Love is rooted deeply in the Black soul. Go back to history — Black enslaved mothers cut the throat of their own to spare them the pain and torture of the unknown journey. Most call that savage but eternal love for someone enough to protect their body from ugliness, hardship, and brutality sounds similar to Black culture.
The most intense display of modern love from a Black mother I’ve encountered was on Instagram. There was an imprisoned woman defending her case to a white judge about why she killed her child. The mother was retelling the horrendous and explicit story of molestation her youngest child endured. As this distressed mother spoke about the excruciating details to the unsympathetic judge, the woman was treated as a typical case in the Supreme Court.
I will spare the details of sodomy, dishonesty, and betrayal but I will discuss the love this mother felt for her defenseless youngest. As the judge demanded reasons for her crimes, she stated over and over that she was simply “showing the boy how it felt.” This woman was referring to inflicting the same torment her youngest felt on her oldest son. Every evil driven deed the mother found out she foisted, her personal karma.
White patriarchal standards of living in the United States has bred a group of overworked, stressed, money starved, and often unfocused single mothers. When a mother as such is put in a predicament to choose between providing or giving up rights to her family, the answer is evident. As the epigram in the Black community goes “you make do”, which is exactly how the older child, in this case, took advantage.
Entrusting the responsibility of the youngest to older siblings is usually a struggling parents’ only option. When a mother’s faith does not protect her youngest she feels incompetent. This mother passionately talked about how she wanted her son to feel her baby’s pain and how she wished she knew. The more dark corners this story took the more this mother talked about the disdain and hatred for her eldest children. As one performed the unthinkable crimes the other sat back with the knowledge and heedless attitude. The lack of vigilance and literal deadly actions of her kids drove her to hate, to murder.
I speak of this mother because she is a representation of another communal vernacular – “working to the bone.” The long hours spent at a low wage job to provide for her children when she should have been raising and nurturing or had the financial means to have an adult watch over them caused her the opportunity to raise them indefinitely. This mother now joins other Black women who have been thrown into the prison pipeline system that is funds focused as opposed to rehabilitation focused. The way the Black woman loves is through action. When that mother lost her competency and her youngest baby to one of her own, she snapped. Patriarchal burden trounces Black love, again.