Whose Shoulders Do You Stand On?

Usually, this time of year, I am euphoric. I’d be returning home from attending the Allied Social Sciences Association meetings, the annual get-together of economists. I know what you’re thinking–it sounds like a good time.

The meetings allow me to interact with Black and feminist economists and hear young scholars present their research. I am an extrovert (surprise), so these interactions bring joy, laughter, and intellectual stimulation—the energy and inspiration I need to keep doing WISER’s mission.

Despite the meetings being virtual, I found the 15 minutes panelists had before the start of a session was just enough time to reconnect and share a few laughs. There were lots of laughs–not at my expense.

But what renewed my energy was my presentation on four Black women economists–Barbara A. P. JonesMargaret C. Simms, Bernadette P. Chachere, and Julianne M. Malveaux–and also recognized for my efforts to make the economics profession more diverse and inclusive.

The American Society of Hispanic Economists awarded their Outstanding Service Award to the Diversity Initiative for Tenure in Economics (DITE) during the meetings. I co-founded DITE with William “Sandy” Darity before I had tenure. I also received the 2021 Impactful Mentor Award from the American Economic Association Mentoring Program during the meetings.

To receive these awards this year is especially significant.

2021 marks the 100th Anniversary of Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander becoming the first Black to complete the economics doctorate. The National Economic Association is celebrating 100 years of Black Economics to honor her historic achievement.

My presentation on Jones, Simms, Chachere, and Malveaux was part of a National Economic Association session titled, “History of African Americans in the Economics Profession: Post-Civil Rights and the Political Economy of Black Power.” Reading the research of the four economists I discussed, especially Chachere’s article “Welfare and Poverty as Roadblocks to the Civil Rights Goals of the 1980s,” strengthened my resolve to advocate for the disaggregation of data to identify the needs of Asian, Black, Hispanic, Indigenous American, and Multiracial women.

In the first episode of WISER Dialogue, I spoke with Simms and Malveaux about their edited volume “Slipping Through the Cracks: the Status of Black Women,” published 35 years ago.

Last year, Janelle Jones coined the phrase “Black Women Best” – the importance of centering economic recovery policies on Black women.

What will it take for policymakers to value our most vulnerable citizens’ lived experience when crafting social and economic policies?

If it means more research, WISER is committed.
If it is amplifying the voices of others, WISER is committed.
If it is agitating, Mr. Douglas, WISER will agitate.

Thank you for your financial donations and feedback about our work.

I am excited about what 2021 holds for the WISER Community.

Happy New Year,