Quickie Soapbox: The Waah-Waah Brigade

There’s a disturbing pattern I’ve been seeing in some breastfeeding/birth/natural parenting spaces. Whenever attention is brought to a website, group  or article that centers the experiences of persons of color, the “Waah-Waah Brigade” comes out to play.

Members of this brigade are always offended that there are spaces that prioritize the experiences of persons of color above white persons. They manage to derail otherwise productive discussions with the same tired statements to support their supposed feelings of being offended.

“If there was a White XYZ Association then it would be called racist.”

“I’m tired of having to cater to other communities, it just fosters racism.”

“Why are you segregating yourselves?”

Listen up, Waah-Waah Brigade:

We’re tired of your warped definitions of racism.

We’re tired of hearing your accusations that rely on the logic of  false equivalence.

We’re tired of being told that our concerns don’t matter because they aren’t your concerns.

We’re tired of being erased from breastfeeding/birth/parenting literature and images.

We’re tired of your failure to recognize the role history has played in the present state of all of our lives.

We’re tired of your assumption that being “colorblind” is a positive trait.

We’re tired of constantly having to justify the centering of our issues when we’ve been marginalized.

POC involved in breastfeeding/birth/natural parenting causes set up their own spaces because we tend to be erased, minimized, and silenced in mainstream spaces. We shouldn’t ever have to apologize or feel guilty for filling gaps or tending to our own needs.

How fair is it that we get accused of being exclusionary by people who tend to exclude us in the first place?

So, Waah-Waah Brigade, you can shut it.


Posted on April 23, 2011, in Birth, Breastfeeding, I'm a brown mama, My soapbox, Natural parenting. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Hear, hear.

    I saw some examples of this “brigade” on Twitter a couple days ago. White members of the AP/natural parenting/breastfeeding/birth reform crowd have opportunities to be part of a stronger movement (respecting the spaces you’re speak of is a basic step).* But there are some who continue to actively whizz it down their leg.

    (Love the new site design, BTW!)

    * To an extent I think all whites, no matter their intentions, are a part of the problem or at the very least have ignorances, exclusive behaviors, benefit from privilege they are not aware of and have not owned, etc. etc. I hope I’m making sense!

    • Thanks, I figured it was time for a new look.

      You’re making sense. It’s definitely not a phenomenon that’s limited to the crowd I refer to in this post and a lot of it has to do with unexamined privilege.

  2. Great post! These two points in particular:

    “We’re tired of your failure to recognize the role history has played in the present state of all of our lives.

    We’re tired of your assumption that being “colorblind” is a positive trait.”

    Beautifully stated.

  3. My comment doesn’t have anything to do with being a mother but I am going through a similar situation with the education courses that I’m taking.
    The White student teachers who want to teach minority English as a Second Language students still don’t see their own white privilege as having an impact on shaping the English as Second Language students’ identities. We’re supposed to comment on each others’ papers on the issue and mine got skipped over as my experience of being Black doesn’t relate to them so they get bored of the issue or something…
    I am for the most part, referring to the older generation of students that are in my classes.

    It gets tiring and I’m trying to keep my head up around ignorant folk so I wonder how you handle it?

  4. Love this post! You know what else upsets me about this whole thing? The spaces we create for ourselves take so long to gain momentum, it’s like pulling teeth that aren’t ready to come out. I don’t understand it.

  5. Oh, and I’m loving the new design. Red is one of my favorite colors.

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