Women’s & Gender studies 1332
Medicalized motherhood paper
It takes a community to raise a child: black working class motherhood
African Americans in a historical context remain the only group of people in the United States brought to this country against their will. America’s patriarchal sexist and racist social structure affects not only the lives of people of color as a whole but also especially the lives of women of color. Sociologist Jacquelyn S. Litt writes about a group of working class black mothers living in Philadelphia. Motherhood is an experience unique to an individual yet common to the collective of women. However, social stratification and a white male dominated medical industry have forced this group to become a self functioning entity, independent of any normative medical discourse.
The majorities of lower class or working poor black women interviewed in Litt’s book either live in the south, or had at some point migrated to the north. Most were single mothers however, some moved to the north with their husbands. The mothers that did migrate to the north did so in pursuit of better jobs and better living conditions. They were nonetheless met with resistance by a classist, sexist, racist medical community. All of the working class mothers had domestic jobs such as maid or cooks or work in the laundry industry. These jobs kept them away from their families and communities laboring for long hours only the meagerness of wages to support their families.
America as a nation began going through what is known as the progressive era in the late 1920’s. The country began shifting from individualized health care and mothering to state and public ran facilities. Most of the Eastern Europeans that began immigrating to the United States at this time were able to use these resources. However, the current racist culture viewed the African- American community as inferior and unable to assimilate into normative American culture....