This is good one! And a big part of me wishes there were conversations like this more often because then that would mean that the very climate surrounding Black breastfeeding would be different.
The youtuber in the video below says that she was on Facebook in a conversation about breastfeeding with ‘several white women.’ That morphed into a discussion on Black breastfeeding, when one mentioned the racial disparity of Black women’s rates, and even provided ’empirical’ evidence from the CDC. What I really appreciate about this video is that the woman makes us question the history of how Women Of Color have been (DIS)regarded by institutions that aren’t concerned with us and have, at best, conducted surface work in our communities and we accept their information as truth and even project it onto ourselves. She asks the question ‘Just when did they start caring about Black women?’
While I was watching, I got to thinking about the other ways Black women have been seen as having major shortcomings — we can’t get a man, have the highest (or highest increase of) HIV rates, that 70% have herpes or some other Sexually Transmitted Infection, our hair won’t grow, and the slew of our other so-called characteristics — many that I just don’t believe — with info that comes from institutions conducting these studies, such as the CDC.
I don’t have time to go into this like I really want to — including how I think this is a perfect opportunity to examine our own contributions to the breastfeeding account, whether it is in academia, having more so-called empirical research, engaging in conversations with our neighbors or otherwise, but I want to know what else should be added here. Are Black women’s breasts and the narrative on the disparity of our breastfeeding relationships not a disparity at all — especially one resulting from racism (though she talks about racial arrogance in the video because of a personal account with the woman she was talking to), but is it that a racist society has tried to sell us this story and use it as just another tactic to discredit and discount us — to socially, physically, and emotionally fragment us — like has been the strategy so many other times throughout history in a society that disdains Black women? Do you agree with this video that it just works to make white people look more important than they are — ‘arrogant’ — in how they have effected our lives? Or, is it something else?
My reason for being here is because I was called to do this work — to advocate breastfeeding for Black women, so that makes my participation quite different than if I was paying attention to statistics or otherwise. But this isn’t the first time I’ve heard someone say something like this — that they believe that when it comes to Black women having the lowest breastfeeding rates among any group it is a myth. What do you think about it all?