Read the rest online at the Pew Research Fact Tank.
How much do people feel that what happens to members of their own racial or ethnic group affects what happens in their own lives? What about what happens to other groups? Known among researchers as “linked fate,” this sense of connectedness was originally used to explain persistent Democratic voting bloc patterns among black Americans. More recently it has been used to examine not only how closely connected black Americans feel toward one another, but also connectedness between and among other racial groups.
Read the rest online at the Pew Research Fact Tank.
Race/Gender/Class/Media 4.0 is out! Consider adopting this book for your classes if you're teaching on race and media (tv, movies, music, social media, etc.) or checking it out if you want a theory-based but easy to read book on the subject.
My piece is in section 6.4, "Not Just Jezebel: Black Women, Nicki Minaj, and Sexualized Imagery in Rap Music". To learn more about the book and purchase, click here.
More than 150 years after the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States, most U.S. adults say the legacy of slavery continues to have an impact on the position of black people in American society today. More than four-in-ten say the country hasn’t made enough progress toward racial equality, and there is some skepticism, particularly among blacks, that black people will ever have equal rights with whites, according to a new Pew Research Center survey...
Read the full report online at Pew Social Trends.
Available online at the Pew Research Fact Tank.
This is one of an occasional series of posts on black Americans and religion.
Research has shown that men in the United States are generally less religious than women. And while this pattern holds true among black Americans – black women tend to be more religious than black men – black men are still a highly religious group. In fact, black men are not only more religious than white men, but they also tend to be more religious than white women, a Pew Research Center analysis shows. Black men are also more religious than Hispanic men and at least as religious as Hispanic women on a number of key indicators of religious observance.
About seven-in-ten (69%) black men say religion is very important to them, compared with 80% of black women. But black men place more importance on religion than white women (55%) and Hispanic women (65%), according to the 2014 Religious Landscape Study.
The same dynamic holds true when it comes to belief in God. Roughly eight-in-ten (78%) black men say they believe in God with “absolute certainty,” a higher level of belief than is found among white women (67%) and Hispanic women (65%), though, again, lower than the level of belief seen among black women (86%).
The Center also uses a scale that combines responses to four questions – frequency of prayer, belief in God, attendance at religious services and importance of religion in their lives – to classify Americans’ levels of religious belief and practice as high, moderate or low.
On this scale, black men (70%) are less likely than black women (83%) to be categorized as highly religious. At the same time, they are more likely than white women (58%) and roughly as likely as Hispanic women (67%) to be in the highly religious category. They are also much more likely than Hispanic men (50%) and white men (44%) to be highly religious.
At SIUE, I am an Assistant Professor of Sociology, but I am also affiliated with our wonderful (and FUN) Women's Studies program. Recently, the program started a blog series on faculty's "Favorite Feminist Heroes". The blog post below is my entry from that series. To follow the blog, visit: https://siuewmst.wordpress.com/wmst-blog/
My favorite feminist is Maria Miller Stewart. Often, feminism is viewed within various aspects of black nationalist ideology as a white invention; as something that is foreign and inconsistent with black freedom movements. Likewise, popular stories of women’s political history in the U.S. often start with the “first wave” at the end of the 19th century. However, Maria Miller Stewart was a free black woman living in Boston in the 1830s and the first American woman to give a public lecture on social justice issues to mixed race and mixed gender audiences.
This is important, given that elite black women of her day were consigned to literary or temperance societies if they wanted to do political work. Stewart is important because she becomes a forerunner of the black feminist tradition that we usually locate in the 1960s and 70s. In 1831, she published “Pure Principles of Morality” in the ladies section of William Lloyd Garrison’s abolitionist newspaper “The Liberator”. (Note that Stewart knew and worked with Garrison in the abolitionist movement a full decade before Frederick Douglass met him). In “Pure Principles”, Miller speaks directly to black women of her day, imploring them about the need for them to be leaders. She stated,
Possess the spirit of independence. The Americans do, and why should not you? Possess the spirit of men, bold and enterprising, fearless and undaunted…
She continues a year later in her “Lecture at Franklin Hall”,
Who shall go forward, and take off the reproach that is cast upon the people of color? Shall it be a woman? If it is thy will, be it even so, Lord Jesus!”
Stewart was so bold and searing in her critiques of black male leaders (many of whom she viewed as lazy) that her growing unpopularity forced her to leave Boston in 1833. During her farewell speech at the African Masonic Temple, the mostly male crowd jeered and threw rotten tomatoes at her. What could she have said to anger them so much?
Had those men amongst us, who have had an opportunity, turned their attention as assiduously to mental and moral improvement as they have to gambling and dancing, I might have remained quietly at home, and they stood contending in my place.
Stewart basically claps back at these leaders, arguing that if you all were about your business you could be on the lecture circuit advocating for the race and I could have been at home! As the popular saying goes, she had time that day! She pulled no punches, she critiqued ineffective male leadership, and fiercely advocated for black women to recognize their ability to lead. And she did it while many of the men whom we hail as great abolitionists were still toiling on plantations. She did it a full 130 years before the dates in history where we typically introduce the topic of black feminism into our reading lists and courses on black politics. She is an unsung feminist hero.
Want to read more about Dr. Cox’s favorite feminist, Maria Miller Stewart? Check out this page about Miller at the Connecticut Hall of Fame!
