For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Black Women and Motherhood"

by Collins, Patricia Hill (2005)


June Jordan’s words poignantly express the need for Black feminists to honor our mothers’ sacrifice by developing an Afrocentric feminist analysis of Black motherhood. Until recently analyses of Black motherhood have largely been the province of men, both white and Black, and male assumptions about Black women as mothers have prevailed. Black mothers have been accused of failing to discipline their children, of emasculating their sons, of defeminizing their daughters, and of retarding their children’s academic achievement.1 Citing high rates of divorce, female-headed households, and out-of-wedlock births, white male scholars and their representatives claim that African-American mothers wield unnatural power in allegedly deteriorating family structures.2 The African-American mothers observed by Jordan vanish from these accounts.


Black Women, Race, Gender, Motherhood, Feminist Theory



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