“I’m 49 years old and I was in prison for 22 years. Now I’m struggling to take care of my children. It’s rough. I’ve applied to every job and every agency. You serve your time, you get out, but they hold your past against you—your time is never considered ‘served’. I’ll be serving it for the rest of my life. I’m free, but I ain’t free. “I have hope, though. I don’t give up. I know something good’s gonna happen for me. I know it. And if it doesn’t, I’m not gonna do nothing that’s gonna send me back to prison. The only thing prison does is teach you how to do wrong—how to be a better criminal.”
If you don’t know who Johnnie Tillmon was, look her up.
Welfare is a Women’s Issue (1972) by Johnnie Tillmon
I’m a woman. I’m a black woman. I’m a poor woman. I’m a fat woman. I’m a middle-aged woman. And I’m on welfare.
In this country, if you’re any one of those things you count less as a human being. If you’re all those things, you don’t count at all. Except as a statistic.
I am 45 years old. I have raised six children. There are millions of statistics like me. Some on welfare. Some not. And some, really poor, who don’t even know they’re entitled to welfare. Not all of them are black. Not at all. In fact, the majority-about two-thirds-of all the poor families in the country are white.
Welfare’s like a traffic accident. It can happen to anybody, but especially it happens to women.
And that’s why welfare is a women’s issue. For a lot of middle-class women in this country, Women’s Liberation is a matter of concern. For women on welfare it’s a matter of survival.
Survival. That’s why we had to go on welfare. And that’s why we can’t get off welfare now. Not us women. Not until we do something about liberating poor women in this country.
Because up until now we’ve been raised to expect to work, all our lives, for nothing. Because we are the worst educated, the least-skilled, and the lowest-paid people there are. Because we have to be almost totally responsible for our children. Because we are regarded by everybody as dependents. That’s why we are on welfare. And that’s why we stay on it.
Welfare is the most prejudiced institution in this country, even more than marriage, which it tries to imitate. Let me explain that a little.
Ninety-nine percent of welfare families are headed by women. There is no man around. In half the states there can’t be men around because A.F.D.C. (Aid to Families With Dependent Children) says if there is an “able-bodied” man around, then you can’t be on welfare. If the kids are going to eat, and the man can’t get a job, then he’s got to go.
Welfare is like a super-sexist marriage. You trade in a man for the man. But you can’t divorce him if he treats you bad. He can divorce you, of course, cut you off anytime he wants. But in that case, he keeps the kids, not you.The man runs everything. In ordinary marriage, sex is supposed to be for your husband. On A.F.D.C., you’re not supposed to have any sex at all. You give up control of your own body. It’s a condition of aid. You may even have to agree to get your tubes tied so you can never have more children just to avoid being cut off welfare.
The man, the welfare system, controls your money. He tells you what to buy, what not to buy, where to buy it, and how much things cost. If things-rent, for instance-really cost more than he says they do, it’s just too bad for you. He’s always right.
That’s why Governor [Ronald] Reagan can get away with slandering welfare recipients, calling them “lazy parasites,” “pigs at the trough,” and such. We’ve been trained to believe that the only reason people are on welfare is because there’s something wrong with their character. If people have “motivation,” if people only want to work, they can, and they will be able to support themselves and their kids in decency.
The truth is a job doesn’t necessarily mean an adequate income. There are some ten million jobs that now pay less than the minimum wage, and if you’re a woman, you’ve got the best chance of getting one. Why would a 45-year-old woman work all day in a laundry ironing shirts at 90-some cents an hour? Because she knows there’s some place lower she could be. She could be on welfare. Society needs women on welfare as “examples” to let every woman, factory workers and housewife workers alike, know what will happen if she lets up, if she’s laid off, if she tries to go it alone without a man. So these ladies stay on their feet or on their knees all their lives instead of asking why they’re only getting 90-some cents an hour, instead of daring to fight and complain.
Maybe we poor welfare women will really liberate women in this country. We’ve already started on our own welfare plan. Along with other welfare recipients, we have organized so we can have some voice. Our group is called the National Welfare Rights Organization (N.W.R.O.). We put together our own welfare plan, called Guaranteed Adequate Income (G.A.I.), which would eliminate sexism from welfare. There would be no “categories”-men, women, children, single, married, kids, no kids-just poor people who need aid. You’d get paid according to need and family size only and that would be upped as the cost of living goes up.
As far as I’m concerned, the ladies of N.W.R.O. are the front-line troops of women’s freedom. Both because we have so few illusions and because our issues are so important to all women-the right to a living wage for women’s work, the right to life itself.
The little league baseball squad Jackie Robinson West, hailing from the South Side of Chicago, has just become the first all-Black team to win the US Championship at the Little League World Series, beating the previously undefeated Las Vegas (incidentally, an all-white team) in a dramatic, hard-fought 7-5 game. What a great year for this event, first with the Mo’ne Davis story and now this. JRW demonstrated poise, determination and mental toughness, coming back twice from deficits, outlasting their opponents down the stretch, scoring with small ball to grind out the win.
Jackie Robinson West is the first all-Black team to play in the Little League World Series since 1983, when the same organization made its first appearance. Before that, back in 1955 — the year after Brown v. Board of Education ruled that segregation was unconstitutional — the Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars from Charleston, South Carolina, played their way to Williamsport for the final tournament, but white teams refused to play against them and white coaches organized a boycott against the 11- and 12-year-old African American players. The team attended the event, but watched the entire tournament from the bleachers rather than the field.
Not so this year. JRW is the national champion. They play South Korea tomorrow for the international title and I’ll be cheering for them.
When I saw this article from takepart about Black &SexyTv I got really excited, because their show are the TRUTH! And I wish some of them would make it on tv. These show are everything B.E.T needs.
Black and Sexy TV was founded by four filmmakers—Numa Perrier, Dennis Dortch, Jeanine Daniels, and Brian Ali-Harding—in 2011 and takes its name from Dortch’s 2008 feature, A Good Day to Be Black and Sexy, which showed at the Sundance Film Festival. Though the channel began with just one program, it has grown to include six: The Couple, Hello Cupid, That Guy, Roomieloverfriends, The Number, andYellow. The series are each distinct but are grounded by a through line of authentic black experience, especially regarding love and sex.
Here’s a list of show from YouTube not all from Black&SexyTv you should check out when you got time.
The Misadventure of Awkward Black Girl
Dear Future Wife
Brothers With No Game
The Unwritten Rules
If you know any black YouTube series that I don’t did list do not hesitate to comment or message us the name. If you have a Youtube show send in a video.