I want to suggest something to my fellow white mothers. I think we don’t support our brown and black mothers as much as we should.
We believe motherhood is a prized blessing, a calling from God, and for some, a full-time job. Our children are precious, special, and created by the Creator for His will.
All of this is universal truth, no matter what color our skin is. If I asked you, you’d say you believe this truth. However, in practice, we put our own children first. Loving your own child is universal. Loving your neighbor’s child as your own is of an entirely different Kingdom.
Our actions reveal the truth
We refuse to send them to schools that are predominantly minority, with the excuse that the schools are too poor to meet our children’s educational needs. It doesn’t cross our minds why too often minority children have the worst rated schools? Why do we fail to advocate for their education as we do for our own children? Instead, we vote for school vouchers and tax dollars to build better schools across the street or shell out for private schools. And we pat ourselves on the back for being good mothers.
We don’t post our laments about the latest black child killed by police, or kidnapped in mass, or raped at college. We wait, expecting some fact to come out that will explain why they were the victims of these horrible crimes. We like to believe their parents didn’t care enough to protect them, so we don’t have to care, either.
We do not attend churches where other ethnicities are celebrated and honored, where other races are given upper level staff positions, or where there is a focus on living and developing community within lower income and less accessible neighborhoods. When is the last time you worshiped in the style of another culture other than our white majority one? We often steer clear of the topic of racial justice in services and bible studies but instead focus on pro-life issues, marriage rights and religious freedom. Probably because we view those as impacting our children’s future. Not our minority neighbors’ current reality.
The privilege of white motherhood
Our white majority families, and therefore our children, have so many privileges in this country that make our lives easier and the outcomes of our efforts successful. It’s a fact. We don’t often recognize them, or associate with other families who don’t have them, so we assume everyone has them. The result is that our ignorance and arrogance leads us to believe that our children’s successes are because of our superior love for our children. Which subsequently means our mindset elevates our way of life and the continuing of it over struggling parents who have struggling children.
Mothers of color love their children just as fiercely as we love ours. They have poured their dreams into them, captured their first moments, wiped their tears and sacrificed to provide for them. Just like us. They are just as intoxicated by their child’s smell, every detail of their little faces burned into their memories, as we are.
Why must these mothers live in fear for their child’s life simply because of the color of their skin? Why must they have the added burden of navigating their children through all the micro-aggressions they will experience in their lifetime at the hands of OUR children? I know, you’re probably thinking ‘what is a micro-aggression?’. I didn’t know about them until recently, either. Look it up. Start exploring what black mothers are crying out about. What white mothers who have adopted children of other races are joining in and saying ‘Yes, what they are saying is true.’
Why are we not doing more for our fellow mothers?
I am guilty, too
I know this is upsetting. I can hear the arguments many are probably throwing at their screen right now. They are time-tested arguments that have kept white people in power and everyone else down since this country was founded. If this is hard to conceive of, I beg of you to lay down your reasons and just look deeper, read more and listen to others.
Why are we not lamenting with these mothers who have lost their children to violence? Why are we not questioning school policies that discriminate against their children? Why do we celebrate motherhood, but really only white motherhood?
I have so much to unravel in my own heart on this issue. I am guilty of putting my white children’s value and successes above others. But scripture tells me I HAVE to think just as much about my neighbors as I do myself. I have so much work to do to change this in my heart, in my mind and through my actions. But I recognize that it is a reality, it is a struggle, and it is a sin to ignore it.
I will show myself grace as I make decisions for my children’s future, and I promise to show you grace as you also make yours. But let’s remember to love, cherish and value the lives of ALL children. It will take work. It will take dying to self. It will take getting misunderstood. It will take humility.
As fellow image bearers of the King they are worthy of this effort.