Suicide, A Public Manifestation of Death

•June 6, 2018 • 2 Comments

Kate Spade was one of the savviest business women of our time.  She broke barriers and paved the way for women everywhere.  She was an icon.  She was worth millions, and yet, even with all of the fame, fortune and notoriety, she still found no reason to live.  As outsiders looking into the life of Kate Spade, you would think she was living her best life. I mean, what more could a woman of her stature want or need?  Kate Spade’s suicide is yet another example of how money cannot buy happiness and how mental illness does not discriminate. Her public manifestation of death is another reminder on how looks can be deceiving.kate spade

It’s funny you know. Many of us would kill to get to the level of a Kate Spade.  We go through life as gunners, doing everything that we can to make sure that we get on top.  However, with the slew of celebrity suicides, it is safe to say that it gets lonely at the top. There is a level of self-sacrifice that one must give in order to reach such high peaks of greatness, and sometimes that sacrifice is one’s own mental health.  I’ve said this before in past posts and I will say it again.  The pressures in these streets are real.  Mental illness knows no socioeconomic class, it does not discriminate.  Most of us are one crisis away from wanting to kill ourselves and we may not even know it.

I truly believe that women have it the worse.  Our pressures are unparalleled.  And now, thanks to social media, I would say our levels of anxiety have been exacerbated.  I am always saddened to hear when someone takes their life. Suicide is a public manifestation of death.  People who commit suicide are dead long before they actually take their lives.  Kate Spade was dead long before she hung herself.  Without knowing her personally, I can say that she was dead inside.  She was empty.  Despite having a husband and child, she was lonely.  Despite having fame and fortune, she may have felt like she wasn’t enough.  How can I make such speculations? Well, I have been there.  I believe many of us have, whether we want to admit it or not. I believe that you all have had these thoughts.  I can honestly say that if it were not for my Christian beliefs, my faith in God, I could have easily taken my life a long time ago.

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As I sit back and read all of the articles relating to Kate Spade’s suicide and see all of the meme’s with sayings like “check on your strong sister”, “check on your strong friend”, “suicide is not the answer”.  It makes me wonder how serious we are we about helping our fellow man.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that we are acknowledging that we need to do better, but will we truly do better?  When the news of Kate Spade’s death fades away from page six 6, will you still be compelled to check on that “strong friend”?  Will you still be concerned?  Will it even be a thing?  Or was this all for the “gram”?

In no way am I throwing shade to those who are posting these meme’s.  But you cannot argue that we are a “bandwagon” society.  People are fake concerned on social media. Meanwhile, in real life, some of these people couldn’t care less, they take no position on any social issues, and in fact, they aren’t even aware of the state of their own society.  But for the “gram”, these people are savants; they are cultural relativists, universalists, they are community activists etc. But suicide is serious.  Mental health awareness is critical.  I am genuinely concerned about society and the things that motivate and captivate us.  The band wagons are strong. But in order to truly to better we need to move away from this mentality and start being “day ones”.

For those of you who may be reading this and wondering to yourself “is she OK?” This post is not a secret cry for help.  But it is friendly reminder that things are not always how they appear.  We all need help.  But we need to stop talking about how we all need help and actually get help. We need to be more open and honest with each other. There is nothing wrong with getting help and there is nothing wrong with telling people that you are getting help. Your story may be just what someone else needs to get their life together. Your story may just save a life.

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Suicide is not the way out. But to someone who is suffering from depression, it is the ONLY way out.  It is the only way out of a world that makes them feel low, despite their highs.  It is the only way out of a world that makes them feel worthless, despite having immense wealth. You all just do not understand what can go on in one’s mind.  The thoughts, the emptiness that is felt deep in one’s soul… My skin crawls as I write this because I know.  We need to do better. We are each other’s keeper. It is not easy trust me, because I find people to be rather strange (joking not joking). However, we have to do it or else, we are going to keep losing amazing people.

