White Lesbians, Biracial Baby and Bigotry

I’m so angry about the stupidity surrounding the story about the white lesbians who accidentally received some African American sperm and ended up with a biracial baby.

Jennifer Cramblett with her daughter Payton.
Jennifer Cramblett with her daughter Payton.

 

Last week this story broke about two white lesbians, suing the sperm bank for receiving an African American man’s sperm, rather than the white, blue-eyed blonde haired man’s sperm they had ordered. Ok, I know on the surface this could look like these women are bigots. But they aren’t and I’ll tell you why.

In a nutshell, two white lesbians in Ohio ordered some sperm and came out with a black baby. According to the court documents, they bonded with the baby and love her very much. But for the past two years they have been running into problems connected to her race. First of all, they live in a very bigoted town. Secondly, the grandparents are bigoted. And thirdly, they have to travel to a more racially diverse area to get their daughter’s hair cut, where they feel unwelcome.

Ok, that third one does make them look a little like bigots. Facing your own white privilege comes with some challenges. They are still early on in their journey toward learning how to talk about race, for sure.

Right now, and for the past two years, I can guarantee that they have been facing their own internalized white privilege. Now, they are publicly discussing why having a child of another race is difficult for them. Admitting that parenting a child of another race has subjected them to taunts and accusations from both sides of the racial coin.

White folks are horrified that a white person would admit they feel challenged by parenting a black child. It forces the white community to admit that racism still exists. It sure is a lot easier to just call them racists and go back to their quiet little lives where no white people are racists unless they talk about race.

And on the other side of the coin, some African American writers are mocking the white folks who have been “inconvenienced” by blackness. It’s not an inconvenience to raise a child of color. It’s a joy, just like raising any child. But for white parents raising a child of color, there comes the added emotional expense of coming to realizations that their skin color changes the way you have to parent and live your life. It comes with the realization that their skin color could subject them to violence. There comes with it the knowledge that they will experience hate in forms that you, as a white parent, cannot possibly understand how it feels. They will experience institutionalized prejudice at school. They will experience prejudice from well-meaning, yet ignorant, older, family members. They will see the disparities in the toy section, and so too, will you. And it will piss you off. They will read multitudes of books where their skin color is either completely left out, or used with derision, sometimes purposeful, sometimes not. They will watch television shows where they are always in the minority or being used as a stereotype. You, as a parent, will also see these things and you’ll feel guilty and angry at the same time.

If you were unprepared to deal with that as a parent, it’s fucking scary to come to those realizations as your child is growing up and it’s happening right in front of your eyes. I wonder if African Americans come to those same realizations in the same manner, or if they feel prepared for it beforehand? I would imagine that it is a horrendous mixture of prior knowledge and new fears that come with being a parent. Raising a black child in this country is tough. It forces you to acknowledge that everything in this country is set up for white people to be successful and to oppress black people. And if you’re not prepared for it, then you need support in forms of community and mental health.

In any case, Jennifer Cramblett and her partner are suing for approximately $50,000 and are planning on moving to a more diverse community. They need extra money for moving expenses and regular therapy.

This seems pretty damn reasonable to me.

If these women were ignorant or racist, as the articles and comments are suggesting, then they could have easily given up the baby for adoption and gotten some more sperm, quietly and without any fuss. Rather, they fell in love with the child who Jennifer Cramblett carried for nine months. They have been raising her and giving her love for two years. They have been worrying about her future. They sound like pretty typical parents to me.

To me, this tells me that they love her unconditionally, but they are smart enough to realize that they are going to face some challenges. This tells me that these women are being practical about what life holds for their family. Shit costs money. The sperm bank was incompetent. Jennifer and Amanda need to change the way they live in order to raise Payton successfully. Not to mention, that the sperm bank should be held accountable for their mistake, another practical reason for the lawsuit.

cryingjennifer

I’ve seen comments calling these women hateful bigots. Really?

Anyone who is a part of the LGBT community has had to endure plenty of bigotry in their lives. There is only so much social justice a body can stand up for without having some sort of mental breakdown. These are the things that keep people up at night.

I don’t know these women, but I’m guessing they’ve endured bigotry enough to last a lifetime. And now on top of all that, they now have to raise a child in a world they were, admittedly(!), completely unprepared for. Saying, in public, that they know raising a black child is a challenge and they feel fucking scared to do it, is brave. So brave.

But they are taking on that task because they love their daughter. I give them props for being brave enough to file this lawsuit to bring to the forefront the challenges of raising a black child in a white world. To admit their fear. And to expose that fear to their community.

These women are not the bigots here. They have clarity of mind. They see their world for what it is and they are publicly admitting that they cannot raise their daughter there. Because they love her. They are doing what good parents do. Protecting their child.

Not only that, they are brave enough to publicly acknowledge the white privilege aspects of their own world that they have had to challenge in their own minds. That’s not bigotry folks. It’s bravery.

It’s not easy to admit in public that, as a white person, you are being forced to acknowledge ugliness in your world due to your skin color.

I’m sure that these women are not perfect. But what parent is?

Sure, it’s possible this lawsuit will have a negative effect on their daughter’s self esteem as some are suggesting. But who knows, perhaps she will see the challenges her mothers faced and be inspired. Hopefully they will use this part of their past to show her that she should always stand up for herself, rather than let the world tell you you’re wrong, when you know you’re right.

Read the court documents here 

Tracyville Launches Multicultural Kid’s Product Line

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I know this is not one of my typical types of posts, but today I’m helping promote a new line of multicultural kids’ artwork. I am not being paid for this.

I met Tracy over at One Brown Crafter through email, as she was searching for biracial and multiracial kids online. We’ve chatted a lot through email and Facebook. She’s an intelligent and savvy multiracial woman of color who finds herself a minority in the crafting world. So she began designing her art surrounding that idea. I love her artwork and plan to buy this one. A piece that Annika picked out for her room.

