Thursday, September 9, 2010

Babble Twitter Moms and The White Woman's Convention

I was on twitter yesterday, when I was sent a list created by Babble.com  ranking twitter moms.  I am not going to link to the site, because writing this post is already giving the site more attention than it deserves at this point.  Twitter moms were divided into: Top 50, Most Likable: Most Helpful, Funniest: Most in the Know and Most Controversial. 

When these lists come out, they usually have one thing in common, they privielge dominant bodies. In this case, this list of great twitter moms amounts to a White woman's convention.  There is a decided lack of mothers of colour.  Of course, they probably didn't mean to be racist, but then White women never do when they are busy promoting themselves.  I find it interesting that whenever men put together a list of the fifty best ___ White women are immediately on the bull horn to yell about their exclusion but somehow, when they are in the seat of power they have no problem using racism to uplift themselves.

Motherhood is something that I write quite a bit about because it is a very important facet of my identity.  Socially we have this universal myth that mothers occupy a special place; however, mothers are often treated differently based in things like race, class, sexuality, and ability.  The truth is, we value middle/upper class, heterosexual White women.  These are the women that society wants to reproduce and any protections that are available are offered to these women. 

The very category of mommy blogger is continually attached to White women, though women of colour write about their experiences parenting.  It is not women of colour that are being invited to conferences and offered various products for free.  It is no accident that the number one mommy blogger is a White woman, no matter how race blind we believe the internet to be.  White women are mothers and women of colour are continually constructed as irresponsible breeders.

When I first registered my anger at the obvious racism perpetrated by Babble with this list, a fellow Black woman asked me why I was upset, because clearly this site is not interested in women of colour.  I certainly agree that Babble and sites akin to it have no real interest in challenging racial hierarchy, in the false belief that motherhood is a neutral, but I believe that if we do not call them to the carpet for their overt racist behaviour the mothers of colour that follow us will continue to have this battle with clueless ignorant White women. I will never willing accept the idea that I am less than because of the colour of my skin.

Just like these White women, I shared my body with a baby.  I walked around completely sleep deprived to do midnight feedings.  I have kissed boo boos, cleaned up puke, cheered at hockey games, helped with homework, made endless meals and given all the love that I have to give.  When my children look at me, they see the face of love and though these White women don't recognize my labour as equal to theirs, I am not looking to them validation. The problem with ignoring the racism of White women in this area, is that their racism is not limited to demeaning mothers of colour.  It will translate to other areas that have a far more important effect on not only our life's chances but that of our children.  Babble's list is racist but then it is hardly surprising in a world that has taught these women to view the world through a White supremacist lens