? Who will continue the progress made last century in showing that African American women are equal in intellect, achievement, and ability in today's world?
Will the next African American female leaders and role models please stand up and be heard? Today's society needs you more than ever.
posted by El Capitan at 10:42 AM