As more blacks move up the economic ladder, one fixture — some would say necessity — of the upper-middle-class income bracket often eludes them. Like hailing a cab in Midtown Manhattan, searching for a nanny can be an exasperating, humiliating exercise for many blacks, the kind of ordeal that makes them wonder aloud what year it is.
“We’ve attained whatever level society says is successful, we’re included at work, but when we need the support for our children and we can afford it, why do we get treated this way?” asked Tanisha Jackson, an African-American mother of three in a Washington suburb, who searched on and off for five years before hiring a nanny. “It’s a slap in the face.”
Numerous black parents successfully employ nannies, and many sitters say they pay no regard to race. But interviews with dozens of nannies and agencies that employ them in Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Houston turned up many nannies — often of African-American or Caribbean descent themselves — who avoid working for families of those backgrounds. Their reasons included accusations of low pay and extra work, fears that employers would look down at them, and suspicion that any neighborhood inhabited by blacks had to be unsafe.
The result is that many black parents do not have the same child care options as their colleagues and neighbors. They must settle for illegal immigrants or non-English speakers instead of more experienced or credentialed nannies, rely on day care or scale back their professional aspirations to spend more time at home.
Damn. Now that’s some shit fo’ ya.
Whatever happened to the good ol’ days when black folks could hire black help like Florence?
Sure, she was liable to shoot off at the mouth and had a bit of an attitude, but at least she showed up for work every day and didn’t seem to mind that her bosses were black like her.
Or maybe she was just a TV myth. Maybe she had all that attitude because she was pissed about having to work for other blacks.
NYTimes.com: Nanny Hunt Can Be a ‘Slap in the Face’ for Blacks
5 thoughts on “>Now Ain’t This A B*tch?”
>Interesting story. I was just considering getting some part time help for my wife who's been home for about nine years now. Our family is bigger, which means more stuff to run and do and since I'm working all the time, I don't get to help out as much. It seems like there is always a pile of laundry (with six people in the house, you almost have to constantly wash and fold clothes) and on top of that we have two businesses we are trying to grow. Long story short, we need help, but one of the big considerations for me is that I want a person of color to assist us, but I'm hesitant.It's hard to draw the line between employee and employer when you have someone who plays an integral part in your family. So, I don't want our kindness mistaken for weakness.I don't want to be frowned upon by the "help" as some bourgeois African American, because I keep it professional with them.It's also just hard for me to wrap my mind around the whole idea of needing help at the house, because I'm from the school of "get it done".As I close, I do have a friend who has an autistic son who has had a lot of problems with Nanny's. Not because her son is a problem, but because the people that get hired usually don't know how to stay in the place of employee, they either take on too much authority or they want her to "help a sista out", if you know what I mean. In my experience, some people of color want to make more because they feel you got more and can afford it, not that the job really warrants more, but it's that whole "I need help and since you are also a brother in the struggle, why won't you help me?"When that happens, I want to do the Dave Chappel and say "Get off my porch you Noooo-Gooder!"Sorry for the long post.
>Okay, is it just a coincidence that the person interviewed (outside of DC) has the name Tanisha Jackson? But I digress.We've used Au Pair in America and one of the premiere nanny services in DC and had the best success with non-blacks from other countries with one exception. We had one young lady who we ended up sponsoring who is now a permanent citizen who was of French and African heritage. She was just happy to be working for a family who looked more like her and treated her as a family member. Celine still keeps in touch and I am actually godfather to her first child.On the other hand we've had other folk of color who thought they was your sister after only being with you a week or so.But the problem goes beyond day care. I recently hired a "professional" at my company who is paid a six figure salary. She came highly recommended and "decorated" but she has to be one of the most unprofessional people I have ever met. Finally I asked her, "did you behave this way when you were working for the white firm?" To her credit she has excellent skills but she takes extended lunches, frequently leaves early or arrives late and will lie about appointments and in later conversations you realize she was off to take her dog to the vet. What's up with that?
>Yeah, I hate it how some of us take advantage because we are of the same race. You would think that we would work harder for each other.
>"It's also just hard for me to wrap my mind around the whole idea of needing help at the house, because I'm from the school of 'get it done'."Things are different now, Rich. The new millennium holds all kinds of new challenges for stay at home moms.
>I think most people should get a nanny. She should have a dodgy Scottish accent and squint often when making a point such as, "Don't f-uss with me…."