Tuesday, October 21, 2008

African-American Baby Boomer Women Have no Time for Suicide

There's a new report out saying the suicide rate among middle-aged white women is rising rapidly. According to a report recently released by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the annual suicide rate for middle-aged white women between 40 and 64 rose 3.9 percent. The raw numbers for white women in this age group show a 35 percent jump, from 2,429 suicides in 1999 to 3,280 in 2005.

Meanwhile, the suicide rate for African-American baby boomer women barely raised the meter and certainly wasn't enough to trigger a discussion as to why the differences between the two female groups. What's the stress causing middle-aged white women to want to end it all?

Who knows better than an African-American baby boomer woman why it would be easier just to throw in the towel and push up some daisies than to deal with all of the craziness and drama that goes on in our daily lives.

Here's the facts:

More than half of us are single---with no real prospects in sight. Many of our men are behind bars, another portion are on the down low. Then you have those who are just looking for a handout, while handing out their own goodies to someone else.

The vast majority of us are not only trying to take care of ourselves but also take care of our children--children who have been written off by the public school systems and have been left to raise themselves because "dead beat daddy" ain't around and mama has to work more than one job.

And while on the subject of children--let's not forget about the mothers who are raising their children's children. Too many moms are stressed out over their wayward sons and daughters. Too many moms have grieved over seeing their children die from violence.

Some of us who were blessed to become first-time homeowners are now being threatened with foreclosure because someone sold us a dream that was beyond our means. Now we have to decide whether to put food on the table, keep gas in our vehicles or keep a roof over our heads.

On the other hand, some of us have never been afforded the opportunity to live on Main Street and Lord knows, we don't know the directions to Wall Street so that just leaves us stuck between a rock and a hard place.

OK, so if that ain't enough to make you want to kill yourself, what will?


Unknown said...

The women who are struggling to care for children, family and grandchildren are far too busy giving of themselves than to ever consider throwing in the towel. Bravo to those women who know what is most important in life!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Beverly, as a white woman who has not personally had to deal with many of these experiences, you laid everything out quite clearly. You gave me real pause to think of and honor my black sisters. Thank you--women who shoulder so much responsibility need to be commended and appreciated on a daily basis!

Anonymous said...


You won't find many African-American women (in my age group) telling it like it really is in cyberspace.

But as a journalist, I feel it is my duty to present all sides of being a woman---and, in my case, an African-American woman.

Many of us are so apprehensive to talk about race issues for fear of how it will be interpreted but I say put it out there and let's engage in some healthy dialogue--like you just did. Thanks!