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Article

Just Mothering: Amy Coney Barrett and the Racial Politics of American Motherhood

Department of Social Sciences, Western Connecticut State University, Danbury, CT 06810, USA
Laws 2021, 10(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws10020036
Received: 4 March 2021 / Revised: 19 April 2021 / Accepted: 8 May 2021 / Published: 13 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Body Politic: Women’s Bodies and Political Conflict)
Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination and confirmation featured frequent references to her role as a mother. This article situates these references within the trajectory of American political development to demonstrate how motherhood operates as a mechanism for enforcing a white-centered racial order. Through a close analysis of both the history of politicized motherhood as well as Barrett’s nomination and confirmation hearings, I make a series of claims about motherhood and contemporary conservatism. First, conservatives stress the virtuousness of motherhood through a division between public and private spheres that valorizes the middle-class white mother. Second, conservatives emphasize certain mothering practices associated with the middle-class white family. Third, conservatives leverage an epistemological claim about the universality of mothering experiences to universalize white motherhood. Finally, this universalism obscures how motherhood operates as a site in which power distinguishes between good and bad mothers and allocates resources accordingly. By attending to what I call the “republican motherhood script” operating in contemporary conservatism, I argue that motherhood is an ideological apparatus for enforcing a racial order premised on white protectionism. View Full-Text
Keywords: Amy Coney Barrett; race; republican motherhood; American political development; conservatism Amy Coney Barrett; race; republican motherhood; American political development; conservatism
MDPI and ACS Style

Williams, H.H. Just Mothering: Amy Coney Barrett and the Racial Politics of American Motherhood. Laws 2021, 10, 36. https://doi.org/10.3390/laws10020036

AMA Style

Williams HH. Just Mothering: Amy Coney Barrett and the Racial Politics of American Motherhood. Laws. 2021; 10(2):36. https://doi.org/10.3390/laws10020036

Chicago/Turabian Style

Williams, H. H. 2021. "Just Mothering: Amy Coney Barrett and the Racial Politics of American Motherhood" Laws 10, no. 2: 36. https://doi.org/10.3390/laws10020036

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