One half of a lesbian couple from a small Ohio town is suing a suburban Chicago sperm bank for wrongful birth and breach of warranty after being inseminated with black sperm instead of the white sperm she and her partner requested. According to the Chicago Tribune, the plaintiff, Jennifer Cramblett, had no idea she was giving birth to a biracial baby until she ordered more um, product, from the bank for a second child.
Sounds reasonable, right? Until…
“On August 21, 2012, Jennifer gave birth to Payton, a beautiful, obviously mixed-race baby girl,” the lawsuit states. “Jennifer bonded with Payton easily and she and Amanda love her very much. Even so, Jennifer lives each day with fears, anxieties and uncertainty about her future and Payton’s future.”
Raising a mixed-race daughter has been stressful in Cramblett and Zinkon’s small, all-white community, according to the suit. Cramblett was raised around people with stereotypical attitudes about nonwhites, the lawsuit states, and did not know African Americans until she attended college at the University of Akron.
“Because of this background and upbringing, Jennifer acknowledges her limited cultural competency relative to African Americans and steep learning curve, particularly in small, homogenous Uniontown, which she regards as too racially intolerant,” the lawsuit states.
Part of that learning curve has included getting her daughter’s hair cut, which according to the suit requires Cramblett to travel to a black neighborhood, “where she is obviously different in appearance, and not overtly welcome.”
Also mentioned in the lawsuit is how she fears her “all white and consciously insensitive family,” the same family that hasn’t accepted her sexuality, will have a “negative effect” on her daughter.
Now, on the surface, I get the idea. You paid for a certain, um, product you didn’t receive. Of course it would make sense to sue. But then Cramblett says all these other things that makes you wonder if she’s fit to be anyone’s parent. It almost seems as though they’re blaming the brown baby for inconveniencing their lives. According to the suit, Cramblett’s therapists told her that moving to a more racially diverse location was imperative for her family’s well-being. I’d think, considering her family, she’d want to do that anyway. Why would anyone want to raise a child of any race around a family of bigots, if they have the means to move to greener, post-racial pastures?
And while it is great that Cramblett acknowledges her “limited cultural competency,” she should also understand that, as the parent of a biracial child, she’ll have to put on her big girl pants and get with the fucking program. Yes, you grew up a sheltered white girl in Bumblefuck, Ohio. Yes, people are going to look at you funny in Bumblefuck, Ohio, for having a little brown girl. Welcome to Parenthood; sometimes it’s hard. Prepared to be judged for every decision you make regarding your child for the rest of her life. White folks have been rolling up in black spaces, largely without incident, for a long, long time. If the worst you get is the occasional dirty look? Consider yourself lucky.
If there is any one to really feel sorry for, it’s the two year-old who’s going to need a metric ton of therapy in the years to come.