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How Do We Increase the "Value" of Black Women? - The Bank of Black Womanity

A couple of weeks ago, a mind blowing comment was left on our post about a group of young college students who were brutally assaulted in broad daylight as a public gathering during Philadelphia’s Greek Week. 

So how do we become valued? I know we are valued amongst ourselves, meaning most Black women value other Black women. Where do we start? How do we become a protected class as well? If someone knows, point me there and I will concentrate all of my efforts on achieving that goal. Mena, WAOD Reader.

 Excellent question!It took me a while to figure out how to answer this one because I have a fundamental set of beliefs that rejects the premise of the question. 



How do we increase the “value” of Black women?



I have three $20 bills in my hand. Pick the $20 that will buy you the most when you go spend it at the grocery store.


A) $20 to the right,

B) $20 to the left or

C) $20 in the middle?

Which $20 has the most “value”?

Let’s change the facts a bit.



I have three $20 bills.

A) One is laying on the sidewalk,

B) The other is in a purse and

C) The last is deposited in a bank.


Which $20 has the most value?

Which $20 will buy you the most when you go to spend it at the grocery store?


Now let’s say you’re a rather unscrupulous person who thinks you’re entitled to access , exploit or profit from the value of all three  $20 dollar bills, despite the fact that none of them belong to you.

 QUESTION #3 Which $20 bills are you going to attempt to obtain? 

A)The $20 on the sidewalk,

B) The $20 in the purse or

C) The $20 in a bank?


The $20 on the sidewalk might belong to somebody, they may even attempt to claim it if you try to pick it up off the ground, but the $20 on the ground is unprotected and the risks associated with picking it up and putting it in your pocket are relatively small compared with the other choices. 

The $20 in a purse is  protected by vigilance, choice and opportunity.  If the purse is walking down the street, the person carrying that purse MIGHT be defenseless or they could be carrying a handgun. Even if they are carrying a weapon, they might not be willing or able to use it on you to keep you from taking the $20.  Perhaps, the purse isn’t walking down the street, but sitting on a kitchen counter...behind a locked door...in a gated community. The risks (being shot, getting arrested for breaking and entering) are potentially significant, but you really want that $20...

And then there’s the $20 in a bank. In addition to all of the physical barriers found at your local branch, that $20 is protected by the common knowledge that if you snatch $20 that does not belong to you at the bank, you will be hunted down with almost every resource available to law enforcement and when they catch you, you’re going away for an incredibly long time. You may get that $20, but you’ve now committed an assault on the entire US banking system as opposed to the individual crime of purse snatching. They don’t care if its “only $20” you’re going to make the local news and the jack booted foot of government will soon be pressed firmly upon your neck so as to discourage any other potential robbers from following in your footsteps.

So back to our original question: How do we increase the value of Black women?

Answer: NOTHING!

The question implies that Black women have to “DO” something to obtain “value.” As if we have to "earn" being treated like human beings.  Or perhaps we have to be “well liked” to be valued. It implies that what we’re worth as human beings is based on how other people FEEL.  I’ll take a pass on that notion. I don’t want a system of protection based on the fickle emotions of other human beings. 

I believe that the fact that we are human beings we have value. For those of us who believe in a power greater than ourselves, that value was endowed by our creator no human can add or take away from that.

You don’t have to like me to acknowledge my basic human rights. The most “unlikeable” Black woman  has the right to walk down the street unmolested. 

There are plenty of examples of groups who are out numbered, disliked and unpopular but are incredibly powerful and protected because of the infrastructure surrounding them. “The System” protects them. They spent a long time building their infrastructure, are constantly attempting to retrofit it, and when threatened, they will expend unlimited resources to protect “The System.” Because they are completely and utterly reliant on the system for survival, they have zero tolerance for any assault on the system.

Don’t ever let any of the tragedies you read about on this blog make you think that Black women are defenseless and helpless. And to the extent that we’ve been knocked off course this is a good time to stop being pitiful.

