The apron-clad, white, stay-at-home mother. Black bus boycotters in Montgomery, Alabama. Ruth Feldstein explains that these two enduring, yet very different, images of the 1950s did not run parallel merely by ironic coincidence, but were in fact intimately connected. What she calls "gender conservatism" and "racial liberalism" intersected in central, yet overlooked, ways in mid-twentieth-century American liberalism. Motherhood in Black and White analyzes the widespread assumption within liberalism that social problems—ranging from unemployment to racial prejudice—could be traced to bad mothering. This relationship between liberalism and motherhood took shape in the 1930s, expanded in the 1940s and 1950s, and culminated in the 1960s. Even as civil rights moved into the mainstream of an increasingly visible liberal agenda, images of domineering black "matriarchs" and smothering white "moms" proliferated. Feldstein draws on a wide array of cultural and political events that demonstrate how and why mother-blaming furthered a progressive anti-racist agenda. From the New Deal into the Great Society, bad mothers, black or white, were seen as undermining American citizenship and as preventing improved race relations, while good mothers, responsible for raising physically and psychologically fit future citizens, were held up as a precondition to a strong democracy. By showing how ideas about gender roles and race relations intersected in films, welfare policies, and civil rights activism, as well as in the assumptions of classic works of social science, Motherhood in Black and White speaks to questions within women's history, African American history, political history, and cultural history. Ruth Feldstein analyzes representations of black women and white women, as well as the political implications of these representations. She brings together race and gender, culture and policy, vividly illuminating each.
A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America
Author: Nefertiti Austin
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.
Category: Biography & Autobiography
The story every parent in America needs to read The path to creating a family is almost never easy or straightforward. As a single African American woman, Nefertiti Austin knew her journey would be more challenging than most. Eager to finally join the motherhood ranks, Nefertiti felt discouraged by the roadblocks that seemed nearly insurmountable as she fought to adopt her son from the foster care system. Along the way, Nefertiti realized that American society saw motherhood through a primarily white lens, and that there would be no easy understanding or acceptance of the kind of family she hoped to build. Motherhood So White is the story of Nefertiti's fight to create the family she always knew she was meant to have and the story of motherhood that all American families need now. In this unflinching account of her parenting journey, Nefertiti examines the history of adoption in the African American community, faces off against stereotypes of single, Black motherhood, and confronts the reality of raising children of color in racially charged, modern-day America. Honest, vulnerable, and uplifting, Motherhood So White reveals what Nefertiti knew all along—that the only requirement for a successful family is one raised with love.
Currently, lone mothers and their children make up almost 20 per cent of families with dependent children in the UK, a threefold increase since 1970. Yet, while they are often cited by politicians as both a symptom and cause of social breakdown, relatively little is known of the causes, consequences and conditions of lone motherhood in Britain and throughout Europe. Good Enough Mothering? provides accounts of historical patterns of mothering and ideologies of the family with cross-national comparisons of policies and experience of lone motherhood in developed and developing countries. Countries include: Britain, US, Norway, South Africa, Kenya, Thailand, India, Brazil and the Caribbean. This engaging edited collection will appeal to students of social policy, women's studies and social work.
"Andrea O'Reilly's coverage is comprehensive. Her book reflects current trends in the field, particularly the examination of reproductive technologies and the Internet and their implications for motherhood and mothering."---Heather Hewett, State University of New York, New Paltz, writer and editor of the Global Mama column for Girl with Pen (www.girlwpen.com) --
Psychology's approach to sexual orientation has long had its foundation in essentialism, which undergirds psychological theory and research as well as clinical practice and applications of psychology to public policy issues. It is only recently that psychology as a discipline has begun to entertain social constructivism as an alternative approach. Based on the belief that thoughtful dialogue can engender positive change, Conversations about Psychology and Sexual Orientation explores the implications for psychology of both essentialist and social constructionist understandings of sexual orientation. The book opens with an introduction presenting basic theoretical frameworks, followed by three application sections dealing with clinical practice, research and theory, and public policy. In each, the discussion takes the form of a conversation, as the authors first consider essentialist and constructionist approaches to the topic at hand. These thoughts, in turn, are followed by responses from distinguished scholars chosen for their expertise in a particular area. By providing an array of comments and thoughtful responses to topics surrounding psychology's approaches to sexual orientation, this valuable study sheds new light on the contrasting views held in the field and the ways in which essentialist and constructionist understandings may be applied to specific practices and policies.
