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  • Karlee Vincent

Understanding White Privilege in Parenting

In college, I was introduced to White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, by Peggy McIntosh. I was shocked to discover how privileged I was and disgusted that nothing in my previous years of education had prepared me to understand the inherent advantages granted by my skin color.


White privilege plays a role in breastfeeding, too. My job afforded me the right to breastfeed as long as I wanted while working. Not all mamas have the same opportunity in their workplaces—but should. There are a myriad of ways that white privileges affects parents.


Fact: "Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy complications than white women, and a big reason for the disparity may be racism." (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).


Fact: "Black mothers are nine times more likely to be offered formula in the hospital than white mothers." (Racial and Ethnic Differences in Breastfeeding, Community Child Health Research Network).


Fact: "Black moms are less likely to receive postpartum depression treatment than their white counterparts, even though PPD affects up to 20% of new mothers." (National Institute of Health.)


What can we do to help?


If you are a white parent, recognize the privilege you have.

https://www.tolerance.org/professional-development/test-yourself-for-hidden-bias


Educate your children. Provide them with books that encompass the voices of people of color. Here's one: https://www.leeandlow.com


No Black teachers at your child's school? Don't see any POC authors on a school's curriculum? Speak Up or start a group: https://www.barwe215.org/how-to-start-a-barwe-group.html



If need be, become an ally for a black mothers at work.

https://www.aclu.org/blog/womens-rights/pregnancy-and-parenting-discrimination/challenges-breastfeeding-black-person


https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/racial-disparities-persist-for-breastfeeding-moms-heres-why


Support black breastfeeding foundations:

https://blackmothersbreastfeeding.org


Here are some great resources and additional discussion to help further your understanding of white privilege in parenting:

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