My mother didn’t hug me. When I was old enough to tell time, I’d wake up by 5:30am, right before she left the house to work double shifts as a nurse, just in time to give her a hug and a kiss.
I cannot recall a single instance where she initiated this action with me.
Facebook user JaVeion Arielle posted this simple status update two days ago and it has sparked a viral online debate:
Many black women are outraged by the generalization, wishing that JaVeion had chosen different words to get her point across. One person on my page asked,
” I get it and had a similar experience but, why can’t we say “Black mothers, we know it’s hard but, love on your kids.” Why can’t that be the message?
“A more accurate statement would be “Old school black mothers” maybe. Because every time this is posted, an overwhelming amount of black women say they DO hug and show affection. This statement says black women, period. I can’t agree with that.”
And I get it, we are fiercely protective of our mothers. Hell, I wish someone would say something to my mom or about my mom. I’m not a fighter but I have hands for the right one. However, I believe it is possible to be protective of our mothers, while still acknowledging that there are some old practices that affected us as children, and now as adults.
When I saw this statement, as a writer, I both read and felt the power. I believe JaVeion’s word choice was deliberate, and delivered without adornments and qualifiers to have maximum impact. It goes without saying that there are exceptions to this rule, and there are many of us who are actively breaking the cycle today. But there are also far too many of us who grew up with hard mothers because the world is hard on black girls/women. Our moms simply raised us as they were raised. This is not a slight against our mothers, but a criticism against a society that forced our mothers to abandon their natural inclination to “love on” their daughters in favor of teaching them how to survive in a world built to crush them.
This status simply says that we are not alone, and there is healing that takes place when we know we are not alone. If this statement doesn’t ring true for you, instead of seeking to invalidate our experiences because they are not your own, hug your sisters who were not hugged. You’ll find that there are more of us than there are of you.
Were you hugged as a child? Share your experiences below!