"Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice." - Wayne Dyer


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Being Mixed in America: Payton's "Wrongful Birth"

Recently, I came across some news that I found troubling, but not for the reasons you might think. 
In Uniontown, Ohio Jennifer Cramblett and her wife, Amanda Zinkon, are suing a sperm bank on the grounds of "wrongful birth". Apparently, the sperm bank mixed up the sperm donors, and Cramblett was inseminated with the sperm of a black male instead of a white male, as the couple would have preferred. What was the result?

A beautiful little girl.



What upsets me the most about this, is that the consequences of her parents actions will effect Payton for the rest of her life. 

Some of you might not know this, but I am half black, half Puerto Rican. Growing up as a mixed raced child can be confusing, like it was for me, if your parents are not prepared to embrace both sides of the culture that makes you who you are. In my case, I grew up in a single parent home, with my mother, a darker skinned Puerto Rican, and my older brother who's complexion is lighter than mine.

If you know anything about Puerto Rico, you would understand that Puerto Ricans come in all colors of the rainbow. Unfortunately, as much as people try to turn a blind eye towards it, racism is still present in America. At that time, in the late 90's and early 2000's, it was especially present among children. Of course most kids in my elementary school didn't know anything about Puerto Rico; you were either white, black, Hispanic, or Asian. Because of my darker complexion, I was classified as black. 

In those times kids divided themselves in to little groups based on who looked the most like them. When I moved to Raleigh, NC and started the second grade, of course I was eager to make new friends, but I quickly discovered that "fitting in" would be harder than I thought. I am introverted by nature, as a child I was kind of shy. I would sit back and observe my peers rather than express myself a loud. Some of the black kids took that as a sign of weakness and bullied me. Kids can be cruel. Because I was dark skinned and I spoke Spanish with an accent, I was excluded by the Hispanic kids as well. After a while, I started to hang out with the white kids, and though they did not reject me, I realized that I was treated a little differently when we were playing, or by some of their parents. 

I just could not understand why making friends was so difficult for me. 

Knowing all this, I feel nothing but pity for little Payton. Eventually she is going to ask her mothers why she doesn't look exactly like them and they are going to have to give her an answer. I can not, nor do I want to, imagine what their response is going to be. What is worse, is that there is a whole part of her identity that she will not have the chance to explore until she is older, unless her mothers make the effort to explain to her the importance of African American culture. I hope that things have changed, and that children will be more sensitive towards her in school, as many of them will probably be of mixed race as well. But the problem is that her mothers are treating her being of mixed race as a disadvantage. During an interview with NBC News Jennifer tearfully stated, "I don't find any problems with having a mixed-race child as far as I am concerned. Payton will understand it wasn't about, 'We didn't want you. We wanted a white baby.' That wasn't what it was about." 

But will she understand?

One day, she is going to find out that her mothers sued the sperm bank because they "faced adversity" due to the fact that she is half black. The lawsuit states that the family has experienced unnecessary "personal injuries, medical expenses, pain, suffering, emotional distress and other economic and non-economic issues, and will do so in the future. How will that make her feel? 

How would it make you feel?

It is 2014. 

By now we should have accepted the fact that nobody can help the way they look, no one gets to chose their skin color, and therefore no one should be persecuted, get special privileges, or be treated differently because of it. 

Stating it simply, race should no longer be a social issue.

We are all HUMAN.

Watch the news clip below and decide for yourself. 

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