When this brother and sister knelt down to arm-wrestle more than a decade ago, there was no racial tension between the two. She was a cocky, 16-year-old, blond basketball player who lifted weights. He was a skinny tween who didn't think his sister could beat him. This was a brother and sister contest which went on for the next three years, and then he won. She's never agreed to a physical match since, so now they just argue--sibling rivalry and love. There wasn't a racial divide. True, his older brother dubbed him a "cry baby" after he complained about a stranger calling him a "chocolate boy." Except, he was only 4-years-old at the time and didn't view the title as racist; he just hated chocolate. A few years later, he was the one laughing at the "dumb blond" sister when she super-glued her hands together and the school suggested medical intervention. This book is a story of motherhood, adoption, failed adoptions, race, and love. A must read if you've ever loved a child. Professional Endorsements:This book shines with the author's humanity, wisdom, and intelligence, along with a sly humor that made me laugh out loud several times on each page. Read it and be reassured that there is hope for the world after all. "Four of ViAnn five children are adopted and one is not. Like Crayolas, the five range through colors from "peach" to dark brown, and the book tells the story of shepherding them through the years from birth to all grown up. Like every mother, adoptive or otherwise, ViAnn worries about how to "do it right." She struggles with the conflict between her simple - simple? - love for her kids and the esteem-challenging monkey wrenches that life, culture, and the community throw at her. It comes as no surprise that, in addition to the usual parenting issues, the mixture of the children's colors elicits gratuitous commentary from friends, relatives, and random passersby - commentary that (again, no surprise) ranges from the excruciatingly cruel to the breathtakingly dumb. But no need to rush to the author's defense. She takes it all on with an admirable equanimity that comes from her emotional steadiness together with the hanging-on-by-your-teeth that is the death-defying roller coaster of motherhood." Joan Traub, New York Attorney/Writer. Mother of three grown daughters. "Years ago ViAnn opened her home to children -regardless of race. In these stories, she opens her home again to us and shares her journey of adoption and inter-family racial relations. Motherhood in Black and White provides a unique and equalizing microcosm of race relations. ViAnn uses her family's experiences as a backdrop for the emotions of both blacks and whites as well as adoptive parents and children. While many might assert that race relations in the United States have regressed, ViAnn provides us opportunities to see additional possibilities of growth - provocatively and movingly presented. It is a journey that grows and matures in a compelling and persuasive way, and will take the reader along with it. And as she, at the end of the first chapter, makes a specific plea, we can hear a general one - will we, both black and white, overcome our fear, and help?" Dr. Verl T. Pope, Professor of Counseling, Northern Kentucky University. While reading this book I realized the insights offered in these pages aren't just for those who are raising children of difference races, they are for everyone. The author shares her story in an eye-opening and honest way, giving the reader an understanding of the unique challenges and rewards involved in raising a family of adopted children of different races. It's a compelling read, complete with humor, introspection, and a way of looking kindly past the foibles of others and choosing to remain positive and loving - a wonderful message for everyone." L. Whiting, Adoptee and Public Relations and Career Specialist.
The apron-clad, white, stay-at-home mother. Black bus boycotters in Montgomery, Alabama. Ruth Feldstein explains that these two enduring, yet very different, images of the 1950s did not run parallel merely by ironic coincidence, but were in fact intimately connected. What she calls "gender conservatism" and "racial liberalism" intersected in central, yet overlooked, ways in mid-twentieth-century American liberalism.Motherhood in Black and White analyzes the widespread assumption within liberalism that social problems—ranging from unemployment to racial prejudice—could be traced to bad mothering. This relationship between liberalism and motherhood took shape in the 1930s, expanded in the 1940s and 1950s, and culminated in the 1960s. Even as civil rights moved into the mainstream of an increasingly visible liberal agenda, images of domineering black "matriarchs" and smothering white "moms" proliferated. Feldstein draws on a wide array of cultural and political events that demonstrate how and why mother-blaming furthered a progressive anti-racist agenda. From the New Deal into the Great Society, bad mothers, black or white, were seen as undermining American citizenship and as preventing improved race relations, while good mothers, responsible for raising physically and psychologically fit future citizens, were held up as a precondition to a strong democracy.By showing how ideas about gender roles and race relations intersected in films, welfare policies, and civil rights activism, as well as in the assumptions of classic works of social science, Motherhood in Black and White speaks to questions within women's history, African American history, political history, and cultural history. Ruth Feldstein analyzes representations of black women and white women, as well as the political implications of these representations. She brings together race and gender, culture and policy, vividly illuminating each.
