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"mixed kids are cuter" ?!

post #1 of 158
Thread Starter 

I normally post in the June DDC, as our daughter isn't even born yet, but I'm really happy to find this forum and just want to join in the conversation now. I have a feeling I'll be accessing you mamas a lot in the future! I find MDC to be full of so many smart, thoughtful, women who are thinking about things in a way I appreciate.

 

So, my husband is African and I'm white. We're expecting our first baby in June (yeah!), and I'm shocked by how many people have said, "your baby is going to be so cute. Mixed babies always are!" or even just, "between the two of you, your baby is going to be so cute." My husband sort of blows off the later type of comment and chooses to think they mean that we're just interesting people, but I'm pretty sure the implied message is still the mixed thing, in most cases (not always). To me, the "mixed kids are cute" thing is so clearly racist and complicated and contains so many possible messages that it's really on my mind...

 

I've been reading other mamas' posts about raising a girl in the world that constantly remarks on her looks. I think it's an additional challenge to think about raising a girl in a world full of confusing comments about race that will likely be coming her way (since they're already coming her way in utero!) from a pretty young age.

 

I'm mostly just jumping in and introducing myself to this forum, but would also love to hear from anyone who identifies...

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 158

Oh gosh, I'm sorry that you feel that way.  My kids are biracial and.... I DO think they're cuter than other kids because of it!!  redface.gif  Someone once said to me that when two people of different races have children together, the children come out looking better than either parent!  twins.gif  Of course I think my kids are gorgeous so I have to agree!  Personally I don't find it racist at all.  But that's just me. love.gif

post #3 of 158

Sorry it makes you upset! It sounds like a subject that you are sensitive about.

 

Speaking as a biologist, mixing genetics from different races is great for the kids - better immune systems, better genetics, and darned cute looks. And its not racist to point this out if there are no disparaging comments about either/both/mixing races. Really, there are differences between all the different races on this planet (can't deny that!) but no race is inherently superior to any other.

 

Your kid will take her cues from you - if those comments make you defensive, she will pick up on that. Treat them as stating the obvious and she won't care either. smile.gif

post #4 of 158
Thread Starter 

I appreciate hearing different perspectives. Thanks for responding!

 

Of course, I'm totally open to the possibility that I'll think my daughter is cuter than other kids :) and, hopefully, she will be better looking than both me and my husband! But I still think the messages contained in "mixed kids are cuter" are complicated and misguided, though certainly well meaning. There is an awesome chapter on "stating the obvious" about issues around race in the book Nurture Shock (and lots of research out there about this) - basically about the assumptions kids form around race based on the messages they get from us. I'm an educator who works in an environment where stuff like this comes up, so I guess I've been reading/thinking/talking about it with folks long before I knew it would have anything to do with me personally.

 

I think it might be less that I'm sensitive/defensive about this and more that I'm surprised by how common it is for people to say it and cherish the "exotic" look of particular kids. I also find it interesting that all of the black women I'm close to have found the comment blatantly racist. I continue to be interested in others' experience around this, so, really, thanks for your thoughts...

 

 

post #5 of 158

I have to go with the other posters on this.  I do think there may be a biological reason for people's "attraction" to biracial or multiracial kids.  It does seem from my observations that mixed-race relationships produce a lot of kids who are visually very striking and have features that stand out as beautiful. 

 

I know my kids got the best of dh's and my genes, and they really are stunning (so I've been told, lol).  However, "cute" and "cuter" is so subjective.  And that kind of phrase is just yet one more thing that people blurt out without thinking of the possible implications.  In some cultures, mixed kids are mocked and taunted, and considered ugly (and it happened in previous times in America, too, probably because there was some real racial tension, not to mention pain, regarding how a baby was concieved in a mixed-race situation).  Sooooo....one way or another, people are probably going to comment.

 

There are a lot of issues where real offense should be taken.  On this one, I'd consider the source, and not go hunting down offense where none is intented.  People say dumb stuff sometimes.  And everyone is entitled to their opinion.

