Alongside the obvious problems of life and the world, every so often you find out about a new one. For example, suppose you’re a married African-American dual income professional couple and you want to hire a nanny for your kids. Big trouble: “’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.” Perhaps not the worst problem in the world, but still:
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?
All strange. Further complicating matters, “African-American professionals, who constantly battle the stereotype that blacks do not speak proper English, sometimes hesitate to hire Caribbean nannies who speak with lilting accents or island patois, said Cameron L. Macdonald, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.” According to Mary Waters’ book, black people actually suffer from substantially less discrimination if they speak with island accents. Sudhir Venkatash in Off The Books has a different story to tell about nannying. He describes it as difficult for the women he observed to break into nannying for white families but said the pastors at inner-city churches would regularly place people with middle class congregants commuting from the suburbs — but only on a short-term basis and only in exchange for a broker’s fee.