There’s no denying it; black girls are magical. They are resilient, beautiful, strong beings, so it’s no wonder we call their accomplishments #BlackGirlMagic. But, their achievements are not wrought from magic. Black girls are, well, girls. Not magicians. And the constant stress of creating “magic” without political, economic, or cultural support is a heavy weight for them to carry.
If we want society to be different for black girls in the future, then we must invest in black women and girls this Giving Tuesday.
As young black girls, we were steeped in the adage, “You have to be twice as good to get half as far.” We knew early on that we would have to do more to receive less, as an inherent by-product of the race, class, and gender we were born into. In elementary school, we were told “I expect more of you” while simultaneously being told to “expect to be counted out.” While we are expected to produce magic, even today, there are very few supports put in place for black girls and women.
Our collective accomplishments are strong evidence of the high expectations we strive to achieve. Despite common preconceptions about black women, we are the most educated segment of U.S. society and are deeply engaged in civil life. We are even making strides in tech and business, as black women are one of the fastest-growing groups of entrepreneurs— with the number of startups founded by black women more than doubling since 2016.
Notwithstanding the speed at which we start businesses, the median funding raised by black women is $0. That is not a typo. Black women have raised only .0006 percent of the $424.7 billion in total tech venture capital raised since 2009. Black women are treated as monolithic and politically and economically insignificant, in spite of all evidence to the contrary.
While black women are continuously at the frontlines of social justice movements, their engagement is not met with equal levels of investment. Only 1.6 percent of Americans’ charitable giving goes toward nonprofits helping women and girls, with significantly less going to women and girls of color. In 2011, only 1.5 percent of all foundation grant-making went to black Americans – male and female. Statistics do not exist to measure funding for people who live at the intersection of gender and race.
In this context, black women’s success may look like magic, rather than the result of our hard work. And the constant stress of creating “magic” without any financial investment or support has taken a toll on us. About one in every two black women over age 20 has heart disease. Black women have the second highest rate of high blood pressure of any demographic, while black mothers die in childbirth at three times the rate of white mothers.
This has to change. If we invest in black women, society will thrive. Black women are closest to the issues impacting women, families, and working people nationwide, and therefore closest to the possible solutions.
Change starts with all of us. This Giving Tuesday, give our society the gift of investing in black women, in their health, their businesses, their leadership. Reconcile the high pressure put on black women and support their creativity that we have come to depend on. Back black women to endow them with resources that align with their contributions.
There is no limit to the progress we can make if we fund, support, and believe in black women’s leadership, brilliance, and, of course, magic.