The faces we never see

F0953798-5E75-4C8F-8342-8CD96B58962C

As several commentators pointed out over Mothers Day and the related weekend, these images above can be and are black families too. The script doesn’t have to be stuck at the idea of a fractured family in multiple council homes – but our society has to change to allow that script to alter too.

803281FA-1B61-4472-B564-85B445EBB16A

It has to stop assuming that black boys are criminals (and intervene in rising knife crime even before a white teenager is stabbed), it has to actively change the work choices before these people (and not just have a few token outreach programmes) and then go on to pay a fair wage. It might need to accept that some communities no longer want to join whole professions that have locked them out too long and will find their prosperity and stability elsewhere: and then we need to support their businesses.

98ADBDED-5C5A-445E-A353-DBE43C274105

It has to accept – as society has started to accept with respect to white women – that giving certain people a place at the table means that some of those currently at the table will no longer remain there *and that that is right.* It has to make a whole host of changes, from having underwear, sportswear, makeup in a true range of “nudes”, to photojournalism showing images of families, brides, happiness that includes non-white families to pressuring companies to stop relying on unpaid interns to provide the next generation of workers. It has to abandon the idea of moral license – that by allowing more white women and a few more LGBTQA folk to have freedom “enough has been done”.

D2605D0C-D4CC-4952-8146-AFEE92CE041F

I can’t imagine how exhausting it would be to try and hold this alternative way of living in a world that tells you constantly that this lifestyle, this happiness, this unity is not for you (whilst assuming it’s the norm for that teller), but I do know these families are the pioneers, the revolutionaries we should be supporting.

A117C9F2-BAF7-4134-AE89-0EA1C6E4266C

photos posted on Instagram by @bowbelle, @Kneuvill (whose excellent photoessay in black motherhood was published by Refinery29), @nu_bride, @pmacfitness, @candicebraithwaite

It turned out to be a yellow tea cosy

We three children were looking forward to Mother’s birthday. With a view of deciding what was to be done we gathered round the schoolroom table, each armed with a statement of his or her financial resources. My assets were in a purse – total one shilling ten pence halfpenny. Cyril’s was not much better and it was left to Ethel to rescue the situation, which I have to admit, she did most nobly. Blessed with a godmother who sent postal orders she was able to contribute nearly ten shillings. Most magnanimously, she decided we should pool our resources and give Mother one really nice present rather than three inferior ones. It turned out to be a yellow tea-cosy, padded and quilted and embroidered with braid round the edge, finished off with a curl at the top. Cyril and I considered it a dull gift, but Mother received it with joy. It turned out she really had wanted a tea-cosy, a fact which Ethel has gathered by subtle means.

EH Sheoherd – Drawn from Memory

You are living the dream (and blog of the week)

Putting pencils in the kids’ Christmas stockings reminds me of Ben’s fourth birthday, when our friend Daniel asked him if anything special had happened yet and Ben said, with his little eyes glittering with excitement, “Well, Daniel. Yes. I got juice without any water in it.” “Juice without any water in it!”, Daniel said. “You are living the dream.”

The excellent gift guides and game recommendations are only one reason that I’m enjoying the new to me blog, Ben and Birdy. The writing is the other! Happy Birthday to my mother, who is also happy with small presents to mark the day. 

Practice

I amused myself by giving my father daily  Palsy Practice, which consisted of gently shaking his hand while he was taking his tea: “In a few years, when you’re really old, you’ll probably have palsy. I must give you a little practice now, before you actually get it, so that you won’t be dropping things all the time.”

Jessica Mitford – Hons and Rebels