Motherhood So White ~ Nefertiti Austin

Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America

Rating: 5/5

Nefertiti Austin writes a memoir of what it’s like to be a single black mother who chose adoption as her route to motherhood. She is smart and relatable, and she’s here to share all the ways in which she is and has been discriminated against, and all the ways her son has and is discriminated against.

Austin is clear that motherhood is often viewed from a straight white lens, and often viewed as a part of parenthood, in which there is more than one parent involved. This continues to be the dominant narrative. When Austin went to her local library to find resources on adoption as a single black mother and could only find two options, she decided something has to be done, and why not take part in the change-making.

Austin gives both a personal and informative view of how she came to motherhood. She shares her experience with the foster care system as well as her struggles with biological families (as well as her understanding of why the practice is in place to keep biological families connected, and the importance of that practice). She shares what it’s like to raise a black son in America. She puts many of her considerations on the table, and frames it from the perspective that her readers may know very little about her culture or life experiences, and that she wants them to be as educated as possible from her book.

At times the information felt formal. She’s writing about intersectionality and the gaps in the system to cover people with different experiences than the normative ones. Despite the formal tones, I really enjoyed the book and found beauty in all of her experiences, both formal and informal. It’s messy to foster children at all, and even messier if you’re a single black mother where none of the resources are about you. I’m glad Austin decided to write her experience.

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