War on All Fronts
Race, Class, Sex, Age, and Nationality
Whether born in Dakar, Kingston, New York, or London, African ancestry, economic status, and gender govern the crucial aspects of a woman's life such as her educational level, her personal health, and her childbearing. Even in the United States, where class distinctions are sometimes not as apparent, class determines the amount and the extent of health care given to women and their children. This is particularly important, since Black women head the majority of households with children in African American communities, and the greatest percentage of these female-headed families live at or below poverty level. Novelist/sociologist Erna Brodber states in her essay included here that "a tendency toward matrifocality" in family structure also exists throughout the Caribbean. Indeed, female-headed families are a constant in many areas of the diaspora. The interlocking factors of race, class, and gender help to keep these women and their families impoverished. Their lives exist as a challenge against that poverty, a personal war that consumes and sometimes overtakes its real-life sheroes.