I’ve gone back and forth on responding to this thread since it went up, especially since it’s a heck of a place to start with your first post, but since I’m constantly responding in my head as I read I’m giving up the fight. I do apologize in advance for the length.
My partner and I are both Native Americans though she’s of ‘purer’ blood than me. I can pass for white, depending on the crowd, whereas she cannot. For us we very much wanted a Native donor. A desire that has forced us to contact family members and ask if they knew of anyone that would be willing since there are almost no Native Anon donors. Sure, there are a few that claim Native blood but our experience with that is extremely untrusting. Perhaps it’s a prejudice of our own but in our experience there are a lot of Indian princesses out there. Unless they are card-carrying we are distrustful of the claim.
I suppose continuing with our bloodline is important to us because the amount of actual Natives in this country saddens us. Heritage is important, imo, though the tendency to tell ourselves (general our) otherwise is easy to do. Having said that and to be honest, without meaning to offend anyone, I’m always kind of put out by the idea of whites that deliberately seek out mixed or full blood children either to adopt or conceive. As a race, we have a lot of experience with that particular occurrence. Very little of it has been good.
I do think it’s possible for a white couple to raise a mixed child but I don’t believe it’s possible for them to ever really understand what that child is going through anymore than they can ever truly understand their experiences. I know that while I can understand what it must be like for a black person to watch other people look at them suspiciously, I cannot understand what that makes them feel inside. I cannot comprehend what it does to your self image or how it alters your perception of your own skin color or even how it affects simple interactions with people who inadvertently hit a nerve.
Racism, hatred and bigotry are not one big similar, shared experience that leads to true understanding across the board. If only it were that easy. Being discriminated against as a lesbian has its undeniable set of issues but that doesn’t translate to automatic similarities on racism due to skin color. You cannot protect a child from it. It is going to happen. Children notice things like that whether they say anything to you or not. They also tend to internalize a great deal no matter how idillic, open, and loving the relationship with their parents.
To give an example, my partner spent much of her childhood in Washington State during the time when Fishing and Gaming rights were in heavy dispute between ‘whites’ and Natives. When she was twelve, out one day with her parents, she saw bumper stickers beginning to crop up: Spear an Indian, save a fish. Around this same time she began to lose friends because their parents recognized her last name as Indian even if the children didn’t recognize her by appearance. They were ordered to stay away from her.
Those things are a small example of experiences. My point in detailing them, however brief, is to point out what they will possibly face. To those who are ‘white’ and actively seeking children of another race I would ask if you think you could really explain or understand what those experiences would make your child feel. The usual answers of it’s their issue, it’s not about you, people hate things that are different, etc only work for so long. When they age more detailed answers are desired. A greater understanding and moreover someone that does understand. I can tell you from our experiences, and that of cousins who are half black, when the white parent tried to explain or say they understood as we aged, we all rolled our eyes at least internally – amongst other things. Being empathetic, unfortunately, is not enough.
I saw mentioned that people would never question the decision to be with someone of another race if the discussion was about partners and spouses, that they do with children. That’s absolutely true. Neither would I. The difference being we’re not talking about adult consent. The two are incomparable to my mind. A couple of different races having a mixed child? No big deal. Why? Because at least there is one parent who is going to truly be able to relate and help them along.
As harsh as it sounds, and again without meaning to offend anyone, when the idea of having a child of another race to make a melting pot or because there are too many whites already really strikes me as the child becoming a social activism point. I’m sure that’s not how it is intended but try as I might I can’t shake that feeling.
I do believe that any person of any race can have a child with any other race but I believe when actively seeking that out that there are some serious implications and gaps to be considered. Bringing a child up in a healthy, loving, safe environment always counts the most. But what will happen to them outside of their homes cannot be discounted either. If you truly want to have a child that is of a race outside of that of both parents, I would strongly encourage anyone to seek out mentors and children of like backgrounds for them to be around.
Someone that really gets how they feel on the inside and understands what it means to be them, heritage and all, can make all the difference in the world. Case in point would be this board. Sure, most of us have straight friends we talk to too yet we still find our way to this board with other people that are going to understand all that is involved in queer parenting.