anthropologyBlack Feminist AnthropologySummits & Conferences

Black Breastfeeding: Constructing a Framework of Analysis and Action through the Lens of Black Feminist Anthropology

With all of my travel and busy-ness I realized I completely forgot to upload my ROSE poster — so here it is. I presented this poster at the Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere 4th Annual Breastfeeding Summit in Atlanta, that happened about two weeks ago, but seems like yesterday. The summit was in Atlanta, GA on August 19-21, and the topic this year was Building Bridges across the Chasm of Breastfeeding Inequities.There were various speakers — I missed 99% of the presentation by Camara Phyllis about racism and examining and eliminating its impact — the one I really wanted to see — and dang, I was so disappointed. Of course when I finally did make it to the conference center, during the break everyone was talking about it, and subsequently telling me how unfortunate it was that I didn’t make it once they found out I wasn’t there :/

The food was incredible. The my only grievance was that the caterers took it all away so soon after each meal time, LOL, and didn’t leave it out (I can tend to go several rounds when they got it like that — and make it like that). But I’m not bitter.

Anyway, my poster is about viewing how I work to highlight Black breastfeeding promotion via — well, through constructing a framework of analysis and action through the lens of Black feminist anthropology. I’m trying real hard to shine as bright of a light on this vantage point as I can. I want to make Black feminist anthropology as public as I can, and I think that showing this at a conference where there are folks who are both inside and outside of academia is ideal — that’s my kind of audience. Below is the poster. Below the poster is the abstract that was submitted and was published in the pamphlet.

Black Breastfeeding: Constructing a Framework of Analysis and Action via the Lens of Black Feminist Anthropology
Black Breastfeeding: Constructing a Framework of Analysis and Action via the Lens of Black Feminist Anthropology

What is Black feminist anthropology and its relation to Black breastfeeding, and what does an analysis of breastfeeding and action via critical Black feminist anthropology look like? Black feminist anthropology encompasses a body of knowledge that is based upon a multi-faceted set of converging characteristics that construct is framework, and among other characteristics, what is most salient are two primary attributes; being a black feminist an an anthropologist. Most often imposed within this framework are ways to work at instituting forms of thought and unequal treatment across various geographic locations and throughout time. In their distinct locations, both Black feminist and anthropology have too often omitted conversations on breastfeeding. More specifically, when looking at how a society functions, highlighting ways to center racism, Black women’s social position, and also creating an avenue towards challenging the inequity that underscores this legacy, it seems that human lactation never makes a space at the forefront.

How can Black feminist anthropology highlight the greater complexities surrounding the legacy of injustice in Black breastfeeding in the U.S.? Since breastfeeding is a biological function informed by cultural practices, which are influenced by social circumstances, via this rare and crucial vantage point, I will highlight how Black feminist anthropology accesses complexities surrounding breastfeeding injustice, and other less visible blind spots, while underscoring ideas that all operate on an avenue towards strategic and necessary change.

I really liked that I got to attend this year. I haven’t been since the first one, but it was nice being there seeing folks I hadn’t seen in a while, meeting folks I had never met before and hearing some of the presentations. Also, I may join NAPPLSC, which stands for National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color — and it’s a new organization started by ROSE and is geared toward offering support to those in the profession. Now, we all know about my politics and how I feel about the increase in professional breastfeeding services, right?! In case you need a reminder or you have a question mark lingering over your head in order to understand why I’m even mentioning this it’s because I do not believe breastfeeding professionalism it is a form of justice, or that it is working to end breastfeeding inequity. If anything, I believe it is dong the exact opposite and reiterating various formations of injustice as well as establishing new and additional layers of it — including a hierarchy and oligarchy since it places the knowledge of a tradition that has sustained the human race into the hands of a select few who have access to formal education, funding and status — that’s just one reason — I gots plenty. And I stand on my views without apologizing for them. But if professionals of color feel they need to converge to offer a greater level of support to each other in order to offer a greater level of care for their clients, then that’s worth supporting these efforts with a 35 dollar membership fee. I think the founder of the Native American Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington convinced me of that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.