Salma Hayek…How Very White of You

I like Salma Hayek — as an actress. I respect her work and I think she’s one of the most beautiful women in the world. However, that doesn’t give her the right to go into a country and try and change their traditions by whipping out her breast and feeding a hungry baby so that the whole world can see it on Youtube.

Now I’ve been to Sierra Leone. So I know firsthand the situation on the ground there. I was there with my friend actor Isaiah Washington, who like Hayek, wanted to help the people of Sierra Leone. The only difference is that he didn’t go there trying to change or Americanize them. He went there and assessed their needs and worked with the people. He didn’t talk at them; he talked with them. He didn’t roll into Sierra Leone with his own agenda. His agenda was developed after a thorough understanding of who the people of Sierra Leone truly were. And because of that, he is revered and loved by the people there.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said here in America, thanks in part to the likes of Angelina Jolie, whose many treks to the Motherland have dictated to the media that the only goodwill efforts worth covering in Africa are those carried out by people who do not directly descend from there, i.e. African Americans.

The issue of breastfeeding in Africa extends deeper than cultural taboos. It also includes a coordinated campaign on behalf of companies to convince Africans that formula is better than breast milk. Formula that must be mixed with water that in many parts of Africa is often contaminated, which leads to disease in already vulnerable infants.

Salma Hayek may have had the best of intentions, but maybe she’s spent too much time in America. Whether you agree with breastfeeding or not, it is wrong to arrive in a foreign country and just because you want to change a cultural tradition. Some countries don’t play that madness and you’ll find yourself locked away in jail cell for life or worse, dead. Americans are known and hated for our audacity when it comes to going into foreign countries and adding our two cents without weighing the consequences or taking into consideration the people we are claiming to want to help.

What gives us the right? What gives her the right?

I felt for the children and adults living in extreme poverty in Sierra Leone, but I never once tried to change their way of doing things, nor did Isaiah. We didn’t sit down at the table with the village elders of Njala Kendema and say “oh no—don’t kill that goat for dinner, that’s not right.” No, we respected their centuries old traditions, which might have been our own had it not been for that little thing called slavery.

And when Isaiah built a school in that same village, he didn’t mandate that American history be taught. He left the curriculum up to the village elders because his role was to get the school built, not to dictate over how it was to be used and what was to be taught and to whom.

Considering that Salma Hayek is not American, I have to say I was shocked at her willingness to go into Africa and try to change something because she felt that she could without ever once considering the ramifications. How very white of her.

Sure, millions have seen the video, and everyone has a lot to say, but if Hayek really were interested in just feeding a hungry baby and showing that breastfeeding was ok, she could have done that with the cameras off and no one would have been the wiser. Because I have to tell you, after living in Sierra Leone for a week, I know that there are very few homes there that even have electricity much less a television, so I am not sure how breastfeeding a baby for the cameras in America is supposed to have an impact on women there. I’m just saying.

I’d also like to point out that very few children in Sierra Leone disrespect their parents or elders, use drugs, get pregnant as teenagers, use foul language, and few are lazy, selfish, or spoiled rotten. Children in Sierra Leone actually want to attend school so you won’t catch them ditching class or misbehaving while there. If anything, maybe Americans need to take a hint from Sierra Leoneans, especially if stopping breastfeeding early means that our children here might actually display some of the attitudes and behavior exhibited by the children there.

If Salma Hayek and others want to truly help Sierra Leone, they can start by giving money–yes money–to organizations that are on the ground there doing the work to build the infrastructure needed in a way that includes the people of Sierra Leone.

Last but not least, in all of this, let us not forget the role that America and other nations played in the underdevelopment and raping of Sierra Leone and other countries in Africa that paved the way for today’s current situation and Salma Hayek’s invasion of sacred African traditions.

The Court of Public Opinion

  • Steve

    OMG you are a nut job. The baby was one week old and the mother had no milk. Most women stop breastfeeding within months of delivering the baby, not days. Not only she, but doctors, UNICEF and the government of Sierra Leone are trying to change the traditions of breastfeeding in the country. So like you and your friend, she went there with the agenda given to her by the government and doctors not her own(even though it is in line with theirs).

