“Motherhood So White” Is Part A Parenting Guide, Part A Brief | Way of life

You have the whole package.

This is what happens when you choose a partner: you get another set of parents, new siblings, aunts and uncles and, of course, all the children your loved one might have and the ones your loved one might have. you might want to in the future. This is how we build families today, the details of which, according to Nefertiti Austin in “Motherhood So White,” depend on your skin color.

As a child, Nefertiti Austin had to raise herself: her parents had drugs, alcohol, business to do, and better things to do. So it was common for Austin and his brother to stay with their grandparents; after their father went to jail and their mother quietly left California, the stay became permanent.

Said Austin, raising a child you are related to in some way or welcoming a child whose family you know is common in the black community. Adoption isn’t, which is why she had to deflect negative comments when she announced her intention to adopt a black baby.

The process took a long time: Austin first took classes to become a certified adoptive mother, with the ultimate goal of adoption. She had decided on the sex of the child she wanted and had been offered the possibility of welcoming other boys; she refused, expecting the right baby.

Her son, August, arrived in late summer 2008.

Eager to be the best mother possible, Austin scoured the local library for books on mothering black women and found nothing. It all seemed written by and for white women, who didn’t have to talk to their sons about DWB (driving in black), who didn’t have to put up with strangers who thought unmarried motherhood and well-being were about to come. peer, and who doesn’t need to explain racism to a preschooler.

While “there is nothing more universal than a mother’s love for her child,” black mothers have different issues to deal with.

And so, this book came in part from Austin’s frustration.

The most curious thing, however, is that hers can also become a reader’s frustration.

As a memory this book is very good: Austin recounts how she overcame a life that almost made her a statistic, with the help of two loving grandparents who raised her as if they were her biological parents . Austin goes on to explain why she put cultural norms aside in order to forge the path she knew was best for herself and become the mother she should have had herself.

Again, this is great, but also of little help to a reader looking for solid advice on dealing with her own unique journey to motherhood as a woman of color. There is so much more that could have been in this book, but was not, and some could have helped educate those of whom Austin is critical.

Still, there is some undeniable comfort to its story, and it could be invaluable to the right reader. For her alone, add “Motherhood So White” to the shortlist of parenting books for women of color, and memory + advice could do a great deal.

“Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America” by Nefertiti Austin, 2019, Sourcebooks, $ 25.99, 304 pages

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