From The Grio – Ask anyone who has been raised by a single mother, and they will tell you that their moms played many roles in their lives, including teacher, cook, accountant, housekeeper, driver, CEOand psychologist, and often times, they even served as a father figure for their household. 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 ofFather’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 dadand 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? And what effect are these greeting card offerings and the celebration of single motherhood on a day dedicated to honoring dads having on the value of fatherhood across all communities?

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.”

Tonya Bryant, who is a single mother and grew up in a home where her parents were split up for some time, says that she would be honored to receive a card from her children, and that it’s a good way to pay tribute to single moms for all they do.

“When I was growing up, my parents separated and I lived with my mother,” she said. “I remember each year, I would buy Father’s Day cards for both my mom and my dad even back then. Now I think it’s more appropriate to give these cards to single moms because the dynamic of the family has changed over the years, and it’s not the same as what we’re used to. A single mom’s job is challenging, but the rewards are priceless, and being able to fill the role of both mother and father is something that I do with great pride. And to have my children thank me for doing this on Father’s Day would be such an incredible recognition.”

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. Thus far, the product line has proven successful, and 10 percent of proceeds from these sales benefit the Susan B. Komen for the Cure.

While Bryant believes in the value of Father’s Day cards for single moms, she doesn’t agree with Hallmark’s decision to market them almost exclusively to the African-American community.

“I don’t think that it’s appropriate for Hallmark to sell all of these cards under their Mahogany line because they are, in essence, saying that only black people live in single parent homes, which is the furthest thing from the truth,” she said. “They are cheapening the great idea of celebrating single moms on Father’s Day by offering these products to mostly African-Americans. In this day and age, there are people from all walks of life that don’t have fathers in the homes, and I think that they should reconsider their marketing strategies and just offer them to people of all colors.”

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