Defending Black Breast-Feeding Week

Kimberly Seals Allers at Mocha Manual responds to people opposed to her Black Breast-Feeding Week social media campaign -- and explains why breast-feeding in the black community does need special attention.

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Kimberly Seals Allers at Mocha Manual presents a five-point response to folks who are opposed to the Black Breast-Feeding Week social media campaign she organized that began Monday. She explains why she's tailoring the issue for the black community, writing that "there has been a gaping racial disparity in breast-feeding rates." She encourages the campaign's white detractors to support her efforts.

The news had not been posted for two hours before the brouhaha began on Facebook. Yesterday, myself and two of my comrades in the movement to shift breastfeeding culture in the black community, officially announced August 25-31st -- the last week of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month -- as Black Breastfeeding Week.

... The week will be marked with celebratory "fist bump" images to be shared on Facebook, a live interactive webcast via You Tube and a groundbreaking twitter chat, under the inaugural theme: #BlackLivesMatter (get all the info & shareable images here).

But before we could finish uploading the images, there was already a ruckus brewing over at The Leaky Boob Facebook page with over 500 (and counting) divisive comments -- many of which were removed by the page administrator because of their racist connotations.

Let me say this. In general, it is tragic to see white people try to tell black people what we do and don’t need. To be clear, this is not about YOU -- this effort does not exclude or preclude anyone else from joining in. Please hear me, every time black people get together in solidarity to address problems in their own community, it is not a statement or action toward YOU. In fact, your energy would be better spent thinking about how you can support such a life-saving effort.

Now, to the specifics of breastfeeding. It is not a secret that for over 40 years there has been a gaping racial disparity in breastfeeding rates. The most recent CDC data show that 75% of white women have ever breastfed versus 58.9% of black women. The fact that racial disparity in initiation and even bigger one for duration has lingered for so long is reason enough to take 7 days to focus on the issue, but for those who may be confused by their view from suburbia, blinded by their white privilege or otherwise need more convincing, I've put together (Letterman style) the Top 5 Reasons Why We Need a Black Breastfeeding Week.

Read Kimberly Seals Allers' entire piece at Mocha Manual.  

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