This weekend saw, in Seattle's social networks, the circulation of a Facebook post attributed to Egan Orion, a white man running against Kshama Sawant in a race that the present master of the universe, Amazon, has commanded, by the authority of its billions and billions, Orion be the winner. Why does Amazon hate Sawant? What has she done to offend Jeff Bezos, the richest man on earth? Anyway, that curious post, dated October 25, 2018, stated that Orion was seeking an egg donation from a woman who met this description: She had to be educated, small to medium build, and have Southern European white blood (Spanish, Italian, Latina). It was fine, claimed the Orion in the post, if she is "partially white or black or Asian or Native American or Middle Eastern." To grasp the essence of his racial concept, he added, "Think: United Colors of Benetton."
Obviously Orion was not targeting millennials. The Benetton ads were startling (even shocking to some) in the 1980s.
The Benetton campaign that turned the advertising world upside down back in the day is pretty banal stuff now. But it certainly left a lasting impression on the Orion in this Facebook post. The Orion running against Sawant is 48. But let's put this aside and consider one of the most visible and critical responses to the egg-hunting post.
Seattle city council candidate Egan Orion crowdsources embryos from “partial” WOC like a modern day slave owner attempting to force breed at a slave auction. pic.twitter.com/ZNk2KqxA9O
— Dae Kim #taxtherich (@daedaejr) October 19, 2019
It is impossible to separate race from racism in the United States, and the source of this conceptual impossibility is the fact that US capitalism has, as two of its significant foundations, the exploitation of labor stolen from black Africa and land stolen from indigenous people. And as there are numerous justifications for the existence of billionaires today, there were numerous justifications for the ownership of black bodies and the appropriation of land in the past. One of the most popular justifications, as it relates to land, and has its intellectual expression in John Locke's 1689 Second Treatise of Government, was that indigenous people (misnamed Indians) had no concept of private property, nor a sense of industry, and therefore land was not taken from them. How can you take property from a person who has no idea of property? Another popular justification—which resurfaced a few months ago as a call for the members of the Squad (four women of color) to return to Africa—maintained that it was better to be a black slave in the United States than a free black in Africa.
The point is, the moment a white American mentions race in any context relating to their society, it can't be dissociated from this deep and very present history of racism. I think this explains many of the strong reactions to Egan Orion's racial specifications for fertilization. One wants to know exactly what are "the reasons behind [his very specific] choices." What informed them? Why light skin? Why Mediterranean? What's wrong with dark skin? We do not live in a post-racial world.
And now something about eugenics. On July 31, the New York Times reported that the disgraced financier Jeffery Epstein, who died in a Manhattan prison cell on August 10, had very grand plans to run a sperm insemination ranch in New Mexico. In this vision, thousands of women were to come to the ranch and be seeded by him. The goal? Spread his DNA across the wide surface of "the human race.” Apparently, a considerable segment of the upper classes didn't consider this vision bizarre.
Cut put it this way:
Despite how deranged that sounds, in the world of “transhumanists” — a group of mostly rich and powerful men obsessed with extending and improving human life through genetic science and technology — it apparently didn’t register as a red flag. The allure of Epstein’s financial backing meant that people routinely listened to him talk about batshit ideas while drinking Dom Pérignon on a submarine.
Why bring this up here? I want to point out that notions of genetic greatness or beauty are not innocent or external to the culture in which they arise. What kind of women did Epstein want to inseminate at this nightmare ranch? Black women? Native American women? Mediterranean women? Mixed women? Knowing these details would tell us a lot about the source of his masterplan. Also, why did he think his genes would improve the whole of humankind? And here I'm considering Epstein as a white man raised in a society that cannot separate race from racism.
Lastly, there is also this old and undying idea that the rich are rich because there is something somehow special about them (this is Epstein in a sorry nutshell). They have the right stuff. To remove them (their seed) from society would weaken the race and the culture, and even harm advancement in the sciences and, most important of all, the good life for all humans. Billionaires will always find ways to justify themselves.
Zuckerberg responds to Bernie Sanders' call to abolish billionaires by saying it would harm much needed funding of scientific research and philanthropy. (You know, 90% of which is needed to undo the damage of billionaires.)
— rafael (@rafaelshimunov) October 20, 2019
I asked Egan Orion for a response about this Facebook donor egg post at 9:30 this morning (October 21, 2019), but have yet to receive an answer. I will update this post if I do. However, Dae Shik Kim—the director of development at Cut, who tweeted a screenshot of the original post—told me that the post is real and has since been taken down from Facebook.