White woman

I am a straight, white woman who lives in the suburbs. I grew up in Columbus, taught in Columbus schools. But, now, I live in the suburbs. I have no friends here. At one time, I had many. We supported each other, babysat each other’s kids. We planned activities. We shared a common routine in life. We were mothers, who needed a connection to another woman that shared our sorrows and successes in this vulnerable time. I was kicked out of the “neighborhood group” when someone (who happened to be a pastor) asked if it was okay to fly his Blue Lives Matter flag. I said no. Part of my explanation referred to minors who had recently been held by CPD in their van, with no water, no parents for hours because they witnessed a crime (June 22, 2021). I asked these suburban mothers how they would feel if it was their child, desperately trying to get them to relate, have empathy for the mothers who were demanding their children be given back. My friends did not defend me. One said “at least they were released.” For fear of retaliation from my new friends, she said that she wouldn't comment further.

Fast forward to last week when twin babies were abducted in Columbus, I rode the same emotional roller coaster as the thousands following the hourly updates. Please bring these babies home. The mother….my god, the mother. I felt her pain. But not most suburban white women I know. The ones I know didn't empathize, didn't put any effort towards ending the nightmare for this family. The babies didn't exist. And the ones that did acknowledge the kidnapping, blamed the mom. She had a lesson to learn.

My mind swirls, trying to understand. Then I remember. The white men, the husbands. They don't like their wives to associate with people of color. And the men know motherhood is our connection. So they subtly teach their wives to only depend on them. With babies at our sides, the men become a hero. Do you see how nice I am to you? I pay the bills. I compliment your dinners. I am here when you're done putting the kids to bed. You go out with your girlfriends on weekends. You buy the kids anything you want. I put up security cameras, I protect you. All you have to do is speak and think the same as me. That is how white women excuse their racism. My man keeps me safe from the black people.

From my experience, if we voice that the young mother needs resources, not judgment; if we point out shaming her will only add to her nightmare; if we teach our babies to recognize their privilege, the men take away the safe bubble they pretend to have created. Now where will we go? Independence is something white women tend to brag about, but, not as commonly, put into action. We open businesses, save for retirement and buy houses. What we dont do, however, is tell the men to listen to other viewpoints.

But kidnapped twins? Surely that sparked a light in some of the white mothers? Maybe it did. I’ll keep sharing and planting seeds. Now what? Where do we go from here? This tragedy could have been prevented. We need support and resources for new mothers. We need safe spaces for women.

That’s it. That’s the morale of my story. Bring in the village.

Pamela Ann   
Board member for 1divineline2health