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Black Families: Tough Times Too Shall Pass

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In these tough financial times, Black mothers need to remember their strengths.

Kimberly Seals Allers: One of my dearest friends, a new mom of a six-month-old baby, and her husband are severely struggling financially. They relocated thousands of miles for a job offer that disappeared soon after they packed up their life and moved cross-country. She was determined to not go back. They ended up staying with friends and sometimes in separate homes while he struggled to find work, and she tried to stay home with the baby as long as possible.

family sitiing on porch

As we chatted over coffee last week about how this recession is taking its toll, I reminded her and myself that if anyone knows how to make it out of a recession, it's Black people. We are notorious for making a way out of no way. Heck, most of our history has been a downturn, and even when times were good, our people never really fully participated in the upswing. Trickle-down economics never did really trickle all the way down, now did it?

And if there's one hope for pulling our Black families through this depression, it's Black women. It's us as mothers. Years ago, when our men went north to escape Jim Crow and find work, we held it down at home. We taught in schools, tended shops, shared food, and raised other people's kids when we had to. My granny was one of those women.

It's no wonder Black women start their own businesses at a faster rate than any other ethnic group -- we have always held it down for our families. We have always worked to secure our family's financial future. This is one of the things that really struck me while I was interviewing women for my latest book, The Mocha Manual to Turning Your Passion into Profit. The truth is, our men don't always have the same job stability or access to other opportunities that others may have. Historically, economists say Black families suffer worse during recessions. But we do what we gotta do to keep our families afloat. We make it happen.

If you too are struggling with your family or your finances at this time, I'm reminding all Black mothers to remember what we're made of, what our ancestors pulled us out of, and to tap into all of your creative talents and resources to keep your family together.

I say to you, as I told my teary-eyed girlfriend, "You and your husband stick together and have each other's back. This too shall pass. This too shall pass."

20 comments so far | Post a comment now
Rachel May 21, 2009, 9:47 AM

The same argument could probably be made for Union wives whose husbands left them behind to fight for the abolition of slavery in the civil war. Oh wait, that probably doesn’t count…

Kim May 21, 2009, 10:24 AM

Ok do blacks want to be equal or do they constantly want to set themselves apart from other ethnic groups? You truly can’t have it both ways, being equal means no special consideration. Note to author the whole da** country is struggling!

Pansy Moss May 21, 2009, 1:58 PM

What Kim said.

Cathy May 21, 2009, 2:46 PM

I agree! This isn’t about color or anything else. Funny how everyone who wanted Obama for president thought it was a way of “uniting” our country. Apparently not. It is called being resourceful, frugal, or whatever else you may need to survive and has nothing to do with color.

Kate May 21, 2009, 3:06 PM

MomLogic, take this article down. Nobody should have to read this.

Jennifer  May 21, 2009, 3:37 PM

I don’t know what all the fuss and anger is all about here. I am a Latina mom and though I cannot fully relate to either side let me just say this. The author seems to want to empower black moms. Is that so wrong? We don’t have to understand one another’s views but I think we should at least try to respect it ladies. So let’s just agree to disagree. She has the right to speak her mind and you will probably never understand and that’s ok. But let her speak. That’s what makes this country so great!

Cassandra May 21, 2009, 3:55 PM

Kim, NEWSFLASH…Blacks ARE equal, they just aren’t always treated equally. So for you to ask “…do you want to be equal…” is extremely offensive to me as a white woman. I can only imagine how the Author and other black women reading it must feel! As for being set apart, our culture sets the races apart whether we/they like it or not, and to think otherwise is just naive. I must admit that when I first read the title of this posting, I thought to myself “what makes black moms any different than any other moms?”, but the author speaks from a point of view that you can’t even begin to comprehend. If Ms. Allers’ support of her culture and the strong black women that comprise that culture then I suggest other reading for you…possibly something by Anne Coulter. As for me, I appreciate the chance to glimpse into a world other than my own and see that we as people have much more in common than we have differences, and that our struggles unite us and give us a chance to learn from each other. Peace.

Pansy Moss May 21, 2009, 4:08 PM

I am a Latina mom and though I cannot fully relate to either side let me just say this.

What “sides”?

Marci May 21, 2009, 4:25 PM

I feel the need as a black woman to point out that I feel MomLogic is using race to attract attention to it’s site. I have noticed an abundance of these types of articles lately, and while I do feel there are some issues that can be singled out among Black Americans, I feel that some of the recent articles have been very unnecessary and dividing.

wisdomteachesme May 21, 2009, 6:07 PM

greetings kim,

i understand the direction that you have spoken from in your post.

I don’t think you should take down your article-if anyone does not agree or doesn’t want to read it—then that is the freedom of their having a choice to do so.

this has to do with how you as a black woman see the condition of the american economy. you can’t speak from any other place because you are not white, or latino, or asain, etc…but you are female human and that is what we all have in common. it’s not about color in a negative.

i don’t understand the hatred and fear that many of the commentors have spoken-other than it is what lives in their hearts. The mouth does speak what lives in the heart.

i do have a few thoughts and beliefs to add to your post kim, and the main one is that our ancestors did nothing without the help of God. All glory goes to Him for helping them achieve all they did through the hearts of others that helped.

no group of people is able to live without another. at some point we all need each other whether we want to admit it or not. And not to help others because they are a different skin color than oneself is really self defeating.

and it is very true that Every american is going through days of trouble, days of trials, and days of uncertianity—it has been done before and after we are all gone the next generations will also have to go through the same…unless they learn from our mistakes and those that came before us.

may you all find Peace, Joy and Understanding that God is in control and calling on the name of Jesus as my black, white, first nation, asian, and the other cultures in my family lineage that i don’t know about- all did.