 

Don’t Let History Make You a Slave

•May 17, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Recently Kanye aka Yeezy went on yet another rant. This time stating that slavery was a choice. Obviously he’s disturbed and I’ll leave it at that. Clearly slavery was NOT a choice, but you you know what is a choice?  Friendships. The people you choose to be in your inner circle.  Your squad, your tribe. These individuals have your back even when you disregard their sound advice. Your goonies will ride or die for you (This is figuratively speaking. No one is taking a whole bullet for anyone).

This is what TRUE friendship is suppose to look like. However, for some reason there has been a surge in “frenemies” and “Petty Betties” and it seems as if true friendship is becoming more of a fairytale.   Urban dictionary defines frenemy as the type of “friend” whose words or actions bring you down.(whether you realize it as intentional or not) The type of friend you ought to cut off but don’t cuz…they’re nice… good …you’ve had good times with them. U know…they’re good people that you can count on to bring you down again sometime in the near future.   https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=frenemy

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 We all have had frenemies in our lives at some point. Some of you may be dealing them as we speak. Some how, we have convinced ourselves that our history with these “individuals” trump our sanity and that it is ok to keep toxic people around. This is a bold face lie. A myth if you will. Who ever is out here giving this advice should be sanctioned. I am a firm believe that there is a time and place for everything and this includes relationships. An individual who presented themselves as a friend 10 years ago can now be a devil in your life today. People change. Relationships change.  What we fail to understand is that not everyone is meant to stay in your life forever. Some of these so called friends should have never been in your live to begin with. (but I will reserve this topic for another blog post)

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Being around toxic people serves no purpose but to destroy you, your self-esteem and your confidence. We go through enough as it is with our jobs and family. Why choose to be unhappy? As I have gotten older, I am very very careful as to whom I bestow the title of friend. Friendship is serious. If your so called friend is constantly putting you down, that’s is not a friend, that is a hater. If your so called friend is only happy for you when their life is on a positive track, this is CERTAINLY not a friend. This person needs to be cancelled. Throw the whole “friendship” away!

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When it comes to friendships, you have a choice. You can choose to disengage. You can choose to have healthy relationships.  Don’t let history make you a slave to anyone. Because at the end of the day, it is your feelings that will be hurt, not theirs. Stop complicating your life with toxic people. Take a stand and choose you!

 

*Gifs taken from google images

The Art of No

•April 5, 2018 • Leave a Comment

It’s funny how children love to say “no”. After mama and dada, this is more than likely a child’s next word.    Kids say no to everything! Water, food, sleep, you name it.  They say no just for the hell of it. No hesitation, no concentration, it just comes out so easy.  Interesting how things change the older we get.  As an adult I find it harder and harder to say no. In fact, at times the thought of saying no gives me knots in my stomach.

I don’t know about you, but for me, I feel like I go through all sorts of mental gymnastics and analysis when making BASIC decisions. I’m taking all sorts of shit into consideration.  My being a lawyer may have something to do with this. Weighing pros and cons, fact checking, assessing situations before giving a definite answer…  It is the risk averse side of me I presume.   I find this practice very useful in my professional life; however my personal life… that’s another story.

Often I wonder where it all went wrong.  When did the disconnect happen?  Maybe it is because I started out late in the dating game and therefore I did not obtain the requisite backbone needed to enter and exit stage left as swiftly as my counter parts that started dating in middle school. My first and only boyfriend was in college. I didn’t get to acquire crazy college stories and I didn’t get to experience the life of thotdom… (In no way am I promoting this lifestyle or implying that college wasn’t great because I didn’t get to be a hoe. I’m just saying college is where stars are born).  But I digress…  Was there a reason for my scarce and non-active dating life? Well possibly.  Many would say that I was and still am “picky”. I use quotes because this is debatable.  I believe that I have been a serious equal opportunity dater (therefore NOT picky). I have dated people who I had no business even saying hello to.   Sadly enough, this is still the case today.  But I will say in my defense, the quality of the trash has improved exponentially. I mean trash is trash at the end of the day, but it is getting harder and harder to identify the garbage.  The point is I do give chances.  It’s just I give chances to the wrong people.

