Reproducing Race in an Era of Reckoning

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What place should racial preferences have in the families that people make? Prospective parents might have all sorts of reasons for caring about race in their search of a romantic partner, or a sperm or egg donor, or a child to foster or adopt. Maybe they hope to shore up whatever emotional ties they ascribe to racialized forms of resemblance, or to entrench cultural privilege or preserve marginalized communities. An emerging school of bioethics and legal scholars condemn the role of race in fertility markets for expressing and promoting the logic of racial purity. I agree (and have myself long argued ) that we should resist practices which send the divisive message that families should be separated along racial lines. But opposition to racial matching errs when it singles out those who form families in alternative ways, as if their parental dreams are uniquely consumed by race, when in fact they think about and act on race pretty much the same, morally speaking, as parents whose kids come from one-night stands, online dating, foster care, or adoption. To selectively criticize the single, same-sex, and infertile people who turn to assisted reproduction or otherwise is to demean their families and to perpetuate their exclusion from these critical forms of intimacy.

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105 Minnesota Law Review Headnotes 233 (2021)