New Voices: Who will mother the Black Woman?

By Kathleen Isaac, PhD

A mother cries in anguish. Her child is gone and the world is watching. She screams in agony.

Who hears her? Who attempts to soothe her?

Black women have been the caregivers for all since the first slave ships ripped her from her homeland, bringing her to an unfamiliar land. Her breast has been the source of life for her oppressor, often forced to leave her own children without, so long as she could care for her white children masters.

This complicated relationship has persisted. Rage and sexual impurity continue to be disavowed and projected onto her, resulting in the devaluation of the Black woman and an inability to see her as human or vulnerable. And yet, she is constantly sought after to fix, to educate, to nurture. 

When will society acknowledge its ambivalent feelings towards the Black woman? She is loved and hated, celebrated and envied…

The next time a Black woman expresses her righteous anger, her pain, her fatigue, her despair…don’t ask her to explain, just know it’s real and there’s plenty more where it came from. Just listen to her. She’s been waiting to be heard and cared for centuries.  

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