Over the last few years (or weeks if we are really going there), I have encountered textbook sociopaths and just plain crazy Negros. I am not one of those people who use the word “crazy” loosely. When I use that word, it’s legit. And over time those of you who have followed me and thought that I had to be buggin with these stories, came to realize that I ain’t never tell a lie.

Growing up, I was never really interested in dating.  I was more interested in graduating, volunteering and staying under the radar. I was raised by a Haitian who loved to lecture.  To avoid these lectures, I did what I was told. The last thing I needed was the threat of being sent to Haiti.

Perhaps my behavior stems from the fact that I was pegged as the “picky one and therefore I made a conscious effort not to be. Maybe that is why I became an equal opportunity dater.  Based on my track record it’s as if I threw my standards out of the door.  No degree? Sure you seem descent. Oh you are unattractive?  You have a good job and accolades, sure why not. I felt like I had nothing to lose. Why not see where this goes with the gremlin looking man. Unfortunately my Jiminy cricket was defective. Instead of saying   to me “hey, what the hell do you think you are doing? This dude is one tree short of the forest” Jiminy was telling me “hey… remember beauty and the beast?” The fact of the matter is that this life is not a fairytale where men look like gremlins and then transform in to Boris Kodjos… you get what you get.

This is where the art of “no” comes in. I’ve spent so much time saying yes just for the hell of it, convincing myself that it’s not always about attraction. Listening to relatives that tell you things like “he’s not cute, but you’re over 30, so your options are limited. Asking questions like “does he work?  Can he pay bills? What’s the problem, go on the date and marry his ass”.  Then receiving advice from friends who have seen the shit shows, one after the other and then they too make comments like ” well he has a job”… After a while you start to just give in and say what the hell, I may as well go out with this one.  I’m not repulsed. The irony of all of this is that I actually am not pressed. I did not grow up wanting to be married.  Men were always painted as being shit. Interesting how we let society convince us to go after things we are not in a rush to obtain.

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By saying yes to everything, we are selling ourselves short. We are settling for basic. What I have realized from my experiences is that if I have to make excuses or rationalize the individual, then that individual is not for me. The other thing that I found extremely helpful is prayer. I pray about each and every situation and ask God to make it clear and to do what he must to protect my heart, my mind and my soul. Dealing with trash will suck the life out of you. It will cause you to second guess yourself, it will also make you do things you otherwise would never do. Hindsight is 20/20 and it is easier to make these assessments and judgments after the fact. But imagine if you were just able to say no in the first place? Is he’s acting lame? Say no to lame ducks. The sex is bad? No need to give him another opportunity to correct the job.  First impressions are everything. When you report to a job interview and you mess up, do they grant you a redo?  Can I get “hell no” for 2oo Alex.

The struggle is real in these streets, and the societal pressures are even realer. However, settling is not an option. It shouldn’t be at least.  If we truly understood our worth, we would not be out here dating randoms. (A random can also be someone who you have known for a while but ain’t shit). The game has changed so much. Being the” nice guy (or girl)” is the new game. So it’s getting harder, and more and more people are getting duped. Don’t beat yourself up if this has happened to you. I mean shit, it has happened to me and I am very intelligent and my spidey senses are on fleek (yes I said fleek). It’s part of the game and if you want to win, then you have to play right? The point of all this is to say that when things are new, we feel the need to be extra flexible and compromising. It’s ok to not settle. It’s ok to say no from the get go. It will save you time and energy and those are two things you can never get back. Trust me. Just say no, your heart, mind and soul will thank you.