    You are even more a nut job with your last sentence. Sierra Leone has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world
    where nearly 1/10 of babies are dying due to malnutrition. This is a tradition that needs to change. These babies(between 10,000 – 15,000 a year) are dying because they are so underweight, and have weakened immune systems and can’t fight infections. You are saying that because it is thought of as taboo women should continue not to breastfeed? They should not be shown and taught about the benefits of breastfeeding?

    Do you feel the same way about people going into countries to change attitudes about female circumcision? slavery? child prostitution? men raping girls because they believe it will cure their HIV infection? homosexuality?

    You sound very self righteous, and I am very proud that there are strong women, and men, who are willing to go out there and break traditions and try to better the lives of people around the world.


  • Let me get this right, you are upset with Salma for trying to help? Why because she didn’t do it the way that was comfortable for you? I think you are a great person, as well, however, sometimes your comments are real stupid. There are times when i think, no matter what happens in the world, you will never be happy. As for your black friend Issiah, big deal. He’s ok with you, however, I’m sure if he called you dyke, in the middle of an argument, you’d be singing another tune.
    Ok, so the breast feeding thing may have been bad timing, however, knowing Salma, she has very good intentions and hse’s not going around bad mouthing you for your efforts. Just for the record, my skin may be light, but Im just as black and even more, than you.

  • curious

    ….as to why joshua felt the need to justify his blackness.

  • Courtney

    Though I think the world is overpopulated, I’m not going to advocate all mothers stop breastfeeding their kids and let them die. If feeding children and wanting them to live is American then I am SOOO proud to be an American.
    ::shakes head::

  • deja

    wonder if Selma owns any diamonds…

  • Blapanese

    You are entitled to your opinions, but I find your association with white people and their behavior as being negative a little disconcerting. I’m not even white and I don’t think it helps anyone to go around saying that ANY behavior is white, black, or yellow. making that comment while just assuming that there are immediately understandable traits that should be associated with ethnicity is encouraging prejudice and distasteful language that I am quite sure you wouldn’t be in support of or ignore had it been directed towards you or me. Moreover doing it while finger wagging and spending 700+ words telling us what a presumptive and judgmental lady she is just plain hypocritical.

  • Shelby

    Are you insane? What is with the title of your rant? “How very white of you”?? You seriously need to leap into this century.

  • Doug B

    These people commenting are idiots. It’s one thing to use the technology and knowledge from your homeland to improve the lives of a place in distress, but it’s another thing to go grab a baby and breast feed. How many of these celebrity expeditions to an improvished country do we need? Everyone one the planet knows these places are in need. They need real help, fuctioning governents and access to food and clean water and stable economies, not a publicity stunts.

    Also, Just because a place needs help, doesn’t mean the answer is to import your culture’s ideas and norms onto another’s. A lot places in Asia, Africa, and the Americas are in ruins because outsiders came in to help.

  • Patience

    I don’t have an opinion on the breastfeeding thing – other than to admit to the world that despite my women’s studies background, I find public breastfeeding creepy. I will say, however, that I’ve never been to a blog where it’s so clear all the readers hate the blogger.

    I don’t get it!

  • Jasymne,
    I feel you on alot of issues, but I beat my drum to a different drummer on this topic.
    I will admit, I to am surprised at your dislike towards Selma’s act of giving. If she was feeding a starving baby with her own breast milk, and it was prolonging the life of a baby, I say GOD BLESS SELMA. You should let this one alone.
    Much Love,
    Min. Mychaeltodd Robinson

  • I don’t see what the uproar is. If I held a starving baby and had food in my hand or my breast, I wouldn’t hesitate to give it to them. Traditions are wonderful. But I don’t agree with the concept of having a tradition that allows a child to die. Sorry, if that’s too American, then I’m American. And quite proud of it. As far as it being a white thing. That’s a bit insulting to blacks.