The question isn’t how do we increase the value of Black women. The question is how do you protect the value of Black women. Not just from assaults on that value, but our unwillingness to acknowledge that all of these individuals slights aren’t petty, but part of a systemic assault.

Ripping the clothes off of women walking down the middle of the street in broad daylight isn’t a purse snatching. Its a bank robbery.  

Invading a woman’s home, torturing her and her child for three hours while the neighbors listen and do nothing isn’t a purse snatching, its a bank robbery.  

Yet another television depiction of a Black woman as irrationally angry, violent, downright animalistic isn’t a purse snatching, its a bank robbery. 

We keep treating these things like individual assaults on one Black woman or a “particular group” of Black women. But the impact is systemic.

When Black women believe that they can’t walk down the street or attend public gatherings or  travel freely- that’s a systemic impact. 

The first rule of building the Bank of Black Womanity is having ZERO TOLERANCE for “value robbers” ALL. OF. THEM!

Reader Comments (16)

Very well put and thought out as always! I was looking at it from the wrong angle. This is why I love this blog, it allows for having me think in another direction.

So now, whats the argument for these chicks who enjoy Basketball Wives and all the like. I have tried explaining that those images damage Black women in irreparable ways and I am told its only "entertainment". I get frustrated, because I feel the concept is too cerebral for some folks. Do I just say forget them, or attempt to explain it in some simplistic way they can understand?

Again, brilliant analysis.

September 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMena


The problem with the way you're thinking is that u believe Basketball Wives is the problem. It is not. The problem is the lack of other options. There have and will always be media that appeals to the lowest common denominator. The key is to make sure that's not the ONLY fare out there. And at the moment, particularly with VH-1 - that's about all there is.

September 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Mena, send them this post from Blogmother. Almost everyone can relate to the value of a $20 bill.
And Gina, all I can say is wow! That says it all.

September 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKJ

I know we are valued amongst ourselves, meaning most Black women value other Black women.

I think that this is a highly disputable point. As has been noted on this site often, some of the biggest defenders of men who victimize black women are other black women. I don't believe that black women value each other any more than black men and non-blacks value black women. We are more and more seeing black women physically fighting each other and committing other acts of violence toward each other. So I would say, the first step would be for black women to value themselves and their peers before others will do the same.

September 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAce

Damn Gina you flowing straight from the survival scroll today (lol)

September 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBellydancer

This is a question I have to ask myself everyday, and there is only one small yet simple answer we increase our value as black woman by doing our part,,,,,I have a 17 year old daughter and I almost feel bad for her that she is growing up in today's "society" of Black Woman, I do think we as a people have lost alot of respect for our black women and I think we except it to a certain amount,,,,,since when did when you can't beat them join them become our thing,,,,,I am a very young mother I had my daughter at 17 and I had her brother at 15,,,,so I know what was lacking in my life at that time, which was a strong black woman,,,,I have no regrets in having my children young, it was what made me discover my strength of being a black woman,,,,,and along the way I also find that this is something that can be taught,,,,evidence in my daughter who is gonna be a strong and proud black woman. The only way I see that we can increase our value as a whole is to be strong ourselves, be examples and stop minding our business so much and let our sisters, and our daughters and their friends know that we stand on the shoulders of giants and our ancestors was no joke, so not only do we owe it to ourselves to be these beautiful, proud, black woman that we are built to be, but also that we owe it to them and their journey.

September 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMz. Ghetto Boo

Of all the posts I've read on WAOD, this one by far is the most powerful for me...

September 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLorMarie

That was such a powerful question asked, I am very mindful of whats happening to us as a people in whole and I am very scared.

September 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMz. Ghetto Boo


WOW! I must echo LorMarie's sentiment - Of all the posts I've read on WAOD, this one is by FAR the most powerful for me.

I get it...we must vigilantly PROTECT our worth.