 

FREEdom…

•July 19, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I am Black. I am female. I am a single mother. I am Haitian-American. These labels make me beautiful. Each and everyone of them make me the woman that I am today. Such a powerful mix… and yet each one of these labels contribute to my feelings of bondage. Have you ever felt caged? Like you don’t have control over your own path or destiny? That feeling of restriction, I know it too well. I spent most of my life fighting all sorts of stereotypes and overcoming all sorts of obstacles. I learned how to fight for what I wanted and needed. I thought I was fighting the good fight. One that was leading me to freedom. I thought I was winning. But in reality, I had been fighting for was this perceived sense of freedom.  I was not fighting the good fight, I was fighting the wrong fight. I was fighting for the wrong cause, I was fighting the wrong opponent… My opponent was not society, my true opponent was me….

The internal struggles of worthiness, self acceptance, shame, guilt…. I should have been dealing with these issues, confronting them head on, staring them in the face.  Instead, I let them consume me. We became one. As time went on it became harder and harder to live without them. They secretly defined me. I say secretly because unless you were a soothsayer or a prophet, you would have never been able to see them living inside of me. You would have never been able to see them peering in the back of my eyes.

Freedom. To be free, to be liberated, to live with no fear, to live a life with no restrictions, no encumbrances… What would you give to truly be free? The concept of freedom surpasses all things physical. It is a mental state. When you take a look at your life do you consider yourself to be free? Are you free from conventional thinking, conventional living? Are you living your life in the way you envisioned it? Or are you living someone else’s life? Are you fulfilled? Are you satisfied? Are you feeing empty? And if so, do you feel pressured to fill the void?

I am not free. Correction, I am becoming free. Each day poses its own challenges but each day has promise. I was living in the dark and I knew it. I accepted it. But then God brought a positive influence in my life that changed me. I was challenged to be the best person that I could be, but that meant facing my issues and saying to them, you do not define me! It meant going back to my past and uncovering what I had buried alive. I didn’t know how this self incarceration was affecting my personal growth. I was at a point where I became stagnant, but had no clue why.  I was a professional woman, who seemingly had my life together. I went to church, I was God fearing. Why was I stuck?

It all became clear when my dear friend called it out. His words to me were “you are stuck because you are not free”.  I didn’t understand him at first and quite frankly, my thought was you don’t really know me anyways. But he did and he was speaking the truth.  I realized that I had not been truly living. I thought that I could bury my past, bury my issues and move forward in living a happy and meaningful life.  But the reality is that nothing can be buried alive. If you do not deal with your issues, they will spill out and make their appearances whether you like it or not. It may not be today, but at some point they will.

Sometimes your fight is not with the world, but with yourself. You need to wrestle with your demons in order to be truly liberated. When you are truly free, people’s opinions and these social constructs will not matter so much. You will be able to define yourself and choose your own destiny, your own path. I am learning to dare greatly each and every day and it feels great. Sure there are days where I regress and fall back to my old ways of thinking and feeling, but then I think about my goals, my future and my potential and I recalibrate. I reach out to my support systems and reaffirm myself. Life is full of twists and turns, disappointments, heartaches but as as long as you believe in yourself and have an idea of where you are going, you will be ok. I know it sounds easier said then done. But what do you really have to lose?

I have made a lot of mistakes in my life but I have learned that it is not about what you have done, but instead, it is about where you are going. I encourage you all to work on YOU. Fight with YOU. Fight for YOUR freedom and be the best version of YOU that YOU can be. This is one fight worth fighting for and I promise you it will all be worth it in the end.

Suicide… you don’t have to be crazy to contemplate it….

•May 24, 2017 • Leave a Comment

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Life…. it’s funny.  You can be staring someone right in the eye and have no idea the pain they live with every day.  We will never say that we are hurting.  We will never tell.  We are too busy making sure the world is a better place while suffering in silence.  We are awesome.  Everyone loves us.  We are so giving…  “How could a person like that take their own life?”  Recently we lost a legal eagle.  A powerhouse in the legal community.  A woman of distinction.  A trailblazer.  The reports say that she committed suicide.  Others have differing opinions, but after an investigation, the results remained the same… Suicide.

