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-   -   What is people's attitude towards you as a SAHM who is a woman of color? (http://www.mothering.com/forum/329-stay-home-parents/793674-what-people-s-attitude-towards-you-sahm-who-woman-color.html)

rootzdawta 11-18-2007 04:44 PM

Another thread had me thinking about the attitude of people towards SAHMs but in particular, SAHMs who are Black, Latina, etc . . . basically women of color. I found that when I was a WOHM, that was met with a whole lot more respect than now that I am a SAHM. The feeling for me as a Black woman has always been that working out of home is the default--whether I can afford not to or not. No one ever made a negative comment to me about WOH when I was but people feel free to degrade my SAHMing and say I am wasting my time and degrees. When work got so miserable I broke out in hives, *no one* would dream of suggesting that I quit and go back to SAHMing.

I got to thinking that this is probably due to the fact that throughout our history, Black women and other women of color have always worked outside of the home--sometimes forcefully. Traditionally, being a SAHM was not an option. When the feminist movement came around and droves of White women (perhaps just WASP women with means, i.e. could survive on husband's income) were clamoring to enter the workplace, women of color (and poorer women) had already been there often doing the jobs that no one else really wanted to do. As such, as I see it, it is often the expectation that I work out of home and people often view my SAHMing as a cop-out, laziness or ask "that's it?" There's the ideal of the "Strong Black woman" who carries the whole world on her shoulders--earns the bacon and cooks it too--nothing slows her down, she holds her own. Somehow, SAHMing doesn't match up to that ideal. I hear White women say that they've faced vitriol for being a WOHM but I've never heard the few Black WOHM express the same thing. In fact, Black WOHM who may have stayed-at-home for a while are congratulated and told "Well, it's about time" when they re-enter the work place whether they can afford to not work or not. This has been my experience.

What has been yours?

Mama Poot 11-18-2007 04:59 PM

Well, I am not a woman of color but I live in a city with a 60% AA population, not sure what our Hispanic population is currently but I know that people of color outnumber whites in population here. Unfortunately, things I've heard coming out of some white folks' mouths about black women staying at home are just terrible and very offensive. The whites around here say that the only reason black women stay at home is to collect welfare, they're lazy, uneducated, etc etc etc...I really feel for you if you are a WOC who is also a SAHM. These prevailing attitudes in this day and age really baffle me, I mean isn't choice what the women's movement was all about? We have the choice to work and the choice to stay home, yet we're subject to all kinds of criticism no matter which path we choose. It is endlessly frustrating.

pauletoy 11-18-2007 05:03 PM

Ok so I am white and I know this thread was not written for me but I just had to respond.

Those who have made you feel inadquate for being a SAHM are ignorant. Being a mom is the most imporant profession on earth regardless of race. If it weren't for mothers the "human race" would not exist.

It makes me so sad to know that in 2007 there are still some of the same inequalities for women of color.

So my opinion is just this: A mom is a mom no matter what your external appearance happens to be.

I commend you for making the choice to be with your children despite the obvious negatism you have recieved.

Sorry for the soap box.

Tonja

naismama 11-18-2007 11:58 PM

To the OP--

I totally know where you are coming from. Most (I would say "all" but I'll be conservative) of the negative comments I've received about being a SAHM have been from other black women. Most white and non-black women who have commented on my status say they think it's *wonderful* that I stay home with my babies. Then they proceed to tell me how many years they spent at home with their children. So I think your historical socio-economic assessment of the stigma associated with being a SAHM of color is dead on.

I will never forget when my ignorant mother in law (who is from the caribbean) embarassed me in front of other inlaws. A cousin asked me had I gone back to work yet (dd was 5 months old). Before I could answer, my MIL chimed in "she's a woman of leisure." This makes me so sad when I think of the attitude many WOC have toward SAH, breastfeeding, nonspanking and other AP things. I think many of our brown children and communities as a whole would be so much better if more mothers of color practiced some of these parenting choices.


--naismama

VanessaS 11-19-2007 09:55 AM

Quote:
So I think your historical socio-economic assessment of the stigma associated with being a SAHM of color is dead on.