  • People and their pathologies! The point with helping the child was fine. It was the broadcasting of it and putting it on Youtube where the problem lies. If you’re going to help someone why do you need to make sure everybody knows? That has NOTHING to do with saving a child’s life. It’s paternalistic. Hence the “How White of You” statement. It’s people coming in with the attitude they know better and are somehow superior on some level slumming it for the natives — of course with the best intentions. If you haven’t examined your white privilege and supremacist indoctrination because it comes so naturally to you of course then you would react with disdain at having it mentioned. You cannot possibly fathom the concept that those people would be offended. It’s not as if any of you have shown this footage to get a reaction from the people being put on display nor do we know they even gave permission. It’s why these white celebrities (or others adopting the same supremacist attitudes) will go to a foreign country and take a child who may or often may not be an orphan but can’t be cared for because to the poverty and destruction of that country instead of say giving money to the community to rebuild their infrastructure or directly to the parent(s) or caregivers to take care of that child. That’s not glamorous. It gets no photo-op. We don’t get to “see” how altruistic these people are. It’s especially telling how some so-called men would come on this board and insult a woman with such blatant disrespect as if she isn’t allowed to have her own thoughts in her own space! Racial and Female-animus on display. How dare the Black woman not be grateful blah blah blah. She didn’t make a blanket statement about all practices either but taking it there only shows the extremes of your own pathology not

  • your understanding of nuances or how to have a constructive conversation. Idiots!

  • @broadcasting her actions:
    Umm, celebrity takes trip to Africa = there will be cameras around.
    At this point in our history there is no way to cut off the signal at this point. Just consider the fact that I have heard about the Selma Hayak breast feeding incident on an pop radio station and now I have seen photos of sed incident on a black lesbian’s blog. Lesson: Information gets around nowadays.

    @Americanizing Africans – so are you saying that the fact Salma Hayak was breast feeding is not African? Or are you insinuating that S.H. traveled to Africa to promote bottle/formula feeding? How do the people of Sierra Leone do things and how is S.H. promoting opposing values?

    @the breast feeding itself – while a part of me is a litte put off by the act (baring your breasts in public – I’m not a fan of breast feeding in public I admit) and feeding someone else’s child to boot…..BUT a part of me sees this as poetic justice. I’ve heard stories of poorer women, usually women of color, who negelected their own children to care for their richer, lighter skinned boss’s kids, even and including nursing them. Here the rich, “white” woman is using her body, it’s nutrients, to nurture the dark child. Coolness.

  • nglyph

    I visit this blog to learn different perspectives, got quite a few on this rant!
    The message I got is to try to help all people, everywhere, no exceptions, no judgments on the methods. Seems like a lot of time spent judging how things are done, makes less time to do them.
    I like the passion Jasmyne has, which is why I check out this site, but the anger is scary at times. I guess I have that supreme agenda, but would prefer a discussion on making it more of a human agenda to unify- I can’t change the past, but I want to work on changing the present and future so people like me don’t feel different around people like you.

  • First of all, no disrespect to you. Salma Hayek is not white, she is Lebanese and Indo-Mexican. What she did probably reminded you of the memories of the many black women who have breast fed countless white children during and after slavery.

    Our people here in this country see and know of the suffering of Africans on the continent and of Africans in their own communities but instead turn a blind eye to it and ignore it, doing nothing about it. What she did was an act of love, not a media circus but in your own bias and racism you can not see it.

    [ Unfortunately, the same can’t be said here in America, thanks in part to the likes of Angelina Jolie, whose many treks to the Motherland have dictated to the media that the only goodwill efforts worth covering in Africa are those carried out by people who do not directly descend from there, i.e. African Americans. ]

    You’re right the people who are helping Africans are not descended as you say, remember all of man is of African descent. Africans in America can do more, but do they? If it was not for Oprah, Don Cheadle, Naomi Campbell, jay-Z and other high profile blacks, you would not know who was doing what.

    The Caucasian celebrities may have the money but we can have a combined voice to help our people on the continent. Many people don’t help because the majority of those in this country have denounced their heritage by believing the ignorance the media tells them. Isaiah went because he found out what tribe he was descended from which is well and good and I applaud his efforts.

    We have the responsibility to do more and until Africa is the prosperous continent it should be, we as a people will never succeed until it does.

  • So I have read a lot about you, Ms.Cannick&I totally respect that you are in the game doing SOMETHING!!! That said, when I was in college, stealing food, yes, crimminalizing myself so that I would not pass out while writing my thesis(on the Multinational Corporations’ impact on Africa, by the way)I was so very thankful when a Q or an Alpha would feed me(out of the goodness of their hearts)and get me through another day. You are angered that Salma provided food for an infant that has most probably missed regular meals????

