If you are not a POC, you won’t understand the significance of this post, but I will try to make it to where you have a gist of the point I’m trying to convey. In the Black community, mostly among Black women, there’s this stigma that anything against what we deem “the norm”, is white. Let me try to explain.
When I began living a plant based lifestyle, at that time, the face was white. Many people said that veganism was a white thing, or eating healthy was for white people. Most of these comments, actually all of these comments, came from other Black people.
See, our poor eating habits stem from slavery, and yes I can already hear people now: “why does everything have to be about slavery with y’all?” Well, a lot of what we deal with today stems from slavery: the racism, discrimination, exclusion, etc. Believe it or not, much of slavery still exists today. We are still underpaid, treated unfairly, and targeted by race soldiers, aka The Police.
Back to what I was saying: poor eating habits. Our ancestors did all of the cooking for the white folk and what was leftover, neck bones, fat backs, chitterlings, oxtails, and any other part of the animal the white folk deemed unworthy, was given to the slaves. That passed from one generation to the next, which is why we have the highest levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and everything else.
What most people, most Black people, don’t know is that veganisn stemmed from our ancestors before slavery, back in Africa. Our ancestors lived a mostly vegetarian lifestyle, consuming some fish. They are off the land. This is why you see so many of those in my generation, millennials, adopting a plant based lifestyle. In the age of technology, I feel like we were the last generation to learn how to research, the first to learn to research using technology. We do the most digging, reading and soul searching, which is why many of us have given up religion (that’s a post for another time). We’ve learned that Black history goes further back than slavery, which is what most white Americans don’t want us to know, which is why Black history month is limited to Black Americans post slavery.
Now to the point of this post: breastfeeding. In the Black community, breastfeeding is not a huge thing, it’s almost taboo. I’ve heard from other Black women that they were told breastfeeding is for white women and we are trying to be like them. Yes, I’m about to bring up slavery again. During those times, Black women weren’t allowed to nurse their babies. They were made to nurse the master’s babies. Their children were left in the sun and only consumed sugar water. Fucked up? Yes, I know.
Thoughbi haven’t heard these comments personally, and no one in my family breastfed or stuck with it, it still isn’t something normalized. They do bring up formula and he needs to be in a bottle, mainly because that’s all they know. They don’t know or understand the benefits of breastfeeding.
2. Building the baby’s immune system
3. Emotional stability
4. Fights off all kinds of diseases and illnesses
5. Lose baby weight
6. Can protect your baby from developing allergies
7. Can boost the baby’s intelligence
8. May prevent childhood obesity
9. Decreases risk of SIDS
10. Can reduce your stress levels and risk of PPD
11. Can reduce your risk of certain cancers
There are also many other benefits. It’s not a white women thing, it’s a mothering thing. As women, by nature, we are meant to breastfeed, and yes, I understand some women can’t breastfeed due to many factors. Though I never understood women who just chose not to breastfeed for whatever reason and I feel bad for those who were coerced into believing that Black women don’t breastfeed.
What brought in this post was the picture above. I saw it on IG and I reposted it. Every time I look at it, something in me just said to make a blog post about it to share information to expecting Black Mothers and to reassure Black Mothers who already breastfeed, letting them know that it’s okay.
What do you think about breastfeeding and have you ever been told it’s a “white woman” thing? Did you breastfeed? Why? Why not?