It's sort of like the homeschooling-debate. As in: it took us forever to get into these schools and now you're leaving them!

That Is Nice 11-19-2007 12:03 PM

Gosh, I honestly can't think of one reason why I would think any differently about a SAHM just because of the color of her skin.

I can't think of one justifiable reason why anyone else would either. I'm sure there are issues and stigmas related to this, but that doesn't make them right.


Joyster 11-19-2007 06:56 PM

Many people assume that I'm somehow on the system since I'm a SAHM of colour. It's really annoying. But hey, people also assume that because my skin colour isn't the same as my son's and since I'm darker, I'm the nanny.

I've also got the "You're wasting the rights we've fought for you in the job sector" from feminist circles. But it's very white, non-immigrant, middle class thinking, since I'm the first SAHM in my family period! And that includes the white side too. And I have no problems making that clear to them, along with a few reading recommendations from women of colour.

It's strange, I get more annoyed when I have to deal with feminists or lefties (and I count myself as one of both) who use that argument against me being a SAHM than I would some ignorant person assuming I'm on welfare.

Nikki98 11-21-2007 12:43 AM

My, this has really been on my mind lately. I am a woman of color (and a sahm as well) and I have been getting heat from my own family about going back to work (at least a comment a week), and I have been at home for about three years now. So at times I feel like those I know think I'm taking the "easy road". I think one of the biggest challenges I find with being a stay at home mom of color is the feeling of being an oddball. I feel like I don't fit in with anybody too well, its kinda a lonely feeling-and at times it sucks. So op I totally get what you are talking about.

Jojo F. 11-21-2007 03:30 AM

I am not a woman of color, but it really makes me sad that you have to face this.

Even though I am white, I do face similar reactions from people who ask what do I "do" and when I say I stay at home I always get a look of like, "oh, that's ALL you do?"

Don't feel bad that you stay home, it is in my eyes, what mothers were meant to do. I may get flamed for this, but the whole feminism attititude has done women no good. Granted they should get equal pay if that's what they choose to do, but if you choose to stay home, no matter if you are blue, green, yellow, black, red, orange, purple, or white, we are doing our world a good thing. Kids need guidence and they get it first and foremost from home(sorry if I went off on a tangent).

I just wanted to lend my support to you and others out there. You are not alone with stereotypes. Because I had my DS at a young age I MUST be a drug addict who got knocked up and the man I am with is not be the father.
Oi, all I can do is take care of my child as I see fit, instill in him good morals, and respect. To HECK with the rest of them

Just keep doin' what you are doin' mama. Don't let "them" bother you. You will always come across someone who has something nasty to say because they are jealous of what you have. A loving and respectful home

mammal_mama 11-21-2007 04:41 PM

How blessed your children are to have a mama like you!

When I read this thread the other day, I typed a response, then didn't send it, because I felt as a white mama it might seem intrusive for me to share my observations. Then I came back and read up-to-present, and thought maybe I could add a new perspective to the mix.

I once worked in a childcare center that was predominantly staffed by women of color. During the 4 years I was there, I heard many conversations that made me think most of the women felt it was inappropriate to expect too much of their men.

For instance, one woman said her sister was "such a snob," because she wouldn't even date a man unless he had a job and a car. I was surprised that this was seen as snobbery. I mean, as a young single woman myself, who wanted someday to be a SAHM, I certainly wasn't interested in dating a man who wasn't good provider material. It didn't have anything to do with being a snob -- it was just practical, to my way of thinking.

One time a daycare parent shared that she was sooooo frustrated with her husband that morning. While she was taking her shower, her husband (who normally didn't change diapers) noticed their baby was poopy and decided to surprise Mama and change the diaper.

Mama sure got a surprise! She heard a bloodcurdling scream and came running out of the shower, all soapy, to see her poopy baby rolling all over the bed, rubbing poop in her eyes and laughing, while Daddy had a literal conniption fit because he'd gotten some poop on his hands (for the first time in his life; this was their SECOND child by the way).

