Indeed, Mother’s Day holds a profound significance in the U.S., particularly in Black America.
Over the course of global Black history, Black mothers have been considered among the most influential figures in their children’s lives, evidenced in part by large turnouts on Mother’s Day in various Black churches throughout the nation.
Keidi Obi Awadu, a researcher, community organizer, author and lecturer has been a highly sought-out scholar for decades. He identified the importance and magnitude of Black mothers in his article entitled “The Conspiracy to Derail Black Motherhood” (1998). “Black mothers are the backbone of our survival throughout the hostile history,” wrote Awadu, also a Los-Angeles-based public intellectual.
“Despite the current disintegration of family models that had been with us for many generations, it is the commitment of Black mothers that pulls the children through an often-fatherless environment. In defiance of increasing media assaults upon her character, often with assistance from her male would-be counterpart, the integrity of Black motherhood stands as our best chance for survival against the negative influence of Western cultural decadence.”
While the forthcoming holiday is highly esteemed by mainstream society, to some the day may appear to be bittersweet because of the seemingly growing number of individuals in the Black community – both men and women, but men in particular – who openly and glaringly undermine, disrespect and devalue Black motherhood. A number of Black millennials have expressed grave disdain with Black celebrities who date and marry White people, while degrading their own. The bulk of the displeasure among Black women, specifically, is the seeing Black male athletes, musical artists, actors, businessmen, etc., who are involved in interracial relationships, but blame Black women for the beyond-lamentable state of Black America.
Of these Black men who are deemed as ignominious, classless individuals there is one in particular who has been under piercing scrutiny over the past several years. And his name – or at least, the name by which he is known – is Tommy Sotomayor. Sotomayor, also known as the “Black woman basher” because of the countless insolent and distasteful remarks he has made on Black American women, is a political commentator, radio host, blogger, famous YouTuber and a man of ill-repute among Black the community. Ironically, Sotomayor admittedly has Black daughters, whom he had by a Black woman obviously. He reportedly has a son in addition. So it would appear rather incongruous to speak so vehemently against Black America when he has been in relationships with Black women and has Black children.
Sotomayor expressed discontent for Black women in a recent video he posted on YouTube with the
title, “Yes I Believe Black Mother In General Do Not Love Their Children & Here Is Why!” At the same token, however, he said his comments did not apply to all – but did apply to most – Black women. “Black women, in general, do not care or love their children,” said Sotomayor, a Scottsdale, Ariz. Resident. “I say Black women are the worst stewards of children… One of biggest reasons I say that Black women are the worst stewards of children and they do not care about their children, is because such a high number of them [children] are had by dudes that the woman doesn’t like.
“If she has all these children out of wedlock and the majority of Black children are born out of wedlock, the majority of Black children are not in the homes with their fathers. We also know the stats prove that if you have a father in the home, you have a better chance.” Sotomayor continued his criticism of the Black American mother with what many may consider an incendiary comment: “When you are a mother the thing is your children are supposed to come first. But with Black mothers, their children do not come first. They don’t care who they have them by, they don’t care where they have them at, they don’t care what financial situation they have them in. So, I would believe that they don’t care.”
Moreover, Sotomayor not only proudly admits to dating and having relations with non-Black women, but the videos, blogs and other media he published isn’t as critical to White women as it is to Black women, which is the most probable reason for Sotomayor’s disreputable appearance.
Regardless of the overwhelming amount of influential figures in Black America who seem to diminish Black motherhood either through words or actions, there remains a great deal of Black scholars and writers who see the illimitable value of Black motherhood, especially in a time like this. Rashenna Fountain, a contributor for the Huffington Post, authored an article entitled “Black Single Mothers Are More Than Scapegoats,” in which she praised the contributions of Black mothers and critiqued the critics of Black women (like Sotomayor and others).
“If I had a dollar for every time a single mother got blamed for the problems in the African American community, I’d be rich. If I had two dollars for every time someone said a single mother’s problems would be solved with the addition of a man to the household, I would be even richer,” said Fountain, an environmentalist and social justice advocate. “With some inner-city black communities like Chicago in shambles, conversations often turn to blaming the stereotypical view of the Black single mother — the Black mother having numerous kids living on welfare. And it is true that 66% of African American families are single-parent families, according the United States Census Bureau Data. However, unwed birth rates have declined for black and Hispanic women, according to the Center For Disease Control. The choice for single mothers to better themselves through higher education has also increased.”
Likewise, Vangie Akridge, an educational psychologist, articulated what she thought to be the seriousness and essence of Black motherhood in an article that appeared in the Voice & Viewpoint, San Diego’s largest Black newspaper. Akridge’s article was headlined, “The Conflict of Celebrating Mother’s Day”, and she additionally offered suggestions on how Mother’s Day should truly be celebrated in the Black community.
“In the African American community, the significance of Mother’s Day is grounded in the caring sentiments of females that have been biologically assigned and/or divinely appointed to the role of mother. Females that hold the title of grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin, foster parent, step parent have historically and presently, in the vulnerable moments of their loved one, volunteered support and filled in the gaps without question and without hesitation.”
Demetrius Dillard is a recent graduate of Winston-Salem State University and a North Carolina-based freelance writer.