Document Type

Article

Comments

" The Burton H. Brody Prize" and "The Margaret Gruter Prize."

Abstract

This Note considers the moral status of practices that facilitate parental selection of sperm donors according to race. Arguments about intentions and consequences cannot convincingly explain the race-conscious design of donor catalogs. This prompts us to examine the expressive dimension of wrongful discrimination. Even practices marked by innocent motives and benign effects can give reason for pause when they needlessly entrench divisive assumptions about how people of a particular race think or act. Race-based differentiation in voting ballots, dating websites, and donor catalogs helps us to tease out the subtle normative tensions that racial preferences occasion in the contexts of citizenship, romance, and reproduction. These reflections suggest that racially salient forms of donor disclosure are pernicious social practices, which, while operating beyond the reach of the law, ought to be condemned as bad policy. The Note concludes by developing reproductive choice-structuring mechanisms that aim to balance respect for intimacy, autonomy, and expressions of racial identity with responsibility to work against conditions that divide us.

Date of Authorship for this Version

Spring 2009

Keywords

Constitutional Law

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