For the Children

“Everyone wants someone to take 100 white infants and 100 African American ones and raise them in Disney utopia and prove once and for all that we are all equal on every dimension, or at least the really important ones like intelligence. I am merely not 100% convinced that this is the case.”

This statement comes from a minor controversy that was brewing among law students (and perhaps others) about two weeks ago. As a law and sociology student, of course I saw all the flaws in the thinking, and crafted what I thought to be a perfectly rational response, aided by some other perfectly rational people, and we sent something to our law students that amounted to a big debunking of her incorrect thoughts on race, biology, and intelligence.

But when I was thinking about what I was going to write for my post here tonight, I really started thinking about the little excerpt above, and it made me feel something different than the outrage that I felt two weeks ago. I felt something different than indignant, or embarrassed that a fellow law student didn’t know how ignorant she sounded.

I feel sad.

I feel sad that there continues to be people out there that will look at my little boy and my little girl and really believe that just because his and her skin is a different color that that fact has anything to do with their intelligence. I feel sad that there are people who are so simple minded that they really believe that it would be “settled” if they could just take 100 white babies and 100 black babies and raise them on an island and then “test” to see if they are equal. I feel so sad that even with Barack Obama in the White House, a man we all know has a “white” mother yet we still call him “black,” meaning that we all do have some sense that race is socially determined, not biologically determined, we fail to apply that knowledge to our children, who deserve the benefit of that knowledge the most. I feel so sad that a woman like the one who wrote the little thought experiment above might be an important cog in the wheel of deciding the law in one of the most influential courts in this country.

It just reminds me that we have to keep fighting the good fight, wherever and whenever it comes our way. We do it for ourselves. We do it for our children.

4 thoughts on “For the Children

  1. I agree. I was stunned into silence on this one — as I am almost every time someone says or does something that is blatantly racist in my midst. I think you handle these things particularly well, while I have a tendency to retreat and ruminate internally. I just can’t wrap my mind around people with this type of mentality, and I wonder what good it does to engage it when it’s so deeply entrenched. Has she been adequately shamed? I really don’t know. Will there be repercussions? I certainly hope so. But for my part, I just have to prepare my children for their own inevitable encounters with ignorance. I want them to be able to withstand the shaking of their foundation in such instances and continue to have high self-esteem and the mentality that they can and will accomplish all that they endeavor to accomplish.


  2. Hi LaToya,
    I have the same question for you about this post: would it be okay to cross-post to Love Isn’t Enough (

    Thanks so much.


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