However, I've noticed that some men treat women of other races as if their value (e.g., $20 bill) is worth more (e.g., $40)! At the risk of sounding male-centered (heck, we live in a male-centered culture), how do we effectively build the requisite infrastructure to protect our worth, when we have large segments of our group that will not acknowledge or respect our value? I know that we have to run for the hills to escape self-hating people and ideology...but it is so much of that...is there ENOUGH willing and able souls in our "group" to effectively build an infrastructure that is strong enough to protect and defend our value?

September 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCC

Well said!

This ties in well with the ideological death train post. Instead of accepting the hurtful words and behavior from obvious, and less obvious, supposedly well-meaning folks, we need to work on infrastructure building.

September 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlana 2

I am deeply committed to changing the perception of Black Woman and how we are viewed,,,,,,I have two sons,,,,I can raise them to be two respectful, loving, caring black men with a deep sense of self worth and I do the same with my daughter,,,,I waste no time trying to be their "friend" only a parent and guide,,,,,this is my contribution to my culture,,,I think Black people are born loving, with a good clean heart,,,sometimes the harsh realities of what we deal with in life change who we are originally built, made and born to be,,,,,if we are raised up with a deep rooted sense of self worth and self value there are endless contributions we can make to our society,,,,,children are a gift from GOD,,,i feel very blessed that he thought so highly of me that he felt I should have 3 of them (inside joke) and I always stress to my kids it doesnt matter what money i have or educational degree I hold, no matter how well my business does,,,,if they grow up and go the way of the streets, then I have failed,,,,because the only job GOD gave me was to raise up my kids in a way that would make them contributors to his great earth,,,,,if each one of us took this position and this blessing more seriously,,,imagine the society we would have.....www.mzghettoboo.wordpress.com, www.mzghettoboo.blogspot.com, www.shopurbanappeal.com

September 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMz. Ghetto Boo

@Mz Ghetto Boo

You have hit the nail on the head.

Blogmother is correct that Black women have value because they are human beings. But you have taken her point to next level that Black women are valueable because we are created by God. In short, they're priceless.

So, the trick for Black women is to remind themselves of this truth as Ace said. Then those who want to demean or devalue Black women will be effectively disarmed and powerless.

September 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFred

I think the key to improving our value is to know our value. We HAVE to act like we know we are of value. We can only be in relationships (friendships, mentors, husbands) with those hwo know our value and treat us in a valuable way. If you surround yourself with those who take you for granted and do not return support then you only get what you deserve. When more black women associate (in business, friendships, and marriages) with those who support us and fight for us when we are hurt or our image is damaged then our image and our actual being will be protected. We are not protected because we associate with those who have NO POWER and NO DESIRE to protect us.

September 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

@Mz Ghetto Boo,


September 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMommieDearest

Black women's value is based on there being a black patriarchal community instead of this matriarchal one in which we exist in AND - black men building and trying to pass on legacies and wealth onto their black children - keeping that wealth in the community - through the black woman. Without a patriarchal community black women will never be valued.

You can't exist in a matriarchal community, nor promote ideas of matriarchy/feminism and expect to be valued as other races of women when they exist in strong patriarchies where their men control the economic landscapes of their communities and their women subscribe/submit to a patriarchal structure.

I already know most black women don't want patriarchy because of the way they view black men in control whether they think black men are capable or not, or just plain don't trust them because they believe and have been raised to believe every negative thing about black men that there is.

I don't see black women being valued anytime soon.

November 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLogic and Reason

MY perception of this is to understand that certain things that happen in our communities is just a form of income for other people. Music that is heard is simply a form of income for the artist, Love and hip hop is only a form of income for some people. (It is a very very sad depiction of us, YES!) but What you see and hear does not have to be acted upon. Have uncommon standards for yourselves. We still have power as a black race, mighty mighty power! Every black woman wants to be loved, but love yourself first, and practice upholding the vintage and true definition of love, not the facade instincts of today's definition of it. Learn to imagine and dream again. Look at when we were slaves, we used to sing in harmony and dream of one day being free. These days, people frown upon imagination, but imagination takes your far, very far.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJay

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