Monday, July 14, 2008

Breeding Like Guppies

When I was an impressionable young college student, I took a class with a professor who was notoriously conservative, bordering on fascist. I kind of wanted the thrill of having my own belief systems challenged and I needed to take his class to satisfy my requirements for my major.

I don't actually remember what the class was even about, but I will never forget the day Professor I. was lecturing about his theory on poverty. I'm paraphrasing but he basically said poor people were poor because they were stupid and that the higher the economic class the smarter the population gets. He did not base his theories on race, but he did say that unfortunately poor Black people were the ones reproducing the most, thereby dumbing down the entire Black race. He then expanded that theory to most minority groups.

So my friend, who is Indian (from India) raised her very brown hand and asked the obvious question, 'So if we're smart and relatively well-off and of color, should we be breeding like rabbits to offset the dumbing down of the race?' And Professor I. looked at my friend and I and said, "No, you should be 'breeding like guppies' that's how serious the situation is. It is up to you intelligent colored people to have more children to save your race." He was totally serious. He had placed my entire self-worth on my ability to reproduce. Kind of like back in the slave days I thought!

Needless to say my friend and I protested loudly and called him all sorts of names to his face, but his words continue to haunt me. I don't believe his stupid people are poor theory, but for some reason his "breeding like guppies" theory left such a bad taste in my mouth that as the Spaniard and I contemplate going for SpaNegro #3 I feel all of this existential guilt like I might be following his directive. Of course I'm not, but on both sides of this argument, as a Black woman I feel somehow having that third child makes me a stereotype of some sort. Gosh the burden.

Peace & Good Health

2 comments:

glamah16 said...

The sterotype of a succesful blcak woman having it all! If Angelina can have 6, why not you?Havent you heard childbirth is fashionable now.;-) As for your professor, some people!You can be so smart you start acting dumb. Unfortunalety its not that some of thses kids are born dumb. They just may not have the right parents and teachers to nuture their curiostyand growth. Many people just give up .

Yvonne Jones said...

I hear you. I've purposely chosen not to have children for about four different reasons--one of the biggest being money, even now that I'm doing light years better in that area than I ever have. And even being a black woman who's chosen NOT to breed like a rabbit or a guppy disarms many folks of all races. Apparently many people agree with your professor, and aren't shy about bemoaning to my face how wrong it is that a 'good sister' like me is refusing to tilt the race’s gene pool in the right direction. Oh well, I can only be me! ;->