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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Finally A Study With "Positive" News About Black Girls:They Don't Have A Problem WIth Taking the Lead

In this week were Black women from all over the country have taken the lead with holding two organizations accountable for actions not in the best interests of Black women and children, or the entire Black community for that matter, I thought you guys would be interested in this study about leadership that indicates that while most children eschew leadership, in particular girls, Black and hispanic girls appear to not have as much of a problem with it.

What concerned Cloninger and others was not only that girls did not desire to be future leaders but also that many feared they would not be capable enough to assume leadership roles. Twenty-one percent of girls said they had most of the qualities of a leader, such as being outgoing, hardworking and responsible.They also said they lack the ability to command people and, if they tried to do so, they would be laughed at by their peers or seen as bossy and make people mad. MSNBC.com
Hmmm, that sounds familiar, Where have I heard THAT before??? OH yeah, my whole life.

But apparently I am not the only one who is somewhat impervious to making people mad:

"Some girls still struggle with the unwritten rules of what it means to be 'feminine,' the Girl Scouts report concluded. They worry about "exhibiting stereotypically 'female' behaviors, like being nice, quiet, polite, agreeable, and liked by all."
NOOO? Say it ain't so? You mean they struggle with making sure they don't get labeled "angry." Well the study bears out some things many of you probably already know because many of you were once young Black girls:
African American and Hispanic girls are considerably less likely than white girls to worry about their capabilities. Adults who work with girls suggested several reasons for that. Young minority females tend to have more responsibilities than whites at home and in their communities, experts said. Many African American girls play major roles at church and in youth-serving organizations.
When my older sisters got their drivers licenses I remember Daddy supervising them changing a flat tire on the side of the road, he wasn't lazy, but I can remember him saying that if they were going to drive, they needed to know how to change a tire. Roadside comedy. I used to volunteer to change the tire and it came in handy, when I was in law school, we got a flat on the way back from the airport and one of my classmates from Chicago, I don't know if she even had a driver's license, but she was amazed that I could change the tire myself. I got AAA now. No more changing tires, but I could if I had to. My parents would say outright that we needed to be able to take care of ourselves. I have more stories, but they all read this blog, I don't want phone calls tonight.

Now there are about ten kinds of ironies about that conclusion related to participation in church activities. Chances are that like me, they go to a church where the ultimate leader is a man, but when it comes to all of the work required to pull of the ministries of the church they saw women running things. I remember when our first pastor left and one of the deacons, all men, had to agree to be chair of the deacon board which would have been the defacto leader of the church and they had to con scribe someone to take the position. None of the men wanted to do it and the poor soul that volunteered I almost want to say he had a heart attack or took ill and they had to replace him, but that ended up being a figurehead position anyway. I would say more, but they read the blog, I don't want any phone calls.--- But all of us probably have anecdotes to back up this study ( I am laughing right now as I write this reminiscing) -- Fun times!

Y'all know my criticisms of church folk, but I know I am who I am because I was raised in the church. I know people who are afraid to speak in front of a crowd, that is just foreign to me. You feel the fear and do it anyway. At my church, you didn't have a choice. Or at least in my family, WE didn't have a choice. If Sister H. wanted one of my mother's children to "be on program", it was a done deal. We were like her own personal talent agency. I used to run from her, but I couldn't run from my Mama. If Mama began a sentence with "Sister H wants" then I knew I was on the hook. The sad thing is that the more capable you are, the more they come back to the same well. You memorize one bible verse and recite it with such passion as to put Cicely Tyson to shame and the next thing you know, you're "on program" for the rest of your life, until you escape off to college out of the clutches of Sister H and her "on program " children's church performers conscription conspiracy.

I am serious, I got a toy organ for Christmas, i love that organ. I did I did. Until SOMEBODY must have mentioned my beloved organ and then the next thing I know, I'm "on program" to play said organ in front of the congregation. I couldn't have been more than like 9 or 10. The next thing I know, that little plastic organ is carted off and plunked down in front of the congregation and I end up having to play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" a note at a time to "Amen child-Let the lord use you". KNOW that had to be the most pitiful musical selection ever, but just like "Showtime at the Apollo"-- you never boo a child.

And the speeches they weren't any get up read a scripture and sit down assignments either. We used to have a youth-led revival every year and every year it seemed I'd get ambushed with writing "the occasion" which is another word for stand up in front of the church and read your interpretation of this year's theme and you know I was "radical" back then so my Mama reviewed my work to "moderate" it. HAHAHAH Fun times!

Now unlike the STD study from last week, this sample size was five times larger, 4000 children, ages 8 to 17. But that begs the question. How do you reconcile the fact that Black girls appear to have more confidence in their abilities and be comfortable with having to take the lead and the STD study and if the leadership study is an accurate gauge, are we doing enough to tap into Black girl's confidence to turn the tide on some of these more ominous statistics?

I think we also forget on this blog, that despite all of the grim stories we publish we're getting things done.

Podcast Tonight: Al Sharpton, the NAACP and Dunbar Village 8:00PM CST
Join us tonight for the podcast at 8:00PM CST. We're be talking about the leadership shown this week by many of you in confronting and holding accountable those who engage in conduct that may not be in the best interest of Black women and children. We'll be talking about Dunbar Village developments (y'all are rocking out there!). UPDATE: I got a call a couple of minutes ago, but I won't talk about it until I have something in writing, so by tonight, there may be some new developments in the email campaign.

If you took action this week with the email campaign, we would love to hear from you either live on the air, or we'll read your report out of the chat room. If you have never participated in the pod cast, you can listen to last week's show by clicking the player in the sidebar. To listen live you can go to blogtalkradio.com/blackwomen and to call in to speak live on the air to our international audience ( seriously, I think my latest email was from Australia--our ex pat. audience relies on the podcast to keep up with conditions at home). The call in number is 646-478-4750. I look forward to hearing your stories tonight. We're one of the most popular political podcasts on BTR due to your support week after week.
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