I am many things, but the most political identity I have is that of a Black mother, in a world that is determined to treat me and my offspring as surplus population — without value or consideration. In recent weeks, the blogosphere has seen quite an assault on mothers, despite the fact that it is clearly not a universal experience, or that this is a role fulfilled by women. I have often said that White women cannot understand the political nature of this role in the same manner as WOC, because when their children are born, society will see the potential – the continuation of the White race whereas; our children represent the a percentage of the population that Whiteness would be more than happy to see disappear from the earth.
Even though the experience of WOC with motherhood has an extreme history of violence, socially the lie of childhood being a protected class or that we value mothers continues to circulate as a truism. We do after all celebrate mother’s day and Hallmark makes a fortune peddling cards to celebrate the event. Retailers sell various nonsense products we do not need and claim it is all about uplifting motherhood. But when we need real support, in terms of house, education, health care, moderated working hours etc., suddenly motherhood is not a priority. Even movements that are supposedly quick to support women’s issues, will disregard the importance of this role, because it is seen as a betrayal of the feminist agenda. I will say that again, the fruit of my womb, my most precious and beloved child is seen as a sign of my betrayal. There are various reasons why mothers cannot afford to stay silent, but I have found that despite our words, so many refuse to listen and so perhaps seeing what we are subjected to will make a difference.
The above women were fighting for housing for their children in France. The state used the police to inflict violence on them for demanding housing, which should be a universal right. This African women protested with children tied to their back, the way women have been carrying their babies since nearly the dawn of time and yet this is constructed as some sort of bizarre oddity. The police were very well aware that they planned to do violence to these women, because they escorted the press from the scene and then broke the one camera that was filming their heinous actions. Daily the police are used to enforce White supremacy in the western world and yet unless it is caught on tape, Whiteness refuses to admit its crimes against us — and even when it is filmed, victim blaming is almost instantaneous to defend its position.
When I saw this video I cried with my mothers heart and held my children. I once again knew the fear that no Black mother ever really escapes. Whiteness may no longer be selling our babies from us, but it will not hesitate to hurt them in real and meaningful ways and it will not hesitate to separate us from them. The reporter made a point of saying that the officer picked up the child after it had been dragged across the pavement, as if this somehow renders the circumstances that it was in acceptable. Any excuse will do when the victims are Brown/Black.
When these White women piously argue that our children do not have the right to take up space, this is what they are supporting. The idea that it would be limited is ridiculous, when we know that White supremacy has a vested interest in our destruction. This situation essentially came down of the right of Black/Brown mothers to take up space with their children and if you cannot see the connection between this and the terrible reaction of the feminist community, then you are indeed short-sighted. Exclusion is exclusion and society will always follow through to its natural consequence.
The above video is also a sign of exactly how terrible poverty can be in this world, even in a country that is considered socialist. The rich are forever waging war against the poor and it is the women and children that pay the largest price. The heart of a Brown/Black woman must be strong the moment her belly begins to show its condition, because we will be set upon for the rest of our days for increasing the so-called surplus population. Black/Brown women are a threat to White supremacy, because it is our bodies that hold the key to the future. And so when I see White feminists of class privilege whining about having to tolerate a child, I know within my heart that they do not see or care about our struggles. How can they, when they seek to participate in a hierarchy that leads to this kind of violence? Feminism can never be something I support, when it seeks to deny and oppress, the identity that is closest to my heart – mother.
H/T Flip Flopping Joy, which YOU SHOULD be reading.