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#1 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am wondering if any other moms on here have had this issue before... well-meaning friends and acquaintances have made comments about your kids, thinking they are complimenting but actually offending you?

For example, when my first son was born, the very first time my best friend held him, she said "He's so cute, he doesn't look black at all!". Now my bf LOVES my kids (I have 2 now) to death, and she loves me and my hubby as well. So when she said this (almost 4 years ago) it shocked me and really hurt my feelings. Now that my DS1 is almost 4, he has gotten slightly more "ethnic" looking (for lack of a better word) but is still extremely light skinned.

My second son also looks very white (right now anyway) and I've gotten a few similiar comments about him this past year (he just turned 1). When hubby is out with the kids and I am not with him, he has told me he gets "looks" from people, prob wondering why he is walking around with 2 white kids (his words, not mine). Both of my kids have "white" hair as well.

Thankfully my family has never made any comments about my kids' racial mix.

Have you guys ever gotten any comments like this, and how did you respond?

My family:

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a1...7/105_1575.jpg

Mommy to beauties DS1 (7), DS2 (4, autism), & DS3 (2)

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#2 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 12:15 PM
 
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I don't have anything useful to offer, I did want to say that your boys are adorable.

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#3 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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Your family is gorgeous!

I have not gotten any such comments about my kid, but I do know the "totally inappropriate and offensive compliment" routine. My husband has a friend with a particular knack for it.

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#4 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 12:21 PM
 
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I have to agree...your kids are adorable.


With your bf have you tried just mentioning that comments like that hurt your feelings? She probably didnt' mean them to do so.

With strangers...people suck and that's all there is to it. My DH is half Mexican but looks very white (actually, "looking white" runs in his family. One of his uncles has pale skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes but is 100% Mexican... something about Spanish genes) It's entirely possible that one of our kids will turn out dark so I'm prepared for looks (I'm pale skin, blue eyes, and brown/red hair) Just remember that most people probably don't mean to stare and the ones that do aren't worth your time.

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#5 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 12:25 PM
 
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I don't really have any advice to offer but I just wanted to say that your family is beautiful! Those boys look like their daddy a ton and anyone who says differently is crazy!

A tired mommy to DD (7/09) and loving wife to DH (08/06)
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#6 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 12:29 PM
 
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Quite honestly, your husband doesn't look all that "black" either. Here in PR, he would be considered "trigueño" or "moreno", someone who is of mixed origin (usually African with European or Native American). If I saw him walking down the street, I definitely wouldn't be thinking what the "black guy" doing with white kids. Wouldn't even make a blip on my radar.

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#7 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You guys are so sweet, thank you.

People really have diarrhea of the mouth, you know?

I also find it ironic that people think they are "complimenting" me when they mention how white my kids look, when in reality I had really hoped they would have had darker features (and thicker hair)! lol

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#8 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 12:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JFTB1177 View Post

I also find it ironic that people think they are "complimenting" me when they mention how white my kids look, when in reality I had really hoped they would have had darker features (and thicker hair)! lol
I can relate to this for different reasons. My parents don't like my husband so I hoped DS would come out with brown hair and brown eyes and dark skin.

Kas (24), Helpmeet to Stefan (25), Mom to Franklin Gaudelio 4/15/09, Jonathan Boswell 1/2/11
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#9 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 12:46 PM
 
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You know what, OP. I think sometimes (white people in particular) people just don't know how to address color/skin/racial differences. I think the most offensive part of your friends quote was more implying that he could pass for white (as if it's a good thing he doesn't look black) rather than her acknowledgement of blackness (or lack thereof). ETA: ok so now after reading your next post I see what you meant and I guess I don't need this part after all.

Really our white dominant culture just doesn't know what to say about people of other races or ethnicities. Do we address it? Do we not? Should we pretend that this person looks just like us or do we acknowledge the difference?

In our family - we just note the difference. We have a few different mixes. DH is black, I"m white, oldest 2 DSD's are black/white, next two DSC are black/mexican, and youngest DD is black/white. We're a little more comfortable about being descriptive than my extended all-white family. DH's extended family are much more comfortable describing people by how they look or their (presumed) racial/ethnic heritage. In my opinion, it's all about tone and delivery. You can note someone's black without it being an insult, just a descriptor, it's all in the tone.

IN fact, these days I find myself sayign things like "that white dude over there" rather than not describing a white guy's race since that's almost always the social default. I find looking more at differences in description only mode seems to help people around me (IRL) realize that yes we are different and it's ok to note that. It's not OK to make that the sole reason for judging a person. But just like you notice Sally's eyes are blue, you can notice that Bobby is Latino. It doesn't have to be an insult.

