• Dadwagon on Facebook
  • Dadwagon on Twitter
  • Dadwagon RSS feed

Awkward! (A conversation about race and fathers, with our nanny.)

July 22nd, 2011  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  2 Comments

With almost no exceptions, my experience with Ellie’s nanny, who has been with us for about four months, has been great. The baby loves her, Tomoko respects (and likes) her, and I find her calm to be an entire separate, and reliable, infrastructure in the system of our parenting.

But I did have one whopper of a chat with her the other day. She is from Trinidad, of African descent, and very proper. I learned a little earlier that she was in the process of splitting with her husband, and had in fact moved out and was living withe her sister (with her two young children).

After offering my sympathy, I asked her what sort of arrangement she managed having with her ex with the kids, and she told me she assumed that they would be with her. In fact, she said, she wouldn’t be totally surprised if her husband cut off relations with the kids and just moved on. I expressed some shock at this—up to this point her description of him had been rather good—and she frowned at me.

“Let’s be honest, Ted,” she said. “We’re all adults. The truth is, black men are more likely to leave their families than men from any other race.”

No need to go into the class, race, and gender weirdness that plays into hiring someone to look after your kids. We happen to be very lucky, our nanny is superb, but it’s still an adjustment on a daily basis.

I just had no idea what to say to that one. I tried mumbling something appropriately liberal about poverty and the alienation it causes (which, I admit, was kinda condescending), but she batted it away as if I hadn’t spoken. Black men, she knew, were no damn good.

I let it go at that, we joked about finding her someone Jewish, and then she went home.

Any thoughts out there? A difficult one for me.


  1. dizzyworld says:

    August 17th, 2011at 10:28 am(#)

    Where in the world have you lived until now?

  2. dadwagon says:

    August 17th, 2011at 1:40 pm(#)

    Uh, in middle class utopia?

Leave a Response


Recent Comments

  • Dee: As one of the impressed moms there last night, and also because my kid ate 3 bowls of that bolognese, thanks for...
  • Drew Wallner via Facebook: I’m totally making this when we get back from holiday travel, I even just got a...
  • Matt: Whoops! Just put that back in. The recipe editor has been fired.
  • Ed Lilly: Looks great – thanks for posting! One question – you did not specify putting the meat back into...
  • Maks: I’m against baby yoga for sure, but want to say something regarding that author is a little wild about...

DadWagon Reads!


Do you show this to your kids?

AP Images

An unnamed gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. Turkish police shot and killed the gunman, Turkish station NTV reported. Russia's ambassador to Turkey has died after being shot in Ankara, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman. #APPhoto by Burhan Ozbilici

Story developing: http://apne.ws/2hRY0rH

Dec 19th, 2016 7:32pm • No Comments

"They watch their mothers and fathers overdose and die on the bathroom floor. They live without electricity, food or heat when their parents can’t pay the bills. They stop going to school, and learn to steal and forage to meet their basic needs."

The Children of the Opioid Crisis


Left behind by addict parents, tens of thousands of youngsters flood the nation’s foster-care system; grandparents become moms and dads again

Dec 16th, 2016 2:11pm • No Comments

Don't forget the gift receipt(s)!

A Gift for Every Type of Dad (That You Can Buy on Amazon)


Including cricket-flour protein bars, ice-cold beer chillers, and an air fryer that uses hardly any oil.

Dec 9th, 2016 3:27pm • No Comments

As Ryu Spaeth pointed out, the only thing worse than "Papa" is the pronunciation "paPA." PERISH THE THOUGHT.


“I just think ‘dad’ and ‘mom’ are very Saved by the Bell-ish,” said Will Grose, 36, a Brooklyn father of three boys under the age of 5.

Nov 30th, 2016 5:20pm • 1 Comment