Black Motherhood Analysis

1105 Words 5 Pages
Representations of black women and black motherhood abound in popular culture and in popular contemporary thought. Cultural notions depict black women as sexualized and racialized Jezebels, unfit mothers, welfare queens, and even the impetus for social and moral decline. In response, the authors Kimberlé Crenshaw, Karen McCormack, and Loretta J. Ross use their texts Mapping the Margins, Stratified Reproduction and Poor Women’s Resistance, and The Color of Choice to dismantle, challenge, and disrupt these dominant misconstructions and fallacies through careful examinations of intersectional identities, the process of othering, the positioning of choice, and the ways in which these forces articulate with one another to produce cultural meanings …show more content…
This process of othering clearly defines us versus them, and is embroiled in white supremacist politics as well as the politics of difference (Ross, 10) For instance, the existence of a black single mother (presumably living off welfare) is depicted as lewd, diseased, indecent, and even capable of ruining the structure of idealized white families (McCormack, 431). Certainly, black mothers are alienated from traditional or respectable motherhood through blaming potential offspring for hypothetical future crimes and through identifying black motherhood as dangerous, perhaps indicating a long history and legacy of discrimination of, and fascination with, the female black body. Moreover, popular constructions of women of color result from “an interlocked set of public policies of behavior modification and population control…reproductive punishment”, leading to the suspicion of, and criminalization of, black wombs (Ross, 8). By othering black women, representation of black women become a veneer for social occurrences that are actually the result of rampant structural inequalities, a fact that both McCormack and Ross mention (McCormack, 434, Ross, 5). In this way, black women are transformed into the “public face of the welfare mother” and blamed for social inadequacies (McCormack, 432). Subsequently, this transformation highlights the formulation of cultural modes of representation and the ways by which these representations depict women of

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