People don’t like the word “war” to be used to describe anything that does not involve uniformed troops and guns overseas. But, here is one of the definitions of war:
war (v:) to carry on active hostility or contention; to be in conflict or in a state of strong opposition.
How am I to interpret the following news stories then, all which have occured within the last few years?
Marissa Alexander will miss the next 20 years of her children’s life because she fired a gun (without harming anyone) to scare off an admitted abusive partner. (He admitted on the record that he abused ALL of his children’s mothers.)
Raven Dozier was kicked in the stomach by a uniformed police officer. She was in her third trimester of pregnacy when this occured. The police felt that this was acceptable force.
Tiffany Rent was tasered by a cop while in her third trimester of pregnancy. Prior to the tasing, she was informed that she should contact Jesse Jackson and her baby bump was called a hernia.
Raquel Nelson was prosecuted for her own child’s death. The problem is, the child was killed by a drunk driver, not her. They were trying to cross the street to catch the bus home.
Kelly Williams-Bolar is enduring harsh legal ramifications for sending her children to schools outside of their districts. She wants a better education for her children.
Tanya McDowell is accused of “stealing” public education, also sending her child to a different school than the child was assigned. She was homeless at the time.
Ani Lacy faces custody battles because she chooses to home school her child and is a stay-at-home-mom and blogger.
Shannon Cooper was arrested for cheering too loudly at her daughter’s high school graduation.
Traci Cornist was accused of cheering too loudly at her popular son’s graduation, so his diploma is being held. (Kimmel had them on the show via video and had the audience BOO the superintendent who upheld the decision. Nice.)
Black mothers are type-casted as uncaring, irresponsible and criminals and that is not what Black motherhood is or is about. Black women are deemed “good enough” to nurture and raise others’ kids (as Black women have done for Whites for centuries) yet not deemed valuable as mothers of their own children.
Motherhood is often painted as something White, upper-class, and stay-at-home. Motherhood is more complex than this.
“Pro-lifers” have NOTHING to say about Black mothers being brutalized by the police in their third trimesters yet have time to post blogs, tweets, and posters about how Black women choosing reproductive freedom, contraception or abortion are “murderers?”
Politically, we know that the end of concern for a fetus is that first breath of air. Otherwise, we would not have a larger percentage of children living in poverty than many other industrialized nations, poor education, and lack of concern for parents unless they are financially well-off and/or White.
The intersection between motherhood itself, education, income and the law is not missed by me in these stories.
I am not a mom so often, I don’t even realize what Black mothers are going through. Believe me, I know the effects of White capitalistic patriarchy on Black womanhood. But motherhood adds additional challenges and stressors that I want to remain cognizant of. I want the best for Black mothers and every time I encounter one of these stories that are not “random” or “isolated,” I realize the financial, legislative, and social warfare that is being waged against Black moms.