Saturday, October 11, 2014

Silenced No More

Last night, both myself and my post were removed from a group for lactation consultants and breastfeeding educators.  I was removed for being disruptive force in the group and making group members uncomfortable with my subject matter: Black infant mortality as it relates to breastfeeding.  I had stated that I would post the entire conversation on this blog.  I will not.  That would be unethical.  As a wise person pointed out, doing so would be petty and unprofessional. I strive to set a better example. What I will do is state emphatically I WILL NOT BE SILENCED.  And neither should you.  This is how inequities come about and persist.  Dominant culture people who refuse to see what is in front of them.  Who refuse to listen, hear, or engage the conversation.  But the problem can also be perpetuated by those who offend.  I don't want to offend when my message is rejected.  I want to move on and engage the next person, hoping they will listen, hear, engage.  This entire experience has been evidence to me that we need more lactation consultants of color. Yes, I've been saying that for a long time, but now it feels more urgent.  When I submitted my grant application yesterday, I recalled having to amend my program idea, because there are not enough LCs of color around the country to help their own communities.  This morning all I think of is that woman from the group going into an African-American client's room today with the thought of 'those colored babies' in her head. That is not the kind of help our mothers need.  If you are a Black woman and you want to become a lactation professional (of any kind), please stay on the path. If you are a true ally, I ask you, no I implore you, please help a woman of color in your vicinity.  We cannot leave our breastfeeding mothers to people who think of them in such a manner that was expressed to me in that group last night.  Yesterday I received a response from IBCLE.  I was not selected as a board member, however, I was offered another opportunity to have input in diversifying the ranks of LCs.  I will continue to do what I can, and what I must to see that African-American breastfeeding mothers aren't left stranded with the type of "assistance" some people are offering.  Let us rise up and be silenced no more.