Sojourner's Place

and ain't i a woman?  

Posted by SjP in ,

Just read a very interesting and provocative article by Sophia A. Nelson, is a corporate attorney and president of iask, Inc., an organization for African American professional women. The article, entitled "Black. Female. Accomplished. Attacked." I took particular interest in this article starting with its title and then this reference to Sojourner Truth:

"Ain't I a woman?" Sojourner Truth famously asked 157 years ago. Her ringing question, demanding why black women weren't accorded the same privileges as their white counterparts, still sums up the African American woman's dilemma today: How are we viewed as women, and where do we fit into American life?

I encourage you to read this article in its entirety. Amazing insights and truism that will no doubt continue to ring unless and until the perceptions of African American women changes. I include in this post a few excerpts to wet your whistle:

A 2007 American Bar Association report titled "Visible Invisibility" describes how black women in the legal profession face the "double burden" of being both black and female, meaning that they enjoy none of the advantages that black men gain from being male, or that white women gain from being white.

At a recent such workshop, I asked the participants to list some words that would describe how they believe they're viewed in the workplace and the culture at large. These are the kinds of words that came back: "loud," "angry," "intimidating,""mean," "opinionated," "aggressive," "hard." All painful words. Yet asked to describe themselves, the same women offered gentler terms: "strong," "loving,""dependable," "compassionate."

As of 2007, according to the
New YorkTimes, 70 percent of professional black women were unmarried. Black women are five times more likely than white women to be single at age 40. In 2003, Newsweek reported that there are more black women than black men (24 percent to 17 percent) in the professional-managerial class. According to Department of Education statistics cited by the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, black women earn 67 percent of all bachelor's degrees awarded to blacks, as well as 71 percent of all master's degrees and 65 percent of all doctoral degrees.

You may also find Nelson's website and company of interest and assistance. I encourage you to to to This is an organization "to empowering and uplifting today's Professional Black Woman." I also encourage you to check out the Iask Blog.

Speak the Truth!

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old SjP ain't got nothing more to say.

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This entry was posted at Sunday, July 20, 2008 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .

2 sojourners hollin' back

sophia nelson  

Thank you for posting excerpts from this article and on iask, Ink. I would love to have you do a guest column sometime for iask.

Sophia Nelson (

July 21, 2008 at 8:40 AM

This is a pretty powerful piece. It basically shows that black women have no easy rides in this life. We have to constantly be fighting for our place in the grand scheme of things because we are often the ones left behind. One bright spot I find is that there are more black women attending colleges and universities than black males, which poses another problem of its own. Great article.

July 21, 2008 at 8:52 AM
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