Facebook Removes the White Lady: Breastfeeding Policy or A New Punishment for Nudity?

The day after several blogs, including this one, suggested racism as a motive for Facebook’s removing a breastfeeding image from the Earth Mama Angel Baby Facebook fan page, Facebook removed the photo of the white woman breastfeeding her baby.

Okay, this one does violate the “areola rule.” But in addition to the removal, Earth Mama received a new warning – one I haven’t seen before:

Because you uploaded photo content that violates our policies, you won’t be able to upload photos for 7 days. After this 7-day block is lifted, please make sure any photos you upload follow Facebook’s policies. If you have other photos on the site that violate our policies, be sure to remove them immediately or you could be blocked from uploading content for a longer period of time.

Has anyone seem the “7 day block” before or is Facebook just making it up as it goes along?

The photo of the white woman does indeed violate the existing Facebook definition of obscenity: areola=obscene. But the question remains concerning the African American mother and child nursing that was removed earlier in the week:

Nope, no areola there. So why was this image removed? What is inappropriate about it? There is one more possibility to add to the racism discussion. It occurred to me fleetingly but when I heard someone else mention it, I thought I should say it out loud. Some people may look at the image of an African American woman nursing her baby and think she is nursing a “white” child. Come on. Raise of hands. How many people considered the possibility that the woman in the second image above is nursing a “white” baby?

The reason why some significant proportion of you are raising your hands is because in the U.S., “white” people don’t have much experience with “black” babies. By and large we don’t live in the same neighborhoods, we don’t shop in the same grocery stores and the images of non-white babies don’t grace the covers of most magazines or appear in most advertisements.

For some reason I can’t find a decent citation for this (please post it if you have one) but most babies are born a bit red and ruddy. Few babies of any race are born with “black” skin. The baby in this picture will develop a skin color vaguely like his or her parents eventually but under a year old, her or her skin color will be more like my (“white”) skin. I, a white woman, had a first born who resembled Don King. Go figure.

So back to the race question. Just because Facebook has come back and taken down the photo of the white woman, doesn’t resolve why the photo of the black woman was taken down? It may be pushing any number of buttons involving race (“white people don’t want to see a black woman breastfeeding and certainly not a white baby!”). But it certainly doesn’t violate any stated policy of Facebook.