In 1962, the iconic, notorious and celebrated civil rights leader Malcolm X stated that the most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. When he made that statement, Black women experienced every degradation imaginable in the United States. Progressivism or logic would suggest that things have improved for Black women. Sadly, that’s not actually the case. The age-old discourse around the wage gap often centers around white women and the fact that they make 82 cents to every man’s dollar. While that’s a shame and should absolutely come under scrutiny, Black women almost make 18 cents less than white women and 36 cents less than white men.
Given that 80 percent of Black women are the primary breadwinners in their families, it is imperative to reduce the wage gap between them and white men. Approximately 4 million households in the United States are headed by Black women. Of that, 1 million of those houses live below poverty level. Overcoming the wage gap would have immense benefits for Black women and Black people in general.
The issue of raising the wages of women has always been a foundational aspect of feminism. However, in recent years there’s been a wave of feminism that is more inclusive and forward-thinking. This wave is known as intersectional feminism. Within the category of intersectional feminism is an inclusion of trans people and people of color. The underpinning of intersectional feminist philosophy argues that racism, sexism or classism are all connected and to tackle one issue means you must confront all the interrelated issues that a person goes through.
For Black women to thrive in this country, the wage gap needs amending. Often, Black women and people in general have to work twice as hard and be twice as good to make it in society. An individual’s ability to succeed should not come down to skin color. Additionally, this issue is compounded when you dig into the salary of black trans people.
To improve this situation, there needs to be targeted efforts to promote Black people from multiple channels. If Black Lives Matter, then black livelihood matters as well. We can’t just keep people alive without giving them a chance to thrive. The future is Black and it can either be oblivion or incandescent Black. The choice is ours. We need to prioritize Black life in all its dimensions.
Written by: Demetrius Skold