Cramblett in effect sued for ‘wrongful RACISM’; she did not receive the whiteness bargained for and so sued under terms suggesting she is due compensation for the fact—not that there IS racism—but that she now has to deal with it personally.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-09-05 00:20Z by Steven

[Jennifer] Cramblett in effect sued [in Cramblett v. Midwest Sperm Bank] for ‘wrongful racism’; she did not receive the whiteness bargained for and so sued under terms suggesting she is due compensation for the fact—not that there is racism—but that she now has to deal with it personally. One might question, for example, why the couple supposedly didn’t feel any qualms about raising a white child in a town that is “too racially intolerant.” ‘Wrongful birth’s’ transition into the realm of race significantly marks a recognition of the social, political, and environmental issues sustaining racism and its associated harms, but the problem here is the site of redress—the white mothers—rather than the environment lending credence to their case in the first place. Cramblett describes a personal loss that relies on structural analyses to articulate, all the while refusing to vilify those structures as problems in themselves.

Desiree Valentine, “Women in Philosophy: Cramblett, Race, Disability, and Liberatory Politics,” Blog of the APA, August 14, 2019.

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Women in Philosophy: Cramblett, Race, Disability, and Liberatory Politics

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Media Archive, Philosophy, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, Social Work, United States on 2019-09-04 02:43Z by Steven

Women in Philosophy: Cramblett, Race, Disability, and Liberatory Politics

Blog of the APA
The American Philosophical Association

Desiree Valentine, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

In October of 2014, news outlets began reporting on a case of a lesbian couple suing a sperm bank for receiving the wrong donor’s sperm. As the lawsuit Cramblett v. Midwest Sperm Bank alleged, not only did the couple receive the wrong donor’s sperm, but they had specifically chosen a white donor with blonde hair and blue eyes and the sperm they received had been from a black donor. Both women were white. The couple gave birth to a black/mixed-race child in 2012 and claimed that their daughter’s race posed particular challenges for their family, from facing prejudice in their nearly all-white community to difficulties dealing with their daughter’s hair. The couple sued for “wrongful birth” and “breach of warranty,” citing emotional and economic difficulties.

Clearly, there are legal issues at stake—the particular sperm bank was negligent in their handling of the transaction. But the claim of ‘wrongful birth’ brings up myriad sociopolitical and ethical concerns as well. Effectively, the plaintiff was alleging that her daughter’s blackness generated emotional suffering and economic burdens for Cramblett, and moreover, that she should be compensated for ‘damages’.

Unsurprisingly, many commentators reacted with outrage, disbelief, and dismay—outrage that a mother would sue on account of having a non-white, but healthy child, disbelief that this claim could even be legally articulable, and dismay at the fact that one day this child would learn that her mother implicitly claimed that she should have never been born because she was black/mixed race.

While obviously problematic (the case was thrown out by an Illinois Circuit Court Judge in 2015), the fact that this case was legally and thus on some level, socially and culturally intelligible, sets the stage for an array of philosophical interventions. For my purposes here, I’ll focus primarily on the problems and possibilities of various conceptualizations of race and disability that are illuminated by a politically-aware and historically-situated reading of Cramblett

Read the entire article here.

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Suit filed over mix-up at Downers Grove sperm bank is dismissed

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-09-07 01:21Z by Steven

Suit filed over mix-up at Downers Grove sperm bank is dismissed

The Chicago Tribune

Clifford Ward

A judge Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by an Ohio woman against a west suburban sperm bank whose clerical error resulted in the birth of her mixed-race daughter.

DuPage County Judge Ronald Sutter tossed the suit after lawyers for Midwest Sperm Bank argued that the woman’s claims lacked legal merit. But the judge said Jennifer Cramblett of Uniontown, Ohio, could refile her lawsuit under a negligence claim.

Cramblett, who did not attend Thursday’s hearing, filed suit last year against the Downers Grove-based sperm bank alleging wrongful birth and breach of warranty following the birth of her daughter, who is of African-American ancestry.

Cramblett and her same-sex partner purchased sperm with the understanding that it was from a Caucasian donor, but later discovered that the sperm bank had sent material from an African-American donor. The mistake was caused by a clerical error, and the bank later issued an apology and a partial refund…

Read the entire article here.

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Biological Determinism and Racial Essentialism

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-08-24 02:14Z by Steven

Biological Determinism and Racial Essentialism

The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Volume 661, Number 1, September 2015
pages 8-22
DOI: 10.1177/0002716215591476

W. Carson Byrd, Assistant Professor of Pan-African Studies
University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky

Matthew W. Hughey, Professor of Sociology
University of Connecticut

In August 2012, nine months after being artificially inseminated using a sperm donation from the Midwest Sperm Bank of Downers Grove, Illinois, a white Ohio woman named Jennifer Cramblett gave birth to a racially “mixed” and healthy baby girl named Payton. Despite the triumph, the woman soon filed a “wrongful birth” suit in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging that the sperm bank gave her sperm vials from an African American donor instead of a white donor, which in turn caused “personal injuries . . . pain, suffering, emotional distress and other economic and non-economic losses” (Circuit Court 2014, 8). The lawsuit states “that they now live each day with fears, anxieties and uncertainty about her future and Payton’s future” (Circuit Court 2014, 6).

The supposed racial mismatch between parent and child in Cramblett v. Midwest Sperm Bank reveals the presence of two powerful belief systems that haunt both the popular imagination and stalk the scientific landscape: the notions of “biological determinism” (that race is genetically inherited) and “racial essentialism” (that group-based biology maps to basic social behaviors). Together, biological determinism and racial essentialism form the “ideological double helix” that intertwines to shape beliefs about race and inequality and influence the theoretical approaches, analytic strategies, and interpretations taken by scholars conducting biomedical and social scientific research. The suit turns on the assumption that varied racial groups have bounded and characteristically unique arrangements of genetic material: as the complaint contends, “Their desire was to find a donor with genetic traits similar to both of them” (Circuit Court 2014, 2–3). Such devotion to racial essentialism motivates a belief that the two white parents in this case are more similar to each other (because of their shared “whiteness”) than they are to their child (because of an unknown “black” father), even though the…

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