Monday, June 22, 2009

Privilege in Action

Many other bloggers have already posted on this story of an immigrant mother whose child was taken from her because
  • The "baby was born to an illegal [sic] immigrant;"
  • The "mother had not purchased a crib, clothes, food or formula." (Most Latina mothers breast feed their babies).
  • "She does not speak English which puts baby in danger."
These were the reasons cited by the social worker for removing the child for placement with a wealthy couple. So these reasons have been bumping around in my head and causing me to reflect on my own experience bringing a baby home. I had not purchased a crib, formula, or baby food either. I did have a sturdy little bassinet that fit right next to my bed for easy night feedings which I acquired from Freecycle, and which has now gone on its way to the next little one via Freecycle. I didn't have any baby food at home, since babies don't actually eat solid food until around 6 months, and when she did start on solids I simply made my own baby food. And I had no formula (except for the loads of free samples that were foisted on me at the hospital) because I was breastfeeding exclusively. But I took my baby home with me in spite of my epic failure to participate in the baby-industrial-complex. Because I'm white and speak English.

Please call or write to the judge and/or the Department of Human Services that are involved in this case:
Honorable Judge Sharon Sigalas
Youth Justice Court of Jackson County
4903 Telephone Rd.
Pascagoula, MS 39567

Children's Justice Act Program
MS Dept. of Human Services
750 North State Street
Jackson, MS 39202
Call (601)359-4499 and ask for Barbara Proctor


  1. Michael6/23/2009

    Because I'm white and speak English.


    You should write a post on how a woman's capitalistic participation in the baby-industrial-complex is a part of the criteria for being an acceptable mom in our culture. I'm sure it would be dripping with sarcasm and fun to read.

  2. Baby-industrial-complex. I never heard of that term before, but I love it. Everything can be commodified and obviously, not buying the right products makes one a neglectful parent. How long will it be before internet access and personal computers become a prerequisite for providing a child with "proper" domestic necessities.

  3. Heather6/25/2009

    Baby-industrial-complex. I never heard of that term before, but I love it.

    Me too. When my sister was pregnant it amazed me how much stuff you're supposed to need, and how much pressure there is on new parents to "buy the very best" for their baby. As if a baby cares whether you spent hundreds on a new crib or got a second-hand one from a garage sale! I say just make sure it's not on the recall list, and Freecycle away! (We got my nieces first tricycle off Freecycle too)

  4. Michael,

    I believe I will write that post...when I get around to it. Such a fun (although depressing) topic.


    I never thought about computers and internet access. Of course, at some point not being able to demonstrate that you have all the educational resources your child might need in the future could become a part of the relevant criteria. Class warfare, anyone?