Thursday, February 2, 2012

Not So Graceful, The Grace Cafe

Imagine if you visited a small business of a cute little cafe... enjoyed your food... breastfed your child... and had an all around pleasant experience only to go home and find this as the Facebook status for that little cafe:

"We fully support a mother's desire to nurse her child, but we would appreciate it if you would use discretion by covering yourself. Thank you."

That is what happened to Charisma and her friend when they ate lunch at The Grace Cafe yesterday in Bellingham Washington. Much of the original post is recorded in screen shots, but it has been removed from the cafe's Facebook wall.  You can see much of the backlash from that status, and it was removed as soon as the owners realized that they were in the wrong. She is citing ignorance to the law and has apologized. It's fantastic that she backtracked and apologized, businesses who stand behind their discrimination until they are blue in the face certain do exist. Remember No Strings Attached in Dekalb? THAT guy was truly a hateful individual.  I'm glad that The Grace Cafe owner realized the error of her ways, and therefore she probably doesn't deserve to be continually attacked by the masses, but I don't believe I would dine there. She may as well have posted on her Facebook status that she would like for African Americans or Gays to sit at the back of the restaurant. It's an ugly cruel thought, and one that is not easily erased just by claiming you had no idea it was legally protected for her to breastfeed without a cover. Breastfeeding in public may not exactly be a "civil rights issue" in the eyes of the law, but it certainly is a civil right in my mind. And most certainly one I will defend with utmost seriousness. 

I gather from the Facebook wall that this morning The Grace Cafe will have a "breastfeeding friendly" sign hanging in the window. What do you think about this? Is it false advertising? Probably not, I think we all know they would be a fool to harass a breastfeeding mother at this point. We all know her true feelings now, and personally I would never be comfortable breastfeeding there based on that original status. This sign will probably put at ease new mothers who are unaware of the incident... but for those of us who know the back story... I would know that she would rather I be covered and hidden. Which, many of us know that covering a nursling is easier said than done. An uncovered mother isn't necessarily showing any skin to the public either, for the record. But, even if she is - your opinions about it being wrong don't really matter. She is protected by law to nurse however she is comfortable doing so. 


  1. Her Facebook status was very passive aggressive, but I would give her a break and assume that she now welcomes breastfeeding in all its squirmy, uncovered glory.

    One really can't say what her true feelings are on the matter without asking her (in fact, why not do that -- if she uses Facebook, she might answer and set your mind at rest). She might always have been just dandy with breastfeeding mothers herself, but was (foolishly) worried in these straitened times about scaring other customers away from her business. Or perhaps she had no idea of what breastfeeding entails.

    Now she's been educated, move on and take this businesswoman with you. If campaigners take the attitude that ignorant people don't change and that even when a cafe owner hangs a "breastfeeding welcome" sign they don't deserve our business, why will others bother to change their ways?

  2. I would hope that the Grace Cafe would apologize to Charisma personally. From what I read, she apologized for not knowing the law in Washington. I will not hold a grudge, she made a bad choice to write that post. Maybe her eyes are opening and she has learned something.