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Suicide… it’s a taboo topic in our society, especially in the Black community.  No one ever wants to talk about it and no one ever wants to acknowledge when it happens.  I remember reading comments about the late jurist in a facebook post.  “She was so skilled and loved she would never do such a thing”.  No one that great would ever take their own life.  That would be crazy! Or is it?… 

Life is tough. It is hard, and every day presents another challenge.  Some days are better than others.  I personally think that there is a point where everyone wonders what this life would look like if they were no longer living. I know I have… 

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I grew up in a high pressured environment.  I was the product of a Haitian immigrant, single family home.  Religion dictated my life, I was not allowed to have real friends and I lived with my younger sibling  who I hated.  (I know hate is a strong word, but you know how sibling rivalries go.  Don’t worry, I like him now).  In my opinion I had no one, and I often felt alone.  As I got older, that feeling of loneliness never left me.  I  learned early on how to maneuver in society, my reality undetected.  The irony of it all is that some call me popular, which in actuality I may be.  I am a people person.  However, I am the most anti social social person you will ever meet.  

Sometimes I get to the point where I am so frustrated.  I feel so taken advantage of because I give, give and give and rarely ever take.  I rarely ever accept and I am rarely ever offered.  People expect me to perform at any given time with out ever wondering if I can actually do the job or what toll it may take on me.  Maybe it is because I often go out of my way to make myself competent so that I can meet the expectations.  

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A lot of high powered/ high functioning people commit suicide, and every time we lose one, the world goes in shock and disbelief.  They insist that there was foul play and compel law enforcement to launch an investigation to find the “killer”.  But the only killer is the deceased….  “He or she was so wonderful, so  loved so perfect”.  Well that’s just it.  Perfection comes with a price.  Being high powered comes with a price and often that price is one’s sanity.  There are days where I want to just drop everything and run because I am tired of being everything for everyone.  I am tired of having all of the answers and I am tired of being tired.  “Take a break or stop it you say?”… it is not that easy.  It is not easy to stop being “that” person.  No one voluntarily jumps off of a pedestal.  There is a mentality behind it.  You can’t just shut it off.  Instead, you run yourself ramped until it is too late.  Until you get sick, or until you say that enough is enough and conclude  that it is better to remove yourself rather than to disappoint by not meeting the expectations….  It gets too much.  It really does. 

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I have been a Christian all of my life.  I believe in heaven and hell.  But if I wasn’t so afraid of the after life, I would have probably taken my life a long time ago.  It is not to sound morbid, but it is true.  Pressure is a real thing and until you have been under it, you will never understand the effects it has on one’s psyche.  It doesn’t mean that you are crazy.  Sometimes it’s a rational choice to say I am done, that it’s time to bow out and let the world figure out how to function without you.  

Why am I saying all of this? Well to put everyone at ease, I have no intentions of committing suicide.  But I say all this to wake your asses up.  It is time that you all stop being naïve about mental health.  Suicide is not a dirty word, it is a reality.  It is time to stop with the stereotypes and the judgements.  Suicide is not a crazy person’s dilemma.  It is real and it affects EVERYONE.   Doctors, lawyers, actors, humanitarians we are all human and we go through hard times.  We have little children committing suicide everyday.  In the past two weeks at least two little black kids have committed suicide.  But because of the negative stigma surrounding mental health, we as a society, have made it taboo to seek professional help.  In fact, we often hear that “black people don’t need therapy, they need Jesus,” or a good whooping.” I am all for Jesus and the whooping, but there are therapists for a reason, just like there are doctors and lawyers. 

When we look at the results of society’s wonderful teachings, judgments and shaming, what are we left with?   DEAD children and DEAD loved ones.  We all need  to take a step back and observe the people in our  lives.  Stop with the pressure and the crazy expectations and just observe…  You can tell a lot about a person through observation alone.  Watch and listen, you do not have to speak.  

