To those of you who are tired, traumatized, and grieving, we send out love from the Birth Monopoly team. The U.S. has had a reckoning coming for a long time. It is our hope that justice, healing, and CHANGE will be the result.
I want to express my admiration and gratitude for Black birth workers who have been and are in the trenches supporting clients in a racist system, modeling advocacy and self-care, and blazing trails for a revolution. I wish you pockets of rest.
If you are white, the rest of this message is specifically for you.
I keep hearing people ask, what can I do?? The good news is, Black-run organizations and Black individuals are the experts in how to serve their communities and are already doing it. So, one of the most direct ways for White birth workers to support communities that have been systematically disenfranchised is financially–and I encourage you to consider setting up your gift as a monthly donation.
Recurring income makes a big difference to the sustainability of an organization; it helps keep cash flow stable and doesn’t require the resources it takes to run periodic fundraising or product sales. Birth Monopoly has added a monthly recurring donation to Black Mamas Matter Alliance and I urge you to do the same, for BMMA or any other cause.
Doula Carrie Murphy started this partial list (and people are adding to it) of Black-centered birth justice causes you can donate to. Please do what you can.
Reminder to white people:
You will continue to mess up re racism. So continue to be teachable, open to correction from POC, and vigilantly monitor yourself for defensiveness and white fragility.
You never “arrive” as an ally, you must continually *practice* allyship.
@itsjacksonbbz on Twitter, March 19, 2019
It took me several years of learning about racism and white privilege before I was willing to speak about it publicly even a little bit. And then I did and I immediately messed up. And that sucked and it was embarrassing and hard. So I stopped for a while and learned more. Messed up again. Kept talking about it while I learned some more.
Rinse, repeat, right through to today…
There is no way around this. As White people, we don’t reach a point of complete enlightenment one day and suddenly say and do everything just right.
So, as a White person to other White people, I want to say: you must remain teachable. Commit to being teachable. It is a long, long process to not only learn the “facts” about systemic racism, but how racism lives inside you.
I want to share with you one way in which I realized my own white supremacy was coming out, just last week.
I feel pretty clear about my boundaries when it comes to obstetric violence and the people harmed by it. Sometimes, people come on the Birth Monopoly Facebook page, for example, and make a comment like “I mean, is this abuse even real? There are two sides to every story.” I am very comfortable saying, “This kind of comment is insensitive to traumatized folks and will not be tolerated.”
I don’t feel any need to convince those people or argue with them.
But I noticed my boundaries are much softer when it comes to comments related to racism. I feel the need to spend time explaining and informing and discussing–even when it’s clear they are there to argue and not to learn. I am much more likely to prioritize the “educational” needs of the uninformed/racist commenter than the needs of people reading along at home who are harmed and traumatized by the attitudes and actions of people who don’t “get” racism.
That right there is a part of white supremacy–centering the needs or feelings of a racist White person over the person who is actually affected by racism! That was my own white supremacy popping up.
I want to share that story for two reasons:
1) for transparency. White folks, we have to be willing to make mistakes and course correct and just keep going. You will definitely make mistakes. Own up, learn, and get back on the horse.
2) to let you know our new policy that if someone makes a comment on our social media platforms indicating they don’t understand racism (for example, “I don’t see color”), we will no longer engage them there. Instead, we will direct that person to resources (suggested by this community!) where they can decide how much work they want to put into educating themselves, rather than engage in public discussion that might make Black, Indigenous, or People of Color feel less welcome or valued. If they don’t take on that work and they continue to make comments about how they don’t understand racism, those comments will be deleted and they will be banned. See our policies here.
One of the first resources we suggest is this compilation of anti-racism resources. From “I don’t see color” to “It’s not my fault I’m white” to “How can I be white and anti-racist?” it’s organized by the stage of your journey. Where do you fall on this list?
Thank you for being here and learning with me.
This message was sent by email on June 6, 2020, to Birth Monopoly subscribers. Sign up here to get on our list.