Of course, the mama laughed about the incident later -- but was just very upset and stressed at the time. I realize lots of white men have these kinds of double standards, too. The difference is, I think most white women would sympathize more with the woman in this situation. They might say, "Isn't that just like a man" -- but their sympathy would be with the woman.

In contrast, the women I worked with all felt this mama was being too hard on her man. She should feel lucky that at least he'd "tried" to do something to help her.

I was like, puh-lease! What if the situation had been reversed, and that husband had heard a bloodcurdling scream and come running out of the shower all soapy, thinking maybe something horrible had happened, maybe an intruder ... and there was his wife, shrieking because she had some poop on her hands, letting the baby spread poop all over herself and the bed while Mama wigged out?

It just seemed bizarre to me, that they were berating the mama for not being more appreciative of her dh's "gesture." And I'm certainly not speculating that men of color are any less likely than white men to be good husbands, fathers, and providers -- but it certainly seems that some (though certainly not all) women of color don't have very high expectations of the men in their lives.

It also seems to follow, that some women of color are critical when they meet a woman of color who's willing to "load down" and "burden" her "poor" man, by letting him earn all the money while she's home with the kids. Of course, I meet some white woman who are like this, too. So I don't want to over-generalize, and hope this post doesn't come across as an over-generalization. I know there's tons of variety among all cultural groups.

ehcor 11-21-2007 05:39 PM

Wanted to respond to mammal_mama-

I'm a black and not a SAHM, or a mom at all yet, but I didn't work for a couple years due to illness, to get my MBA, to volunteer, etc. My husband is white and makes a very high income. When I was "just" in school or "just" volunteering--you're right, the attitude from some black women was really depressing. When we were trying to get pregnant a couple of years ago, with the goal that I would stay at home once the baby was born, I had to be very selective about who I told—I wasn’t in the mood to hear some doomsday scenario or how “it must be nice—grumble grumble.” And don’t even get me started about AP or NFL . . .

I will say, however, that the more education and the higher the socio-economic status of the black woman, the less likely I encountered that kind of attitude—I don’t like saying that, but it’s been true in my experience. When I share a similar lifestyle to the WOC I’m talking to, it’s a totally positive conversation. We know how rare it is that one of “us” gets to have choices. We celebrate our good fortune—whether it’s staying at home or scoring the promotion with the corner office.

As you said, white women sometimes express the same negativity, but it’s usually a very specific thing—I used to work at a major newspaper in downtown DC. A (white) woman I truly admired, a very powerful bureau chief, was incredibly cold to me the day I informed everyone I was leaving. I was leaving for school, but I didn’t explicitly say that since I wasn’t sure which school I was choosing out of the five that accepted me, I wanted to take a few months off, we were buying our first home, but not sure where, etc. Basically, she seemed to feel the timing was “suspect” since I had only returned from my honeymoon 2 months earlier. At the time, privately, my attitude was “Well &%&# you, too. I don’t have to explain myself—I guess not working is only an option for white women.” But then, here was this woman, in her 50s—who clawed her way to the top. So I just let it go.

And about the men thing—yep. In my current position I have two assistants, one black and one white—both at least 10-15 years older than I am. If I ever express something less than 100% positive about my husband, I get chastised by the black woman. It’s not disrespectful or anything, but she carries this attitude that I should just be so damn grateful and it’s very irritating. I’ve always had high standards. Period. I chose him specifically—he didn’t fall from the sky and I didn’t win the lottery. Just because I’m black doesn’t mean I’m not entitled to the big house and man who completely adores and supports me in all ways. And I know she means well, but I encounter this attitude pretty much all the time—waitresses, store clerks—any situation where my husband and I are together and he appears to “spoil” me—they always make some comment. The white women never do (and I’m not saying it’s because they’re angels—some get very hostile expressions on their face when they have to serve us—but at least they don’t say anything).