 

Also, I've known plenty of same-race couples who get the same "Oooh, you two are going to make such beautiful babies!".  It's a compliment. wink1.gif  Although, I tease my sister and tell her "Your kids are going to have some really wild hair" (because hers is completely straight, and her husband's is completely unbrushable and sticks out every which way--they're both white).  Looks are just part of how we relate to each other as humans.  It can get twisted in an unhealthy way, bit it isn't always. 

post #6 of 158

*sigh*

 

I don't know if I've every said this to anyone but I've thought it often. I've never thought of it as being racist or insensitive. I DO think a lot of biracial kids end up with more than the sum of their parts, especially kids who are Caucasion and African-American. They tend to have a really beautiful skin tone with great looking hair (often done "big and poofy" for both genders) and great strong features. I've made comments like "great hair" or "beautiful eyes" before which IMHO less creepy than general comments about children being pretty or whatever.

 

Occasionally I'll see a kid where everything doesn't seem to mix well at all but most kids do seem extra cute.

post #7 of 158
I'm another who's not terribly offended, though I tend to think people have the best intentions. I don't think that mixed children are necessarily cuter than the norm, though of course mine are! wink1.gif I have also taken the biological approach mentioned by a PP that mixing very different gene pools results in a better end product. I mean, c'mon, Halle Berry and Obama?? Not too shabby! lol.gif

Honestly, this comment bothers me lots less than the "Ohmigosh, your baby is so WHITE!! Are you sure it's DH's?" comments I got when DD1 was born.
post #8 of 158

I am a mother of a multiethnic child and often hear comments about his "mixed" color.  I personally don't think that "mixed babies are the cutest". There are some babies who I do think are cuter than others, but that is my personal opinion and it is not because of their race or ethnicity that I find them cute! I understand where you feel a bit offended when people complement your child's looks based on race, when we would like to raise our children not to be self conscious nor to think of themselves a "different" from anyone else. EVERYONE is a mix if you go far back enough, and modern science has shown that there is no biological basis to the construct race. Race is a social construction, and we as a society have a long way to go to make it so the "color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes"...

post #9 of 158
Thread Starter 

I have to say, I'm disappointed to have inspired some of you to further exoticize mixed babies with comments about visually striking features, big poofy hair, lovely skin tone, etc. What does this imply about my daughter's cousins, aunts, uncles, and family who are all dark skinned folks with thick, kinky hair? I don't want to assume that none of you responders are black women, but it might be worth imagining this from a non-dominant cultural perspective.

 

This is where I make my exit...

 


 

post #10 of 158
DH is Filipino and I'm white and our son is the cutest thing ever! DH showed me a pic of one of his relatives' kids who is full Filipino and pointed out that our son is way cuter even though we could see similarities in features.

I think if the comment is not said in a disparaging way, then just take it as a compliment. There is enough racism in the world without trying to find hidden racism in every comment.
post #11 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by bk_hope_2_b_mama View Post

I have to say, I'm disappointed to have inspired some of you to further exoticize mixed babies with comments about visually striking features, big poofy hair, lovely skin tone, etc. What does this imply about my daughter's cousins, aunts, uncles, and family who are all dark skinned folks with thick, kinky hair? I don't want to assume that none of you responders are black women, but it might be worth imagining this from a non-dominant cultural perspective.

 

This is where I make my exit...

 


 


I see where you're coming from ... .  However, another possible way to think about this is to ask an analogous question to yours above (bolded underlined part) ...

 

What does this imply about my daughter's cousins, aunts, uncles, and family who are all white(or any other color) skinned folks with fine blonde hair(or any other hair)? (describing your side of the family ... )

 

I guess my point is, it's possible that not all comments are meant to be comparison to the non-dominant culture per se.  The possibilities are:

A. your kid will be cuter than if she were all black (this is when the offense might happen, if I understand your post correctly?) 

B. your kid will be cuter than if she were all white

C. your kid will be cuter than if she were all black or if she were all white 

D. none of the above

 

What do most people mean?  It's anybody's guess.  How often is it case A?  Not sure ... but it's probably true that in some cases it's A that people meant - yeah, racism is horrible and unfortunately it dies hard.  But it's probably also true that it's - not - always case A.  Unless there are some other indications, I'd give people the benefit of the doubt - sometime it's really just meant as a compliment (as in case C - people sometimes say things like the kids get the best of both worlds etc).  

