Jezebels, Welfare Queens—And Now, Criminally Bad Black Moms

Monique as “Mary Jones” in the film Precious

By Julianne Hing | Colorlines

The shocking Cobb County, Ga., prosecution of Raquel Nelson, who law enforcement blamed when her son was killed by a drunken hit-and-run driver, has drawn national headlines and outrage. But criminal justice watchdogs and cultural critics point out that, while Nelson’s story is extreme, it’s not that unusual—and it’s the product of centuries worth of demonizing black women that has taken a new, insidious turn during the current recession.

“This hit and run story is such an apt metaphor for what’s happening,” said Nikki Jones, a sociologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “American policies have essentially been a hit and run on black women that leave them in circumstances where they’re managing day to day and then getting punished for their very victimhood.”

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About jennifer williams

Jennifer D. Williams is a writer and professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies. She has published in academic journals and online at, PopMatters, among other sites. Jennifer is currently working on a book that looks at black women's urban literature between the Depression and the civil rights era.

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