Listeners Sound Off On Moms Mistaken As Nannies

Tell Me More host Michel Martin and Producer Lee Hill, the program's digital media guy, comb through listener feedback and offer news updates to recent conversations heard on the program. Listeners offered their reactions to a recent parenting conversation with moms who have been mistaken as the nannies of their multiracial children. Also, hear what listeners to the program have to say following a Tell Me More producer's blog post about choosing to use a sperm donor to conceive her child.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And now it's time for Backtalk, where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the blogosphere and get a chance to hear from you, our TELL ME MORE listeners. Producer Lee Hill, our digital media guy, joins me here in the studio, as usual. Hey, Lee. What's up?

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Well, I think it's fair to say this week's parenting conversation made a lot of jaws drop, and it definitely inspired people to get online and share their feedback. Tuesday, we talked to a group of moms who share a unique experience. They were mistaken for the nannies of their multiracial or simply different-looking children. Here's a clip from that conversation with featured mom, Jamila Bey.

Ms. JAMILA BEY: I am African-American. That's incredibly obvious, especially if you're looking at my hair. My husband is a Caucasian. My son, he's got blond hair and grey-blue eyes. I was in an elevator one day. He was in a stroller, and a woman looked at him and said, oh, so beautiful, so beautiful. Are you looking for more work? And she said, oh well, you know, you're just so good with him. And when I realized what she was asking, it hurt.

HILL: And, as you might imagine in response to that conversation, we received quite a bit of feedback. Here's a note we received from listener Ingrid. She writes: I'm white, my husband is Ethiopian. Our three children are grown now, but when they were young, I was sometimes asked where I had gotten my children and complimented for having helped children in need.

MARTIN: Oh, me.

HILL: Wow.

MARTIN: But other listeners, like Michael, had a different message. He writes: Good God, people. Toughen up. It's a hard world, and getting questioned if you are a nanny for a baby of a different color than you is hardly anything to get worked up over. He goes on to write, I'm white. My wife is black. Our child is also black. I have been questioned and could care less about what people think. Thank you, Michael.

And continuing on the parenting theme, this week, we talked about the rising popularity of sperm donation as a means for forming a family. And we spoke with one child who was conceived through sperm donation, and she talked about how she feels that experience has affected her life.

Following that conversation, our producer Alicia Montgomery penned something for the TELL ME MORE blog about her decision to choose a sperm donor as a means of conceiving her child. Quite a few people also wrote to us about that.

Here's a post from commenter Kamila(ph). She writes: I'm 30 years old, and have not had much luck finding a loving husband. Yet I believe experiencing motherhood is my destiny. If I don't get married in the next five years, I intend to have a family without a father. As long as my children will grow up in a household of love with plenty of family and friends to support and mentor them, I know they will turn out fine. I grew up without a father, and I grew into an educated, productive member of society. Thanks, Kamila.

Lee, what else?

HILL: Last week on the program, we discussed the celebrity buzz surrounding the war crimes trial of former Liberian leader Charles Taylor. Now, the case involves his alleged trading of so-called blood diamonds, and it stirred quite a frenzy when supermodel Naomi Campbell testified about diamonds she received. We learned that Jeremy Radcliffe, head of former South African President Nelson Mandela's Children's Fund, confessed he's been in control of the diamonds since 1997. That's when Campbell gave them to him, she says, because she wanted them to go to charity.

Well, yesterday, Radcliffe resigned from his post and turned the gems over to South African police.

MARTIN: And, Lee, we also have more news about Shirley Sherrod. She's the former USDA official who was forced to resign last month after her comments about overcoming racial prejudice were used out of context during the firestorm in which she lost her job. She was initially blasted by some of the media, her superiors at the Obama administration and the NAACP.

Well, this week, Sherrod officially made peace with the civil rights organization. In an open letter, she wrote, quote, "That's behind us, and the last thing I want to see happen is for my situation to weaken support for the NAACP." Interesting.

HILL: Very interesting follow up(ph).

MARTIN: Thank you, Lee.

HILL: Thanks, Michel.

MARTIN: And remember, with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To weigh in with your own thoughts, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. Again, that's 202-842-3522. Please remember to leave your name. And you can also go to our Web site to read what other listeners are saying and to add your own comments. Log onto npr.org, click on Programs, then on TELL ME MORE and blog it out.

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