As a fresh young teenager making his way across the river to go to school and work in the big city, I’d often see black women pushing strollers with white babies in them. Rosy cheeks, chewing on their feet, and there is this black woman. Interracial marriages weren’t an oddity to me, but these kids didn’t look mixed. They were like Michael Jackson’s kids, blonde hair and blue eyes. It couldn’t be their kid… could it?
I later found out that 99.9% of them were working as nannies.
Many of them leave their own children at home to take care of other people’s kids, some work as au pairs, some work as nannies by default.. maybe it’s in their blood.
For the most part white families have looked for nanny help.
Here in the 06’ there are black families in need of care for their children. Having scored well-paying jobs they have the money to pay for it, but have difficulty finding people who will take the jobs. Black/Caribbean nanny or White/European, caring for black children is seen as undesirable and they will refuse a job solely on the basis of race.
A NY Times article titled “Nanny Hunt Can Be a ‘Slap in the Face’ for Blacks” dug into this problem yesterday.
Tanisha Jackson, an African-American mother of three lives in a Washington suburb. She searched on and off for five years before hiring a nanny. She commented, “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?”
It’s not just a problem in Washington, nannies from African-American and Caribbean backgrounds were interviewed in Atlanta, Chicago, NY and Houston, they all said they avoid working for black families reasoning that they demand more work and pay less.
I’m betting the work is the same they’d hear from a white family, but they can’t bear to take instructions from someone that looks like themselves.. but I’ll go on timeout.
Tomasina Boone of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn works as an advertising beauty director at Essence magazine, her husband Eric is a lawyer at Milbank Tweed. A Caribbean woman interviewed for the job asked them about the colored people in the neighborhood. Which completely turned them off.. “To have someone refer to other black people as ‘colored,’ what does that teach your child about race?”
Another Russian nanny told them she doesn’t usually care for black children but because their son was light-skinned she’d make an exception.
The Boones have placed their son in daycare, doing The Pursuit of Happyness thing, running from the city before the center closes and back to work, they say it’s inconvenient but necessary.
Getting a white nanny is even tougher, but they do exist.
Viola Waszkiewicz a nanny working in Chicago said she cares for black children but many of her Eastern European homies won’t.. “We come here, and we watch TV and the news, and all we see is black people who got hurt, got murdered.” Most of the nannies she knows ‘think all black people are bad.’ She said, “They’re afraid to go to black neighborhoods.”
Margaret Kop, a Polish nanny was at the park with a black child, a nanny asked her, “Where did you find that monkey?”
Kop said she loves the kid and cried on the way home
It’s not all on the nannies though. Some, what did I say?.. ‘Cosby’ families *joke* said they turn down Caribbean nannies because of their accents, fearing their kids will pick up on it themselves.
Mommy comes home and the kid is laid back, one leg over the arm of the couch, “Wha go on, sister!”
Another preferred black nannies because they would know little details, like how to do her daughter’s hair. That’s reasonable.
It’s just pathetic that a black nanny would turn down one of their own, especially when the reason is they feel the family would look down on them. Yet there they are in the streets of Manhattan pushing a stroller with a white baby. Everyone is looking at them, either curiously or knowing outright what they do for a living.
How is that a better situation?
Taking that job isn’t wrong, just preferring it over any black job
There really is no answer to this.. we’re talking decades old race/class problems within the black community.
Maybe the Cosbys want to hire Mexicans for this job too? *more jokes*