Wednesday Opinion: Childcare? Why Race Matters.
By Nanny X, all rights reserved 2012. If you reproduce this article please provide a full link and credit the source.
I’m having a little fun today. The subject of race in childcare is serious for sure as it impacts so many lives. But I’m in the mood for something more satirical. Imagine you were looking for a Nanny but not in the usual sense. You know, not extensive website trawling, scrolling through listings pages, monitoring notice boards or even eyeing up suitable candidates in parks. I mean just flicking through a fantasy Nanny Agency Magazine.
Would a person’s race affect why they were hired? Do attendant historical and economic factors underpin a Nanny’s market value? Do unseen forces drive the individual experiences of a Nanny and her employer’s expectations? Some would argue that they do.
So flick through this magazine and pick a Nanny. Which one will you choose?
Model #1: Premium Nanny
Darling fresh faced, Ivy league Grad Matilda T is now allocating some of her invaluable research time to join your family! Yes for a mere $900 a week you can retain Matilda for 20 hours. Matilda who speaks 3 languages including Mandarin Chinese (so you won’t have to deal with a foreigner!) is a member of the Society of Museums and is a Fencing champion – did we mention she is also an excellent equestrian? Matilda is the perfect cultural attache and she won’t embarrass you in the Hamptons. Matilda is perfectly happy ‘hanging’ with your children and being brilliant but please do not expect her to clean your home or cook meals! Remember ladies Matilda is a thorough-bred, a status symbol, someone amazing who is simply looking to make an extra buck or 1,000 before Grad school.
Model #2: Silver Star Nanny
Gracie B is one of a kind. One of those hard working Island ladies who doesn’t mind working weekends. In fact, as Gracie likes to say “Isa like being wid ma kids” … lol, how adorable! (translation: I love your kids) Gracie loves to cook amazing dishes and if a goat curry isn’t your thing she can whip up American standards. Back home in Jamaica Gracie was a Professor in African Studies (how cool) so she can certainly help with Junior’s Grade 1 homework. Gracie has worked with the rich and famous, so she knows how to blend into the background and be discreet. A worthy attribute amongst Island ladies (you know how loud they can be). Gracie’s mature but not worn out, pleasant looking but not sexy and we don’t mean to brag but what this lady can do with organic, sustainable bleach or with a rag on (sustainable) hardwood is astounding. Gracie is affordable! For 80 hours a week she costs $700 and yes that includes overtime. And you won’t have to worry about extended trips to the islands as all of Gracie’s relatives are dead.
Model #3: Economy Nanny
Esperanza L is fresh out of the trunk. We already know how tough this little Senorita is! Surviving 20 hours in a dessert with a hundred other illegals she was bright eyed bushy tailed and hungry to work when we caught up with her. Esperanza is a live in offer and because she’s paying back her human trafficker while supporting her husband and 7 children back home, she’s very excited about living with you for free. No high Manhattan rents for this little conchita! For just $300 a week – that’s right – this Nanny will work from dawn until midnight 6 days a week (she goes to church on sundays – bless) doing anything you ask of her. Plus your children will be exposed to Spanish in an authentic way. One note: Esperanza can’t travel! So when you go away have her work for someone else.
Model #4: Bargain Nanny of the week!
Thai refuge Kan Kan Wong (just call her Sally) is a political asylum seeker from Tibet! Apparently she was the head of the Chinese Invasion Resistance Party (phoar imagine!) but she won’t let her political ideas affect her ability to houseclean. Although she lives out in an activist collective she’s more than happy to work 100 hours a week and do everything for a mere $250! Sally is just adorable. Totally submissive and extremely … zen. LOL. Just don’t ask her to cook chinese food – silly – she cooks thai!!! Plus it apparently causes PTS (yikes).
…. These parodies may seem comically extreme but they do underscore presumptions made about certain ethnic groups. In hiring a Nanny it’s good to appreciate her cultural heritage as a plus and not as an unspoken code for extra or demeaning duties. Where ever your nanny comes from her experiences will color your children’s life. Value diversity and celebrate the richness a Nanny brings and you’ll get the best from her.
Disclaimer: None of the people shown on this blog have any connection to this satirical article, which is a work of fiction by Nanny X. All rights remain with the owners of the photographs.