Forty-Eight percent of Black female teens have a sexually transmitted disease.
The above figure is not a new statistic. My concern is that it has become the norm and is unacceptable. One fourth of White female teens have an STD. That figure would be a little more acceptable. Is the Black community in denial? Do we feel it’s okay if almost half our female teens have an STD? When I speak nationwide to youth, many of them tell they are virgins. I then ask how can you be a virgin with an STD? They then tell me it was oral or anal sex which they feel did not violate their virginity.
Were you aware that the leading cause of death in the Black community is abortion? Each day, 1,786 Black children are aborted. Can you imagine 52% of Black pregnancies are aborted? Again, this not a new statistic, my concern like with STDs, is that it has become acceptable. Are 52% of all pregnancies aborted acceptable to you? Has abortion become the new form of birth control?
Blacks are 13% of the U.S. population male and female. I would expect Black females to be 13% of females in America who are HIV positive. The reality is that Black females are 64% of the women in America who are HIV positive. Again this is not a new statistic. Are you okay and accepting of the fact that 64% of all women in America who are HIV positive just happen to be Black? Has this become the norm? Is that our reality? Are Black people in denial? Have all the statistics made us numb?
How can we reduce these statistics? While writing Raising Black Girls, I discovered that Black girls start puberty before anyone else. They start at eight years and eight months while White girls start at 9.7. Black girls also start their menstrual earlier than anyone else at 12.06. Whites start at 12.88. In writing the book, I wanted to understand why. I discovered a relationship between puberty, menstruation and sexual activity. In addition, I also found a relationship between puberty, diet, exercise, body mass index and being breast fed.
I want to close with a positive statistic seldom if ever is mentioned. There are thousands of Black girls who wear chastity rings and have taken the oath of abstinence until marriage. I salute and applaud you!
By Jawanza Kunjufu, Ph.D.
Excerpt from Raising Black Girls and Educating Black Girls