There are two subjects that are close to my heart and that are close to my heart: motherhood and hairdressing.
Hope a wonderful Mother’s Day was enjoyed by all. After breakfast in bed, I enjoyed a beautiful bouquet of roses and a lunch at my favorite Jamaican restaurant as the kids, grandma and I bonded in front of the big screen.
The goodies were nice, but what mattered most to me was the time and effort put in. Anyone can shower you with trinkets or sign a card, but the greatest gift of all is being able to raise my children with a man who is a conscious and involved parent. Calvin doesn’t just offer lip service; he does the necessary, non-glamorous work as a dad and step-dad, while loving and supporting me along the way.
So when will America create stability for its parents? Pandemic or not, we mothers still bear most of the responsibility and wonder when the nation that praises us so much will actually put real effort behind the pump.
According to a 2019 poll by the Pew Research Center, employed mothers were more likely (50%) than employed fathers (39%) to say that parenthood has been a barrier to career advancement. Working mothers were also more likely than fathers to say they reduced their hours (54% vs. 44%), and mothers (51%) more often than fathers (43%) said they felt unable to fully perform their professional duties, due to balancing responsibilities at home and at work.
The pandemic, regardless of where mothers work, has exacerbated inequalities and undermined the reliability of child care services and even the ability to afford it. We remain the wealthiest country not to offer paid maternity leave and affordable childcare, but profitable businesses seemingly have unlimited access to tax breaks, grants, and other benefits including us, common people, we should do without (or make efforts to access it). If children are our most precious resource, then why not expand more funds and programs to guide, feed and protect them, and the people and institutions needed along the way? Millions of workers would see their wages rise below a minimum wage of $ 15, according to the Economic Policy Institute, and 90% of workers who would benefit are over 20; 59% of those who would benefit are women. Will we continue to talk about the greatness of our country, or will our leaders finally prioritize its realization?
Now, on to our crowning glory – or more specifically, the advancement of the CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. The bill was moved unanimously by a Texas House committee, but was not passed in the Full House before the deadline last week. Hopefully another version of the Senate is on its way to becoming law. Designed to ban racial discrimination in schools and workplaces on the basis of hair texture and style, the measure is a long-awaited advance in personal freedom that this state and nation should both legalize and approve. According to State Representative Rhetta Bowers, D-Dallas: âI believe that people should not be forced to let go of their racial cultural identity … in order to adapt to their workplace, to the school or at home. People shouldn’t miss out on opportunities or success because of the way they choose to wear their natural hair. “
As a black woman who has worn her own hair in its natural state for decades and a mother of three crowned children, I have written several columns to support self-expression and heritage expression through our locks. It’s one thing to be non-black and to have questions about how black people wear our hair; it is another to use a position of authority to arrogantly deign those who seem different to you as “unacceptable” and restrict, if not criminalize, in the process.
It’s ultimately condescending if those who claim to care don’t help ease our struggles. Maybe soon we will demonstrate that progress is more important than pretending it already exists.
Lorrie Irby Jackson is a columnist for the Briefing. Email him at [email protected].