“Think before you speak. Read before you think.”
― Fran Lebowitz,
There have been so many controversial comments lately in regards to Black Breastfeeding Week. As a big supporter of the movement to normalize breastfeeding, I feel the need to speak up and address some of the ignorance surrounding this week.
To those who made comments against the BBW posts and week itself, stating it’s stupid, pointless, or stating you don’t understand why we need it–guess what?–it’s not about you! There’s clearly a reason why we’re bringing awareness to this week, and there are many women who DO need it, otherwise they wouldn’t have created the awareness in the first place. So, to those commenting selfish, negative, close-minded comments: How DARE you–and who do you think you are?–to belittle their needs, make assumptions, and determine the necessities of other people, whom you can’t even begin to relate with or compare your life to!
I’ve stressed, on every one of my comments that I personally post, that the indifference and opposition against and toward this week proves just how much we need it. Some of you keep asking, “Why”…Well, why the hell haven’t you been paying attention long enough to figure out the answer for yourself at this point? You should be asking yourselves, “Why am I unable to find empathy for someone else for one fucking week?”, “Why am I unable to dig a little deeper this week to learn something, or why don’t I want to?”, “Why does the word ‘black’, or the reference to a different culture, race, and history make me so uncomfortable, and how can I learn to step out of my comfort zone to remedy this in an effort that I may better support others in whatever way they decide is best for them?”, “Why am I being part of the problem and not the solution?”
Many times we lack the effort to look in the mirror and first question ourselves. To remove whatever ignorant obstacles are in our way of our understanding before we can even remotely begin to question others. The fact of the matter is, unless you are a black mother or black breastfeeding woman, you do not get to decide what the best way to bring awareness is during this week because you cannot relate. I say this as a white woman, who won’t ignore the issues of white privilege as a true problem, and the obvious differences in history, culture, beliefs, and races in general. I’m not stupid enough to think that ignoring these differences between races will somehow magically make racism disappear. People who post things like, “it shouldn’t be about race, every breastfeeding mom matters”, “race shouldn’t be an issue because it divides us as people,” YOU and your posts do not support or acknowledge the challenges of a specific group of people, who statistically need to be helped and uplifted to aid in the normalization of breastfeeding. While you may think you are helping the black mothers of the world by stating you want “all races to be equal” during World Breastfeeding Week, you aren’t. You are speaking before reading, researching and learning, which is ridiculous.
As a writer and reviewer, this pisses me off. How you can you comment, judge, or question something if you haven’t even taken the time to read about it? That’s like shaming an author or a book before even opening it. It’s like when people make a comment on a Facebook article based on it’s title instead of its context. If you do this, you’re an asshole and a troll.
When you post shit like this, the rest of us read it as: “This week isn’t about me, so it’s pointless”, “I’m incapable of empathy”, “I’m racist, but won’t admit it”, “I don’t believe there is a problem”, “I don’t care about the problems”, and “I’m selfish and unwilling to learn the answer to my ‘why’ questions”.
The reason I know all of this^^ to be true is because any intelligent person, who is sincerely interested in supporting and learning why we need Black Breastfeeding Week, will ask questions in a non-threatening, non-judgmental, and selfless way in the hopes of actually gaining knowledge. So, if you are one of the women posting this shit, stop it! Don’t post crap likes this and then turn around and play victim, like you didn’t ask and say something offensive, rudely ignorant, or negatively provoking. Posting this kind of stuff results in the immediate backlash from those of us who have already answered these same questions all week long. We feel like we are talking in circles, to a wall; a wall who doesn’t care and who isn’t interested in actually learning anything. So, why waste our time? You are a troll, and if you aren’t, then you have the option of hiding the posts, page, or un-following all together.
In defense of some of the women who are actually curious and well-meaning when they question the necessity of this week, we know you need to be educated, and we are trying to be as patient as possible with you. But it’s really hard when there have been multiple articles, stories, and comments answering your well-meaning questions–which I guess you haven’t seen yet. It’s hard to be patient with you because we are just tired. We are tired of arguing, posting the same shit over and over, and people still ignoring the facts and information they are given. My advice to you is to read and search everything before you ask questions. You may end up finding your answer on your own, which is a great way to learn.
For those of you who think there needs to be a White Breastfeeding Week, or feel like Black Breastfeeding week is unfair *eyeroll*, no one is stopping you from creating your own page and awareness. Let me just say this though, when you reveal your epic week of awareness, it better be fucking amazing with information none of us have seen yet, since you think that there is more to be said for white women who breastfeed that isn’t already said every other damn day of the week. Good luck. Let me know how that goes. Same thing goes for any other week of awareness. Stop bitching about it and make it happen.
I’m really disappointed this week because I spent the majority of my time arguing with idiots in the attempt to support the black moms who were belittled. I won’t ever stop fighting for the support of those who need it, but it was disheartening to know that we couldn’t just enjoy, educate, and learn from this week without all of the negativity. This says a lot about us as a society, as people. It shows our integrity, or lack thereof. What does yours look like? What did you do this week to support your Black Breastfeeding community and sisters? What did you do to be part of the solution, or were you just part of the problem–keeping us from being able to focus on the importance of awareness? How do you feel about yourself this week? I personally think we need to extend Black Breastfeeding week to a full month of awareness, based on the continuing ignorance and negativity. I hope those of you who need support daily, and who saw my posts, know that I have your back 100%, no matter what kind of idiotic responses I get from others. That’s why I won’t just sit here in silence.
There was another article posted and deleted this week on Kristy’s page that basically told us to “SHUT UP AND LISTEN,” and learn something instead of stewing in our own ignorance. It was written by a white woman, directed at white women (mostly). This article was criticized for it’s harsh opinions, thoughts on white privilege, profanity, and meanness…I still hear the whaaambulance resignating from those who were butthurt over it… So, I don’t doubt some of you will hate my post as well because, personally, I LOVED that article and agreed with it completely. I’m well aware that I may get some backlash for this and many other comments I might make, but to those of you who have an issue with my tone or choice of words on MY BLOG, you know where the un-follow button is, the hide button on facebook–and honestly, you can go fuck yourself. This week isn’t about you, so move along if you’re still butthurt. This post isn’t any different than anything else I’ve posted on the facebook comments all week, in rebuttal to the ignorance surrounding Black Breastfeeding Week.
Keep on boobin’, mamas! You’re doing awesome. I support you. Show your support for all awareness weeks that come up in the future, keep an open mind, and learn something in the effort to normalize breastfeeding for everyone. If nothing else, learn something thought provoking to better yourself.
(photo from LLL World Breastfeeding Week)
This post was originally combating, and still is, the negativity being posted on Breastfeeding Mama Talk, a breastfeeding support Facebook page.