Patricia Hill Collins is arguably the most notable theorist in terms of intersectionality and feminism, and prior to her discussion and theoretical analyses feminism did not consider the experiences of women of color, specifically for African American women. This meaning that the majority of feminist theory prior has been produced from the experiences of white women who are usually educated or racially in a position of power, and it is produced for other white women in order to construct progressive movements that technically exclude the issues of black feminism. Key points in describing the discussion of the black mother’s standpoint are the themes of addressing race, gender, and class as they intersect and effect the institutions of economics and politics. The mammy, jezebel, and welfare mother are all archetypes discussed by Collins where stereotypes are used to oppress black mother’s in various spaces of society. Due to racial history of African Americans and modern oppressions like mass incarceration, black women must be “super” mothers and wear a brave face throughout the already challenging experience of raising children while facing these obstacles. “Othermothers” refers to the addition of family infrastructure by any woman helping raise or mentor children whom are not their own biologically. Whether short or long-term, othermothers are simply classified as someone who provides care for children and offers lessons of ethics, teaching, and often community service.
“Stepping out of the realm of Black discourse reveals that far too many Black men who praise their own mothers feel less accountable to the mothers of their daughters and sons.”
I chose this quote because I think it speaks to the multifaceted layers of oppression experienced by black women, and specifically mothers. Apart from the oppression they get outside of their community, there still exists discriminations from black men within their community which forces them to play the role of super mothers in order to make up for the support that is lost in these relationships with black men.
“Every trial I endured, every sacrifice I made for their sakes, drew them closer to my heart, and gave me fresh courage.”
This quote appears to be an example of the strength approach, because the speaker is a black woman who is internalizing her trials as a mother as something that makes her stronger. This is something that black women often must do and though it is not a bad thing that she feels courage from her sacrifices, it is unfortunate that she as an individual is often forced to see the brighter side of her adversity in order to survive.
Welfare has many racialized myths surrounding it, because it provides ammunition for racist policy makers and elements of economics that thrive off structures of oppression. By painting African Americans as the majority of welfare recipients’ even though they are not, members of other races can justify the discrimination of minorities and therefore become the victim in situations where they may see fit in order to push certain agendas and laws.
This photo represents the stigma around welfare recipients, and the common idea that tax payers are supporting lazy members of society who have no intentions of getting or keeping a job. Many people on welfare have jobs, but the nature of our economy does not provide much stability to people who work for minimum wage or larger families. Even well qualified people face struggles trying to get a job, and qualified minorities are less likely to be hired over qualified white applicants. These are a couple of explanations that explain the common myth depicted in this photo.
- Black women are 243 percent more likely to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes
- black women were two to three times more likely to die than white women who had the same condition.
- Black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers
- The disproportionate toll on African-Americans is the main reason the U.S. maternal mortality rate is so much higher than that of other affluent countries
- Black expectant and new mothers in the U.S. die at about the same rate as women in countries such as Mexico and Uzbekistan, the World Health Organization estimates.
Black women in mass incarceration have even harsher statistics when it comes to childbirth as an inmate. As read in a case study from the “Black Mothers Respond…” article, it is common for black women from all socioeconomic levels to fee brushed off and offered lower amounts of empathy from their health-care providers during pregnancy.
Black mothers are inherently a source of strength since they must first overcome issues presented in healthcare to successfully have your children healthily. Throughout raising their children, they must address social conversations about prejudice such as “the talk” when their kids are only young children. My reading and research from this week allow me to apply a better understanding of the intersectionality of oppression, that I as a black woman can use to inform and protect myself throughout life and as a sociologist.