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  If there is one thing you take from this post it should be this, take the time to appreciate the people in your life and the things that they do for you PROBONO.  The energy that they invest in you, the time that that they sacrifice to make sure that you are ok, when they clearly are hanging by a thread.  Too many great people are opting out of life.  Make sure that your loved one is not next. 

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This message is brought to you by the friends of Tata campaign against B.S.

*Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way*

Fuck Boy

•March 31, 2016 • 6 Comments

Fuck Boy… “A person who is a weak ass pussy that ain’t bout shit.” Urban Dictionary December 29, 2004, http://www.urbandictionary.com. The first time I heard the term fuck boy was summer of 2015. I was having a conversation with one of my younger cousins (who shall remain nameless), and she was talking about this guy who she seemingly didn’t care too much about but was entertaining nonetheless. As she continued her description of this guy she wrapped up the conversation with “but he’s a fuck boy”. I asked her what the hell is a fuck boy? And she responded, a nigga who ain’t about shit, who just plays around with women, you know a fuck boy.

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Over the past few years I have had several unique dating experiences (I may have understated that). I have provided my friends with a lifetime of entertainment and quite frankly I maybe able to write a best seller one day… As interesting as these situations have been, I never thought that at the tender age of 32 I would encounter my first and may I claim in Jesus name, my last fuck boy. If you were to ask me what a fuck boy was prior to reading urban dictionary, I would tell you that they usually tend to be young boys who have nothing going for themselves. I would have told you that these boys take pleasure in getting with women for the sole purpose of jerking them around. I am here to tell you that fuck boys come in all shapes and sizes, from all age groups, creeds, you name it. My great great grandfather use to warn me about “vacabon abiye” which translated, simply means a vagabond in gentlemen’s clothing or in street terms an ain’t shit nigga in a real man’s clothing.

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I have tried my best to heed his warnings (epic fail). But it is real in these streets.  There is a generation of fuck boys rising up. Their training is impeccable. Their recruiters/mentors are putting in over time. They are going hard in the paint. No woman is safe.

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The question you all may be asking yourselves is how did I encounter a fuck boy? Well, I did what most professional women do, I lowered my standards.

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How you may ask? Well it’s simple. Have you ever seen a doctor get with a janitor? I haven’t seen such a thing in my lifetime. Granted if the doctor just wants to have fun, then yes, maybe the janitor thing is not so far fetched. But to become serious and build a life? ? Nah B… Where did I even find a fuck boy? Well my friends as I stated earlier they come in all shapes and sizes, from all age groups and they may even be hiding in your workplace.

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I have always prided myself on not being a classist. I often tell people that I am an equal opportunity dater and quite frankly my track record would reflect that pro affirmative action. I have never really dated a true professional of equal rank and education. But I guess that is the naiveté right? Thinking that ones heart and seemingly good acts transcend all barriers and social constructs. That being able to have an intellectual conversation regarding the state of the union can be replaced with the fact that he could cook a meal.

Those who know me well know I am quite the conversationalist. I know a little bit about everything and I love to use my intellect. But for some reason, I find myself entertaining men who are not intellectuals and as one friend put it “dumb as hell”. giphy (4) What I have learned from my fuck boy experience is this. Stop entertaining men who are not on your level. It is ok to want someone who is articulate and equally intelligent. It is ok to be with a man who can talk about the political and social state of our country. It is ok to expect that a man do more than the bare minimum when courting, i.e. bringing you lunch does not earn you brownie points ,neither does picking you up and dropping you off from point A to point B.

Many women today have a hard time identifying a real man. When a man does something nice, or shows minimal effort, we think we have a prince on our hands, when all we really have is a fuck boy.  coming to america

A guy asked me one time, what I did for a living. I told him that I was an attorney. Right off the bat he told me that I was overqualified to date him. This is without him knowing my credentials. I certainly appreciated this form of honestly. I mean the guy was high at the time, but it was a wake up call that hey I am really a big deal and I should be proud of all my accomplishments. Dealing with insecure men has a way of stealing that sense of pride. You are so caught up in trying to make them feel comfortable, you diminish yourself and your accomplishments and that just isn’t cool.