    It is times like this that I go home to my overpriced loft&sit alone with my dogs. African-Americans have suffered to the point where sometimes, A LOT OF TIMES!!!! WE ARE ABSOLUTELY FREAKIN NUTZ in our thought PROCESS!!!!!!

    I don’t care if she was pure WHITE ANGLO…..FOOD is a MEAL that gets someone through another day!!!! Beyond that she is of COLOR!!!!!!!

    SHUT UP ALREADY!!!!!! I am sure you have a very expensive, prestigious degree, but was Deductive Reasoning required at your university?

  • huh?

    thank you melissa

  • Anonymous

    Salma Hayek is not white, she is hispanic… just wanted to clarify that. It still doesn’t make going to Sierra Leone and breast feeding children who aren’t your own anymore creepy. If I’m mistaken, weren’t lactating slaves forced to breast feed their slave owners’ children before their own? I see a weird parallel…

  • Jeff

    Didn’t offend me since I think her heart was in the right place, but, then again, I don’t also consider her “white” either since her heritage is from the Middle east and she was born in Mexico.

  • Jboogie

    I’m sorry…but I do believe that the majority of you who pointed out that Salma isn’t white, obviously didn’t read what I wrote.

    No shit, Salma isn’t white.

    What I was was saying is that her actions were white. A huge difference. Furthermore, if you hadn’t picked out the parts you had a problem with before leaving me a stupid ass comment about her race, you’d have read the following paragraph:

    Considering that Salma Hayek is not American, I have to say I was shocked at her willingness to go into Africa and try to change something because she felt that she could without ever once considering the ramifications. How very white of her.

    Next time read what the fuck I wrote before you leave a comment showing the world that you actually can’t read.

    Now who’s next?

  • Billy

    Actually, a little off subject, but, should, nonetheless, be stated. Salma Hayek is for all practical puropses White. There are millions of White Americans with the same exact natural untanned skin pigmentation as Hayek, which, incidentally, if left untanned by the sun, is in fact, relatively light and way on the lighter end of the spectrum. If these White Americans are White, then Hayek likewise is White. As for her being Lebanese, she is not. She is half Lebanese descent. She was not born in Lebanon, one of her parents was. Lebanese people are by and large White, albeit predominantly Mediterranean White rather than Nordic White, but White nonetheless! As for the Aboriginal Mexican (Mayan or Aztec) lineage, probably some, but then Billy Bob Thornton, Johnny Depp, and Elvis Presley all have or had Aboriginal American in them as well, yet all are generally considered White by themselves and others. If they are, then so is Hayek! The White in her from Lebanon and probably Spanish or perhaps even French blood (both also predominantly White), then Hayek, for all practical purposes is a White woman. Just look at the above picture. Hayek and the Black woman are as different as shall we say, White and Black!

  • Nik

    Jasmyne,
    That passage doesn’t prove your point…You stated that Salma is not American, not that she isn’t white. I understood what you were saying, but I can also see how someone could misinterpret it as you calling her white. Nowhere in your article did you clarify that she isn’t white; just that she’s not American.
    Also, why are you getting so upset and defensive/offended by the comments? Isn’t that what you wanted?

    P.S. Why is it that every time you refer to Isaiah Washington, you have to clarify that he is your “friend”? Way to name drop!

  • Robert H.

    Jasmyne,

    I really dig & agree with most of the issues that you post, & respect you immensely, But I have to some what disagree with your take on Salma Hayak. I saw the whole piece on I believe on “Night LIne” & what she was in Africa for, was to bring light to how many babies in Africa &other developing nations have a problem with tetanus. She has partned with a diaper company to get as many African babies vaccinated aganist this preventable, but deadly disease.For this I commend her for bringing attention on the matter. In fact she was on the Oprah show late last year to talk about her efforts to bring the publics attention esp. women about this & to ask their help by donating to this cause. I believe she said it would amont to 10 cents to vaccinate a child in Africa with the partnership with this diaper company.

