Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Naysayers, hijackers, and Angry B*tches...OH MY!

Warning - Strongly worded rant, read at your own risk!!

I've had the privilege of being in some pretty heated, balls out, inspiring, eye-opening discussions over the course of just three short days. Some of these took place in person others over the internet. Indulge me for a few while I talk about the debates of the latter.

If you haven't already seen the post Racism and Low Birth Weight 101, by The Unnecesarean, it might be hard to completely get where I am coming from, but then again I think my point is kinda basic: When it comes to racial injustices, you don't have to fucking buy it, because it aint up for sale!

In regards to some of the many comments about the aforementioned post on The Unnecesarean, let me be the first to say, I understand healthy skepticism. I understand exploring other causes of infant mortality in blacks. I understand just having a different point of view. What I don't understand is this incessant need to divert the discussion from what the post is originally about, without really opening yourself up to any real discussion. Examples of the diversion/hijacking:

*Not all white people are racists (I don't remember the studies drawing that conclusion but whatever)

*I don't even know any racist people where I live (my personal favorite because, what the fuck does that mean?)

*What about Native Americans or Hispanics? Why is just about African Americans?

I'd like to address that last one. Here is the answer: Quite simply, because it is ONE study about African American rates of Infant mortality and any possible links to systematic racism. What the hell is wrong with that? It could as easily been a study about the Native American Community or another minority, and still be worth our attention and important enough for us to have an open mind with meaningful dialogue about it. I would find any study about any culture and their infant mortality rate compelling and worth my interest. We could, of course, debate the merits of how that study came to be, but doesn't that in and of itself require an open mind, a level of respect and understanding. Would there be as much resistance if we were talking about a culture of women in some foreign land or would we all be shaking our heads and fists in disgust and anger, outraged at the mistreatment of these other women? Of course, I can't say for sure, but I'm curious.

Lastly, the thing that really grinds my gears (this is a rant remember) is the sentiment I've seen these few days about how linking racism in this way is not scientific. The underlying feelings and some outright comments have been that you can't prove racism because it's how a person feels, namely the victim of it. Therefore, it has no real place in the debates about birth and especially birth outcomes. It's so utterly amazing that some of the same people I've seen make this argument about racism, champion a woman's right to use the term "Birth Rape", citing how you can't deny what the woman felt as she was victimized and her right to categorize what happened to her in birth this way. I know there is a huge difference between racism and that of rape (of any kind), but why does a woman's feelings in this aspect deserve our attention and respect, but the other does not. Why is the outcomes of trauma in birth and say the link to postpartum depression, or even negative outcomes on the mental well-being of infants, more plausible and worth more time and attention, than that of any links to negative outcomes of birth in African American women who suffer systematic racism? Further more, how did that post fail to link racism and it's outcomes on birth in a scientific or at the very least plausible way?