AG: What do you think about this article: Is it Harder for Black Mothers?
CW: One thing I learned about statistics in college is that you can use them to say anything you want. Two people on opposite sides of an argument can use the exact same statistic to prove their point. So I don’t place much faith in statistics. Especially ones that people would use to dictate what I or my children are suppose to be. Next, the opinions from the various women sound like they border on the paranoid, but at the same time I understand them. It’s not easy being mommy and daddy. How about holding these men accountable and at the same time, stop having babies with all kinds of men to whom you’re not married. Having a baby by a man isn’t going to guaranty that he raises his child or that he’ll stay with you, but so many women seem to subconsciously believe just that. Of course, it’s too late to say that to a woman who has already had a child with no father in sight. In her case, she definitely needs to be vigilant, but know the limits of vigilance. It’s a new multicultural world, and if one is not in touch not only with themselves but also with the other ethnicities and cultures surrounding them, then they’re going to find it hard to move freely in society. Black people don’t have the luxury of only associating with Black people and at the same time be financially successful in the world at large. Heck, when you look at the Black celebrities who you think are as Black and down as the day is long, their lawyers and agents and managers (and sometimes wives and girlfriends lol) are everything but Black. Putting forth this whole fear and paranoia isn’t going to help anything, but neither is ignoring the issue of such a high incidence of Black children born outside of marriage. There is a direct correlation with the high incarceration, poverty and unemployment rates as well as the low levels of education. Let’s teach the women to hold off on having kids; to use birth control; to educate themselves; to look beyond where they are and set some goals to better themselves and the same for the men. I may be sounding too much like Cosby when I say that though. Black folks don’t want to hear that. We just want to hear how we’re victims and how we have it worse than anyone and that folks need to take pity on us and give us everything we need as if we were children.
I didn’t even think about the points you raised, but this was my response to my friend who sent me the article, which I’m sure she feels is overzealous. Her former intern actually wrote the article:
AG: I take serious issue with this mother and I think the problem lies in this paragraph:
The message is that our Black children are “less than” start from birth. I’ll never forget a teacher telling me that my three-year-old son seems afraid of White children and that I need to expose him to more “Whiteness” (read: White culture/values/prejudices). While she may have been giving me what she felt was good advice, here’s what I heard: Black mother doing her best to raise a Black boy with a fairly healthy sense of self = FAIL.
Why couldn’t it be that she’s teaching him an unhealthy sense of self – that white children are bad (which is obvious because the child is afraid of white children). It is not what the teacher said, it really is how she took it. I heard “maybe i should spend more time allowing my child to be around other white children, and quite frankly the older he gets the more their will be of them, so i as might as well, get him used to the notion now” I did not read White culture, values and prejudices. I really think it’s this line of thinking that is holding us back from success.
CW: Yeah, I don’t remember even thinking in terms of “race” until maybe middle school. I had attended pretty much all Black schools in L.A. up until the time we moved to Pasadena and I got my first taste of culture shock in the 4th grade. To me it was interesting meeting and interacting with these people who weren’t like me, but in the end we were all just kids and they were people for me to play with. The only way a child knows about race and “Us vs. Them” is if the parent is teaching that mess in the home. Cultural values aren’t a bad thing but when it becomes Us vs. Them then the child is being set up for failure.