I came across a new series of articles by Kimberly Seals Allers, editor of mochamanual.com, offering a decidedly different point of view than what you’d normally find on Momlogic. Kimberly is a published author who writes from her perspective as a black mother. And while the editors have provided a platform for Kim to share insights, readers have not been so welcoming.
One of few black bloggers on the site, Kim has “caused a stir” by suggesting that black mothers are overlooked in mainstream discussions about motherhood.
In her first post, Memo to the World: Black Mothers Matter Too! Kim says:
There’s a dominant mommy culture in this country and its face is mostly white and affluent.
That bothers me because Black mothers have an important perspective, unique insights, and many of the same across-the-board issues as all moms, but we are often overlooked in all the great mommy debates. We aren’t seen as the thinkers in this mommy movement, not respected as an important perspective in shaping the future of say, maternity leave and childcare issues, nor is our journey in motherhood told in cutesy books or network sitcoms.
The response? Here’s a sampling of the comments:
“Why does everything have to be about race? Just because you are black, doesn’t mean you can complain about everything. Movies about the first black football team..then swim team..then track star…whats next?What is this obsession with black culture? Yes your ancestors were abused and enslaved, but its OVER!Let it go!And stop acting so self-righteous.” -Indignant Daughter
“Oh, and yall do have Michelle Obama in the White House setting the example of a nurturing mother. Being 1st lady beats any sitcom or book.” – Shelly
We’re all entitled to our opinions, but the problem is not the disagreements with Kimberly’s arguments, but the inability or lack of desire to even consider the viewpoints of others. As some of the comments suggest, we can no longer view our experiences as black women through the lens of race since we now have Michelle Obama in the White House. Forget about history and the stereotypes that still prevail against black women. On one hand, we’re asked to forget about our complex history and experiences that have shaped who we are while being criticized for carving out places online or in organizations where we feel more welcome.
Black women have taken the narrow spaces of opportunity available to us and expanded them. – Deborah Grayson
It’s not all bad at Momlogic, there are other black women on the site and they’re speaking out. But there not the only ones, “Nik” writes in a comment:
“I’m a white mother, and probably wouldn’t have considered Ms. Allers’ viewpoint. I’m thankful I have an open mind to read points of view I haven’t before heard and think about them logically. Without flying off the handle. I will say that I work with a black mother who is one of my inspirations.” – Nic
One thing that Nic’s response shows us is that it’s not enough make “black friends” online. But that our real life experiences, in the real world, interacting with each other makes a difference. Unfortunately, despite all the advantages, social media sites have become places where we seek out those who agree with our way of thinking while banishing others who offer differing perspectives.
Some of Kim’s other articles have also met with disapproval. In another post describing how black mothers have labored under difficult circumstances “to secure our family’s financial future,” one reader responded with: “MomLogic, take this article down. Nobody should have to read this.”
Kim is taking the criticism in good stride. Writing about all the controversy on her blog, she says:
“I realized that this is exactly why I have so much work to do. This is exactly why I get up every morning and continue to try to make Mocha Manual the best site that serves us and bring our parenting perspective to the world.”
What do you think? Share your thoughts and comments below.