who will care for our children and our mothers?
who will stop the genocide of african american babies. when the infant mortality rate for black babies in the states is twice as high than whites and rivals some of the poorer countries in the world?
who will not turn their heads and speak of easier topics, but stay day after day, birth after birth to watch that our children, too, survive?
these are the questions that keep me up at night.
In comparison to white women, black women are 3.7 times more likely to die in pregnancy, four times more likely to die in childbirth and twice as likely to give birth prematurely, according to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the United Nations. Even though black women have babies with significantly lower birth weights than white women, African-born black immigrants have nearly identical baby weights to white women and Caribbean-born immigrant women also have significantly heavier babies than US-born black women.
In the American Journal of Public Health, Richard David writes: For black women, something about growing up in America seems to be bad for your baby’s birth weight.
* the biggest myth in dealing with race and infant mortality is that people think that it is the consequences of social economics
* infant mortality rates among college grad white women is 3.7/1,000; among college grad black women is 10.2/1000
* college grade black women have a worse infant mortality rate than white women without a high school education (9.9/1000), in other words black women lawyers, doctors, engineers have a higher infant mortality rate than white women who didnt finish college
a lot of people dont see birth as a political issue. but in talking about genocide, who is born is just as in important as who dies. and so many of us have not been allowed to even be born. or to survive to our first birthday. so many of us will die in childbirth or from complications thereafter.
from the moment that i found out i was pregnant with aza, i looked at the world differently. i started to ask myself, as i know countless mamas have before me, what do i need to do to make this world a place that i want my child to grow up. cause you know what they say, kids grow up so quickly.
and as i read and studied and watched during those quiet months of pregnancy, i came to certain conclusions. for instance that there is little chance for this culture, for this civilization, for this world as we know it to survive. we must figure out how to survive the fall of our way of life. i must teach my child the skills that she will need to not only survive, but to know freedom. and i realized that we are only free, when we are supporting another person’s freedom.
as she has grown up i can see more and more that this planet cannot sustain us, as we are. and frankly, even if everyone recycles, and drives hybrids, and eats local and composts, that isnt, that can’t stop the destruction of our landbase. it will not stop the genocide of our peoples, our species, our lives.
U.S. minority infants are born carrying hundreds of chemicals in their bodies, according to a report released today by an environmental group.
The Environmental Working Group‘s study commissioned five laboratories to examine the umbilical cord blood of 10 babies of African-American, Hispanic and Asian heritage and found more than 200 chemicals in each newborn.
“We know the developing fetus is one of the most vulnerable populations, if not the most vulnerable, to environmental exposure,” said Anila Jacobs, EWG senior scientist. “Their organ systems aren’t mature and their detox methods are not in place, so cord blood gives us a good picture of exposure during this most vulnerable time of life.”
and so i began to think intensely: what will stop the destruction of our landbase and our peoples? because whatever will do so, is what i need to teach my daughter and myself.
and when i mention the maternal and infant mortality rate im not asking for your pity. im not asking for you guilt. im asking: what will save my people, my mamas, my trees, my food, my spirits from being sacrificed before the altar of industrial civilization, so that eurocentric crafted bodies are allowed to live another day. because it is those of us on the margins, who will are the most vulnerable, have the least amount of resources or access, it is us who are razed, sterilized, imprisoned, enslaved, pressed into the service of defending those who never defended us. we are the ones who are sent to war. and it is to our homes and villages to where the wars are brought.
remember when bush said: we either go fight them over there, or we will fight them over here?
remember it was the iraqis who responded: wait. wait. how is that fair? you are going to fight them in our homeland, to so that you don’t have to fight them in yours?
a us american soldier who said after he shot an iraqi child: the parents shouldnt have brought their children to a battlefield.
and another american soldier who wrote in an apology: we shouldnt have brought the battlefield to your children.
this is the way it is the world over, battlefields brought to our children, before they can even learn to speak.
so i ask you again, who will stop the genocide of our people? who will speak up?
who will fight for our mothers and children, who will teach them to fight, who will learn to fight from them?
when people ask me why i am an outlaw midwife, i tell them, because revolutionaries are born everyday. if we let them be born.