Thankfully, I have a good group of girlfriends—about half who are SAHMs, half in demanding careers—and we all support each other.

mammal_mama 11-21-2007 06:53 PM

ehcor -- I see your point about it maybe having more to do with socio-economic status than race. Because I'd definitly say that the white women who express hostility toward other women who stay home and "don't help" their husbands, are mostly women who've grown up with very little and had to work hard all their lives. Women who've always carried a heavier load than their husbands, who often had addictions and weren't reliable.

Of course, some women have grown up with very little, married low-income men, and not been at all ashamed that their husbands worked 2 or more jobs to support them, so they could be home full-time with the children. So it's not totally an income-thing, either.

Maybe it's more of a self-esteem thing --and of course self-esteem can be impacted by racism and poverty. But sometimes heaps of parental love, encouragement, and respect can help even a child who grows up in really tough circumstances, still know she's a worthy human being who has as much right to high standards as the Queen of England.

I'm happy that you and I both believe in ourselves and have high standards -- and that we've married men who love and respect us, and who are responsible family men.

And by the way, when I used the phrase "good provider material" -- I wasn't specifying a certain income-level or looking down my nose at men who struggle with job security. My own dh has had his own problems with this. I see a good provider as someone who puts his family's needs ahead of his own wants. Period. A man can have a very high income and still not be a good provider.

ehcor 11-21-2007 09:04 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
ehcor -- I see your point about it maybe having more to do with socio-economic status than race. Because I'd definitly say that the white women who express hostility toward other women who stay home and "don't help" their husbands, are mostly women who've grown up with very little and had to work hard all their lives. Women who've always carried a heavier load than their husbands, who often had addictions and weren't reliable.
absolutely--It's weird how that plays out, though. I grew up with very, very little. I was always encouraged to get an education, find a well-paying career path, and never, ever depend on anybody. So I was surprised how supportive my family (the ones I have a healthy relationship with) has been no matter what I've chosen to do. That's a big part of it. My husband grew up poor as well--and his sisters, while not hostile, seemed very confused when I wasn't working. They grew up working from the time they were like 13--both had full-time jobs in highschool, both have had children with unreliable men.

Quote:


And by the way, when I used the phrase "good provider material" -- I wasn't specifying a certain income-level or looking down my nose at men who struggle with job security. My own dh has had his own problems with this. I see a good provider as someone who puts his family's needs ahead of his own wants. Period. A man can have a very high income and still not be a good provider.
I agree--I was just pointing out that my interaction with other black women (positive and negative--close friends and family and random people) almost always involves a discussion of finances--very in-your-face, candid discussion. And because my husband and I are truly self-made*, it's irritating when the you-should-be-grateful contingent think it all just fell into our laps--sometimes because he's white, so he must have had it easy.--They don't want to hear about his family of 7 (no dad around) on welfare, him dropping out college at one point to pay the bills while his mother was dying of the cancer she was too poor to fight, or the siblings with constant health, child, and money problems--no, they see his suit and think I've "got it made."

It's not popular to say, but I do care about having a good provider--what people don't get is that even when we had nothing, he worked his @ss off every day--I mean everyday. At one point he had three jobs just to keep us afloat--so I'm sensitive when I suspect that when someone thinks I have it made now, would not have been impressed when he delivered pizzas, newspapers, had a full-time job, and college at night, etc.

ShadowMom 11-21-2007 09:13 PM

Wow. This thread is interesting, I never thought much about how a WOC's decision to be a SAHM is much more politically charged, but it is.

It's sad that each individual's choices are supposed to somehow represent their whole group, but that's exactly the sort of thing that goes on.

It's hard enough being a SAHM - I was one for 2 years and it's not exactly a respected profession to lots. But I can see how people would make really ignorant and offensive assumptions to a WOC who is also a SAHM.

That's really sad but at least we have boards like this where you can discuss it and maybe raise some awareness.

Sorry that happens to you, mama.

mammal_mama 11-23-2007 10:15 AM

I also wanted to comment about what one poster said about people assuming that if you're a SAHM who's a WOC, you must be on government assistance.

As a white SAHM who has sometimes received WIC and Food Stamps, and who still gets medical assistance for her family, I find it offensive and intrusive for anyone to look down on a SAHM, even if her family DOES happen to be getting some help.

