Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Lawsuits won't defeat bigots

What should we think of a gay couple who is upset that the child they went to great lengths to conceive has turned out to not be white enough to fit into their lives?

It ought to be evidence that WASPs should quit thinking that the whole rest of the world is somehow ganging up on their desired way of life. We're all so different that we ought to quit thinking in terms of people being "us" and "them."

THIS THOUGHT HAS been running through my head ever since I read a Chicago Tribune account of a lawsuit filed against a Downers Grove-based sperm bank by a lesbian couple who contracted with them to enable one of the ladies to become pregnant so they could raise a child.

Midwest Sperm Bank complied with its end of the contract, although it seems that someone misread a "3" for an "8," resulting in the couple not getting the exact sperm donor they thought they were ordering.

They wound up receiving sperm provided by an African-American man. The resulting baby is clearly biracial.

The couple contends they have no racial hang-ups. But they say the predominantly white Ohio community they live in (one with a 98 percent white population where the nearest big city is Canton -- home of the Football Hall of Fame) is not a racially tolerant one.

THEY CLAIM THE sperm bank's screw up has resulted in conditions where the child will face hostility and intolerance.

I don't doubt the women are correct about what will happen. For while biracial people and gay couples and just about everybody else who doesn't fit into a 'straight white' lifestyle can now be more open in their existence than in the past, there are those who are willing to keep the old prejudices alive -- and who think that it's everybody else who's screwed up for not back their hostility.

But I can't exactly be all that sympathetic about the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court, particularly since there isn't any place in this nation that's entire exempt from the bigotry of old.

For the record, the sperm bank says it was a matter of a hand-written label being misread. The Chicago Tribune reports that they have refunded the money the couple paid for the sperm -- which is generous in that it realizes the desired effect was not provided.

BUT I'M NOT convinced anyone needs to be more sympathetic than that.

I wonder how realistic it is to expect much more. I wonder how much hostility the couple itself experiences living in that community. Since I doubt there is a place that doesn't mind gay couples, but has hang-ups about biracial people.

Then again, there are those among the nitwits of our society who are willing to overlook certain differences if the underlying nature of a "white" community is maintained.

Of course, it should be noted that the mother has her problems in reaching out to African-Americans for support. She says in her lawsuit that she is "not overtly welcome" when she goes to nearby black neighborhoods to find people who can cut her daughter's hair.

THE WOMAN IN her lawsuit says she has been advised to move to a community with a more diverse ethnic and racial population so that her child will not stand out so much.

Of course, she'd probably be wanting to do that just to avoid hostility due to her life partner.

Although the reality is that there isn't any place where one won't run into numbskulls who are going to have their hang-ups about people who aren't exactly like themselves.

The real lesson that couple ought to be teaching their daughter is to realize her own self-worth, and to know that all the people harassing her are really pointing out their own shortcomings in life.


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