Originally published on The Feminist Wire.
Every October the NFL, in partnership with the American Cancer Society, adorns itself in pink to raise awareness about and funds for breast cancer. Via their NFL Pink website, the league encourages women to make a “crucial catch” and to know that “annual screening saves lives.” Amidst these messages are videos and stories of women who are currently enmeshed in the fight against the disease. The implicit message here is that the NFL recognizes its female fan-base and appears to be dedicated to a cause that might impact a significant number of their lives. Despite recent criticism that the NFL profits from their Pink campaign, the visual spectacle resulting from the NFL’s use of pink cleats, towels, and goal posts is impressive.
And yet these efforts do nothing to assuage my increasing disgust with the league and the androcentricity that governs U.S. professional sports in general. Several recent issues involving current and former NFL players have left me watching sports television less and less. And this is quite a feat, because I have loved sports my whole life. From watching every game played by Jordan’s Bulls from 1991-1998, to the White Sox’s World Series win in 2005, the Blackhawks current reign as NHL champions, and the newly revamped Bears offense -- I know my sports, I love my sports, and I love my Chicago teams. But the thing that is driving my growing contempt is their refusal to deal with issues of violence, masculinity-as-violence, misogyny, hyper-sexualization of women, rape culture, and countless others issues, which are part of a culture that consistently puts women in danger. Their steadfast support or patent silence on situations where current and former players have molested, abused, raped, and even killed women is alarming.
In February of this year, Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice was caught on video dragging the limp body of his girlfriend Janay Palmer from an elevator. The image alone is deeply disturbing, including the way that this 200+ lb man who runs through 300 lb defensive lineman weekly seemingly refuses to pick Palmer up to exit the elevator. Instead he drags her like a sack. Even more disturbing are the accusations that Rice punched Palmer out cold immediately prior to the images captured on tape. In late March, Rice was indicted on third degree aggravated assault charges. Reports about Rice were met with denial, dismissal, and disregard for the broader issues. Whether imagining Rice as an isolated case, dismissing its representative importance, or denying the cultural and institutional context, the NFL and its corporate partners do little to take responsibility.
With regard to sexual violence, in college football, these trends are no less troubling. Time and time again in late 2013, the sexual assault allegations against Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston were only covered to the extent that the case would hamper his chances to win the Heisman. Interestingly, a press conference was called less than a week prior to Heisman voting to announce that Winston would not be charged. The level of banter surrounding the press conference was inappropriate and sickening.
Issues of sexual violence have also caused me to give the NFL the "side eye.” Recent NFL network analyst and former Super Bowl champion Darren Sharper has been charged with multiple counts of sexual assault in several states across the country. I have yet to see this story reported, much less analyzed, on any of the major sports networks. In fact, many on-air sports personalities have stated that they would not have discussed the Ray Rice allegations had it not affected his on-the-field prospects. Although they are very careful to say that the allegations are the more serious topic, the hypocrisy and complicity here are disconcerting. Are we really to believe that Sharper’s spree as a serial rapist who drugs and assaults women began after he retired from the NFL, as news outlets suggest? It would not be outrageous to consider an NFL cover-up. Take for example the lack of response or discipline for former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito. In 2012, he was accused of sexually molesting a female team volunteer with a golf club at a Dolphins fundraiser in full view of team officials. According to the police report, Miami Dolphins personnel told the women that the situation would be “taken care of.” It never was. Incognito was never charged or disciplined. However, in 2013 Incognito was publicly decried for his racist harassment of black teammate Jonathan Martin (calling him a “nigga”) and a Japanese team trainer. In fact, the racial harassment investigation is the only way the sexual molestation allegation saw the light of day.
In a recent discussion of the use of the word “nigga” among pro football players, ESPN on-air personalities Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic invited NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter to appear on their “Mike & Mike” morning show. Greenberg described Carter’s stance on the subject as impassioned and positive, and referenced a story that Carter told about the use of “nigga” among the high school players that he coaches. Carter described a moment when he overheard two of his players using the word while lifting weights. Carter instantly steps in and demands that they stop using it, noting his preference for their using “MFer” or a “SOB” instead. Seemingly erasing their misogynistic orientation, the preference for using “motherfucker” and a “son of bitch” is telling. It reveals how yet again, conversations about justice and equality remain at surface level, and about individual transformation. It reveals the adherence to symbolic change, to the spectacle of progress, in absence of any real efforts to transform the roots and cultural production of injustice.
How does the NFL through its Pink campaign claim to care about the lives of women, but does not see fit to address the danger that its own players pose to women? How are several highly popular sports shows, who congratulate themselves for being cutting edge (I’m talking about you Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith), fearless in addressing issues of race (most recently the NFL’s proposed ban on the use of “nigga” on field), but are silent on intimate partner violence and sexual assault? Does the NFL only care about the lives of women when they are threatened by invisible killers like cancer? Do sports analysts only care to delve into intimate partner and sexual violence among athletes when it impacts their performance on the field or court? To me, the answers are yes and yes.
If the NFL really wants to reach out to its female fan-base, they should demonstrate the importance of saving women’s lives by disciplining their own players when they assault women; rather than pledging undying support for them as the Baltimore Ravens have for Ray Rice. We need more than pink cleats.