African American women politics
African American women politics is used as a term to describe the level of involvement of those who belong in both of the two largest groups for whom discrimination is often a challenge. The purpose of this article is to consider their position from a political perspective. In particular, is African American women politics likely to be successful? Based on that assessment, there will be advice, both for people in that group and for those outside of the group as to how to use that knowledge. (Note: Despite the author's objection, he is again accepting the use of the term American to refer only to the United States of America.)
If you have not yet done so, a read of the
Women American Politics
section would be helpful.
There are a number of ways of looking at prejudice and its impacts on African American women politics. Statistics such as the ratio of people in the defined group compared with the ratio of those people in particular positions of power would be one such method. As a way of measuring "progress", this may be helpful and provide some meaning.
However, it tends to ingrain some of the prejudices through rigorous definitions and debates over the definitions. Typical of this type of behavior is the one-drop definition used to describe people having any ancestral connection with a particular group as belonging to that group.
The optimal outcome is a scenario where there is no consideration of the characteristic. In that case, a person's gender or race is not a subject of comment or thought. Such a scenario is far removed from the present American situation - especially in relation to African American women politics.
There are several stages moving toward that situation including the start where prejudice is openly encouraged and supported by all the key power groups. This is clearly apparent during times where slavery is in place and is not being opposed. The second stage is where the prejudice is open and supported by the groups in power but opposed by others. The third major stage is where those in power provide some level of acknowledgment of the issue but do not actively oppose the prejudice. The fourth stage is wishing to be perceived as actively supporting change to overcome the prejudice. The fifth stage is actually genuinely trying to make the changes. The sixth stage involves finding and implementing learning and behavior that does make the change. This stage will require an over-compensation phase where those who have been the subject of negative prejudice become the subject of positive prejudice for a period. The seventh stage is maintaining the commitment during the period of opposition - either explicit, implicit or apathetic. The eighth stage is for it to remain in place for seven generations. If these eight stages occur,the prejudice will have been overcome. Setting it out in this manner may help many to understand the complexity and time required to resolve this matter.
There is one very common behavior of an individual, an organization or a society that is stuck in the fourth stage. This stage, of wishing to be perceived as actively supporting the change but not really doing it, is notorious for communications claiming success. All manner of relevant or irrelevant material will be dressed up as examples of success. One of the most common is to constantly refer to a a successful person by their "discriminated-against" grouping.
Relevance? How many times have you heard reference to Barack Obama's African-Americanism - compared with his Anglo-Saxon heritage? I would suggest it is not relevant other than to highlight that there is a long way to go before the USA has overcome prejudice.
The continued existence of gender bias provides opportunities for all four groups - both genders and both African American and non-African Americans. It provides opportunities for those who are prepared to develop relationships and appointments based on ability to perform the roles, intellect and knowledge rather than on prejudice or expectation of favours. Those relationships will provide long term mutual respect and, as such, will be the basis for substantial cooperation. This will lead to real success in African American women politics.
While the continuation of prejudice occurs, it is likely that some will continue to seek advantages through claiming prejudice. However, the continuing increase in success for African American women will make this increasingly less effective as a method. Accordingly, the opportunity for African American women politics is greatest by that group focusing on gaining knowledge and putting forward rational alternative policies.
These are important additional lessons to absorb as you progress through the
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