One of my students snapped this image and sent it to me, telling me how much I’m gonna love it. When I opened the email it was in, she told me these advertisements promoting breastfeeding among Black moms have popped up on various public busses throughout the city of Tacoma, here in Washington state. In case you need to be oriented with the city, Tacoma is approximately 45 minutes South of Seattle. It has the highest population of Black people in the entire state, and, incidentally, it also has the highest rate of infant mortality. In fact, it is so startling, that when I attended ICTC’s Afrocentric Pregnancy Fair in Portland, OR at the end of June, I met a woman down there who was from an organization up here that holds quarterly celebrations for Black babies who have reached their first birthday; Black babies are twice as likely to die before reaching 12 months than any other race in Pierce County. And breastmilk helps save lives. I can’t say for sure, but I’m certain that’s one of the reasons for this campaign.
I’ve been really busy with school so I haven’t had extra time at all to do any type of ‘background check’ on these ads, or find out about them, that look like they’re promoted by the company/organization MultiCare. In fact, I’ve never head of them, and this is the first I’ve ever seen of these. Hopefully when I have a spare minute I can look into it.
There was a rightful critique that even though this is a breastfeeding campaign, with a lovely picture of a mother-infant dyad, it doesn’t actually show a baby breastfeeding — or, a Black baby on a Black breast — [especially] in a city with so many Black people, and I think that is pretty significant.
I still think it is so exciting to have my student send me this picture from her bus ride. I’ve had several others come up to me asking to talk to them and explain breastfeeding from my perspective. I am more hopeful about the discussion on the topic at hand. I can’t wait to have more time in my schedule to do some more research, and gather more information overall on this new campaign, and write more critically and in-depth because I’d definitely like to share more of what I think — my feelings, critiques, appreciations, and anything else on my thoughts. But for now, I’d love for you to weigh in with yours. African American Breastfeeding