Let’s face it…the health and wellness of black women is not a priority of the society that we live in. Black women face the intersection of gender and race minority (double minority). If you are an immigrant, such as myself, you stand in the center of a 3-way minority junction. The term “intersectionalilty” highlights intersections such as these very well for people of color. Health and wellness for black women is an area that is sorely needs more support.
Health and Wellness
How do you ensure health and wellness for a group that is mostly invisible to society? Black women become visible when we are viewed as the “angry, black woman,” “loud and belligerent black woman,” “strong black woman,” “big-bosomed, big-boned, and wise older black woman,” “promiscuous, booty-popping and oversexualized black woman,” and the “rude, disrespectful, and aggressive black woman.” None of these stereotypes are positive and truly represent the dynamic mysticism of black women.
With the cloak of invisibility thrust upon black women, the scarcity of services targeted to and available for black women presents a real social problem for us and society. And, sometimes the quality of services that are available is so meager, it may as well be non-existent. Issues with services available to black women include cost of services, distance to travel to obtain services, quality of services, insurance coverage, stereotypes and stigmas. All present obstacles that need to be overcome to ensure proper access to suitable services.
Diseases and Disorders Affecting Black Women
Here are some of the most pervasive diseases disorders affecting black women, and be sure to click on the hyperlinks and inform yourself about these serious illnesses:
- Heart Disease: 1 in 4 women dies from heart disease. Obesity and high blood pressure are severe risk factors for black women.
- Cancer: Breast cancer and cervical cancer pose severe threats to black women.
- Fibroids: Black women are 3 times more likely than other racial female groups to have fibroids.
- Sickle Cell Anemia: Affects millions of African American children born yearly.
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Black women are at high risk for sexually transmitted diseases, whether due to access to services, relationship and sexual partners, and stigmas, among other factors.
- Reproductive Diseases: Black women are dying at an alarming rate when it comes to maternal mortality.
- Mental Health and Substance Abuse: We know that mental health issues have escalated within the black community. I am also including substance use issues as well because this is a prevalent issue within our community that is not discussed nearly enough.
African American women are dying. We can no longer turn a blind eye to these issues as it adversely affects our culture and race. It is imperative that we are having our annual check-ups and that we are dealing with any symptoms that we notice immediately.