All Articles Tagged "black moms"

What Black Moms Know

May 6th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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I FEEL sorry for the others. You know those mothers: the highly informed, professionally accomplished — usually white — women who, judging by the mommy blog fodder, daytime TV, and new parenting guides lining store shelves, are apparently panicking all day, every day, over modern child rearing and everything that comes with it. They feel compelled to praise their kids, but fret the dosage. They worry about pesticides; this year’s best birthday-party theme; enrichment summer camps; preparing Johnnie for college admissions in 2025 (it’s never too early); and, of course, the biggie — keeping their kids happy.

Most adults know that happiness, unlike, say, integrity or self-reliance, is elusive and often fleeting. Still, so-called experts have convinced these mothers that their job is to plant joy into their children’s small bodies. Not surprisingly, this overabundance of advice has turned mothering into a hot mess of guilt, confusion and hard labor.

Thankfully, I am a black mom. Like many of my fellow sisters, I don’t have time for all that foolishness. Our charge is to raise — notice I did not say “parent” — our children in a way that prepares them for a world that, at best, may well overlook their awesomeness and, at worst, may seek to destroy it.

One thing that makes it easier for us is that, unlike many white women, most black women in America come from a long line of mothers who worked outside the home, and have long been accustomed to navigating work and family. My mama worked, as did her mama and her mama before that. According to the University of Maryland sociologist Bart Landry, the author of “Black Working Wives: Pioneers of the American Family Revolution,” black middle-class wives, long before the feminist movement of the 1960s and ’70s, rejected the cult of domesticity for a threefold commitment to family, career and community. These families “ushered in a more egalitarian era,” and a lifestyle their white counterparts adopted decades later.

When I was growing up during the ’70s in Buffalo, my siblings and I were met after school by Papa, my grandfather who lived with us and cared for us while our mother was at her factory job. If Papa was not around, there were any number of “aunties” and other mothers from the neighborhood available to feed us and taxi us to and fro. Most of these women were also employed, but they did shift work in hospitals or had jobs in retail with varied schedules. No matter. As a black mom on the block, everyone’s kid was your kid.

Mommy wars? “That doesn’t make a lick of sense,” Mama, who’s now 80, would say. Mama lived to sit at the kitchen table — our light blue princess phone nestled in the crook of her neck as she took long drags on her cigarette — gossiping about her girlfriends. But there was a mutual sense of love and respect among the moms of her generation. They were always tired, just like moms now. But never too tired to offer encouragement — words like, “Girl, all you can do is the best you can.”

Read the full article here.

Ylonda Gault Caviness is the author of the forthcoming book “Child, Please: How Mama’s Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked Myself.” An independent journalist, focused on family, parenting & relationship topics, she’s a former iVillage senior producer—parenting & pregnancy. Contributor, Essence magazine. Graduate of Northwestern University. New Jersey resident. And mother to three of the coolest human beings on the planet.

Flashback Friday: 15 Memorable Black Movie Moms of the 90’s

March 27th, 2015 - By Rich
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In the 90’s, we watched as some of our favorite actresses played hard-working, inspirational and sometimes feisty mothers. Today we take a look back at some of our favorite black movie moms of the 90’s. Now, not all these mothers were perfect—with some movie moms, we were inspired by their fortitude and with others we were turned off by their bad decision making. Either way, these complex characters were memorable—from Halle Berry as Khalia Richards in Losing Isaiah to Angela Basset as Reva in Boyz n the Hood.

Flashback Friday: 15 Memorable Black Movie Moms of the 90’s

Study Finds Racism Against Pregnant Black Moms Can Injure Their Unborn Babies

August 28th, 2012 - By Alissa Henry
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"pregnant black woman"

Source: Shutterstock.com

 

A new study shows that the negative effects of discrimination and racism can last a lifetime, beginning when a child is still in the womb.

Buzz Feed reports:

Black women in America are over twice as likely as white women to give birth to babies with low birth weight, and socioeconomic and healthcare disparities don’t fully explain the difference. Since low birth weight can predispose people to lung disease, cardiovascular problems, and diabetes later in life, researchers have been looking for a reason why it’s linked to race. Now a study reveals one answer: discrimination against women can actually affect the weight of their babies.

The study, published online in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine published findings by Valerie Earnshaw and her colleagues from Yale University.  Their findings, after interviewing more than 1,000 black and Latina girls and women between the ages of 14 and 21, suggest that chronic, everyday instances of discrimination against pregnant, urban women of color may play a significant role in contributing to low birth weight babies. Medical News Today says low birth weight can result in fetal and prenatal morbidity, suppressed growth and slower cognitive development and chronic diseases later in the baby’s life.

The good news: across the board, the women reported relatively low levels of discrimination. However, even those low levels were associated with a significantly increased risk of low birth weight. That was true whether the women felt the discrimination was motivated by race or other factors.

The study also suggests one possible explanation for the harm discrimination might do to a developing fetus. Women who experienced more discrimination were also more likely to be depressed, and depression — both in this study and in previous research — has been found to be associated with low birth weight. Earnshaw says that by treating pregnant women’s depression, healthcare providers and social workers might be able to lessen the effects of discrimination.

Many studies, including a new one on ten-year-olds have found significant health disparities between white Americans and minorities, extending throughout life. Some have attributed these disparities to income, but other research [PDF] suggests that’s not the only factor. And discrimination has been shown to harm physical and mental health as well. According to Earnshaw and her coauthors, that harm may begin not just with children’s first experiences of prejudice, but with what their mothers go through before they’re even born.

This results of this study confirm what Ziba Kashef of ColorLines RaceWire.com wrote nearly a decade ago about the disproportionately high number of black babies who are born with a low birth weight:

While many ob/gyns and health experts point to causes like the timing of prenatal care or unequal health insurance access, others are asking broader questions about race, racism, and health.

Back then, Dr. Michael Lu, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and public health at UCLA, said researchers have found that even when they control for such varied factors as poverty, housing, employment, medical risk, abuse, social support and so on, 90 percent of the differences in birth weight between black and white moms remains unaccounted for.

One thing they found back then seems to be confirmed now and that’s the fact that protective effects of culture and close familial and community ties serve as a buffer to stress and racial discrimination.

Maybe the key to having more healthy babies in the Black community is to spend a substantial amount of time in an environment where racial discrimination is unlikely.

What do you think about this study? Have you ever felt you were a victim of discrimination there were depressed as a result?

Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink

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Another Shyte Say: From Black Moms

January 13th, 2012 - By MN Editor
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By now you might be tired of the You Tube Shyte say meme but seriously, if you have to watch just a few more videos, these are three you need to see. One of my Facebook friends posted them on her page last night and I spent the next 20 minutes watching and re-watching them, discussing them with my sister and recalling those exact phrases coming out of my own mother’s mouth. It was so hilarious that I had to share with some of you. I know somebody will be able to relate. Check out the three videos below and let us know which one reminds you the most of your mother.

Shyte Black Moms Say

Shyte Black Momma’s Say

Shyte Black Single Moms Say

Can you relate?

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