I sure don't think it's right for people to assume that POC + SAHM = Government Assistance. I just don't think anyone should be ashamed, SAHM or not, for getting some assistance in times of difficulty. People who have a problem with the way tax-money's allocated should get involved with politics -- not behave in hurtful ways toward individuals who use the programs.

shayinme 11-23-2007 10:35 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by rootzdawta View Post
Another thread had me thinking about the attitude of people towards SAHMs but in particular, SAHMs who are Black, Latina, etc . . . basically women of color. I found that when I was a WOHM, that was met with a whole lot more respect than now that I am a SAHM. The feeling for me as a Black woman has always been that working out of home is the default--whether I can afford not to or not. No one ever made a negative comment to me about WOH when I was but people feel free to degrade my SAHMing and say I am wasting my time and degrees. When work got so miserable I broke out in hives, *no one* would dream of suggesting that I quit and go back to SAHMing.

I got to thinking that this is probably due to the fact that throughout our history, Black women and other women of color have always worked outside of the home--sometimes forcefully. Traditionally, being a SAHM was not an option. When the feminist movement came around and droves of White women (perhaps just WASP women with means, i.e. could survive on husband's income) were clamoring to enter the workplace, women of color (and poorer women) had already been there often doing the jobs that no one else really wanted to do. As such, as I see it, it is often the expectation that I work out of home and people often view my SAHMing as a cop-out, laziness or ask "that's it?" There's the ideal of the "Strong Black woman" who carries the whole world on her shoulders--earns the bacon and cooks it too--nothing slows her down, she holds her own. Somehow, SAHMing doesn't match up to that ideal. I hear White women say that they've faced vitriol for being a WOHM but I've never heard the few Black WOHM express the same thing. In fact, Black WOHM who may have stayed-at-home for a while are congratulated and told "Well, it's about time" when they re-enter the work place whether they can afford to not work or not. This has been my experience.

What has been yours?
As a WOC I agree with you 100%. When my eldest was born almost 16 years ago I had to work so when dd was born 28 mos ago, I stayed home the first year and I got the when you going to work talk alot from folks. Which is fascinating to me because my Mom was a SAHM , in fact when she passed an old childhood friend commented my Mom was the ony Black SAHM she had ever known.

There really is a bias towards Black women who choose to SAHM in part I think because its such a rarity, so its even less respected than it is for white women. Yes, its the expected norm that Black women will work..

Shay

RasJi7 11-23-2007 10:14 PM

My husband is a Man Of Color MOC I guess I am living here in his country which is predominantly black.

I am currently 6-1/2 months pregnant and his family members and aquaintances always ask me if I am working. I was in the US for two months helping my Mother move and because we were homeless for the 4th or 5th time since I moved here with him. While I was in the US my husband found a great job and got a nice apartment for us.
Do they really think it would make sense for me to get a job at 6-1/2 months pregnant? Doing what?

It seemed very bizarre to me but reading this thread I am starting to see where this is coming from. I guess it will be a shock to them when they find out I am not going to work once the baby is here either!

I have worked since age 14, put myself through college (where I met DH!) and always wanted (since I've thought about it) to be a stay at home mom if at all possible. I agree with the other posters that I didn't win the lottery, I was very selective with who I dated and what I was looking for in a partner. My husband and I talked very early on about what kind of life we wanted for ouselves and our familes 'someday'. It was his viewpoint that he should provide for his family and I should be able to do whatever I please whether it is stay at home or work. This worked great for me since I like the option of working if I want- I didn't want to be stuck with a man that would resent me for leaving the home and working if that turned out to be more fulfilling for me.

I pride myself in providing a warm and loving home that my husband loves to be in, nutritious meals that save us lots of money because I have time to do everything from scratch and being able to research and educate myself about pregnancy, childbirth, nutrition, parenting, etc. I cannot imagine being able to do all this and staying in my career path as it was before (architecture).