    So she was in Africa (Sierra Leone) with a film crew to bring much needed attention on the subject. While their she held babies, talked with the mothers, etc. Out side of one of the clincs, & believe is when she ran into this mother who for what ever reason could not feed ( breast feed) her baby. Salma Hayak being a women of color( From Mexico) a new mother herself, I believe did what most women instincts would have them to do, was to offer her milk along with life protecting anti- bodies for that child ,who she said shared the same birthday as her baby. The worst I could see in this act was being pateranlistic, but one could as easly view this act as simply maternalistic & being the Virgo( Earth Mother) that she is !

  • Tifffany

    I am split down the middle with this one.

    When I first read the post and the headline of this article I said…”She did what???” Yes, how white of her. How white of her is a loaded cultural statement but it is understood as inflammatory as the statement might be. Hayek is just one of the many non-black celebs who go over and save the “dark continent” and the unfortunate savage. They often make Africans look poor and helpless in the U.S. because this is the only thing we ever see. The problem then is not that the celebs raise awareness to the issues or even that they use cameras and publicity stunts, (because if we didn’t pay attention to Africa we would be screaming about that too) but it is about the lack of diversity of OTHER TYPES of images of Africa. We don’t see Africa’s progress. We don’t know about the urban africa with streets, cars, businesses, billboards, resorts etc. We just know disease, animals and war. Unfortunately, it is always the white or almost white good-hearted foreigner rescuing the black african native from their circumstance. Perhaps Black Americans would go if they had the money to do so or if they weren’t inundated with negative images of Africa.

    While I don’t have a first hand knowledge of what exactly happened here I would caution feelings of euphoria for Hayek’s actions as much as I would caution disdain. This is a complicated issue. Because of the many things mentioned above, that are adding to the breast feeding problem, perhaps the mother didn’t have milk and was grateful and happy to have Hayek breastfeed the baby. Maybe she asked. On the other hand, if she just walked up to the baby and just started feeding it, this is where the issues of entitlement and white privilege enter. There is a similar issue with Americans just walking up to African children and taking pictures of the children without asking the parents. It is factually based that breast milk is better than formula. It is also true that initially african women did feed their babies by breast milk before this formula fiasco. There are reasons that they might stop breastfeeding early per cultural prescription. The taboo of breast feeding should be culturally respected however there is a health concern that needs to be addressed. As one of the commenters has mentioned, we do outreach about AIDS, Homosexuality and other things that might be cultural taboos to address or have taboos embedded in them which prevent education…it follows that there could and possibly should be outreach on this topic. The problem is not usually that outreach happens but how it is done. Even if the culture is proscribing something that has statistically been shown to be detrimental to them, one has to at least respect the culture even as you might strive to educate about the information. It is important to also learn from the locals as they have much to teach us not only about their culture but ours.

  • nicolla

    Selma needed a course in cultural sensitivy before even stepping on the soils of Sierra Leone.

  • Well, I got here too late to view the video. It’s been removed. I wholeheartedly endorse breastfeeding (nature’s original baby bottle). I breastfed my son and his daughter was breastfed as well. We live in a day and age where most westernized civilizations have bastardized the very way The Creator intended mankind to nourish its infants. My breasts were not for public display, and I made sure I fed my son in private. I always had a towel or baby blanket hung over my shoulder just in case someone would’ve walked into the room. I was offended once when my mother made the following comment while I was breastfeeding my son: “Every time that baby cries, you whip that titty out”. I simply asked her, “How did your mother feed you and your 7 siblings when you were all babies?”

    An act of kindness is still an act of kindness. If that was Salma Hayek’s agenda, she will be blessed for that. BUT, there are so many other women around the world who do the same thing for other peoples’ babies. They deserve acknowledgement as well. Can’t we just embrace the good that came out of this on Salma’s behalf, and move on? I understand folks should do their research about customs of other countries, but sometimes the rules have to be broken. Once again, an act of kindness is still an act of kindness.

    There is a story in the Bible about the separation of ‘The Sheep and the Goats’ where Jesus says, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in…The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ (paraphrased from Matthew Chapter 25)

  • R T Foster

    Jaz,

    You need a vacation! So what she stuck a boob in the kids mouth. That was the bravest thing that she sis to save that child’s live. And last, I believe that if people would look past color for a change, this world will be a better place to live.

    Last, what about you speaking out about the leaders of the countries in Africa that want people to live like animals and live like kings off the backs of the people?

