Originally published October 3, 2012 at 4:46 p.m., updated October 9, 2012 at 10:51 a.m.
I'm not sure how many of my sisters truly understand that there is a War on Women happening right before our eyes. I have to question this because I often see white women on Facebook and at rallies joining together to make their voices heard (with a splattering of black female faces here and there). But I don't see enough black women to convince me that we actually know what's happening. Maybe we don't care. Maybe we just don't understand.
I am now at the point where I pray daily for women's rights. At the blink of an eye, we could easily wake up the day after the November elections and no longer have the right to decide what we want to do with our bodies. It's just ridiculous that in 2012 we are still fighting for our
This election isn't just about a Republican attack on the middle class. The party has placed us in an all-out fight for our rights as women! Women of all nationalities are at a dangerous place in history. Republicans are supporting legislation to lead us back to the Dark Ages—a time when women had no freedom of choice, and our voices held no value. I beg you to take some time and read about Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's position on Planned Parenthood. They plan to stop its federal funding or, to put it plainly—get rid of it.
This is not a "white thing." This is a woman thing. Are we just inclined to let the next group of people stand in the trenches while we pray that they are successful? Has the face of this battle been given to white women when the blatant disrespect is aimed at all females?
Some black women are lost in struggle every day. We are fighting on our jobs to prove that we are not all angry and disgruntled. We are fighting in our relationships to prove that we are valuable and lovable. So when called upon to fight for what doesn't seem as pressing as making ends meet and feeding our children, the significance of the issue tends to fall between the cracks of our everyday lives.
I'm sure many people think that there is no difference between the black woman's existence and that of a white woman. That's not true: White women have an advantage that black women can never possess: being born white. Deny it all you want. A group of white women standing in front of the capitol in protest is viewed as a group with something to say. If black women gathered for the same reason, we'd be looked at as a gang of angry black women shouting. As a matter of fact we should be screaming louder than most because our rights will go first.
The personhood issue, while it's an attack on all women, was designed to affect women who can't afford to have babies or abortions and women without access to information they need on birth control. Who do you think monopolizes the focus of these attacks? It's not the white homemakers who show up at the capitol, form support organizations, meet with their friends over cocktails planning a course of action that will legitimize their efforts and who recognizes that there is power in numbers
and in information.
No, it's women who live check-to-check and who get up every day with a strike against them just because they are black and female; who stay home with their children because they can't afford day care; who work minimum-wage jobs because they don't have experience or education to do better; who have not been afforded information on pregnancy prevention. Many believe everyone has access to cable and the Internet, but they are sadly mistaken.
Our charge is to become educated about the issue and then to stand up for our rights. We can no longer fall under the radar, giving the impression that we don't care about the laws being made to keep us silent. We have been complacent and unengaged long enough. Black women have an authentic voice birthed from struggle and pain. This voice is just as important as any man's or white woman's. It's time we stop passing the buck and hoping that the creator has enough pity on us to let those who march and protest on our behalf win our battle for us.
Black women prove daily that we are strong enough to endure the struggles of life. We prove our strength with eyes closed. Problem is, while our eyes are closed, we are missing the repeated jabs we endure from rich and powerful men. We must take a stand for ourselves and our daughters. We are believed to be uninterested, ignorant and irrelevant to the issues at hand. Wrong! It's time that we support each other and our sisters of other ethnicities. Not just about personhood and abortion, either.
We must stand together and demand respect on our jobs, in our community, in our homes, in our relationships. We must stand steadfast and dig deep enough to know and believe that if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.
Funmi "Queen" Franklin is a word lover, poet and advocate for sisterhood.