Her White Wife Doesn't Want Their Baby To Be Black

‘My White Wife Doesn’t Want Our Baby To Be Black,’ Mom-To-Be Writes Advice Columnist

You know a marriage is in serious trouble when you’re an African-American woman, and your white wife gets cold feet about having a half-black baby.

On Monday, she wrote in to advice columnist Dear Prudence’s live chat on Slate, explaining how she and her wife plan on getting pregnant using a sperm donor. Since the letter writer has health issues, her wife will be the one who carries the baby. Yet, she wants them to use a black sperm donor both to honor her heritage and so the baby looks like it’s partly hers:

Q. Sperm Donor Child: My wife and I (both female) are getting ready to have a baby this year. She is white, I am African American, and for health reasons she will carry the child (so he or she will be at least half-white). We will use a sperm donor, and I think that we should use a black sperm donor. I think it will be nice if our child isn’t obviously biologically one of ours and not the other’s and we don’t have to field so many questions about that. However, I’m flexible on this and just excited to be a mom. 

Alas, this mom-to-be’s wife insists on using a white sperm donor…But of course it’s not because she’s racially prejudiced. It’s because they live in Texas, and the people around them are racially prejudiced. She just thinks it’s “safer” and “a lot easier” for the baby to be white.

My wife has a different opinion. She says, adamantly, we should try our best to use a white sperm donor. My wife isn’t racially prejudiced at all, but she makes the point that it is a known fact that in this world, especially in Texas where we live, it is a lot easier to be white. Especially if we have a son, it is factually safer to not be black. I see what she means but I really think that’s reducing African American history to a statistic of violence, and it makes me think we really should use a black sperm donor if only to contradict that statistic. Which one of us should relent?

Is it really That much “safer” for a gay couple In Texas to have a white baby than a black baby?

Wow. This black woman’s white wife is wrong on so many levels, I don’t even know where to begin. If they were a heterosexual couple, they would have probably dealt with this issue long ago and already assumed the baby would appear as black or mixed-race (though, genetics don’t always work the way you might think).

First of all, we’re talking TEXAS here. Although a recent court ruling struck down Texas’ gay marriage ban, and the state is required to begin issuing marriage licenses by the end of June, many state officials will be dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming. Hopefully, Texas’ GOP-run legislature won’t find some other way to make the women’s marriage illegal and custody of the baby dodgy for the black woman, as the state did for those two Texas dads. But does that woman seriously think her baby will be “safer” just because he or she is white? Unfortunately, the people who hate blacks tend to be the same people who hate gays, and also tend to be the kind of people who look down on women.

Second of all, we’re talking TEXAS here. Like many parts of the country, Texas is changing, plus some counties are more liberal than people think. 2011 U.S. Census data revealed that 55.2 percent — a clear and rapidly growing majority — of Texans are non-white, making Texas one of five “majority-minority” states in the U.S. Texans have also grown more pro-gay over the years. A June poll by the Texas Tribune and the University of Texas shows that when it comes to marriage equality, the state’s split roughly down the middle: 44 percent support allowing gays and lesbians to marry, 41 percent are against, and 14 percent don’t know.

The Lone Star State has a long way to go on race, LGBT and women’s issues — as does the rest of our nation — but Texas has one of the highest rates of interracial marriage in the U.S.  I don’t mean to minimize the fears mixed-race parents and people of color feel for the safety of their children. Those fears are very real. But if you’re a white Texas woman who’s come out as a lesbian and married a black woman, haven’t you already crossed that Rubicon?

As Dear Prudence writes in her reply, this couple needs to start looking for a marriage counselor before seeking a sperm donor for their baby.

A: I think you two should put on pause the search for a sperm donor, and instead go to a counselor. I agree with you that there’s something deeply disturbing about your wife’s implicitly adopting ambient racism, thus rejecting your heritage. She could equally well argue that until all sexism is eliminated from society, you two should make sure that she only carries a boy. I also don’t like that you say she is “adamant” on this subject. It’s one thing for you two to talk openly about the societal reactions your family would face. It’s another to bow to society’s assumed worst potential prejudices. So instead of one of you giving in, both of you should talk this out more fully, and also look at how you two function as a couple.

This writer wishes them the best of luck.

Featured image: Composite: cc 2012 Vera Kratochvil/Pixgood.