The Plight of the Black woman
All through history, women have experienced a lot of marginalization and discrimination at the hands of men. The situation is even worse among the marginalized groups and in the third world countries. Looking at Alice Walker’s stories, the image of the Black woman’s plight becomes vivid to the reader (Walker, 2004). Her stories highlight what the southern Black women faces. Walker’s text is used in this study as the reference point in addressing the predicament of Black women. It is the writer’s hope that through this research, readers would be able to identify with the Black women and join the struggle to liberate the Black women.
Walker outlines a number of challenges the southern Black woman goes through. The challenges range from the domestic violence from their own partners to the public discrimination. Among these challenges, some of the direct predicament for the southern Black woman and all other Black women are the issues of violence and discrimination from the criminal justice system.
The stories of Walker reveal that Black women experience another world different from that of men and white women (Walker, 2004). These women are susceptible to violence both within and outside their residences. They are beaten and sometimes tortured by their own husbands and they are more likely to be murdered by outsiders than their white counterparts.
From the text, it becomes clear that a Black woman is more likely to be beaten by the same people she depends on for security. They are vulnerable to rape and the negative consequences of sexist and racist cultural pathology (Beal, 1969). This places them in a dangerous position from their early childhood years to adulthood. Comparing the Walker’s text to the contemporary society, the same situation persists. The criminal justice in the modern society has recorded a trend where a Black woman is more likely to be imprisoned than other women. The rate of incarceration of Black women in the United States of America triples that of the white women.
The stand- your- ground legislation in America is an example of factors that increase plight of Black women in the modern American society. This legislation is meant to encourage zero tolerance of suspicious activities and characters. It has led to humiliations and murder of the Black; both men and women (Beal, 1969). The men have murdered unnamed innocent children and gone scot-free due to the loopholes in this legislation. An example of Black woman’s discrimination is that of Michelle Alexander who was sentenced to Sixty years in prison for merely firing a shot to scare off her abuser. The abuser had admitted in court for abusing Alexander and was documented but the court still turned against the woman.
Analysis and statistics by urban institute show that the white women are more likely to be set free when they use lethal force against a Black man. Walker’s message in her story and Alexander’s situations shows that the lives of Black women are at risk (Walker, 2004). The value of their lives seems to be diminished by cultural and institutional structures in the society. The women Black women end up forming large population in prisons and the higher percentage of the victims of domestic violence (Beal, 1969). The same women are under-represented in human empowerment groups. There is a need to empower Black women and create awareness among Black women to help them fight for better treatment.
Beal, F. M. (1969). Black women’s manifesto; double jeopardy: To be Black and female. New York: Third World Women’s Alliance.
Walker, A. (2004). In search of our mothers’ gardens: Womanist prose. Houghton Mifflin Harcourts.