Monday, November 1, 2010

Black Sixtuplets Don't Warrant Help

Raising one child to maturity can be extremely difficult and therefore, having six at once must create a Herculean task. Times have not changed much since the Dionne Quintuplets were born in May, 1934. Multiple births largely mean money as in the case of Gosselins or exposure as in the case of the Sulemans.  Society is very interested in the daily activities of these families and the children quickly become highly marketable. Kate Gosselin has gotten much fallout for exploiting her children, but the reality is that raising eight children is extremely expensive.

Rozonno and Mia McGhee became parents of sixtuplets in June.  They have a fund set up at Chase Manhattan bank to help with expenses, that was empty as of the beginning of August. Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee sent six Buckeyes onesies, and the Columbus City Council gave the McGhee's a certificate honoring the city's first set of sextuplets. That was the extent of the help that this young family had received until an article was written about them by the Atlanta Examiner.  This, when TLC currently has  2 shows featuring multiple families and one show that includes 19 children.  Diaper companies routinely supply multiple families with free diapers and various other companies that market to infants and children, normally approach with product endorsement deals and various free samples. What makes this family so unattractive that they have gotten little media attention and no help from the community?  What makes them a marketing failure?


The McGhee's are Black.  Is it still surprising that society is not reaching out to help this family, which is clearly in need?  Black children are not valued, unless they are part of a celebrity adoption. Unless they are part of a story that involves a White person acting as Savior Black children are invisible -- yep, think The Blindside.

Some will read their story and suggest that because the McGhees used fertility treatment that they are responsible for financially providing for their children.  Others firmly believe that any kind of social aid is an affront because they have lost a sense of communal responsibility.  The truth is, we are far more sympathetic when White people are experiencing financial hardships than we are when POC are struggling.  We have proven time and time again that despite a social discourse of caring for children because they are defenseless, that only certain children matter.

In a follow up story by the Columbus Dispatch, it was revealed that the community had finally stepped in to offer aid to the struggling family. I cannot help but wonder what will happen to this family when their names fade from the media.  Reality television has not been very kind to people of colour and when it comes to promoting the family niche, that has squarely become the territory of Whiteness, the Gosselins not withstanding. Black mother are seen as irresponsible breeders