The pathbreaking investigation into motherhood and womanhood from an influential and enduring feminist voice, now for a new generation. In Of Woman Born, originally published in 1976, influential poet and feminist Adrienne Rich examines the patriarchic systems and political institutions that define motherhood. Exploring her own experience—as a woman, a poet, a feminist, and a mother—she finds the act of mothering to be both determined by and distinct from the institution of motherhood as it is imposed on all women everywhere. A “powerful blend of research, theory, and self-reflection” (Sandra M. Gilbert, Paris Review), Of Woman Born revolutionized how women thought about motherhood and their own liberation. With a stirring new foreword from National Book Critics Circle Award–winning writer Eula Biss, the book resounds with as much wisdom and insight today as when it was first written.
The Ethos of Black Motherhood in America: Only White Women Get Pregnant examines the ethos of Black and white mothers in America's racialized society. Kimberly C. Harper argues that the current Black maternal health crisis is not a new one, but an existing one rooted in the disregard for Black wombs dating back to America's history with chattel slavery. Examining the reproductive laws that controlled the reproductive experiences of black women, Harper provides a fresh insight into the “bad black mother” trope that Black feminist scholars have theorized and argues that the controlling images of black motherhood are a creation of the American nation-state. In addition to a discussion of black motherhood, Harper also explores the image of white motherhood as the center of the landscape of motherhood. Scholars of communication, gender studies, women’s studies, history, and race studies will find this book particularly useful.
With this purported new 'era of high-profile, mega successful, black women who are changing the face of every major field worldwide' and growing socioeconomic diversity among black women as the backdrop, Embracing Sisterhood seeks to determine where contemporary black women's ideas of black womanhood and sisterhood merge with social class status to shape certain attachments and detachments among them. Similarities as well as variations in how black women of different social backgrounds perceive and live black womanhood are interpreted for a range of social contexts. This book confirms what many of today's African-American women and interested observers have known for some time: Conceptions and experience of black womanhood are quite diverse and appear to have grown more diverse over time. However, the potential for a pervasive and polarizing black 'step-sisterhood' is considerably undermined by the passion with which these women cling to the promises of cross-class gender/ethnic 'community' and of group determination. Embracing Sisterhood draws its analysis from in-depth interviews with eighty-eight contemporary black women aged 18 to 89 covering a variety of issues prompted by a survey questionnaire capturing various dimensions of gender/ethnic identity and consciousness.
Configurations of the Maternal through Politics, Home, and the Body
Author: C. Wiedmer
Category: Social Science
This is a collection of essays on the spatial dimensions of motherhood. Engaging both theoretical and empirical perspectives, contributors describe the intersection of space and gender across a variety of contexts with both familiar and unexpected territories explored.
Race, Class and Internationalism in the American and British Women's Movements, C.1880s-1970s
Author: Christine Bolt
Publisher: Psychology Press
Category: Social Science
This readable and informative survey, including both new research and synthesis, provides the first close comparison of race, class and internationalism in the British and American women's movements during this period. Sisterhood Questioned assesses the nature and impact of divisions in the twentieth century American and British women's movements. In this lucidly written study, Christine Bolt sheds new light on these differences, which flourished in an era of political reaction, economic insecurity, polarizing nationalism and resurgent anti-feminism. The author reveals how the conflicts were seized upon and publicised by contemporaries, and how the activists themselves were forced to confront the increasingly complex tensions. Drawing on a wide range of sources, the author demonstrates that women in the twentieth century continued to co-operate despite these divisions, and that feminist movements remained active right up to and beyond the reformist 1960s. It is invaluable reading for all those with an interest in American history, British history or women's studies.
