chapter  1
Deciphering Whiteness
Pages 46

In June of 1995, the New York Times reported the “anguish” of a Dutch couple who had to confront the fact that one of their twin boys, conceived through in vitro fertilization, was “black.” The University Hospital at Utrecht, which was responsible for inflicting this “anguish,” called it a “deeply regrettable mistake”; they surmised that a technician had used a none-too-clean pipette in performing the procedure. The parents at first denied that “something about Koen was different.” Unlike his twin brother Teun, Koen got darker as the weeks went by, which induced the parents to visit a gynecologist and then to undergo a DNA test. The test results confirmed that Koen’s father was a “black man” from Aruba. For the parents, the news apparently was “devastating.” According to the New York Times:

They started sessions with a psychotherapist to deal with what the father called their “bewilderment and pain,” and the questions that kept spinning around in their heads. How would they tell their son that he was not meant to exist, that he was born because of a technical error? Would they treat the children differently? The parents say they worry about discrimination

and that Koen will have fewer chances than his brother. “Let’s be honest, dark people have less opportunity to get a decent job in our society,” the father told Het Parool [the Amsterdam newspaper]. “They have less chance to borrow at a bank.”