Social Commentary No. 5 “BLACK MOTHERS DON’T HUG THEIR DAUGHTER’S”

This statement was made recently by JaVeion Arielle on Twitter… As you can imagine, this comment has caused much outrage and controversy…. I’m indifferent to it….It’s not that I don’t care about the perceived impact it will have on ‘Black Twitter’, but It’s one of those views you have to assess and evaluate in context.

I was born to Nigerian parents in the late 1970’s. My mum had the unenviable and challenging task of raising 5 children, working 2 jobs and being a student. She had to straddle a new identity and a dual nationality, imposed on her without consent. She had to be an authentic true Igbo woman to her family and peers, whilst simultaneously trying not to be noticed as a ‘fresh off the boat’ Nigerian…trying to assimilate, integrate and not stand out as a foreigner.

She didn’t have much time. Time was a luxury. My parents rarely showed affection. There was very little emotional interaction between them. We grew up knowing our mother loved us. She was fiercely protective of us, and defiant about our careers and future. She didn’t hug us much. But when she did, it felt as though the sun was couched in her bosom…Her hugs albeit infrequent, warmed my heart and made me feel so secure – quite unlike anything else.

For our parents generation, life was hard, cold and unwelcoming. Nothing much has changed in 40 years. Life is still hard. It’s still cold and harsh, and our presence is still unwelcome by those who fear our difference.

However, it’s unfair to generalise and say black mothers don’t hug their daughter’s. I’m sure many do. And I’m sure many don’t. For whatever reason, affection is shown in many ways.

The woman behind this comment sounds resentful, bitter, a little traumatised, and like someone who wishes her mother hugged her more often. I would have preferred that she framed her views differently. Inevitably, the backlash has been relentless. It feeds into the stereotype that black women are hard, devoid of emotion and unable to show love or vulnerability. This of course is false, and the picture it paints is disingenuous and dangerous.

I’m a mother of two. I have a beautiful and sensitive 8 year old daughter, and a caring and astute 4 year old son. We give each other the best hugs. Hugs are important. They serve to articulate our love without the need for words. I can’t imagine a day when my husband, kids or I feel too jaded by life, that we can’t hug one another. I hope that day never comes.

Can anyone relate? Comments below.