Right Baby, Wrong Color

multirace_600BCN editor’s note: please contact the author for reprint permission.

Is an unintended black child a blessing or a curse to a white mother?

Apparently a white lesbian didn’t get the memo about avoiding the appearance of racial intolerance, because she is suing a sperm bank for $50,000 for inseminating her with sperm from a black man.

Jennifer Cramblett of Ohio sued Midwest Sperm Bank in Chicago this past Monday for wrongful birth caused by a clerical error that resulted in the insemination by Donor 330 and not Donor 380 as intended. This error resulted in the birth of a biracial girl named Payton, who is now two years old. Cramblett’s basis for her suit is that Payton would have to grow up in Cramblett’s racially intolerant community where she has to be driven out of the community to a “black neighborhood” to get her hair cut and where Cramblett decries she is not welcome. It seems Cramblett is angling for relocation expenses.

While Cramblett may have a legitimate contract or warranty dispute with the sperm bank, there are larger implications that seem to be ignored by her legal action. The heart of her grievance feels like the rejection of her biracial child, although she professes her love. (I don’t question her love for her child.) However, instead of leading her community in the tolerance she likely preaches for her same-sex relationship, she is getting out of town. While she desires to relocate for Payton’s benefit to a more diverse community where Payton will fit in, Cramblett admits she lives in an all-white rural town and only met blacks when she went to college and, therefore, Cramblett will have her own psychological hurdles in this new diverse environment I assume. How does that work-out for Payton?

This is a story because of its oddity, but it also highlights the balkanization of our society. We have a mother apprehensive of raising a biracial child as if that’s new in America. We live in groups and categories; we wear labels that neatly fit us all in our own neat little box. We’re either gay or straight, black or white, rich or poor, white in a white neighborhood and black in a black neighborhood — right where we all belong — separated. The problem with these categories is that they are meaningless. There are only two kinds of people: good and evil. Notwithstanding cultural differences, which exist and which should be celebrated, it’s time to know one another based on our character, contribution to community, and beneficence. Cramblett can lead the way!

For Cramblett, living in controversy as she does in her same-sex relationship is nothing new. White people are adopting and raising black children through local and international adoption agencies from various African nations all day long. Cramblett may tap into the various adoptive parents who have traveled the road she is on. Notwithstanding the elephant in the room that stands against same-sex adoption, Payton is here now. I pray her mother gets it right and that Payton will feel accepted wherever she lives.

Photo credit: jbherrera (Creative Commons)

Marc Little_2Marc Little is the author of The Prodigal Republican: Faith and Politics. His web site is The Prodigal Republican.

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  1. Part of the problem too is treating children as commodities: “You didn’t get my order right.”

  2. There is the freedom of speech, religion, and choice, for all of God’s creation. Father, help us all to treat each other with respect and choose in the ways of you, In Jesus name, Amen

  3. What had me scratching my head was what I read in another take on this situation. They said the basis of the complaint was that their daughter now had, “irrepressible differences” that were going to make her life difficult. I can only assume that’s their end game: That the world will be a happy place when all differences are properly repressed. Equality is NOT sameness.

  4. Diana said it perfectly, but that being said, the women didn’t get the product they were promised. They should be able to get precisely what they paid for the procedure, not a penny more.

  5. I’m sure she was shocked, but I can’t imagine not loving my baby even if she or he was green. My daughter in law and son adopted a distant relative’s two babies. They have drug related problems, but she and my son love them unconditionally despite theri issues. . This woman may think her child is imperfect, but she needs to get her head on straight. She has a lovely child to love and nurture. I don’t think hers will ever be a healthy relationship with her child. I feel for the child.

  6. first, they love the child and have no intention of giving her back. Second, this doesn’t mean that they don’t feel like they were not treated properly. Third, the majority of Blacks, East Indians, and Asians would feel the same if they were given sperm from a Caucasian. … Get real and stop being so self righteous.