I think this caught my eye because just the other day I read an article that dealt with students at a local school and it made me think of Mammy. This school, trying to gauge how the students felt about the current racial atmosphere and attempting to find ways to make the campus more inclusive, gathered information from students and from those responses they expressed that what they were learning was nothing more than how to care for white women. Even though the image below is even a mockery of the archetype, whose historical depiction negated her life and circumstances, and she was made to appear that she was around to happily serve white women and their babies — in my opinion this reflects much of what we see today. I wrote about my experience obtaining my CLE at this same institution, and how the course portrayed the entire breastfeeding experience central to white women — and didn’t even provide information that would be relevant to the communities I want to serve — why I’m even here. Yes, I did fill out the feedback form. Thankfully, from what I’ve recently read about the school, there appears to be a genuine effort, or at least a desire at restructuring the curriculum, making it more diverse, anti-racist and inclusive at all levels. But this is much larger than one midwifery school.
I know the structural framework surrounding maternal-infant care remains focused on white women’s needs, outlook and desires, and just the same as I think about Mammy in this recent situation — I can’t imagine things any different in other spaces. I’m looking for more insight and dialogue on this, and to learn exactly how oppression and exclusion have been re-configured and mutated. How else are our current birthing schools creating Mammies that nullify our experiences and make it seem as if we happily ignore our lives and culture in order to cater to white women and their babies? Am I being too critical, or have times changed?