So what is the takeaway here?  Leave them fuck boy’s alone!! If Jiminy cricket taps you on the shoulder and says this nigga aint for you, listen. If the Holy Spirit comes upon you and says pay attention to his lack of reasoning skills, heed the warning. If your friends say, “he’s a fun guy but he is dumb as hell”, that may be an indication that you should go no further.

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As women, we do a whole lot of settling and we entertain men who we know damn well we will never keep around or introduce to the real family.  There is no reason why we should not strive to have it all.  It does not have to be either/or. A man can be both smart and a chef. He can be both compassionate and a beast in the boardroom. It is ok to have standards. If you want to date a man that has an advanced degree, hell a four-year degree, it is ok. Why should we feel bad for wanting that? I have gone through the wringers of education and I have suffered and fought the good fight. Why can’t I want a man who has shared in this struggle? A man who appreciates the importance of education. At the end of the day women get a lot of flack for being “picky”. It is not about being picky (well for some women it’s not), but it is about finding YOUR equal and I ain’t never seen a doctor with a janitor… I’m just saying….

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The Anencephalic Infant; Are They People Too?

•October 11, 2012 • 10 Comments

The use of anencephalic infants as an organ source has been a hot button issue for years. Anencephaly is defined as “a central nervous system abnormality that is characterized by congenial absence of the forebrain, skull and scalp”. Infants with anencephaly do not typically live more than a few days. Death is certain in their case. Anencephaly can be determined as early as 12 weeks into the pregnancy at which point parents have the option of whether to abort the fetus or continue the pregnancy.

An Anencephalic Newborn

Many parents opt for abortion, while others opt to carry the fetus to full term in hopes of providing organs for babies who need them. There is an increasing shortage of transplant organs for infants and anencephalic babies have become a source to meet the needs of this shortage. In most cases, brain death must occur in order for organ donation to occur. However, this policy creates problems in the case of the anencephalic infant. How does a physician call time of death when the infant has a functioning brainstem and can essentially eat, sleep and cry? Is it morally and ethically sound to remove organs from these patients while they are still alive?

If we consider a utilitarian approach, then the answer is yes. The classical utilitarian approach has the aim to maximize the common utility of the beings who can enjoy happiness and who can suffer and to minimize the total harm. Here, one could argue that providing organs to babies in need is a great achievement that will benefit a great number of children. Anencephalic babies are a very small part of the population and it is certain that they will die shortly after birth.

On the other hand, there are those who believe that using anencephalic babies as an organ source is immoral and unethical. These views are often times rooted in the Kantian view that humans should not be used as means to an end and that people need to be respected. But are anencephalic infants people? Biologically the answer is yes. Anencephalic infants have the same genetic make up as any other human being. However, modern philosophy characterizes personhood by the functionality of an individual. Kant states that only a person needs to be respected, and a person is someone who possesses rational agents.

According to this analysis, it appears as if the anencephalic infant is not considered a person. If this is true, then why is there still a debate as to whether or not it is ethical to take organs from a living anencephalic patient? I believe this is because society is at odds as to whether an anencephalic infant is a person. It is hard to conceptualize the fact that an infant born alive with a functioning brain stem is not considered a human being. How can one say that a baby who looks like a baby, cries like a baby, sleeps like a baby is not a person?

If the deciding factor of whether a person is in fact a person rests on whether they possess rational agents, what are we to say about the mentally disabled, Alzheimer patients, persons with dementia and those who are in a coma? Are they no longer considered people because they have lost their ability to reason? I am not sure if we can truly come to a conclusion on this matter, however I do believe that one’s “worth” should not be determined objectively but subjectively. Making determinations on when a person is and ceases to be a person can create a slippery slope, one that can have serious ramifications on society.