By EEW Magazine Editors
Experts and scholars find black women and our patterns of behavior fascinating, and are perpetually attempting to assess and analyze us. An area of particular interest is our commitment and devotion to faith as an overall group. A recent survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Washington Post found that 74 percent of black women (and 70 percent of black men) view "living a religious life" as important.
In an article posted on EURWeb.com, the survey's results are cited, which concluded that in hard times, 87 percent of black women from all walks of life, education, class, and income level turn to faith--the highest percentage of any group.
Stacey Floyd-Thomas, an Associate Professor of Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University, weighed in on the study last month. She links black women's historical struggle to our firm faith roots.
“Black women have been the most mistreated and scandalized in U.S. society and culture as they wrestle both individually and collectively with the triple jeopardy of racism, sexism and classism,” said Floyd-Thomas.
According to her, black women, due to our oppression, seek out faith "as a way of finding relief, reprieve, resolution, and redemption."
Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, a professor of sociology and African American studies at Colby College in Maine, on the other hand, views things from somewhat of a different perspective. Gilkes suggests black women's religious devotion can be tied to cultural heritage.
"African Americans are more likely to have grown up with gospel music in the background of their lives, as well as with a mother or grandmother who insisted on all-day church on Sundays and Bible school in the summers," says the article featuring Gilkes, an African American ordained minister and assistant pastor at a Baptist church.