Single Mamis on Father’s day

Can we talk about the way in which single fathers are put on a pedestal for having risen to the challenge of parenting and single mothers are expected to fill the role of parent if they find themselves in that position. It is an expectation of assumed parenthood when a mujer is pregnant whereas single fathers are seen as choosing to be brave and responsible, martyrdom and sainthood rolled into one.
 We single mothers of color breed more criminals [and if we are brown our children are doubly seen as criminals]. The default sluthood/demon is already on the single mom. The pipeline to prison is a passage made for our children.
And single fathers/fathers get casseroles and cookies. Look I don’t hate single dads. I don’. And the default sluthood/demon is already on the single mom.
I don’t hate dads. I am simply reflecting the garbage that is thrown at single moms of color. And if anyone is tired of hearing single mothers of color talk about the way we are stigmatized there are literally 100s of millions of things you can do to combat the stereotype.
Do your homework. If you feel the need to defend the honor of single dads, I think society has that down for you.
Photos by Jonathan River Martinez-Hernandez
Photos by Jonathan River Martinez-Hernandez
I have been writing about the way society views single moms of color since I became a mom 15 years ago. Then it was via zines and livejournal. If you remember the first issue of Hermana Resist was about being pregnant and poor and not having support in place. I have talked about how single mothers of color are stereotyped since forever.
I have talked about the creation and formation of the welfare queen, how it’s used against Black and Latina single moms and how society is actually harmful to single mothers of color. Society would like single mothers to go away.
Society would like single mothers of color to not exist. Society will blame everything under the sun on single mothers. Single mothers of color are a vulnerable segment of society.
This stereotype lives on in jokes, articles, movies, media portrayal of single mothers of color. It lives on in how the news and media cover stories involving single mothers of color. It lives on in government policies and frameworks designed for two parent families and designed to keep single mothers of color in poverty.
The stigma attached to single mothers of color is not the same “stigma” that is attached to dead beat dads. And being more specific, deadbeat dads is attached to fathers who skip out on paying child support, whereas the stigma of single mothers of color happens for simply existing.
As a mother.
In a brown or Black body.
Yes I am well aware that there are wonderful fathers out there who are supportive and loving to their kids. I have friends who have wonderful relationships with fathers, who are partnered with persons who are in father roles who are awesome and I have friends and family members who are awesome fathers in their own right.
All this does not take away the facts of how single mothers of color are vilified and portrayed. Across the board. As being wrong. When I am being critical of fathers or the way single mothers of color are seen I don’t discount that there are good fathers out there or even terrible mothers. I am talking about, specifically, the portrayal of single mothers of color and how we as a society vilify them/us.


Noemi Martinez is a Xicana/Puerto Rican writer, poet and non-traditional teacher living in the texas/mexico borderlands, birthplace of Gloria Anzaldua. She is interested in, diy, edupunk, indigenous issues, queer theory and reclamation, mestiza identity, borderland studies, women of color in alt media, raising brown boys, invisible disabilities, Mexican American/[email protected] history, Texas/mexico border history, raising spitfire chicanas & single parenting in alt cultures. Some of her work has recently appeared in The Perch, Make/Shift and Asylum Magazine.

*Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.
-Audre Lorde

We need to create poetry, art, research, and books that cannot be assimilated, but is accessible. -Gloria Anzaldúa

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