Motherhood and Marginalization: The Oppressive History of the Birth Industry*

Hwaairfan's Blog

Motherhood and Marginalization: The Oppressive History of the Birth Industry*

(Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout

By Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez

To say that the birth industry is mostly white would be an extreme understatement. Less than 4 percent of registered nurse midwives are African American, around 1 percent are of Asian descent and less than 1 percent are Latina according to a recent survey. A low level of representation is an issue in many industries, but in the birth world it is particularly problematic. The pervasive whiteness of the birth industry leads to culturally incompetent care that fuels the negative outcomes that women of colour face both directly and indirectly. Low levels of cultural awareness lead to stereotyping and assumptions that fail to consider Black, Latina, Asian American, Arab American and Indigenous women’s unique circumstances and perpetuate ineffective methods of care. As a result, white values and experiences have interpenetrated the birth world and further…

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