My contribution to this thread is to concur with you ladies that it does seem to be a cultural thing in some instances certainly in mine here in the caribbean and also to let you know what I am going to do to bring awareness to the issue. I will be proud of my decisions and hope that you all are as well.

I know that I am doing what's best for myself, my husband and our family. I am so glad that I happened upon this thread- it's so relevant to my life right now. I really needed that perspective that you ladies shared. Thank you.

lunapier 11-26-2007 10:47 PM

Just dropping a quick line to say... yes, I too get a lot of grief because of this. I practised as an attorney for 7 years and am so over it. BTDT. This is a new chapter for me.

When people ask me why I am a SAHM? I respond, "because we can afford to." This is a snobby response. But, their question is equally as rude.

Julian's Momma 12-02-2007 11:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by rootzdawta View Post
I found that when I was a WOHM, that was met with a whole lot more respect than now that I am a SAHM.
I am not a WOC, but I felt this way too when I made the transition. I think working places such a label on who you are and people make so many assumptions about you b/c of what you do. Who you are as a person becomes so much more obscure to others when that can't find a label for you so they overgeneralize.

BOODEL 12-22-2007 03:44 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikki98 View Post
My, this has really been on my mind lately. I am a woman of color (and a sahm as well) and I have been getting heat from my own family about going back to work (at least a comment a week), and I have been at home for about three years now. So at times I feel like those I know think I'm taking the "easy road". I think one of the biggest challenges I find with being a stay at home mom of color is the feeling of being an oddball. I feel like I don't fit in with anybody too well, its kinda a lonely feeling-and at times it sucks. So op I totally get what you are talking about.
I totally agree with what you are saying. I am a Latina SAHM who comes from the inner city and I really don't fit in there anymore and I really don't fit in with the crowd just outside of the city. It is isolating.

Turquesa 12-22-2007 12:11 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by naismama View Post
I will never forget when my ignorant mother in law (who is from the caribbean) embarassed me in front of other inlaws. A cousin asked me had I gone back to work yet (dd was 5 months old). Before I could answer, my MIL chimed in "she's a woman of leisure." --naismama
Of all of the disparaging comments I've heard about SAHMing, this gets my blue-ribbon award as the worst! Ugh!

You may not see it from your angle, but I suspect your MIL may be envious of you...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joyster View Post
Many people assume that I'm somehow on the system since I'm a SAHM of colour.
Awesome thread topic, btw! I couldn’t resist and had to respond, joining the other white posters.

I can’t speak as a WOC, but I can speak on this topic as a social worker (currently on sabbatical as a SAHM!) I know that a disproportionate per-capita number of people needing some form of assistance are AA, particularly WOC. This status quo, in my opinion, is nothing short of structural racism.

Unfortunately, it also engenders crass stereotypes, such as the assumption that WOC = poor = on welfare. From this comes the presumption that she’s a “welfare queen.” And shouldn’t “welfare queens” be getting off their butts and working and not “mooching” from the system? Shouldn’t they be, as OP portrayed, carrying the world on their shoulders? (I don’t hear these presumptions in Joyster’s post, just anecdotally and in society at large).

Some book I read, (the author’s name escapes me), made the astute point that the so-called “Mommy wars” are largely a white, middle-class construct, and the argument of SAHM v. working mom is framed in white, middle-class terms. I think that all SAHMs get some form of social pressure, but I agree with the OP about the pressure having special biased nuances for WOC’s.

This all brings us back about what OP says about women of color getting flack for being SAHMs. Part of it is due to the historical background she mentioned, and another part of it has to do with where that background has left us in the present. So much of the lack of social support for SAHMs of color, I believe, is based on these racist, or at least culturally biased, stereotypes.

nikag 12-22-2007 03:43 PM

I get the stigma as well. My dad is black and Native American, my mom is German and Welsh. My husband is Irish. The criticism comes from my in-laws. My husbands dad's side mostly. They still aren't happy that my husband chose me as his life partner. I've always been given the impression that they were hoping for someone less....brown.

