Ode to the Black Tiger Mother

Generic image (Thinkstock)
Generic image (Thinkstock)

The Root Contributing Editor Farai Chideya, in a piece for the Huffington Post, calls single black mothers Tiger Moms and applauds them for overcoming challenges to raise strong black men and women .

I'm not a great satirist, and what my family achieved is too serious to get that tonality wrong. My father and mother split when I was 8, and my mother became the Superparent — that mix of mom, dad and enforcer who helped me become who I am. She deftly navigated my and my sister's path through the troubled Baltimore City School system, ensuring we got a solid education from a not-so-solid system. I had some extraordinary teachers, but none more so than my mother. She taught me to read, to ride a bike, to speak my truth. She was and is an urban farmer. I didn't think it strange that we had corn and potatoes and fruit trees in our city back yard. She saved her money for educational enrichment: computer coding classes at the local community college; anatomy at Johns Hopkins (I loved the cadaver dissection). I, like Andrew, was supposed to be a doctor …

Being a Black Tiger Mother has its own specific variations on the theme. Because of the nature of race and class in America, many Black Tiger Mothers (and Fathers) — including my own — had to brew an entire racial education curriculum into the tiger's milk. How do you retain a sense of dignity when people treat you as a second class citizen? Do you laugh it off, walk it off, or fight? When do you make that decision, and why? This may substitute for violin lessons in the regular Tiger Mom curriculum.


Read Farai Chideya's entire piece at the Huffington Post. 

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.