Friday, April 10, 2009

the motherlode

i am fully aware i haven't blogged in well over two months. maybe i'm getting better at managing my anger, and have less of a need to blog? heh. well anyways, yesterday i hit the motherlode, if you will, as far as things that make me angry enough to rant about for pages. its called the motherlode blog on the new york times. or more specifically, this post by guess blogger "nicole sprinkle" (more on ludicrous last names in a bit).

so to summarize as briefly as possible. this is an "essay" (scare quotes to indicate that its neither well-written nor well-argued) by a white woman who married a colombian man, had a child, and began to systematically destroy her child's life by filling her with self-loathing. or, to put it in the words of so many of the commenters on the blog, it is a "brave and courageous" essay which takes an "honest" look at race, and should be applauded. apparently now the standard for decency when it comes to race relations is something along the lines of "i'm a huge fucking racist, but as long as i admit it, i'm being progressive." die.

ok i digress. so i was originally planning on just pointing out some of the horrifyingly racist things the author throws out in this essay as though they're no big deal (hoping her child will be just hispanic enough to get a scholarship, exoticizing her american-raised husband by expecting him to speak to their child in only spanish, worrying about the negative effects dominican nannies might have on her child's upper-class development, etc etc etc barf). As i went through the blog listing "things i found terribly offensive," though, the list grew so long i began to suspect i might be there forever. so i'm scratching that, and i'm just going to try to make a very broad point about this essay, and the incredible sadness i feel for this poor, poor child.

the main point of this essay, and the crux of my anger, is the idea that as a wealthy, white, straight parent, you are within your rights to try to mold your child's life to look more like your own to 'protect them' from adversity. Parents want their children to be happy, and for some reason they think the only road to happiness is the one lined with silver spoons which they themselves traveled. I doubt there are any such parents reading this right now, but i'll throw out some advice anyways: your child will never be happy if she knows her parents only love the white part of her, the straight part of her, or whatever other part they might most identify with. This "Sprinkle" woman (henceforth known as Cupcake McWhitey) seems to think that if she micromanages every aspect of her child's development, teaching just enough spanish to be charming and exotic, but not enough that anyone would question her whiteness, not enough that anyone might EVER discriminate against her, her child will have a great life. this is incorrect. if no one ever discriminates against her, that child will have a terrible life because she will grow up to be a person of color who is completely unaware of the racism that permeates the society in which she lives. this is tragic, because it means she won't CARE, and won't contribute to changing society in a positive way. it is also dangerous, because it means she won't be aware of the potential that someone WILL eventually discriminate against her. since of course, despite her mother's best efforts, she will still NOT BE WHITE.

i don't know that many new mothers, but i have known one too many gay friend whose parents rejected their gayness because they don't want their child to have any more hardship in life. parenting fail. in a big way. the moral of the story is, you can't change who your child is, but as a parent it is your responsibility to raise that child not to be the person you wish they were, but to be healthy and happy being the person they are. obviously raising a healthy and happy child is hard work, but if you can't even attempt to do that, you really should not have had children.