  • Latrice

    I come from the ideology that… “It takes a village to raise a child”. The notion of ‘whose’ and ‘what’ “village” can be hotly debated, but if I was a traveling mother visiting a country where I had an opportunity to breast feed a hungry newborn with my own breast, I would certainly whip my bad boys out in a heartbeat! I would care less if the child was African, Russian, Indian, Chinese, Muslim, Jewish or Christian born…This is about maternal instincts, which I believe transcends cultural norms and taboos, religious practices, racism, and politics. None of those things matter when an innocent child is hungry.

    …Does anyone really think that this hungry baby really cared about his country’s position on breastfeeding? Or even Ms. Hayek’s celebrity status, or the cameras, or even skin color for that matter??

    …I think it’s really unfortunate when people don’t have an issue with women exposing their breast in those ‘Girls Gone Wild’ videos but find it rather “creepy” to see a mother breastfeeding an infant – even one that didn’t come from her womb. FYI: The practice of shared breastfeeding has been around since the beginning of time – and I’m certainly not referring to the period of slavery (ugh!). If you had a chance to listen to Ms. Hayek story about her Mexican grandmother’s experience with this very issue, I do not see how anyone could walk away thinking that this was a racial thing.

    …I think the belief and practice of shaming a breastfeeding mother is very much misogynistic, perhaps even American, and it really concerns me when other women – especially WOC buy into the idea that our breast are designed for one purpose only.

    Lastly, if it was “…very White…” of Ms. Hayek to follow her maternal instincts by sharing her baby’s food supply than I hope ALL mothers, especially those Pro-Lifers out there, would catch a case of this type of Whiteness.

    …Celebrity mommas – Can’t live with or without them, can we…

    My 2 cents…

  • J.

    On that note, I am so sick and tired of movies where some lone white person has to come and save the ignorant black people and teach them how to dance or read play basketball or some other inane concept. I don’t however have a problem with one mother who has milk feeding the hungry baby of another mother whose breasts are dry. This is what nursemaids were originally for. But everything a white celebrity does is considered Godlike. I don’t think Salma Hayek can be lumped in a catagory with the average priviliged white celebrity though. Her skin is dark, and though not as dark as a more negro looking latino, She has experienced racism because she is not White American. You can take that one to the bank.

  • Question: Did she leave some breast milk behind? Maybe a couple of bottles worth so “that one” baby could live another few days? Or was there no other woman in the village to help? Or was this yet another photo op with the “disadvantaged”? Someone mentioned that cameras follow celebrities everywhere. This is is not completely true and can be controlled. These cameras rolled with Selma all the way to the village. They had to test her for HIV (because you can transmit via breast milk, even if you are a star). This was breastfeeding had to be planned and coordinated. She knew there would be cameras. She knew it would be on Nightline. I’m truly not hating on her. I think she is a fine actress and a decent person. But to have cameras present I felt was a bit inappropriate and opportunistic.

    But a comment I read on abc.com I think is probably the most well written and informed comment on this news story I’ve read. Let me share:
    ====
    I am still seething from hearing about, and then watching the story of someone called Salma Hayek breastfeeding the infant baby of a Sierra Leonean mother while the mother looked on submissively. But the story is so implausible, that I wonder about ABC’s editorial integrity in screening it at all. Firstly, if the purported event was filmed in the capital area of Freetown, it is highly unlikely that any mother, urban sophisticate and wise as she is, would permit her infant to be breastfed by a perfect stranger. Or, if the film-happening was attempted elsewhere in the country, there would have been no story at all, as people outside Freetown sometimes believe that white people are from another world and, given the fear that we all have of the unknown, a mother would run straight for the bush with her baby on her back, rather than submit the infant to the wiles of a woman from that other world. For the story to be believable by this sceptic, ABC must provide us with names and addresses, locations and dates of the filming. Otherwise, I will treat the story merely as a stunt, designed to get publicity for Hayek and increased ratings numbers for the ABC networkFurther doubt about the story’s validity is cast by a close examination of the circumstances surrounding the incident: It would have required a monumental dose of bravery for Hayek to have allowed herself such intimate contact with a sick infant whose antecedents would have been entirely unknown to her and, given the dread of transmissible diseases and the fixation with clinical cleanliness that obsesses the western mind, let’s face it, it would have been highly unlikely for Hayek to have exposed herself to the perceived potential risks.