The port city of Liverpool, England, is home to one of the oldest Black communities in Britain. Its members proudly date their history back at least as far as the nineteenth century, with the global wanderings and eventual settlement of colonial African seamen. Jacqueline Nassy Brown analyzes how this worldly origin story supports an avowedly local Black politic and identity--a theme that becomes a window onto British politics of race, place, and nation, and Liverpool's own contentious origin story as a gloriously cosmopolitan port of world-historical import that was nonetheless central to British slave trading and imperialism. This ethnography also examines the rise and consequent dilemmas of Black identity. It captures the contradictions of diaspora in postcolonial Liverpool, where African and Afro-Caribbean heritages and transnational linkages with Black America both contribute to and compete with the local as a basis for authentic racial identity. Crisscrossing historical periods, rhetorical modes, and academic genres, the book focuses singularly on "place," enabling its most radical move: its analysis of Black racial politics as enactments of English cultural premises. The insistent focus on English culture implies a further twist. Just as Blacks are racialized through appeals to their assumed Afro-Caribbean and African cultures, so too has Liverpool--an Irish, working-class city whose expansive port faces the world beyond Britain--long been beyond the pale of dominant notions of authentic Englishness. Dropping Anchor, Setting Sail studies "race" through clashing constructions of "Liverpool."
The Different Faces of Motherhood began during a conversation between the two editors, developmental psychologists who have spent our professional careers working with infants and very young children. We are well aware of the impor tance of infants to their mothers and of mothers to their infants. However, we were particularly aware of the fact that, whereas our knowledge about infants increases exponentially . each decade, our assumptions about mothers change relatively little. We were concerned about the theories that underlie the advice given to mothers and also about the assumption that mothers appear to be generic. More and more we have learned about individual differences in babies, but not more and more about individual differences in mothers. Our second concern has been to expand our knowledge about mothers. Our assumptions were few and our questions were many. We believed that the experience of women would vary greatly, both in outlook and in behavior, depending on each woman's age, marital status, finan Cial status, ethnicity, health, education and work experience, as well as a wom an's own experience in her family origin and her relationship to her husband. If we are to understand child development and believe that the early years are important in a child's life, then it seems critical to examine our beliefs about mothers. If we are to understand human development, then being a mother is surely an important area of inquiry.
No Permanent Waves boldly enters the ongoing debates over the utility of the "wave" metaphor for capturing the complex history of women's rights by offering fresh perspectives on the diverse movements that comprise U.S. feminism, past and present. Seventeen essays--both original and reprinted--address continuities, conflicts, and transformations among women's movements in the United States from the early nineteenth century through today. A respected group of contributors from diverse generations and backgrounds argue for new chronologies, more inclusive conceptualizations of feminist agendas and participants, and fuller engagements with contestations around particular issues and practices. Race, class, and sexuality are explored within histories of women's rights and feminism as well as the cultural and intellectual currents and social and political priorities that marked movements for women's advancement and liberation. These essays question whether the concept of waves surging and receding can fully capture the complexities of U.S. feminisms and suggest models for reimagining these histories from radio waves to hip-hop.
Traces Morrison’s theory of African American mothering as it is articulated in her novels, essays, speeches, and interviews. Mothering is a central issue for feminist theory, and motherhood is also a persistent presence in the work of Toni Morrison. Examining Morrison’s novels, essays, speeches, and interviews, Andrea O’Reilly illustrates how Morrison builds upon black women’s experiences of and perspectives on motherhood to develop a view of black motherhood that is, in terms of both maternal identity and role, radically different from motherhood as practiced and prescribed in the dominant culture. Motherhood, in Morrison’s view, is fundamentally and profoundly an act of resistance, essential and integral to black women’s fight against racism (and sexism) and their ability to achieve well-being for themselves and their culture. The power of motherhood and the empowerment of mothering are what make possible the better world we seek for ourselves and for our children. This, argues O’Reilly, is Morrison’s maternal theory—a politics of the heart.
Race, Gender and Class : a Discourse on Disadvantage
Author: Ruth Chigwada-Bailey
Publisher: Waterside Press
An incisive account of how the multiple disadvantages of race, gender and class come together to create deeper levels of discrimination and unfair treatment in the criminal process. Written by one of the UK's leading women commentators in this field, who has found a strong niche in gender and discrimination studies.