It Doesn’t Help that “Daniela” is Tall, Blonde & German — Not That We’re Making Assumptions or Anything

New York Times: “‘I believe in multiculturalism,’ she said. ‘I would probably choose somebody with a darker skin color so I don’t have to slather sunblock on my kid all the time. I want it to be a healthy mix. You know how mixed dogs are always the nicest and the friendliest and the healthiest? If you get a clear race, they have all the problems. Mutts are always the friendly ones, the intelligent ones, the ones who don’t bark and have a good character. I want a mutt.’ Her African-American friends questioned this strategy, suggesting that her child’s life would be harder if he or she was perceived as nonwhite, but Daniela said: ‘If that’s what I believe, I have to go by that. And it might help the world also if more people are doing it that way.'”

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  1. I SO almost blogged that too! I was reading late last night, and my jaw dropped. (I’m writing this book about the concept of ‘breeding’ in the 18th century, so it’s actually pretty apropos.) I thought it was very cunning of Jennifer Egan to put that quotation in–I am curious to see what her new novel’s like, I’ve only read one of hers but really liked it.

  2. I’m multiracial and I don’t see anything racist about this. She’s just being honest. I think it goes both ways: a lot of people wouldn’t have children with someone of a different race, but would never admit this. “Pure” race people (i.e., people who think they’re of one race) always assume a lot of shit about biracial people and those assumptions are almost always wrong.

  3. But the important revelation here, Aaron, is that Daniela assumes that multiracial children will be friendlier and more intelligent. So she’s already making assumptions BASED on race, which is no different than claiming that Aryans should mate because they come “from a superior stock.” As a member of the human race, irrespective of color, I’m deeply astonished that anyone would try and rationalize this nonsense.

  4. Oh, I definitely see your point, but I still stand by mine. I think she is being honest. I think a lot of people hold similar views, but would never utter them out loud. I agree, what she says isn’t that much different from someone choosing an “Aryan” to mate with (you have to admit that the Jewish woman who goes ga ga over the “perfect Aryan” was funny, if creepy and depressing).

    People hold all kinds of assumptions based on race. It’s ugly, but true. I don’t think she is racist per se, but definitely has some “racial” ideas. I think most people have these racial ideas/assumptions/whatever, but are loath to admit them.

    Just the whole endeavor of picking someone to mate with unearths all kinds of preferences people have. This single mother thing is fascinating because women are so blunt about who they want to sire their children. Class, status, race, etc. all come into play. Things, we’re told, that don’t matter. Yet they do.

    Me, I’m kind of perplexed why these women seem so uptight about bald guys. I haven’t been keeping up on my bald research, but I thought the “bald gene” was inherited from one’s maternal grandfather.

  5. This whole article creeped me out. It seems to me that if people were to put as much energy into cultivating relationships with other human beings as they did into finding the appropriate Latino-snowboarder-six-pack-abs-graduate-degree-nonkinky-hair-bearing sperm, they might find their lives to be enriched well beyond the biological imperative of bearing and raising children.

    I would never tell someone to chuck her dreams of a soul-mate, but committed relationships are hard work and require negotiation and compromise. I can’t imagine that that could be any harder than mothering two sperm donor babies all alone on one income. And of course the single-Moms-by-choice freak out when little Johnny starts asking about Daddy. Well no shit. Whadja expect?

  6. What an idiot!!! Wtf!!?! Sunblock on a kid??! Is she ashamed of who she is??! People like her need HELP!!!

  7. I felt bad for these women in the article. Not because they’re on the path to becoming “Single Mothers by Choice”; I’m an SMC myself. But because no matter how you try to explain the process of selecting a sperm donor, it’s going to sound bad to others.

    I have to admit that I cringed when reading about Daniela and her “mutts are friendly” comments. But as a white woman, I can tell you that I’m often worried about judgements when people ask me about picking a sperm donor, and I tell them that I wanted someone fair, tall and of Northern European background. I always rush to explain that I started out looking only at personality and health but was instructed by the social worker who was assigned to help me in the process that it had been shown to be easiest on donor-conceived kids if they looked like their mother and her family.

    I think it’s very easy to cast aspersions on single moms and their choices. Maybe it’s more helpful to everyone if we put our criticisms aside and just try to help women in whatever decisions they make.

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