DH and I had decided early on that if we had children, I was going to SAH. I can't fathom bringing a child into the world to have someone else raise him if I have a choice in the matter. Soon after we conceived (I was 2-3 months along), I stopped working and all I ever heard from the in-laws was (and still is), "Are you working? No? Why not?" and "When are you going back to work?"

A couple of months ago I let it really upset me.

I've been working since the age of 16. I'm the FIRST in my family (on both sides) to attend and finish college. I studied physical science (not easy), graduated in high standing, and worked the entire way through to pay tuition and living expenses. I've been in the corporate world - worked for a major pharmaceutical company, a Fortune 500 shipping company, federal conservation and ecology organizations. I've been in management, in research. At one point my yearly salary more than tripled that of what my mother has EVER made in a year.

I came a looooooong way from where I started. I made a choice to do something with myself even though my surroundings didn't encourage the choice. I created opportunities for myself where it seemed none existed and I did it for a reason. I did it partly because I didn't want to give anyone the satisfaction of stereotyping me. I decide my own fate. So it was really upsetting to me, that after all that work and time and not knowing whether I'd sink or swim and drawing on every bit of strength of character I possessed to come out the other side, I STILL ended up with the stereotype.

It just kills me sometimes. To be honest with you, it makes me angry sometimes.

rootzdawta 12-22-2007 07:35 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikag View Post
It just kills me sometimes. To be honest with you, it makes me angry sometimes.
I know.

AlpineMama 12-22-2007 10:02 PM

When I got married I changed my last name to my husband's Hispanic last name... And although we're not "on the system" we do have state health insurance. And we're right now in a poor area. So even though I grew up in a very privileged, white area, went to a private university, etc., am not really a WOC, I still get the prejudice. It's really interesting to make that change in social status, even though I don't really... buy into it? Sometimes it amuses me and sometimes it makes me want to cry, but it's definitely a tangible prejudice.

I also noticed when I went back to the town I grew up in to meet a friend for coffee, I was walking around the town... a really yuppie suburb... I got a lot of smiles and positive looks. I realized WHY there was such a drastic difference from the disapproving, almost disgusted looks I got at home, when I got into a conversation with a nice young lady with twins... they were all nannies and assumed I was one too! The girl seemed SHOCKED that the baby was mine! Why is it considered OK to take care of another woman's children all day but if you take care of your own, you're lazy? I don't get it. They get to go home and unwind at the end of the day; I have to do it 24 hours a day with no breaks.

The best part though is when people equate SAHM with being uneducated. I'm not saying that having a degree makes me better than anyone, far from it. But I *did* work hard to get my B.A., and I am slightly offended when people act shocked that I went to college. I usually get asked if I graduated high school, and when I tell them that I was just short of getting an M.A., they sometimes say, "but I thought you don't work" - as if that somehow made sense. Are the two connected somehow?! I went to school to get an education, not necessarily to obtain some fast-track career.

Tangents, sorry.

But I do totally agree on the whole previous line of threads... Too many points for me to cut and paste most of them right now.

meowee 12-22-2007 10:11 PM

I like in a mostly black neighborhood (AA, haitian, and african) and my kids attend a school that is the same demographic. There are lots of SAHMs, and lots of WOHMs too. Maybe it's because I'm the one who's the minority here, but I really don't see the black SAHMs any differently from white SAHMs. I lot of them are really organized and contribute a lot to the school, which makes me feel ultra-lame because I'm lucky if I can crawl out of bed and get my girls to school on time, dressed, and with combed hair. The WOHM moms amaze me with their energy and ability to do so much... same as I feel about white WOHMs.

A few black SAHMs I have spoken to have the exact same issues I see here on the board-- worried about being too dependent on the hubbies, getting bored, feeling conflicted. Many of the moms at my kids' school are college educated so feeling they are "wasting" their education comes up too-- just like us here (and the last poll I saw said that MDC is 90%+ white).

rootzdawta 12-23-2007 12:17 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by meowee View Post
Maybe it's because I'm the one who's the minority here, but I really don't see the black SAHMs any differently from white SAHMs. . . .

