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Faithful utterances

Attacks are real: Black women experience violence at a rate 2.5 times more than White women

by Froswa Booker-Drew
Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew

Most of us were appalled watching the recent footage involving the disrespect of Rep. Jasmine Crockett. Jasmine was a representative in the Texas House, selected by former Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson to serve as her replacement in the House of Representatives, and a graduate of the University of Houston’s School of Law. She was verbally attacked in a hearing not because of anything related to the work but because of her eyelashes.

Angel Reese, WNBA player, received criticism online because she chose to attend the Met Gala before a game against the New York Liberty. In a press conference in April, she stated, “I’ve seen so much. I’ve been attacked so many times. Death threats. I’ve been sexualized. I’ve been threatened.”

The video surfacing of the brutal beating of Cassie Ventura was not only painful but angering to watch. Initially, Sean Combs denied that the accusations against him were lies to defame his character and legacy but were also a money grab. To relive this once again must be so difficult for Cassie, but to know that this proof validated what she and others had been saying all along must create a mixed bag of emotions as well.

Just last year, we witnessed the verbal assault on Claudine Gay, former president of Harvard University. Al Sharpton said: “President Gay’s resignation is about more than a person or a single incident. This is an attack on every Black woman in this country who’s put a crack in the glass ceiling. Most of all, this was the result of a relentless campaign against President Gay, not because of her leadership or credentials, but because [it] felt she was a DEI hire.”

The attacks that we face are on so many fronts: “Black women experience violence at a rate 2.5 times more than White women.” According to a 2020 report from Lean In, “Black women comprise 7.4% of the U.S. population but they occupy only 1.4% of C-suite positions and 1.6% of senior vice-president roles. U.S. Census data shows Black women working year-round and full-time in 2021 made 69 cents for every dollar a White man got. Meanwhile, White women made 80 cents on the dollar.” According to Amnesty International, “Black women are 84% more likely to be abused on social media than White women.”

It’s overwhelming to both witness and experience trauma personally and professionally. ‘Misogynoir’ is hatred of, aversion to, or prejudice against Black women. The term was coined by Northwestern’s School of Communication associate professor Moya Bailey to describe the sexism and racism that Black women encounter. Black women experience being ‘othered’ in so many facets of life—at work, school, in community and in our relationships. I was sharing with a group recently that as Black women, we need safe spaces that celebrate us—we can no longer afford to tear one another down when that happens so readily in other spaces.

Esther is a reminder that there are spaces that we will occupy that others may feel we don’t belong in. Haman was attempting to have all the Jews killed during her reign as queen unaware of her background. “Urging her to have courage, [her cousin and guardian, Mordecai] told Esther, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14.

God used Esther to save the Jews. She could have decided to hide and allow someone else to be responsible, but instead she used her position to make a difference. As we witness these attacks, now is not the time to back down. Now is the time to use your voice, your vote, your vision, to make things better. These are not setbacks, these are setups for God’s glory to shine through each of us. We are not here by accident. There is purpose even in our pain and now is the time for us to galvanize in partnership with God to do the greater that our families, workplaces, and communities need.

(Dr. Froswa’ Booker Drew is founder of the Reconciliation and Restoration Foundation and president of Soulstice Consultancy. Visit <drfroswabooker.com> or email <info@drfroswcom>.)

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