Friday, March 12, 2010

Wealth Gap and Jay Z


Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:


via Having Read The Fine Print...... by Blackamazon on 3/11/10

So damn the revolution far as I can see
Follow goodfella laws brooklyn like Jay Z
I got a people to support FUCK YOU PAY ME
-MC Blackamazon

I think it's funny the first thing I though of was a hip hop rhyme . As my many skills do not include an MC'ing I can't promise it's any good but frankly it fits and the Spanish version will be coming out shortly once I collabo with my sistren.

but the Incite Center for Community Economic Development study on the wealth Gap only brings to mind hip hop.

$5 is the median wealth of a single black woman. And I'm writing about it because every place i saw this in in terms of " progressive news" thought it was only worth a repost of a press release. SO let me try to tell you what that " wealth" means.

It costs at least $10 dollars to join NOW with the actual standard price being $35 dollars.

Seven times the median wealth of a black woman in the USA.

I know this because against my better judgment,angels, and sense I applied for their WOC and poverty taskforces and was denied because unlike my blog I had NOT read the fine print .

That required membership.

And it galled me and I got over and probably would have let it slide until I read that today.

Mind you NOW is not special in it's " price of entry" to activism but the current political climate combined with my and others I love experience with activism is special to highlight.

The work of WOC is poorly to NEGATIVELY compensated. Look in your wallet pull out a five and realize that according to this study, half of the black women in the US have LESS than that to call their own.

And because we don't have it we don't pass it down , we don't teach it's management. To put it in perspective the median white single working age woman's wealth is

42,600 dollars which is 61 percent of a white man's

and the equivalent of 8,520 black women at our median .

It is even more important to me as we watch the politic surrounding the health bill and consider the future of activism/social entrepreneurship whatever their calling it these days.

Thanks to what little note I have I am constantly the recipient of email blasts and pleas about donations for the next panic attack of republicans who are against us/older generation doesn't respect us/support this middle class comfortably well of woman's endeavor.

And the short of it is I don't care, the long of it is that

I and what seems like many of my sisters Black and Latino are living on the razor's edge

and yet we give more , we tithe more , we support more.

And in the eyes of organizations,governments, movements it's still

NOT enough.

I keep hearing about looking for WOC and Young Women to participate

that work usually pioneered by women getting paid , is often volunteer based or substantially lower paid than their white counterparts

which unfortunately in organizing ( the one place that should knwo better which is why I focus on it)

it also means lower valued.

And do not think that this is a fact that is used to therefore , increase and produce leadership and build community resources, instead itis used as a reason for why WOC don't deserve voices at a table.

Because truly we have nothing to learn in economic crises about survival perseverance and strength form women who net worth is around the price of a medium latte .

It takes every single conversation, failed skill building and learning experience and makes it that more deplorable.

Everytime any woman of color has worked , toiled or even though of helping with her time UNPAID, she was losing time towards securing what little security she has.

And yet it's STILL NOT ENOUGH?!

I have to pay NOW to tell them why they fail at building consensus,

We have to deal with white centric class blind nasty screeds of privilege as excuses for media

In health amendments n it is most stark to note that WOC who are of a certain class have viewed and been vocal opponents of Stupak

have responded by doing extensive and important research into their own traditional abortifacents

because really teh possibility of not choking to death on healthcare costs might supercede our desire to make you FEEL GOOD about what "rights" you have to abortions since we already CAN'T AFFORD THEM!

meanwhile massive campaigns that alienate,ignore and shove to the side AND HAVE FOR A WHILE WOC concerns

send repeated requests for most of our wealth

in multiples.

and we survive and we create and we live and we even thrive

even though we can't take internships/and work studies and other leadership building activites because Mommy and Daddy can't write us checks.

even though we do the jobs that keep cities running but are paid at such low rates we KNOW they will not support our retirement

and yet and still we have to PAY with money or our spirits to be part of movement/s we have long since left

even as they fail and FLAIL at connecting to us, and be glad when the few WOC they do feature either enhance tehir feelings of our own " culpability" or assuage their guilt that we are at best

1/426( Black) or 1/355 ( Latina) as wealthy and by wealthy meaning able to STAY HOME SICK or survive losing a job.

This our work , our organizing , our perception as being strong is not some fantasy of us girl crushes and statistics.

That five dollars is our survival.

Statistics can tell you whatever you like. Someone will challenge this or argue with another one but these aren't games.

As wifey was going in on earlier today. " At some point these aren't errors these are people" at some point we have to ask what it might look like to try and " change the world" for free when you are five dollars from disaster.

And not the sold disaster which tends to be ours, plastered on billboards so someone safe and warm and EXPONENTIALLY safer than you can argue across a classroom/campus/boardroom

about how awful it would be to possibly end up like you ...

but five dollars from my baby/momma/sister family community doesn't eat


Disaster that isn't women in safe places arguing hypothetical possibilities about what could might happen if a law is passed from the safety of their wealth privilege and distance.

But disaster like believing taking a beating to your 17 year old body is better than having a baby.

Disaster like knowing one of the few jobs where for all it's flaws has some semblance of merit so you aren't clinging to $5 based pay is more likely to drum you out.

that disaster.

Living on the edge of that disaster not as a cautionary tale but a day ending in Y

The disaster that lives out side the door for the price of a late or not even a good pair of shoes.

Think about reading a disaster like that writ large , think about the fact that people can't think more of that than just regurgitated bullet points.

Put that in perspective every time you hear about " where are the WOC" every time you hear but you know it's so hard to communicate.

Every time the hood is treated as a zoo, or gentrified , or we read some solipsistic white girl shit about class that runs pages but can't manage more than ten lines about the fucking disaster that looms over much if not MOST of US American women's heads.

Keep that in mind as if that was you, and then think of every poem , every drive, every essay , every superstar every triumph


think of every wasted time of every wasted action of every snub , of every failure.

of the fact we are the first and hardest hit when times get rough.

regardless of education , qualification,

we do WORSE.

and then curve your mouth around saying your " In it with us"

" that we are properly represented"

" that enough is being done"

" that there is a learning curve"

and I will remind you that EVERY SINGLE WOC org/person artist I have ever though about working with made sure to look out for paying me or making sure I knew my time was valued.

Remind me how hard it is for you now that people get how unconnected you are and you hold symposiums .

and then remember that for the price of breakfast you ATE the only difference between safety and the wolves at the door for half of the Black and Latina women in America.

and ask yourself do you anything of this magnitude for free.

and remember what free unwilling labor is ACTUALLY called.


Things you can do from here:


No comments: