lashonda1280What I be doing here? I’m holdin’ up dis lamp post wif my ass, and suckin’ on a butt since it be so fucking much fun. What do it look like I’m doin’?

You’s don’t care for my attitude? So what! Who died and made you God?

Oh, you’re not a John? Then what do you want?

An article. About what?

Oh, how people like me end up walking the streets. What do you think “people like me” are?

For your information, I’ve got a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Unfortunately, my mother wasn’t quite as educated and gave me a name that is obviously for a person of color. Because of that choice on her part, I statistically only have a 29% chance of being called by a large corporation versus a 51% chance for a white person with a similar resume. Currently only those with Arab sounding names stand a lower chance than I of being called for a job interview.

Yes, I have a child, and no his father isn’t around. Did you know that the unintended pregnancy rate of Black women is three times as high as that of white women, the maternal mortality rate is four times higher, and the rate of death from HIV is nineteen times higher, because of substandard prenatal health care for Blacks in low income areas? In the courts of the United States, because of the disproportionate number of women of color targeted by the criminal justice system, they have also been overly represented in cases of forced contraception as a condition of probation and a means of state control over reproductive capacity. As for his father being gone, are you aware that 70% of African American children are born to unmarried mothers and 80% of African American children can expect to spend the significant part of their childhood in the absence of their fathers?

I am aware of my disadvantages, but are you aware that high school completion rates for blacks has gone from 68% to 76% in the last two decades, while the hispanic rates have only gone from 55% to 59% in that same time period. Also the overall college enrollment rate for Blacks has risen 56% in the last twenty years and African American women are completing college at a rate of 42% compared to Black men’s 37%.

I am doing everything in my power to better myself, but the odds are against me. I am likely to earn 14% less than my white female counterparts, and 26.9% less than a white male with the same skills, but I still keep trying. In the meantime, I have a child to feed and I will play the part of “people like me.” Only because you will not let me be anything else.