A few black SAHMs I have spoken to have the exact same issues I see here on the board-- worried about being too dependent on the hubbies, getting bored, feeling conflicted. Many of the moms at my kids' school are college educated so feeling they are "wasting" their education comes up too-- just like us here (and the last poll I saw said that MDC is 90%+ white).
Yes, SAHMs of color do have those same issues but there are also other issues that complicate our situation that are distinctly ours (because of history and culture) and that White SAHMs do not deal with (and therefore hardly get discussed on >90% White MDC). That was the point of this thread.

And, not to be rude or anything, but what I'm talking about is feeling a difference as a woman of Color who stays at home. Not just seeing/observing it. It's the annoyance you feel when you take your LO to story time at the library and the librarians ASSumes you don't read to him at home and looks straight shocked (mouth hanging open and all that) when you let them know that you actually hold a Master's degree and are as educated if not more educated than they are--just because you are available at 10:00 in the morning to bring your child to story time (an no, you didn't just finish pulling a graveyard shift). It's not even about "Oh, she's wasting her education". It's the assumption that I don't even have one--couldn't possibly, gotta be on the system.

DRJ 12-26-2007 12:56 AM

What an interesting thread. I have enjoyed reading the responses. I am in the odd position of being non-white (well, half-white) mom who works part-time from home, so that leaves me out and about during daylight hours. Because I am half-Asian and my baby has blond hair and blue eyes, strangers usually assume that I am his nanny. Once it's established that I'm not the nanny, I do get that radical attitude shift described in an earlier post that tells me that it's okay for an Asian woman to spend the day caring for someone else's child, but not okay for own.

Quote:
It's the annoyance you feel when you take your LO to story time at the library and the librarians ASSumes you don't read to him at home and looks straight shocked (mouth hanging open and all that) when you let them know that you actually hold a Master's degree and are as educated if not more educated than they are--just because you are available at 10:00 in the morning to bring your child to story time (an no, you didn't just finish pulling a graveyard shift).
For Asians, there's a two part slam because you are either completely uneducated because you're a recent immigrant or you are way highly educated (I have an MS in Biochemistry and I'm an attorney) because you're part of that over-achiever culture. No one (Asians included) seems to recognize the middle ground where an educated woman chooses not to work or to step a few rungs down on the corporate ladder in order to keep her kids at home.

shayinme 12-27-2007 10:55 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by rootzdawta View Post
Yes, SAHMs of color do have those same issues but there are also other issues that complicate our situation that are distinctly ours (because of history and culture) and that White SAHMs do not deal with (and therefore hardly get discussed on >90% White MDC). That was the point of this thread.

And, not to be rude or anything, but what I'm talking about is feeling a difference as a woman of Color who stays at home. Not just seeing/observing it. It's the annoyance you feel when you take your LO to story time at the library and the librarians ASSumes you don't read to him at home and looks straight shocked (mouth hanging open and all that) when you let them know that you actually hold a Master's degree and are as educated if not more educated than they are--just because you are available at 10:00 in the morning to bring your child to story time (an no, you didn't just finish pulling a graveyard shift). It's not even about "Oh, she's wasting her education". It's the assumption that I don't even have one--couldn't possibly, gotta be on the system.
Man, I can so relate to what you said, at present I am a quasi-AHM since I have been unemployed for the last 6 mos and really trying to figure out my next steps but I was a SAHM for dd's first year. I did the storytime thing and it never ceased to amazed me how the other Mamas treated me.. like WTF was I doing there. : As someone who does have a masters degree amd has taught at the community college level, you can almost hear a pin drop when that comes up in conversation with SAHM's. I remember taking my dd to a playgroup at the park with some other Mamas I know and there was a Mama there I didn't know and she was basically asked me why was I there? Did I live in this town? : No I traveled from the "hood" to get here (course I live in Maine so that would be hard to do)

No, I do think there is a different burden on WOC who are SAHM's yes some of what is faced is what any SAHM faces but some of it is based on race and the assumption that if we are SAHM's its because we have no skills, live off the state, etc.

Shay


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