NYT: “Very rarely will an African-American woman work for an African-American boss”?

This piece offers multiple explanations, but here is a possibility: might it be that the reasons given below by the nannies themselves are correct?

Numerous black parents successfully employ nannies, and many sitters say they pay no regard to race. But interviews with dozens of nannies and agencies that employ them in Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Houston turned up many nannies — often of African-American or Caribbean descent themselves — who avoid working for families of those backgrounds. Their reasons included accusations of low pay and extra work, fears that employers would look down at them, and suspicion that any neighborhood inhabited by blacks had to be unsafe.

The result is that many black parents do not have the same child care options as their colleagues and neighbors. They must settle for illegal immigrants or non-English speakers instead of more experienced or credentialed nannies, rely on day care or scale back their professional aspirations to spend more time at home.

“Very rarely will an African-American woman work for an African-American boss,” said Pat Cascio, the owner of Morningside Nannies in Houston and the president of the International Nanny Association.

Many of the African-American nannies who make up 40 percent of her work force fear that people of their own color will be “uppity and demanding,” said Ms. Cascio, who is white. After interviews, she said, those nannies “will call us and say, ‘Why didn’t you tell me’ ” the family is black? . . .

Some black sitters, both Caribbean and African-American, said they flat out refused to work for families of those backgrounds, accusing them of demanding more and paying less.

“It seems like our own color looks down on us and takes advantage of us,” said Pansy Scott, a Jamaican immigrant in Brooklyn, basing her conclusions on working for a single black family years ago. Ai-Jen Poo, lead organizer for Domestic Workers United, a labor group, said, “Domestic employees are at the whim of their employers,” good or bad. “If they happen to run into an employer who for whatever reason is not respecting their rights,” she said, they may draw wildly broad conclusions. . . .



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