Over on the Strollerderby blog, there's an interesting post regarding the lack of "momoirs" by black women. Apparently most of the books written by mothers - about being a mother, and the nature of motherhood in this day and age - are written by white women. Deesha Philyaw wrote an article on this topic, noting: "Low-income and working-class women, black women, and other women of color don't see their mothering experiences and concerns reflected in the mommy media machine, and we get the cultural message loud and clear: Affluent white women are the only mothers who really matter. Further, media overexposure of these women bolsters the perception of them as self-absorbed brewers of tempests in teapots." Even if you've never read a "momoir" or given birth, you've got to wonder: Where is this generation's Claire Huxtable?
Since pop culture often reflects the zeitgest at large, what does it mean if we don't have any amazing non-white mother figures right now? Growing up, Claire Huxtable from The Cosby Show, Florida Evans from Good Times, the mom on What's Happening!! (and, to some extent, Shirley, on the same show) were strong women who were not just maternal figures but actual moms, juggling jobs and raising kids. American dreams, American stories. And they were not white. At some point, many TV moms disappeared - shows like My Two Dads, Silver Spoons and Diff'rent Strokes pushed moms aside. But today, the only non-white mom I can think of is the one on Everybody Hates Chris. Moms today are "hot" (Desperate Housewives), young (Claire on Lost*, Niki on Heroes) or animated (Family Guy, Marge Simpson.) But they're rarely anything but Caucasian. We live in a diverse, culturally rich country. Is Dina Lohan all we have to offer?
Earlier: Who Are Your Fave Pop Culture Moms?
*Yeah, Sun on Lost doesn't really count as her role as a "mom" has not been fleshed out.