Sometimes you read an article that just speaks to your soul so much that you think the author snuck in your brain and stole your thoughts. That’s the case with this piece I read late last night by Kimberly Seals Allers, Ms. Allers basically summed up many of the thoughts that I have had recently when it comes to the growing motherhood dialogue in this country. Hell, my most popular post ever on this blog was when I talked about Babble’s lack of diversity, there is a huge dearth of voices when it comes to mothers of color talking motherhood and the reality is, our experiences are not valued. The thing is there is not a shortage of mothers of color talking; the problem is our voices don’t get the same play that our white counterparts get.
That truth was brought home a few nights back when I found myself engaging with several other moms of color on twitter, all highly successful women in their careers who are passionate in their mothering and who also happen to be bloggers and writers. From where I sit here on the ground I often thought many of these women were further up the writer ladder than me but they all admitted to feeling hemmed in, that our stories never get the same credit and exposure as our white counterparts. That while we don’t hold any animosity for our white counterparts, but why in 2012 is there not a Black Dooce? A Black Pioneer Woman or hell a Black Bloggess? Sure the powers to be will put a few of us on the list of “tops” but by and large none of us are trading in our day jobs to write full time, and that for the most part if any of us were looking to turn our passion for words and mothering into a living, we’d be on steady diets of rice without the beans.
Needless to say reading Allers piece brought that point back home for me. Allers is correct in that the reason for the lack of true diverse representations in motherhood is that by and large Black motherhood is considered an anomaly. The expectations are that we are breeders and loud mouth bitches and clearly the few of us who do it well are the exception and not the rule.
The larger question for me though is how do we change the larger dialogue so that we do have a place at the table? Lately I find myself wondering that rather than begging to be squeezed in at table that doesn’t seem to want us, maybe the answer is to get our own table. Then I am reminded that resources are needed and that’s where we face a downhill battle. Even in the blogosphere, the most popular bloggers conferences are short on diversity, and while there are conferences and spaces for bloggers of color, too many times due to a lack of resources they lack the ability to reach out. Hell, I only discovered the Blogging While Black conference mere weeks before it happened and I am not the only one…yet everyone knows of BlogHer. Some years back there was a list of top Black bloggers but it fell by the wayside, maybe we need to bring it back and somehow let brands and others know we are a powerful block too.
In any event, we are more than simply Mammies, Sapphires and Jezebels are stories are equally worthy of being heard, on the big and small screens as well as in print and we are equally deserving of earning a living from the telling of those stories as our white counterparts.