 

 

 

 

post #12 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by goinggreengirl View Post

DH is Filipino and I'm white and our son is the cutest thing ever! DH showed me a pic of one of his relatives' kids who is full Filipino and pointed out that our son is way cuter even though we could see similarities in features.

I think if the comment is not said in a disparaging way, then just take it as a compliment. There is enough racism in the world without trying to find hidden racism in every comment.


Oh my God.

post #13 of 158
Suggesting that white people are naturally aesthetically inferior isn't exactly better. It doesn't carry with it the same weight of history, but it's not an improvement.

And I'm really not sure what to do with the idea up-thread that any kind of racial preference is biologically determined.
post #14 of 158
Thread Starter 

1. a lot of racism isn't very hidden

2. how do we kill this thread? i really regret starting it.

post #15 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by bk_hope_2_b_mama View Post

1. a lot of racism isn't very hidden

2. how do we kill this thread? i really regret starting it.



PM the mod.

PS:  don't regret starting the thread - it's a (potentially) interesting topic ... but you never know how it goes ...

post #16 of 158
Maybe the message here is that one shouldn't focus on a child looks at all. Because it is too too easy to go wrong.

OP I have commented on MDC before about a similar problem in people always commenting on how cute my child is. Honestly it drives me up a freaking wall. But in my son's case he is very blonde and has light blue eyes; physical features that are still unduly prized in American culture. It's even worse when people choose a specific feature (oh his hair is so blonde, his eyes are so blue) ugggg it just gives me the willies.

Because it does imply that these superficial racial things are of great value. I don't want my child's identity to be formed that way shrug.gif.

In some ways it was even worse when I was pregnant because everyone was all excited about the blonde baby I was going to have. WTF? I even had people "jokingly" tell me that I was doing my part for the Aryan nation.

So yeah, kids are cute. They all are (lol).
post #17 of 158

So racism will have been extinguished the day that expressing a personal aesthetic preference for one skin tone or hair type over another, is no more 'loaded' than expressing a personal aesthetic preference for dark hair over blonde, or green eyes over blue.  When race can talked about freely and openly and with no more hurt feelings or implied criticisms than any other obvious physical characteristic, that is when racism is gone.  NOT when people are afraid to mention the topic of race for fear of offending someone.

 

Insisting that 'loading' exists in comments where it was not intended, only prolongs the agony.  I really think that this kind of approach perpetuates racism rather than the opposite.

 

 

post #18 of 158
Thread Starter 

Chamomile Girl - I read the post you're referring to :) and remember it. Thanks for acknowledging that there's something about identity formation worth thinking about here.

 

MamaMunchkin - Thanks. But the regret is that I opened the door for more of what I was originally trying to unpack thoughtfully. No offense, but I really don't want to hear about how cute everyone's kids' varied skin tones, hair types, etc. are. I'm sure everyone's children are amazingly beautiful in all different ways, but don't all those comments miss the point entirely?

 

I'm really trying to exit this one, but keep commenting. For reals, now....

 

post #19 of 158

So if it is racist to like blonde hair, and also racist to like dark hair, and racist to like light skin, and also racist to like dark skin, what does racism even mean?  It seems to have expanded to encompass any mention of race, ethnic background, or any kind of aesthetic appreciation at all.  That's rather a broad net of unmentionables, don't you think?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post

OP I have commented on MDC before about a similar problem in people always commenting on how cute my child is. Honestly it drives me up a freaking wall. But in my son's case he is very blonde and has light blue eyes; physical features that are still unduly prized in American culture. It's even worse when people choose a specific feature (oh his hair is so blonde, his eyes are so blue) ugggg it just gives me the willies.

 

 

 

post #20 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by mambera View Post

So if it is racist to like blonde hair, and also racist to like dark hair, and racist to like light skin, and also racist to like dark skin, what does racism even mean?  It seems to have expanded to encompass any mention of race, ethnic background, or any kind of aesthetic appreciation at all.  That's rather a broad net of unmentionables, don't you think?

 

 

 


No. I think that if the preferences are there because of their association with a specific race than, yes, the preferences are racist. Because the very definition of racism is discrimination based on race as the only factor, yes? So if one only feels that only blonde babies are beautiful then that is racist. If one feels that babies are beautiful than that is not.
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