What’s the new trendy accessory for metropolitan moms? Not the $800 stroller, not the Gucci diaper bag, it’s the nanny…the Tibetan nanny that is.
Stereotypes of the French, Caribbean and the Irish nanny are sadly common. All these foreign born caregivers generally join the family unit with a certain amount of assumed characteristics based on their home countries and the land’s child rearing traditions.
In New York City, Tibetan nannies have become a red-hot commodity. MSNBC notes that the Tibetan nanny are heralded as being “very balanced and Zen” and have helped with the kid’s “spiritual development.”
How in demand are the Tibetan nannies? A daycare center is Astoria, New York started a Tibetan nanny referral service. Their promotional copy reads: “Tibetan women are well known for being caring and loving nannies. They are recognized for becoming ‘one of the family’ and offer the same compassion and quality of care for their charges as they do their own children.” It continues to say, “cleanliness, organization & dedication to education are values of Tibetan culture.”
But doesn’t stereotyping a potential nanny because of their ethic background sting of racism?
Tasha Blaine, a former nanny and author of “Just Like Family: Inside the Lives of Nannies, the Parents They Work For, and the Children They Love.” Stated that, “they talk about how everybody hires the Filipina nannies because you can get them to do anything or that families will look for a British nanny who has the right accent.” She continued to say, “women who would never feel comfortable making such sweeping generalizations about anyone’s racial background in other areas of their lives, like work, somehow feel free to do it when they’re talking about hiring nannies,” she says. “People are more upfront when they’re talking about their homes and their kids because you don’t have to worry about H.R. coming to you, there’s no policing.”
Plus it’s illegal to discriminate based on ethic backgrounds. But that doesn’t stop parents from making requests for a certain race when hiring their children’s caregivers. While some nanny agencies will go along with their requests but others see that “many of these racial requests are born either of ignorance or simple follow-the-pack behavior.”
Do you think there is anything to the stereotyping of nannies based on their ethnic background?
Also check out Jezebel’s piece about the Tibetan nanny issue here.