Photo by Rikard Elofsson, Flickr CC.

Review Questions: The Superstrong Black Mother

The late Sinikka Elliott was a treasured colleague, here at the University of British Columbia, the new editorial home of Contexts, and around the world. We are pleased to share her 2016 piece and a set of review questions for use in the classroom—one of the many places her brilliance burned bright.

The following review questions are included alongside the article “The Superstrong Black Mother,” by Sinikka Elliott and Megan Reid, pp. 207-212 in the 3rd edition of The Contexts Reader, published by W.W. Norton. The article first appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of Contexts.

The long-held superstrong Black mother image, Patricia Hill Collins argues, now dictates the terms of good mothering for Black women: be strong and be solely responsible.

Meanwhile, stereotypes of poor Black women as bad mothers mean that they are more heavily monitored by the state and their mothering is treated with suspicion, even by their kids’ teachers.

Review Questions:

  1. The stereotype about Black mothers that this article discusses is generally considered to be a positive stereotype. What are the unseen sides or consequences of that stereotype?
  2. What role does the criminal justice system play in the experiences of Black mothers?
  3. Compare the experiences of White and Black mothers, as described in the article.

Comments 1

drift boss

November 15, 2022

According to Patricia Hill Collins, being a good mother for Black women today means being independent and powerful.


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