    One gets tired of these contrived spectacles of people of the west coming to African countries to “help.” I am very much in favour of the helping hand being extended to us in Africa so that we too can begin to enjoy the amenities of the early 21st century, but when people come and try to do things to us, rather than with us, the whole process becomes ethically questionable. And as if to underscore the immorality, the narrative describing the encounter is hijacked by the perpetrator, with the victim reduced, again, to the role of bit player. I am here visiting Sierra Leone, taking part in a health-related project and I am saddened by the lack of access to health and other basic services that afflict men, women and children in equal measure. After I watched the video clip, I took a quick poll of other Sierra Leoneans around me to learn how long babies were breastfed. In every instance, they were able to tell me that their own babies were breastfed for 18 months to two years. While they “knew” of cases were babies were breastfed for only 4 months, they also “knew” of others that had been breastfed for up to 5 years. Clearly this is an unscientific probe, but it is no less so than the blanket assertion by the ABC programme that men forced their wives to give up breastfeeding because they wanted to resume sex. If Hayek and others really wanted to help and not merely to stigmatize, they should have sought to determine the basis of the belief that sex and breastfeeding did not go together and try to correct that erroneous idea by education rather than run a programme that ridicules and belittles our country.

    Posted by:
    TregoRobo Feb-15
    Mark As Violation
    ===

    And another thing: Do folks just wait in the side lines on the site until they find something they disagree with to then show your fangs and attack. If you don’t care for Ms. Cannick then don’t come to her site. If you don’t agree fine, but answer intelligently. I think she warrants that whether you care for her or not. She does good work in her community outside of this fricken blog.

  • melody davis

    That is interesting Walidah, when the adverse replies are addressed to your friend, you take notice. She perhaps does good work. She is also a public person&as such, people will feel free to comment&not always in a positive fashion&not always as you say, intelligently(whatever that means).

    I just wonder, as a lesbian of color, are we moving to a place where the Black lesbian is the new Angry Black Man?

  • nunya

    How dare you…how dare you…do you think you are a “good black” because you wear locks? How about being a good person. Why do you care what Salma does? You say you like her, but turn around and dog her out??? BULLY FOR SALMA, I say!! What part have YOU contributed to AFRICA other than those locks you wear on your head? You will suffer karma for the ill things you say about people…and publish them. Make your living another way homegirl…you’re a JOKE. By the way, I am a Black American. I am my brother and my sister’s keeper…no matter what the color.

  • Nat

    I think you’re a very smart woman Jasmyne, but here you show your unnecessarily-angry side. Salma wanted to help. she didn’t have the same ideas for how to help as you and Isaiah. Are you mad she got more press? Who cares who gets the glory, as long as shit changes for the babies? And, breast milk is best. And, sometimes sadly people listen more when a “star” is involved.

  • Jheri

    You seem to enjoy judging everything and everyone. OK now I’m going to judge you.

    Jasmyne – you are very obviously an extremely narcissistic person, and unfortunately in this age of technology you have a blog with which you can inflict your ego unto the world.

    A person in Sierra Leone or any impoverished be disgusted by your weight loss diary. Actually, I don’t think they would be disgusted because they probably can’t even comprehend the concept of your struggle with weight loss. They are literally starving to death and you are posting on the internet about how you have been eating too much food and you need to spend more of your privleged leisure time doing things like yoga or tennis or what have you.

    How very white of you, Jasmyne.

    Oh but wait you are such an oppressed person.

    I think if Jesus came back to Earth you would be one of the Pharisees. The privleged, judgemental people he had no tolerance for. You go around wagging your finger at everyone, HURTING people, and then acting as if you are the morally superior one.

    Next time you toss even a scrap of your leftover food into your trash or you are enjoying yourself in West Hollywood Asian Fusion restaurant, instead of thinking about all the horrible evil white people… maybe you should look at yourself.

    How different are YOU from the people you are judging?

  • Jheri

    I think Jasmyne just takes everything that personally offends her (which is a lot) and calls it “white.”

