There's a powerful new mural in New York City: at 22 East 2nd Street in Lower Manhattan, seven mothers are painted in front of bold, colorful stripes. These are all mothers whose sons have been killed by violence from the state.
Each year, approximately 16,000 tenants are evicted from rental units in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. But digging into the demographics of eviction reveals a startling picture: black women are far more likely to be evicted than anyone else.
A protest in solidarity with Ferguson activists in August. Photo by Light Brigading via Creative Commons.
Growing up as a black kid in a near-completely white Virginia suburb, I was never taught that racism had real life implications. At school, the most relevant mentions of race usually involved Token from South Park, the beloved character from a wholesome family show most of us watched and enjoyed.
I got hooked on Devious Maidswhen it premiered last year a for good reason: I was excited to see so many Latina actresses in their 30s and 40s engaging issues of race, class, and gender within the soap opera formula. As part of the Lifetime Network brand, I didn’t expect deep and subtle storytelling, I expected fun, sexy, romantic, sentimental and overly dramatic camp. And I got it. While there was much to like about the women in the initial episodes, I became quickly disillusioned with the show.
If the glossy pages of my elementary school history books had told me stories like that of Grace Lee Boggs, I would have paid more attention. Like me, Boggs is Asian-American who was born to immigrant parents—if I’d learned her story growing up, I might have felt invested in our country’s history instead of feeling disenchanted by it.