The Internet is doing one of its collective freak outs today after a picture of woman breastfeeding during her college graduation went viral.
Like many new moms, 25-year-old Karlesha Thurman was once again reminded that babies don’t care what’s going on when they want to eat—even if you’re in the middle of receiving your bachelor’s degree. So Thurman did what moms have done since the beginning of time and fed her child, only this time she snapped a picture.
I never posted that picture on twitter or ig, I posted it as a comment on FB, never thought it would get this much attention
— ✨✨ARiES BABY✨✨ (@Kay_Danae) June 9, 2014
The proud grad shared the snap as a comment on Facebook, which was reposted by the Black Women Do Breastfeed page. It quickly made the rounds on Facebook and Twitter, causing many to wonder if Thurman’s choice was inappropriate.
While many were supportive of the mom, others, predictably, were not. The judgments were swift and harsh, some even calling Thurman a “hoe.”
The Chick Breastfeeding her Baby at Graduation set Black Women back a few more weeks. Bitch aint make no Bottles before she left the house? — DJ HOLLYWOOD (@DJHOLLYWOOD_) June 9, 2014
I’m all for sharing your accomplishments with having a child young and still graduating college, but breastfeeding while at graduation? Nah
— Darté (@dliindaxo) June 9, 2014
— $lumerican (@_standJordan) June 8, 2014
Though many still have an issue with women breastfeeding in public, the criticism of Thurman feels particularly harsh. Many assumed she was graduating from high school and decided she was a “fast” teen who “[hoed] around in 3rd period,” while others ignored the fact that she was getting her degree and called her “ratchet,” presumably because she’s a young Black mom.
Far too often, Black women, and particularly Black mothers, are placed under an uncomfortable microscope where our every move is dissected for public debate. Thankfully, however, Thurman seems to be taking it all in stride. The new grad took to Facebook to explain why she shared the photo in the first place.
“I found out I was pregnant my last year of college, had my daughter one week into my last semester, she was my motivation to keep going,” she explained. “So me receiving my BA was OUR moment, so glad I captured the moment and so glad you shared it with the world.”