Readers, I apologize for what I’m about to lay on you, and I apologize for any vomiting, dislocated mandibles, or headdesk-related injuries it causes. Brace yourselves for the stupidest, most offensive question ever asked on Planet Earth.
These authors are serious, and they answer their question in the affirmative. Naturally they’re both men. Men doing a “thought experiment” they conclude is a splendid idea.
Imagine a world in which all the babies born each day were randomly redistributed among the biological parents. The infant assigned to any given set of parents could be white, black, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, or any combination thereof (and that’s just the US); the baby could be perfectly healthy or grossly deformed. Parents would know only that their child was not their biological child. Let us call this social mixing.
No. Let us call this what it is: Imaginary barbaric social engineering by a couple of white guys who think racism can be imagined away if people only let go of the idea that women and children are human. Nobody who thought they were human could imagine something as horrific as swapping kids around at random. The authors propose this because it would hurt “lesser people” more than it would hurt them and because it sounds easier to them than actually confronting their own racism and privilege. (Also, “grossly deformed”? Isn’t that a delightful thing to call infants with drastic birth defects?)
This plan is of course politically impossible, perhaps even repellent.
You bet your ASS it is, Sirs. But hold on a sec–guess why it’s repellent? Because it would subject women and children to unspeakable cruelty? Because it would put the onus of fixing society’s problems on minority babies who would be raised in a racist society by people who may or may not be able to comprehend that racism or help the kids navigate it in any way? No, of course not. It’s because one’s own precious child might end up in the arms of a crack whore. No, seriously:
Is the idea so frightening? Yes it is. It is a frightening thought that your own biological child, the one sitting there now doing her homework, might have gone to an impoverished mother or a drug addict, perhaps have been beaten, perhaps starved.
It gets worse, though:
But why, save for genetic chauvinism, do we view with comparative equanimity the everyday reality of other people’s children subject to the same treatment by their own biological mothers?
What’s the “we” shit, you heartless pricks? How dare you? The reason you don’t care is that you lack human empathy. Assuming you’re white, which doesn’t seem like much of a stretch, people like you run the country that lets women die in childbirth at a higher rate than any other “civilized” one, that blames women for their own rapes, that lets children grow up in poverty and go to jail because they’re the wrong color and/or their mothers weren’t married. Don’t throw your baggage on me, Sirs, because I fucking well do care.
You may argue that genetic bias is indelible in human nature. Social mixing would not only disturb the comfort of this fatalistic attitude,
Loving and wanting your own child is fatalism. Sure it is.
but also use genetic chauvinism for ends beyond mere economic equality, providing grounds for a compassion that goes beyond the wellbeing of our immediate families.
“[M]ere economic equality.” Pfft. Who cares about something that piddling? It wouldn’t fix anything OH YES IT WOULD. And how is genetic chauvinism supposed to end itself? Have racism and sexism ended themselves? Go eat a bowl of bees, you dipwads.
Since any man might be your biological brother, any woman your biological sister, concern for them would have to be expressed by a concern for a common good.
Again you admit you don’t give a fuck about anyone who isn’t related to you and presume the same of everyone else. Yes, let’s doom everyone (except your generation and the generations before them, of course) to a lifetime of genealogical bewilderment because it would magically give you Yahoos hearts (not that I believe it would).
A second effect of social mixing would be to generate a strong interest in the health and wellbeing of expectant mothers, which would ultimately translate into an interest in the social and biological welfare of everyone. Since any child might end up our own, we would provide the social and educational environments that would best enhance their development. Ghettos and slums would be an eyesore for us all. Poverty, drug, and alcohol addiction are already everyone’s problem, but this fact would be more meaningful than it is now. The child of that addict might be our biological child. Every victim of a drive-by shooting might be a member of our genetic family. Each of us would see the link between our fate and the fate of others.
Worse and worse and worse. How can it go on getting worse? No point in giving a rat’s ass about women and children if there’s not a microscopic chance the women are carrying your future biological or adopted child.
And if you’re as heartless as you seem, then what you’d really do is tell yourself the chances of being biologically related to or being given the child of one random person are astronomical, so to Hell with that ghetto drunk and her prenatal check-ups: you still don’t want your tax dollars supporting the likes of her.
Third, the superficial connection between colour and culture would be severed.
SUPERFICIAL?!?! Also, that would be horrible. It would not result in white people sharing in black culture or Asians partaking of Latino culture. It would result in a homogenous, generic boring-ass cultural blandness of the kind white USAian people already have–and already hate so much that we’re prone to going around trying to steal other people’s cultures (white “Native American shamans,” white dreadlocks, white people using Cinco de Mayo as an excuse to drink too much beer, etc). Plenty of adoptive parents currently feel entitled to
parody and degrade “honor” their internationally adopted children’s cultures already. Y’all need to quit kidding yourselves.
Racism would be wiped out. Racial ghettos would disappear; children of all races would live in all neighbourhoods. Any white child could have black parents and any black child could have white parents. Imagine the US president flanked by his or her black, white, Asian and Hispanic children. Imagine if social mixing had been in effect 100 years ago in Germany, Bosnia, Palestine or the Congo. Racial, religious, and social genocide would not have happened.
