Professor Andrea Freeman's recently published, Skimmed: Breastfeeding, Race and Injustice, explains how and why Non-Hispanic Black women are significantly less likely to breastfeed their newborn than White, Non-Hispanics and Hispanics. Black, Non Hispanics are, instead, significantly more likely to feed their newborns formula milk. That formula, manufactured by Pet, Mead Johnson, Abbott Labs, Nestle and others and consisting of corn syrup and among other ingredients enzymatically dydrolyzed soy protein isolate (Freeman terms junk food for babies) does not compare to breast milk (that consists of living human cells, active hormones, antibodies and hundreds of other unique components ideal for infant health) helps explains why Black infant (and maternal) mortality remains twice that of White, Non-Hispanics. Why Black women use formula, Professor Freeman explains, is due to a myriad of reasons that include targeted Black marketing, Professor Freeman details Pet's use of the Fultz quadruplets (born in North Carolina in 1946), federal policies that support and endorse formula use by Black women and a web of other laws, polices and practices that obstruct the ability of Black women to initiate or sustain breastfeeding.
During this 30 minute interview, Professor Freeman discusses Dr. Fred Klenner's contract with Pet to market the Fultz children and numerous other variables that explain why Black women are less likely to breastfeed. Among others, she discusses the effect 350 years of slavery has played, stereotypes of Black women, formula milk industry motivations, federal policies that reinforce/subsidize these motivations, limited legislative and regulatory oversight and limited efforts by the medical profession to contain or prohibit marketing formula milk and encourage breastfeeding.
Andrea Freeman is an Associate Professor at the University of Hawaii's William Richardson School of Law. She has also taught as a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, at the University of Denver Strum College of Law and has a Distinguished Scholar of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School. Before joining the faculty at the University of Hawaii, she taught at Santa Clara University School of Law, University of San Francisco School of Law, and California Western School of Law. Professor Freeman is an active community member serving on the Litigation Committee of the ACLU Hawaii chapter. She volunteers with the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, makes legal presentations to the Hawaii Judiciary History Center and Hawaii State Judiciary, and writes op eds on topics including Hawaiian sovereignty and race and health. In 2015, Professor Freeman received the Community Faculty of the Year award from Richardson's Advocates for Public Interest Law. Professor Freeman is the Chair of the AALS Section on Agriculture and Food Law and Treasurer of the AALS Section on Constitutional Law. She is co-chair of the Law and Society Collaborative Research Network for Critical Race and the Law and a Founding Member of the Academy of Food Law and Policy. After graduating from UC Berkeley School of Law, she clerked for Judge Jon O. Newman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and former chief Judge José A. Fusté of the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. Prior to attending law school, she worked in Toronto as a counselor for women and children who experienced domestic violence and in New York as a production manager in the independent film industry.
Information on Skimmed is at: https://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=28151.
The related CDC August 2019 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) report noted during this interview is at: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6834a3.htm.