Like all mythology, that of the criminally bad Black mother spread through storytelling—lurid tales told with bitter resentment. Haven’t you heard the one about the jaywalking mother whose son was hit by a drunk driver? Surely you know all about the homeless mother who left her two children in the car during a job interview. And now there’s the McDonald’s mother who abandoned her daughter at the playground.
But what do these stories leave out? Our welfare system is designed to put everyone to work regardless of circumstance. Unfortunately, the low-wage jobs attainable for most mothers lead to a parental quagmire. Between low paychecks and inflexible work schedules, how is one to arrange for adequate child care? With no apparent options, the answer is often that they simply cannot.
Such women, it’s been repeated to you, are bad mothers who deserve to be punished, and increasingly we’re doing just that. Indeed, the mythology of bad Black mothers was never just a part of our cultural folklore—it’s entrenched in our legal system.
Over the last three decades, the population of incarcerated women has grown by over 800%, and women of color have been locked up at disproportionately high rates. African American women are three times more likely than White women to be thrown in jail or prison.
The justice system doles out particularly harsh punishments for infractions that relate to motherhood. Although pregnant Black and White women take drugs at similar rates, expecting Black mothers are 10 times more likely to be reported to child welfare for drug use, according to the Drug Policy Alliance.
Mandatory minimum sentencing has slowly eliminated judicial discretion and exacerbated the racial disparities. In addition, most child maltreatment laws and definitions of neglect are very vague, leaving room for prejudice based on race, class and gender to creep in. One in nine Black children have an incarcerated parent. Who stands to gain from this?
Quote is from Debra Harrell and The Mythology of Bad Black Mothers in The Los Angeles Times. Though she is out of jail now, she was subsequently fired from her job and her daughter remains in state custody. @prisonculture shared a link for a fundraiser for her at You Caring.
I am fascinated (as in repulsed) by the people pretending to care about the well-being of her daughter—by ignoring all of the structural inequalities and lack of options for Debra—suggesting that she could’ve been kidnapped playing at the busy child park. If they care then they must care about the structural problems that lead to lack of options. And if they care, then they have a funny way of showing it since when Black girls and even adult Black women go missing, there is less concern, less media coverage and often they are marked off as “runaways.” So now Black girls are capable of being taken? I know Harrell was in a bind that poverty creates and even those all about bootstraps magically have no answer for the fact that McDonald’s fired her because they don’t pay her enough to afford childcare. And she worked.
Take a look at Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment by Patricia Hill Collins; she goes further than this article did as to how the mythology of the “inherently” bad Black mother came about and how it unironically co-exists with the “thoughtful mammy” who raises any children (especially White ones) “well,” except her own. Critical read.
Beautiful photos of abandoned places.
THIS IS WHAT THE WHOLE WORLD WOULD BE LIKE IN A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE.
What the fuck is the huge hole in the first one?!!!
in seriousness though the top picture is the bottom of an abandoned nuclear cooling tower
The next generation of scientists is already hard at work solving our biggest problems. Take Deepika Kurup, a 14-year-old high school student from Nashua, New Hampshire. After seeing children in India drinking dirty water from a stagnant pool, she decided, in her words, “to find a solution to the global water crisis.” And then she actually made some progress towards that goal, developing a solar-powered water purification system.
She is the future
Ever notice how it’s always brilliant teenagers making stuff that will actually solve the world’s worst problems, like what do adults even do?
I really need to find a specialist who knows what the fuck fibromyalgia is, who’ll be open to helping me look into Odsp because working is way too much for me, who won’t blame everything on me being fat and/or “lazy”, and who can actually help me find a way to manage my symptoms so I don’t keep getting stuck in fogginess and pain for days and weeks on end
But right now my gp doesn’t even know what the symptoms of fibro are, so I’m having horrible luck. I don’t even know how to do this and doctors make me anxious as all hell but this is a hugely important step to me being able to survive properly and hopefully get some space between me and my family.
Advice, fellow spoonies? I’m looking specifically at Toronto/Scarborough area.
I don’t hate men bc I’m a feminist and I don’t hate men bc I’m a lesbian. I hate men bc instead of sometimes seeing bad qualities, I have to search for redeeming qualities. Very few men have given me reasons to like them as a group. It is not an issue with feminism or lesbians. It is an issue with men and masculinity.
You know, the one that gives housewives/full-time mothers a pension— wages for housework?
It’s ONLY A HUGE VICTORY FOR FEMINISM, SOCIALISM, AND WOMEN OF COLOR. Not a big deal or anything. Tumblr is mysteriously silent about this.
I was just going to scroll by but then I got the joke and burst out laughing
But seriously guys, just imagine them leading humdrum lives like ours.
The usual business.
/looks at notes