Just like when white slaveowners raped their slaves and sold their own children, right? and just like being raised by a “mammy” rendered white children not racist? Just like Hitler’s Jewish ancestry kept him from hating Jewish people? Even if this would work, you are jumping ahead to the ends without considering the very human means to those ends, because apparently women and children only exist to fix your broken evil selves at the cost of their offspring and identities. You don’t care. I mean, here you are discussing what it would take for you to care.
[…] There are, of course, many natural objections to this idea. It will be said that one of the joys of marriage is for lovers to see the product of their love. To this we say that the product of one’s love lies not in the genetic production of a human being but in the mutual cultivation of the life of a child. But isn’t it true that either the genetic match between parent and child or a bond formed between mother and child in the womb makes each parent uniquely fit to raise his or her own child and less fit to raise another child? The evidence for such idiosyncrasy is slight.
OH IS IT REALLY. Spoken like true men–true unadopted men, possibly ones without children.
True, adopted children tend to have more mental and physical problems than non-adopted ones. But
we don’t give a flip!
…children are often adopted at relatively advanced ages, after they have formed close attachments with caregivers. Children adopted during their first year are at no disadvantage relative to non-adopted children.
Speaking as a person who was adopted before age one: You have no idea what you are talking about.
The authors rush to assure us there is no risk that under social mixing people will be as indifferent to their own *real children as they are now to the biological children of others. …[T]here are no grounds for such deep pessimism. Look at the behaviour of adoptive parents now, or look at the practice of surrogate motherhood. The many apparently infertile parents who adopt a baby only to have a biological child subsequently do not tend to reject the first child.
Except when they do, you chowderheads. I know many adoptees who were rejected or given short shrift when that biological child came along. And most couples who use a surrogate mother have her carry their own egg and sperm, so that doesn’t even count.
[…] It may be objected that parents’ desire to have their own biological children is so strong that they would be blind to the public good, that they would have babies and bring them up in secret. But those babies would not have birth certificates, they would not be citizens, they could not vote, serve in public office and so forth. If discovered, the children might be taken away after the strong bonds of psychological (as opposed to biological) parenthood had been formed. Few Americans would risk these penalties.
You two are officially horrible. You’re cruel, you’re monsters, I don’t even have words. You’re Frankenstein, you’re Nazis. You imagine and argue for a world wherein other people get rid of your prejudices for you no matter how much that hurts them. You have your brazen balls talking about “the public good.”
It will be objected that incest would occur frequently in a society where biological kinship was obscured. In answer to this, we now have the ability to test prospective parents and to forbid marriages between people with close genetic overlap – whatever the cause.
Who’s gonna pay for all those DNA tests, Doofuses? And in a country where people continue to spread STIs and experience unexpected pregnancies even though condoms are freely available, do you really think horny people are going to wait for test results to come back before they get it on?
But even if we did not have this ability, is it likely that incest would be more frequent under our plan than it is now (notwithstanding taboos) among close biological relatives living together? […]
I dunno. Why don’t you ask all the adoptees who have experienced genetic sexual attraction, Assholes?
It may be objected that people would not want to bear children only to have them raised by strangers.
YA THINK?! As it is now, desperate girls and women have to be coerced and purchased or paid to do it.
But genetic narcissism may not be the optimal motive for having children. There may be no correlation between the biological capacity to have children and the ability to cultivate the optimal development of a child. It may be a good thing if only people who passionately wished to be an integral part of the life trajectory of another human being raised children.
It would be, and that’s why women need better access to birth control and abortions, not an excuse for you to snatch their kids for great victory over racism. You do realize “people” includes women, right?
Genetic chauvinism lives on very strongly in our culture. Modern fiction and cinema often present adoptees’ searches for biological parents and siblings in a highly positive light.
How very tragic and unfair NOT.
The law in child custody cases is biased towards biological parents over real parents.
You really, really don’t know what you’re talking about.
You might claim that this bias itself is ‘natural’. It is so common as to seem part of our biological makeup.
It’s also the cornerstone your stupid argument rests on, but don’t let that bother you.
But subjugation of women was also common in primitive human cultures and remains so in many cultures today.
You are literally arguing for the subjugation of women to your wishes.
Unnatural as it sounds, social mixing promises many advantages.
Perhaps it does. But I find it very interesting that you propose this convoluted mess instead of simpler solutions, like eliminating redlining and otherwise arranging things so minorities can live next door to well-off white academic types like you. You could move into a “ghetto” neighborhood anytime you wanted, you know. But that would involve your taking a risk and your being inconvenienced, and those things are for women and babies.
If we are not willing to adopt it, we should consider carefully why. And if naturalness is the key, we should ask ourselves why on this matter, ungoverned nature should trump social cohesion.
Look, there is no magic racism eraser. There never was one and there never will be one. We–white people, because we have the power–need to get rid of racism by doing the hard work of educating ourselves, examining ourselves, and then putting our money and energy into effecting change. And we don’t get to decide what the changes will be. If we are so lucky as to win their trust, underprivileged people of color will determine what help they do or don’t want from us. In the meantime, hands off other people’s kids.
White people made racism. Expecting minority women and babies to fix it for us is just another form of racism.
*YES, “REAL.” THEY ACTUALLY WENT THERE. They suffer the same genetic chauvinism they intend to erase by using genetic chauvinism.