Week 6 Day 1 Discussion Question 3

As described by Patricia Hill Collins, how is the figure of the “Bad (Black) Mother” different from (or similar to) other “bad mothers” we have encountered in the course?

One thought on “Week 6 Day 1 Discussion Question 3

  • March 16, 2022 at 2:32 pm

    According to Collins, “Bad Black Mothers (BBM) are those who are abusive (extremely bitch) and/or who neglect their children either in utero or afterward… They are often single mothers, they live in poverty, they are often young, and they rely on the state to support their children. Moreover, they allegedly pass on their bad values to their children who in turn are more likely to become criminals and unwed teenaged mothers” (131). This characterization stands in stark contrast to the (presumably white) “Bad Mothers” that we learned about in Weeks 1 and 2 . Imitation of Life’s Lora Meredith, for example, is depicted as a Bad Mother because she chooses to prioritize her career despite her potential to be a good mother. When a white woman neglects her maternal duties, she is deemed as a Bad Mother because she is supposedly stifling the good mother that lies under the surface of all white women. Bad Black Mothers, on the other hand, are “not [viewed] as suitable mothers in the first place” (132). Thus, according to Collins, all white mothers are viewed by society as potentially good, while all black mothers are viewed as inherently bad.

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