It Don’t Matter If You’re Black Or White, according to that old Michael Jackson song (although he’s not the best protagonist of what he preaches).
But The Sun this week has put racist spin on the story of a white couple who had “dark” children after their IVF donor turned out to be an Asian man after a hospital mix-up. “Our life with IVF twins born the wrong colour,” the headline went.
One of the children told his parents: “I want to be pink like you, Daddy.” What’s the equation here? Pink equals good, anything darker equals “torment”, the Sun story implies. While IVF blunders are nothing to be celebrated, the whole story carries the message that “pink” or white children are acceptable, while “dark” children are just plain “wrong.”
The headlines put a distinctively unpalatable slant on the story. “Coping well…mixed-race children” reads one caption – it’s patronising and implies it’s something of a surprise that children of mixed race can actually function properly in this world. (Small wonder that they do, with stories like this).
Today’s headline on the two-day saga reads: “Taking twins out was a nightmare…passers-by said ‘aren’t they dark’”. What are these children going to think when they are old enough to understand these reports? The Sun has managed to turn this sensitive and difficult story into a freak show.