I love Tracy’s work because it reflects the simplicity of seeing past skin color by acknowledging everyone’s place in the world. She comes from a space knowing what it’s like to feel out of place, but has embraced it and her artwork certainly reflects the spirit of being a child. Please check her stuff out. She’s introducing a new line this fall and I look forward to seeing more of her beautiful artwork.

A Little Bit About the New Line From Tracyville:

Illustrator, recycling artist and blogger, Tracy Viverretta is launching a line of fun, functional and inspirational products geared toward biracial and multicultural kids that officially launches on Labor Day. These handmade products will also encourage self-love and self esteem.

Tracy isn’t saying what they are as yet, but all month long, she’ll be sharing “teasers” of the new goodies on her blog – Tracyville – all leading up to the big reveal on Labor Day. Make Tracyville a regular pit-stop to get the full story on this product line and to join in on her Back-To-School-Labor Day-Product-Fest-Handmakery-Adventure as she conceives, sketches, doodles, designs, sews, draws and illustrates tons of fun and functional goodies for the kiddos.

You can find Tracy’s work at the following locations.

Blog: http://tracyville2.blogspot.com/

Shop: http://tracyville.storenvy.com/

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tracyville/

Email:  tracyvart[at]yahoo[dot]com

Please Stop Telling Moms that You Know Mothering is Hard

This might not make life easier for all mothers, but it would for me. Let's get this thing here in the U.S. already!
This might not make life easier for all mothers, but it would for me. Let’s get this thing here in the U.S. already!

I’m freaking tired of reading about how ungodly hard mothering is. Yeah, we fucking know! So what are we going to do about it as a society?

First of all, I just want to say, all the reasons that people are always listing about why mothering is hard are wrong. I’m not a housekeeper, a cook, a janitor, a chauffeur, a therapist, an office manager, a CEO, or any of the other stupid things assigned to me in articles like this.

There is only one reason why mothering is hard. It’s because you are in charge of other human beings. Adding a few extra loads of laundry per week to your household duties, driving someone to a class/school, and cooking for other people is not the hard part. It’s the fact that you are in charge of getting tiny, irrational, emotionally immature, underdeveloped human beings. You have to get them to move their bodies and eat food and you’re in charge of their emotional well-being.

What pisses me off about those articles is that those ideas are extremely dismissive about what’s important to mothering.

Our culture isn’t set up to make mothering easier. Yesterday was Mother’s Day and in our culture buying a woman flowers and/or taking her out or fixing her food is how we tell ourselves we are being appreciative. And while it’s really nice to get flowers and food, it doesn’t truly make my life as a mother any easier.

Things Society Could Do to Make Mothering/Parenting Easier:

Give parents flex time at work. All people who have small/young human beings at home should be allowed to set their own schedule when possible.

Give parents extra time off work in the beginning. I’m not talking about six weeks or 12 weeks or whatever the fuck maternity leave is anymore. I’m talking, like six months, a year, 18 months. Yeah, that sounds good.

When Annika was six weeks old, I remember very clearly wondering just how the hell women went back to work at that time. I felt unbelievably grateful that I didn’t have to go back to work. Hell, my body wasn’t even fully healed. It took months and months to feel relatively normal again inside my own skin. I think that I would’ve had a full-on mental breakdown if I’d had to put my baby in daycare at six weeks. And it breaks my heart to think that we are a country full of women who often feel like they simply have no other choice.

Automatically give parents food stamps and free health care for themselves and their children.

Give businesses tax breaks for hiring parents back into the workforce after a few years of staying at home to take care of infants/toddlers.

Stop being such jerks about public school. I don’t know about other places and frankly I’m too tired to look it up, but here in Austin, TX, you can get a ticket if your child is late to school too many times. When I was a kid, if your parent wanted to let you play hooky or if you were late, it was no big deal. They wrote a note. Nowadays, parents are getting in trouble. What the EVERLOVINGFUCK is that about? It’s bullshit. And it has zero to do with education and all to do with money/financial support from the government who thinks that if they hold everyone accountable with anal retentive standards that somehow we will become a smarter society. They have it so, so very wrong.

Give parents access to free or low-cost therapy. Parents need to vent. A lot. They also need to have someone to bounce ideas off of and work out their own shit inside of a safe space.

Let’s start talking about what’s really hard about mothering/parenting. I think we all know that we are generally appreciated. But it’d be really fucking nice if society started helping move that into making our daily lives easier instead of minimizing mothers by appreciating us with a commercialized annual meal.

 

A Sleep Mask is a Mother’s Best Friend

sleepmaskI recently found my old sleep mask. It wasn’t lost. It was inside the drawer of my old bedside table that I recently moved over to the other side of the bed, where Annika still sleeps. She was perusing through the drawer and found it. Tried it on and then relinquished it only because it was way too big, even with her huge hair.

I haven’t used this thing in years. I had even forgotten that I had it. Then I remember how much better rested I used to be when I wore it.

I hate sleeping with lights on in my room, yet, I have a nightlight for Annika. She’s been “scared of the dark” since she was about 3.

So, the past two nights I’ve worn it. I’m waking up feeling more refreshed, better rested than I have in years. It’s amazing. Get one.

Side note: Yes, I realize I haven’t updated this blog in about two months. I know. I’m sure nobody’s reading anymore except the few hundred spam bots and unbelievably stupid guest posters who keep emailing me with ridiculous ideas like, “How to Find a Babysitter.” Yes, because all my readers, who are interested in hearing about a single mom who parents using attachment parenting principles are interested in using Craigslist to find a nanny. Um, no thanks.