The rates of suicide among black women are the lowest of any group. Why is this so, and why doesn't anyone want to talk about why it is so?

While driving around today, I got to thinking about why it is that despite all of the challenges we face and lack of privileges, black women are the least likely (by leaps and bounds) to give up on life and choose to commit suicide compared to other groups?

White males have the most privileges of all groups in the United States, but they are by far the most likely to sink so deeply into misery that they choose to take their own lives. How can you have so many privileges but still have such a negative viewpoint of life?

The Stats

I've discussed this briefly on my blog in the past, but I feel that it needs to be highlighted again. The stats are amazing, to say the least, and I'm really surprised that the mainstream media doesn't talk about these concerning stats more. At the very least they should be investigating solutions. I guess it's because these statistics, for once, place black women in a positive light, and that doesn't fit with the media's "formula."

Here are the facts:

(Out of 100,000 people)

The rate for white men is 25.96%

The rate for white women is 6.71%
The rate for black men is ~11%
The rate for black women is ~ 2%

Doesn't that extremely high rate for white men concern anyone? Men in general have higher rates than women, so maybe the media should discuss their problems more and investigate these stats in more detail.

(And ironically, despite these statistics women are still called the "weaker sex.")

Seriously, think about this. Being black and a woman in America comes with a number of disadvantages compared to being white and a man in America. Black women are constantly slandered for being what God made us, while white men (and women) sit on a pedestal for the most part. They get the benefit of the doubt for everything from walking into a store to shop, to getting a job, while black women are instantly judged negatively for everything based on what people see in the media.

So how do you explain these suicide rates?


There are three main theories that can explain this phenomena.

1) With additional societal pressure to be perfect due to the privileges that they enjoy, white males become devastated and can't deal with the disappointment when they don't measure up to their peers.

2) Lack of an upbringing that discourages suicide OR there isn't enough of a belief in what could happen in the Afterlife.

3) Black women are simply stronger and more resilient in the face of life's challenges than other groups.

I believe that all of these theories play a part in why black women have the lowest suicide rates, but I lean toward the third to explain most of these results. Black women are just more resilient in the face of adversity. 

It may be our hard past, the way we were raised, being used to struggle, belief in God or the strong encouragement/legacy of our ancestors pushing us on, but the fact of the matter is that we do what we have to do. We keep going.

Black Women Are Ridiculed for Being Strong, But Is it Just Admiration in Disguise?

Though this important fact is swept under the rug and not publicized as much as stories about "why black women are overweight" or "why black women are single," I think it is a major accomplishment that black women simply do not allow the pressures of life to force them to commit such a sad and final act as suicide.

So the next time someone ridicules black women for being "too strong" or "too independent," I will just look at it as an expression of admiration. Instead of making fun of a black woman, maybe you can learn something from her. 

Maybe it would help to experience the struggles of a black woman to truly appreciate the value of life and also to learn how to rise above the madness.



  1. Anonymous On August 11, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    Great insight indeed. On a micro level of certain social, physiological and anthropology circles this is a shockingly big subject of why black have low suicide rates. But, of course, on a macro level, this is a small subject and point of interest.

    With that said I will say I have heard much about your first theory. I have not heard theory two to often but you bring up a great aspect in which I never really thought. Makes me wonder how powerful religion plays into this phenomena.

      CB Lady On August 11, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    Thank you for your comment swimkarim, I do think a strong belief in God plays a significant role.

      Anonymous On August 12, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    Classy Black Lady,
    I loved this piece. I have admired your point of view and many of your blog posts for some time, this is my first time commenting. I hope you continue to blog about these important matters, we need more people like you counteracting all of the negative feedback we get in the mainstream media.


      Anonymous On August 13, 2013 at 2:42 AM

    I have to say that I really don't trust any stats coming from the mainstream regarding Black women, even if they look complimentary on the outside. I still see them as a way to either insult Black women, or control us and box us in.

    I personally cannot stand the recent reporting of Black women "supposedly" having the lowest rates of suicide because it dismisses the many Black women who suffer from depression and other disabling emotional issues. Instead of addressing such issues, the harping on stats claiming Black women to be the most resilient causes many women to bottle up their issues, and keeps them from seeking help and remaining unhealthy.

    These stats also keep Black women from garnering any sympathy for the myriad of discriminations, hardships, violence and insults we face daily - for example, Black men receive sympathy and empathy and thus many people and organizations, including those non-white ones from outside the Black community, will willingly join together to "help" Black men be free of these types of societal stresses. On the other hand, Black women very rarely do not receive this kind of sympathy, empathy or help at all, and are expected to trod on alone, stoic and resilient in the face of societal hate and disregard. The person who is considered to be never affected doesn't need any help, right? (sarcasm)

    I consider the reporting of these statistics as hugely damaging and utterly insulting to Black women because what it implies is that we can give carte-blanch approval to insulting Black women day in and day out, but PRETEND as if it has no effect on Black women. If we throw stones but it doesn't hurt the one they are being cast at, why stop? It won't affect them anyway.

    Publicly call Black women racist names? Constantly report racist statistics as if they are cold, hard facts? Allow non-stop media harassment? Disregard violent crimes against Black women in favor of crimes affecting Black men only? Allow colorist conglomerates with huge influence to allow non-Black women to remove you from consideration within your own race? Allow Black men to blame you for all society's ills while garnering sympathy for themselves? Plus EXPECT and almost REQUIRE that Black women take such treatment with a silent and quiet acceptance? YES , this is what is being promoted when the pseudo-complimentary statistic about low suicide rates among Black women is batted around.

    It's an easy way that influential racists use to avoid having to take responsibility for the discrimination , blatant insults and micro-aggresions metted out daily against Black women.

    And an easy way for a community that has basically abandoned it's own women in every way to stick its collective heads in the sand and intentionally turn a blind eye to its terrible treatment of its own women. An easy way way to totally disregard the humanity of Black women.

    After all, we'll be OK, or at least better than x,y, or z group.

      CB Lady On August 14, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    @ Anonymous I agree with some of your comment, it is important not to sweep the mental issues that many black women experience under the rug. However, I do think it is admirable that despite these issues we still place a high value on life and pushing onward.

    Thank you to everyone for your comments!

      Anonymous On August 18, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Maybe things aren't as good for the average white guy as everyone likes to pretend.

      Anonymous On April 12, 2015 at 4:09 AM

    STANDING OVATION!!!!! YES!!!!!! I AGREE WITH EVERYTHIN, EVERYTHING YOU SAID! Yes, we have been abandoned by our community LONG time ago. What people consider "strength" is deep denial about what is happening in our community. I think that sone of us are finally starting to wake up to the horror that is the reality of black womensl lives.


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