Biology Makes Babies, Not Parents.
|My daddy and I circa 1986|
One of the things that has been a connecting point for me and my dad has always been a shared love for all things Michael Jackson. There were a lot of things my dad had in common with Michael Jackson that led to his intense fandom. They were both the youngest boys of large families, until Randy and Janet came along for Mike, and my aunt Precious stole the show from my dad. They both were “mama’s boys”. As a young boy growing up in Chicago, my dad related to the young boy who was growing up twenty minutes away in Gary. He too spoke of ways in which he felt felt stifled in his childhood, as Michael did.
So needless to say, there was a ridiculous amount of MJ in my house.
It is how we bonded. Moonwalker over pizza. Liberian girl on the roadtrip. Bad before dinner. Thriller on Halloween evening. He bought the gold VHS tape of Motown 25 just to watch Michael moonwalk.
|Paris Jackson and her Daddy|
So a year ago, it was hard for me to have to call my daddy and break the news to him about Michael’s passing. My father, a grown man of 51, had to get off the phone to go and grieve.
Hearing about the events of last year broke his heart because he saw Michael Jackson as a man he had things in common with. Despite accusations and eccentricities, my dad saw him as a man.
And as I let him grieve, I realized that there was something else he and Mike had in common, they both had daughters who loved them.
There is no need for me to go into the great amount of media ridiculousness that has surrounded Michael Jackson throughout the later years of his life. I actually turn away from most of it anyway, because I’m my father’s child and I disagree strongly with a lot of the ways people regarded him. But in the interest of this blog, I felt it extremely necessary to include him in the discussion of African American Celebrities and Infertility.
It seemed as though the minute Prince, Paris and Blanket were no longer shielded by their father’s media force-field, everyone began to hone in on their physical and genetic differences. This led to a great number of “Them ain’t Michael’s kids”, comments. Now, I’m not gonna lie, in a lot of households, that statement had been dealt out over quite a few hands of spades ever since Prince was born. They increased, however, once the world could get a long, uninterrupted look at all of the kids without masks or Michael to protect them. And then the scrutiny floodgates flew wide open.
Why would you WANT to rock his children’s world, jerks?
TMZ even went so far as to post links to the children’s birth certificates. Are you KIDDING ME, TMZ?
(Havey Levin…expect an angry scowl from me the next time I watch People’s Court.)
This is where I started to get angry. Not so much because of Michael, but because of the flagrant disrespectful attitude taken towards parents that use donor eggs, sperm, or surrogacy.
The way that the media dealt with this situation should be ringing in the ears of:
- the single man who wishes to be a dad, and is considering a surrogate
- the Caucasian mom who is in the process of adopting a brown baby.
- the African American family who is in the process of adopting a Caucasian baby
- the adopted child who wishes for their privacy!
The fact that he is Michael Jackson should not in any way be used as an excuse to diminish the fact that he was the FATHER of his children. Being an adoptive parent or the parent of a child who was conceived through ART is not a scandal. Neither is trans-racial adoption. I truly believe that if people were not so unnerved by his physical appearance, or the accusations that sent him to trial, there would have been no need to speculate on how he came to have children. And it is important to note that regardless of those things, I have heard NO negative parenting remarks from his staff, his family or, dare I say it, his children themselves. As we all saw, through her tearful farewell, Paris Jackson regarded her father as just that, HER FATHER.
The world is a truly sad place sometimes. There is very little respect or attention given to the man who wishes for children. Because of how society has become, we immediately assume the worst of any man who desires fatherhood or pursues single parenting. We believe he must be “up to something”. Right, because no man really wants to be a father, right? No wonder many men refuse to discuss infertility and resist reproductive technology options.
Also, while I’m on the topic, I hate to go “there”, but I must also put out that I live in Chicago. The rumors and speculations about a certain R&B singer here have been like urban legends since I was in grammar school, yet nobody asks how HIS daughters are doing with him in the home. Nobody wonders if he is a “suitable” parent because of how he ended up on trial. And this fool DRESSES in a cape and bandit mask and calls HIMSELF the Pied Piper…you do remember the story of the musician who stole ALL the children from a town and they were “never to be seen or heard from again”…
He’s a more appropriate parent because he’s their biological father?
Biology makes babies, but it doesn’t make parents.
Today marks the one year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death. Outrageous media aside, I am sure that somewhere, his CHILDREN miss their FATHER. My heart goes out to them. And if you have any wish for society’s impression of reproductive health options improving, your mind should be on them as well. There is no excuse for the attempt to discredit the parenthood of a man who wished to be a father through surrogacy and sperm donation. An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, and if they will slander this man’s route to parenthood, we all should be aware of the repercussions for ALL couples looking into family building options.
However the tormented soul, I do wish Michael Jackson a peaceful rest. Spirit and temperament-wise, there are parts of him that I do see in those children, biological or not, and the love he apparently showed them is MORE than evident. I wish them well.
Can’t wait to call my daddy today, just to tell him I love him and maybe listen to something off the Dangerous album.
Here’s my favorite Michael Jackson song…and oh, so appropriate for the Egg.
Regina Townsend is the primary author and founder of TheBrokenBrownEgg. A librarian and writer, Regina’s mission is to make people aware and active about the unique concerns of reproductive health in the minority community.