  • REEMA

    SHAME ON YOU–AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!! You are a wierdo uptight american. I applaud my sister Salma for coming here and breastfeeding a baby-a BABY!!!!!!! If I was lacttating I would do the same!!!!!!!!!!!!!!People in the place I was raised breast fed each others babies. Our wet-nurses held very strong places within our families.They are like srecond mother’s to us.And before you in typiclal ignorant up tight american way make a color issue of it I am from Kuwait and my wet nurse was Filapina. she fed me and her own daughter together.You strange ,strange uneducated bizarre reading race into everything americans.The only scare today in wet nursing is HIV and I am sure Salma(my Arab sister) is strongly HIV negative. Don’t think you can travel to these so called third world(what is the second world-where is that) and become an expert on our social mores….you are a pitiful IFFY(instant fucking expert on everything) INSHALLAH we never stand by and see the hugry and do nothing. Mashallah may you learn to shut your big mouth and learn-you silly uneducated IFFY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Brandy

    When did breastfeeding become Americanized? I could swear that humans have been breast feeding ever since Adam & Eve had their first child. How could the people of the foreign country kill goats (that you and Issah so politley don’t judge them on), but they don’t breast feed? I’m sure they do, especially if they are a poor nation. There is no way that a country living in poverty would choose formula over natural (and free) breast milk. But I am not familiar with this country, so I’m not sure of their beliefs. But I do know that breastfeeding is a natural part of having a baby & it should not be looked down upon.

  • NOOR

    I agree with Reema-and I am sorry what is acting WHITE?Is that feeding a baby-a hungry baby?Then INSHALLAH may we all be “white” Do you hate white people? It seems you do. I am an Arab like Reema but from Dubai in the UAE.I just tuned into this I am a student of law @ UCLA-Reema is my classmate.We are in total culture shock here-and I find you very confusing.I think Saalma did a great thing and a natural thing any mother or woman would find herself compelled to do- feed a hungry baby from her breast what could be more natural? I appauld her greatly.How can americans cross racial boundries if people like you fuel hate and racial divides. I have been called a black person here and I think it is very funny-I am simply an Arab woman from UAE.we are not obsessed by the color of peoples skin in the Arab world.It is what it is.My cousin was told he was white by fellow classmates. Americans are so full of issues-JUST BE-that is best.Be a person who cares for all other people who makes a good and kind mark in the world.Don’t slam people based on your own racial or color insecurities. When you are secure in yourself you will see we are all the same before our creator .Our bodies lodge us only temporarily they are not who we are. Grow and transend the physical it will liberate you. Nelson Mandella said when we seek vengegence it is like drinking poison and waiting for your enemy to die-I think Ms Cannick you are poisoning yourself and those in your vicinity-Become awake and liberate yourself from this hate that negativly fuels you..We lesbian Arab women are very concerned for the two lesbian women arrested on the beach in Dubai recently and fear for their safety.

  • Maria

    GO NOOR AND REEMA -YOU BOTH SAID IT SOOOOO WELL!!

  • Teresa

    What sacred African tradition was broken by Salma breastfeeding a hungry baby. I am Nigerian and would like to know what the hell you are talking about. You are an IFFY it is a sure thing.Noor I googled the story about the lesbians in Dubai –how sad.

  • GeorgeTom

    Teresa this woman syphillis brain

  • Maria

    I’m mexican, I can tell that she did it only for attention. We don´t like salma very much in Mexico, because she is rude with people and mexican press. We have poor people in México too, for example native people, they live in misery and I’m sure she would never do the same for them.

  • a

    fecha esse site de merda….

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  • Tyranno

    Thank the government schools in the U.S. for turning out so many platitudinous spewing brainless lightweights. It is amusing to read such a trite, sophomoric, cliche ridden little rant and imagine Jasmyne’s pride of authorship. She feels therefore~ she is! Although in the real world, (after you get out of high school) being well informed is so much more impressive than just strongly opinionated. Ignorance is bliss and I suspect you are walking in the clouds.

    Obama voter, right?

  • Bored

    wft? she is White.. her Father is Lebanese and her mother is North Spanish!.. ( not Latino I sad Spanish like the European country Spain) Lebanese people are racially White and Spanish logically too! so she is 1000000% White bye!! sorry if you hate Whites but she is White!