COMMENTS: Race & Gender

The only other campaign-related coverage assigned to a correspondent on any of the three newscasts was Ron Allen's feature for NBC on the key statewide staffers in the Democratic primary in South Carolina. It was the culmination of the network's weeklong five-parter African-American Women: Where They Stand. South Carolina was the apt place for the topic and politics to intersect because half of the Democratic electorate there is black, and a majority of black Democratic voters are female. The chief operatives for both leading campaigns belong to that demographic: Stacey Brayboy for Barack Obama and Kelly Adams for Hillary Rodham Clinton. "Both campaigns got endorsements from prominent African-American women," Allen added, poetess Maya Angelou for her and TV talkshow host Oprah Winfrey for him.

Of the other four parts of NBC's series, two were on racial disparities in women's healthcare by in-house physician Nancy Snyderman--breast cancer on Tuesday and heart disease on Thursday. The other two, filed by Rehema Ellis, were sociological. Monday, Ellis described the gender gap in the African-American middle class: 64% of all black college students are female; women control 62% of African-American spending power; and it is women who are "responsible for the dramatic growth in black businesses." Wednesday, Ellis--who shared with us that she became the black single mother of an adopted son after her divorce--illustrated the absence of married heterosexual parents for most black children with clips from the movie Why Did I Get Married? and the documentary Soulmate. Some 40% of black women stay single all their lives, compared with 16% of white women; and when they are born, fully 70% of African-American babies have an unwed mother.


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