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THE POLITICS OF CHOOSING THE COLOR OF OUR KIDS

Gay white woman gets inseminated with black donor sperm by mistake.
You hear the headline on one of your morning shows, while getting your girls ready for school, and think that it’s a Chappelle’s Show skit. But then they cut to the woman and her cute little bi-racial kid, who is now two years old, and you see that it’s true.
The woman is saying that she loves her daughter, but the whole situation has been, to paraphrase, mad inconvenient. Aside from having to travel to the hood to get the girl’s hair done because no one in her immediate area does black hair, she’s thinking of relocating to a more diverse community because now that she’s toting around a black kid, the Klansmen in her small Ohio town have been dusting off their white sheets. When they get to the part where she’s asking for $50,000 you turn the channel because it sounds like she just trying to get paid. How can you claim to be happy with your kid, but be asking for maintenance money? And besides that, how much sympathy can you muster for a white woman complaining about the inconvenience of being stuck with a black child? Glancing over at your own two, innocently chomping down on some oatmeal, it makes you mad. She should be so lucky.

Your girls get washed up and you’re brushing their hair. It’s the part they hate. “Ouch, mommy, it hurts!” screams your two-year-old, while you fight to untangle the knots.
Next up, is the lotion. They love that part. It’s like getting a little mini-massage all over their little bodies. It’s funny because you think to when they had a sleepover not too long ago with the 3 year-old daughter of one of your white friends. You were getting them all dressed, about to put the lotion on when she looked at you strange. “Don’t you use lotion at home?” you asked her. She said that they didn’t. It was interesting because one day without lotion on your girls and they’d both start looking like chalk on a black board. Surely, they use lotion, but perhaps it’s not a part of their daily routine. As you went to brush her wavy blond hair into a neat ponytail, she didn’t want that either. Her mom doesn’t brush it every day. It made you consider the differences of routine in a white and black household, which is something that you had never thought about.
Now you’re thinking back to the white woman on TV and how this world she’s now found herself in isn’t so second nature to her. Being black comes with its own set of rules, and there are rules for everything. There are rules for combing your hair (Blue Ivy), rules for how to identify as black (Tiger Woods) and rules for being gay. That rule is simple. Don’t even talk about it.
But for some reason, you expect this gay white woman, who might as well come from another galaxy, to be okay about being put there. Now she and her partner have to consider leaving the coziness of their small town for a city that’s more diverse so that the kid can have a shot at a better life. Then there are questions that will one day come about why she’s black and they’re white, as if the question of why they’re both women isn’t enough.
One of the reasons you never really got down with dating white guys is that you didn’t want any extra issues around identity when it comes to your kids. The movie Imitation of Life scared the bejesus out of you! The way that white-looking child treated her black mama was a travesty, as was the chance that it could some day happen to you if your already diluted black genes mixed with white. So damnit, you married African; and when you look at your brown babies you’re cool. But beyond that, you always wanted kids who resemble you, and that means black. You’re not knocking anyone who is black and has white-looking kids- Halle Berry and Paula Patton- but it never fit your family picture. It was the same with one of your girlfriends who is African American and was looking for the perfect donor egg. “I’m darker skinned, so it was important that the donor have my complexion so at least the kids and I would have that in common.”
But everyone’s different. Not long ago, you were talking to your friend Aja, who is black and married to a Scottish man, about what it feels like to have a kid that looks white. She says that while it doesn’t fit the picture she had, and she had an actual picture of a curly-headed kid with more obvious black features, she was able to adjust. “I was never so Afro-centric in the first place, so it’s fine. I think God gave her to me because I don’t have those kinds of issues.” That’s cool, even inspiring that she wasn’t freaked out by Imitation of Life, a DVD that she owns. She doesn’t care what people think. Doesn’t mind the questioning look of others. Doesn’t mind sticking out.
You, on the other hand, prefer to tuck in. Kinda like this white woman and her lover who were trying to do their gay family thing as discreetly as two women can, when this fiasco happened. She didn’t ask for a black kid. Didn’t pay for it. Wasn’t even thinking about it. At least Aja got to choose her kids and so did you. It’s so easy to rush to judgment. To hear what we want to hear. All this woman is saying is that you can’t take away a woman’s choice and think that you’re not going to pay for it. It’s just not right. $50,000?
They’re getting off easy.

By Erickka Sy Savané

8 Comments
  • Jess
    November 3, 2014

    You captured the heart of this story without making this woman wrong. I appreciate the time you put into your assessments. More than most bloggers who write straight off of the top of their heads, leaving little room for critical thinking. Keep it up!

  • Scotti
    November 14, 2014

    Not having any myself, it seems to me that raising children under the best of circumstances is difficult enough. It’s hard to fathom the enormity of challenge in raising a child whose ethnicity is at odds with one’s own idealized imagine of what and who their child will be. No level of recompense is sufficient reparation for the mistake the lab in question made. Hopefully the parents will raise a healthy, curious, bright, respectful, empathetic, loving child which will be, in their hearts and minds, far greater reward to them than any amount of money would be.

    • Erickka Sy Savané
      November 14, 2014

      Well said, Scotti!

  • shondale
    November 23, 2014

    I enjoyed reading this intellectual but yet diverse piece. The writing allows you to view the women’s side of the story from multiple points of view. Right and wrong is easy to say but hard to feel. Raising a child is a faithful journey with longevity of a lifetime commitment. What does that mean for a biracial family with questionable sexual orientation in a isolated community? Being a parent is not easy and doesn’t come with instructions, only faith and instinctual skills. Mothering also comes with the assistance of a village. What village will be there for these women? We all are brought up to align with our cultural upbringing. This will seemingly be a challenge for these women and this article allows the reader to be open to the many different aspects of how important it is to be mindful that parenting is a loving journey that has many directions & culture is a part of it.

    • Erickka Sy Savané
      December 10, 2014

      Thanks for that insightful comment! And yes, I agree.

    • Erickka Sy Savané
      December 19, 2014

      Well said Shondale, Thanks for chiming in!

  • Susan
    January 1, 2015

    I have one kid who (for the time being) looks like a total WASP, a second kid who looks 100% Asian and I am Black identified. Am I skuuuurrhhdd? Heck no! My kids will proudly identify as people of color and embrace their ancestry! Pride ain’t got a color in the crayola box. Just watch… I’m going to probably have the most militant Black kids on the block 🙂

    • Erickka Sy Savané
      January 2, 2015

      They will definitely have an AMAZING sense of humor like their mama! It’s all about the energy we bring to them regarding things like race, class ect…Thanks for the comments my darling!

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