There is no other way to be able to stand above all this mess that greed and hate created. Except on the Rock that is Him.

be well,

Lai May 21, 2009, 9:59 PM

“Nobody should have to read this”? “Do blacks want to be equal”? Jesus. If by looking at the title you already know what the article contains, why bother reading it? I hear what the author is saying. Historically speaking, this is true. Yes, common sense will tell you that EVERYONE is equal, but to quote Animal Farm: “some are more equal than others”….and there are people out there that truly believe that. I consider myself equal to anyone and everyone but I don’t always get treated as such and at some point or another, all of us have/will experience the same. And as for you up there Rachel: that’s an entirely different ballgame in itself. While WOMEN as a whole were treated as inferior beings, there was a BIG difference between being a book-smart ignorant white woman and a book-smart black woman SLAVE. Come on.

Anonymous May 21, 2009, 11:15 PM

well if it was about empowering white women it’d be racist right?

latrice caston May 22, 2009, 12:08 AM

it’s african american women this ration shall pass,not black women.

Cassandra May 22, 2009, 9:52 AM

Anonymous, I don’t know what country you live in, but in America, white women ARE empowered…we have ALL the power!! So to even state “empower white women” is inherently racist. And please don’t give me the story about the black lady down the street who has a great job, or even the author who has the power of the pen, we are talking in broader terms here. Black women as a group in our society have very little to no power. Until we recognize that fact (just because we don’t recognize it doesn’t make it untrue), we can never start to balance it. Black women aren’t asking for power over you, or me, and that’s what the tone of some of these posts sound like to me…like black women are somehow asking to have power/control over you specifically. If you look at it in terms of the feminist movement, women weren’t/aren’t asking for power over men, just the power to not be controled by men as a whole. Men who decide what we can & cannot do with our bodies, men who decide if we can work outside the home, vote, marry. Black women want what women of all races want, the ablity to decide for themselves, just to be heard in the “great debate”. You really can’t live in this country and look around and then tell me that we are very willing to listen, but the blacks just won’t step up and speak, get educated (as someone so ignorantly put it), and do their share. The black culture has been banging on the door to be let in for generations…it’s time we open the door!

Rachel May 22, 2009, 1:01 PM

You guys have got to be joking me. Lai, ” BIG difference between being a book-smart ignorant white woman and a book-smart black woman SLAVE.” So, white women were ignorant? Nice. I think you missed my point, but whatever. I don’t know what else to say. Go on thinking you’re different and mistreated, if that’s what gets you through the day. I’m done…

sherylmomma May 24, 2009, 10:35 PM

its kills me when white people say that blacks are equal. just not treated equally..ah,saying we are equal yet not treating us equally doesnt make us equal now does it!

Cassandra May 26, 2009, 11:42 AM

Sherylmomma, I guess that comment was directed at me since I’m the one who said it. I was speaking on a human level. That as people, blacks and whites are equal. That other woman asked if blacks “wanted to be equal” and that really offended me, as if to say blacks aren’t already equal. And yes, blacks are often not treated equally, and I find that wrong. I try to treat everone equally (not the same, because I really do enjoy our differences, but equally). The point I was trying to make was that race relations are never going to change until we admit that as a people we whites don’t treat blacks equally. And again, I’m not talking about your white best friend, or my black best friend, or even that we have a black president…one black guy in a white house doesn’t erase all the other stuff going on out there. I am just one white woman trying to be honest and say yes, blacks are treated inequitably and I’d like to see that change. So the answer to your question is no, saying you are equal doesn’t make you equal…just the fact that you were born as a human being makes you equal. Now it’s time this country started acting accordingly.

Monica June 4, 2009, 12:10 AM

It always the same old thing. Insensitive jerks coming on here running off at the mouth about how they feel when a person takes the time to empower black people. Since when was it offensive to positively empower another individual? I think many of you sorely missed the point. This has nothing to do with equality. Many of you just don’t understand and forget about the far reaching effects of jim crow, slavery and the civil rights movement. Those effects have been passed from generation to generation and we as blacks must work hard to overcome these. So when things are bad sometimes we forget all about who we are and what prowess we have. And we still need encouragement from individuals like Allers to help empower us.

I am quite sure the author recognizes that everyone is struggling in the recession. The point is that whether or not the country is in an economy as was said historically many blacks are always in a downturn. They were already suffering before the recession hit and now that it is here they suffer even more. As she said historically economist say that BLACK FAMILIES SUFFER WORSE during a recession. So she is encouraging women to reach back to what older generations may have taught us about using our wits to get by in this recession until things get better. Because that is what they always did because it was always hard.

Truth is that a real person, a true human with love and understanding would take from what she said and us it no matter what race they are. Even if the article wasn’t directed to you its information and encouragement that everyone can use. White, Black, Latino or Asian. You step back and say ‘hey I understand their plight and they helps me think about struggles that I may have been thru.’

Many of you need to stop being so negative and start spreading positivity. If you find something negative in what she said then you need to take a close look in the mirror at who you are.

Coral July 13, 2009, 6:15 PM

Like get on welfare and tax payers pay for your food. LAZY!

Get Real August 8, 2009, 8:14 AM

Yes…this recession only effects African Americans.
Not Whites,Latinos, or anyone else for that matter. This article is so ridiculous…it’s offensive.

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