Happy Father’s Day, Mom? Cards for Black Single Moms Raise Questions

Michelle Balani, The Grio, June 20, 2012

{snip} While it’s important to celebrate these mothers and all that they do every day of the year, Hallmark found it necessary to commemorate their contributions to their families with a series of Father’s Day greeting cards created to specifically for single mothers.

While Hallmark offered more than 700 card styles for Father’s Day, the majority of the nontraditional greeting cards for single moms were part of the company’s Mahogany brand, which is their line specifically designed for African-American consumers. The Mahogany Father’s Day collection included 66 culturally-relevant designs and sentiments that honor dad and other special men and women in a person’s life, and two of these celebrate black single mothers.

With 2 out 3 African-American children living in homes where a father is not present, compared to 1 out of 3 nationally, is Hallmark simply making a good business decision or should people of color be offended by their choice? {snip}

Hallmark spokesperson Kristi Ernsting, says that Hallmark started selling these types of cards at the request of customers to celebrate parents who play many different roles in their children’s upbringing. She adds that their goal was to celebrate mothers of all ethnicities.

“Hallmark has long offered ‘Happy Father’s Day, Mom’ and ‘Happy Mother’s Day, Dad’ cards in our lines,” she says. “It’s a common request for people who have lost a parent and want a way to express to their living parent that he/she has been both mother and father to them. We also released one card that was specifically addressed to all mothers in our general Hallmark line. It is our goal to create cards for the wide range of people’s relationships so that everyone who seeks to connect in a positive way with others can find a card that will meet their needs.”

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Hallmark began offering cards relevant for African-Americans in the 1960s and introduced the Mahogany line in 1987. Mahogany became a year-round brand offering both everyday and seasonal cards in 1991. {snip}

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And while many find the release of these nontraditional greeting cards a tad offensive, the demand for these products may speak for itself. Dana Vazquez, a customer service associate at a Hallmark store in mid-town Manhattan, says that these products practically flew off the shelves.

“We were sent two styles of the Father’s Day cards for mothers, and we sold out almost immediately,” she said. “In fact, they were all gone nearly two weeks before the holiday occurred, which is pretty good considering most people wait until last minute to buy gifts for their dad.”

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