It’s clear that Dr. Benjamin and the Obama administration chose to trivialize black women’s health because they have no plans to combat the the real conditions that undermine good health in black communities.
The Obama administration never miss an opportunity to trivialize black reality in America. Just a few weeks ago the administration’s surgeon general Regina Benjamin told the New York Times that black women face obesity because they would rather preserve their hairstyles than sweat during exercise. Really? That maybe true for a few black women here and there, but if the surgeon general for the entire United States of America is going to be talking about black women’s health, shouldn’t she be highlighting factors that apply to a majority of black women?
The truth is most black women are overworked (when they can get work) and underpaid, and have neither income nor opportunity to access the lifestyle and resources that could improve their overall health. If the surgeon general is serious about the state of black women’s health she should take some time to discuss real barriers to optimal health: poverty, the high cost of hormone-free foods, the absence of healthy grocers in black neighborhoods, the stress from living in a racist society, environmental racism, and the relationship between income disparity and access to good quality health care and safe neighborhoods.
It’s clear that Dr. Benjamin and the Obama administration chose to trivialize black women’s health because they have no plans to combat the the real conditions that undermine good health in black communities. President Obama’s speech at a recent Congressional Black Caucus event highlighted this fact. The president’s speech was void of any strategy to combat the near 20% unemployment rate decimating black families across the country. Rather than outline a credible plan to address the grave income and opportunity disparities revealed by the most recent census, the president chose instead to mockingly deliver a sermon telling the audience to “…take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes.” He closed his caricature by saying blacks should “…shake it off, stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’.”
Although some members of the CBC were appalled by the president’s indignation, his rant received a standing ovation; goes to show who’s really in the CBC – but what does it say about those of us voting for them?