Originally Posted by Mosaic
Globally, the preferred phenotypes are those typically associated more with class and social standing, with physical characteristics far beyond skin color certainly playing a large role in that. I don't doubt that we are wired to notice, appreciate, or admire some characteristics over others, whether from evolution or social constructs. But to assume this is the case and refute the possibility that anything else might be at play here seems to be more of a knee-jerk response rather than the informed or enlightened perspective it attempts to achieve.
Interesting, I'm not sure where you are seeing anyone here discounting the experiences of others, or assuming that any ONE thing is at play. I think many moms here just see this as a great window to discuss the proverbial elephant in the room. The OP said people have told her she is "so lucky" to have a child with blonde hair and blue eyes. That is the phrase which rubs me the wrong way. It is not the cute kid comments. Everyone gets those. Appropriate or not, we are a species obsessed with looks, and babies are biologically engineered to be irresistably adorable.
But, have you seen the google ad at the top of the page today for the "Cutest Kid Contest"? this year's winner has a golden blonde bob and bright blue eyes. I'm just saying.
And could anyone deny that in much of the English speaking world, white male is the default assumption? And that in countries across Latin America and most of Asia paler skin and more caucasian features are indeed favored despite being a minority, and that white models are plastered across the advertisements and Billboards? That young women throughout Asia have been known to have extensive plastic surgery on their eyes, noses, jaws, breasts and hips to appear more attractive and that this entails giving them caucasian features? That throughout indigenous
Latin America and most of southern Asia women are sold skin bleach and they shroud themselves from the sun in an attempt to appear paler?
At the end of the day, there was something in the comments that made Chammomile Girl squirm. Don't you think it is EQUALLY damaging to ASSUME that these social constructs are NOT at ALL at play as it to assume they are solely responsible? Perhaps, as in most cases, there is more than one possible answer; keeping your mind open to all the possibilities, allowing yourself to question the norm, is vital to reaching a better understanding of the world we live in, don't you think?
Originally Posted by physmom
I have to admit, I still don't get how complimenting someone on their looks is racist.
I don't recall anyone saying that the act itself is a racist act
, but rather the fact that someone would describe blonde haired and blue eyed as LUCKY is symptomatic
of a society that confers privilege on certain groups of people, especially white people. As a member of that privileged group, the OP feels uncomfortable with that privilege and would like to work towards deconstructing the social systems that give her and her children those privileges. Does anyone here REALLY have a problem with that?
If you could see a baby's parents' bank account details on thier forehead, or their parents' educational degrees, or their genetic propensity for a fast metabolism, would we allow comments on that?
"You're so lucky to be so rich/educated/apt to be thin!"
I don't think so.
There is a very good essay by a writer named Minnie Bruce Pratt, Identity: Skin Blood Heart,
that I have read with my students that I think addresses this very issue. It talks about how to work towards destroying the social structures of skin privilege without feeling shameful, or guilty about things you cannot change, like your race...in other words, how to fight racism without making it all about you
. A very good read for anyone interested in addressing racism at its roots.