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#10 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Equuskia View Post
Quite honestly, your husband doesn't look all that "black" either. Here in PR, he would be considered "trigueño" or "moreno", someone who is of mixed origin (usually African with European or Native American). If I saw him walking down the street, I definitely wouldn't be thinking what the "black guy" doing with white kids. Wouldn't even make a blip on my radar.
Yeah, many people ask him "what he is"... most foreigners think he's Moroccan, some think he's biracial. He's definitely black- both parents, grands and great-grands are/were black, but I am sure (as it is with most African-Americans) he has some white ancestors.

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#11 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Teenytoona View Post
You know what, OP. I think sometimes (white people in particular) people just don't know how to address color/skin/racial differences. I think the most offensive part of your friends quote was more implying that he could pass for white (as if it's a good thing he doesn't look black) rather than her acknowledgement of blackness (or lack thereof). ETA: ok so now after reading your next post I see what you meant and I guess I don't need this part after all.

Really our white dominant culture just doesn't know what to say about people of other races or ethnicities. Do we address it? Do we not? Should we pretend that this person looks just like us or do we acknowledge the difference?

In our family - we just note the difference. We have a few different mixes. DH is black, I"m white, oldest 2 DSD's are black/white, next two DSC are black/mexican, and youngest DD is black/white. We're a little more comfortable about being descriptive than my extended all-white family. DH's extended family are much more comfortable describing people by how they look or their (presumed) racial/ethnic heritage. In my opinion, it's all about tone and delivery. You can note someone's black without it being an insult, just a descriptor, it's all in the tone.

IN fact, these days I find myself sayign things like "that white dude over there" rather than not describing a white guy's race since that's almost always the social default. I find looking more at differences in description only mode seems to help people around me (IRL) realize that yes we are different and it's ok to note that. It's not OK to make that the sole reason for judging a person. But just like you notice Sally's eyes are blue, you can notice that Bobby is Latino. It doesn't have to be an insult.

totally agree with everything you said!!!!!

Mommy to beauties DS1 (7), DS2 (4, autism), & DS3 (2)

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#12 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 02:33 PM
 
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You guys are so sweet, thank you.

People really have diarrhea of the mouth, you know?

I also find it ironic that people think they are "complimenting" me when they mention how white my kids look, when in reality I had really hoped they would have had darker features (and thicker hair)! lol
I'm about as "white" as they come... in fact I'm not "white"... I'm translucent. People even comment on how extremely pale I am like it's a bad thing. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

I also have the extremely thick and coarse hair. I'll trade your boys!

A tired mommy to DD (7/09) and loving wife to DH (08/06)
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#13 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 02:48 PM
 
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Excellent post Teenytoona. I think you're right on.

OP--you've got a gorgeous family!
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#14 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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Obviously I don't know you or your friend, but I wanted to add another possible motive behind her statement. Before dd was born, I worked in a daycare that had a lot of black & multiracial kids. I am white & so is dh. Now, before I worked there, I assumed that biracial kids who were black & white looked black. Boy, was I wrong! I NEVER would have guessed that some of the kids there who had a VERY dark parent were biracial. NEVER. Maybe your friend was surprised that your son looked light. I also know now that even v dark native Africans can be born light-skinned & their color comes in as they grow. This was just stuff that I did not know, but I do now. I would not comment on a baby's color now, but I might have a few years ago b/c it would have surprised me. I would not automatically assume maliciousness on your friend's part, maybe just ignorance (the lack of knowledge kind, not the rude kind)

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#15 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 03:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JFTB1177 View Post
... she said "He's so cute, he doesn't look black at all!"...
Maybe she meant. "He's so cute. (Separate thought) He doesn't look black at all." Which would be less offensive. Maybe you were being over-sensitive. I'm really sensitive to any mention of my baby's race. I get this "offensive compliment" a lot: "Oh! Half-Asian, half-white babies are the cutest!" Offensive to me.
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#16 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 03:42 PM
 
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And chance your friend meant that as two sentences and not as cause and effect? Like
He's so cute!--compliment
He doesn't look black at all!--surprised observation

If she did definitely mean that she thought he was cute because she doesn't think he looks black, then I'm really sorry for you and hope you can educate her some how.
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#17 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 03:49 PM
 
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aside from skin color, I think you and your dh look a lot alike.

your kids are definitely your kids and your dh's kids. DS1 already has your family smile.
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#18 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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I agree with the compliment/observation assessment too. Probably because people always wonder how a mixed kid will look.

OP, you do have a cute family!

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#19 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 05:03 PM
 
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I was thinking the same as the PP's - that it might have been more unfortunate timing in placing the two thoughts together than latent racism. But, yes, the way it came out I can understand why you are feeling offended. I'd talk to her.

And I'm not saying this is the case for you, but sometimes I think we read into these sorts of comments because of our own hangups. In my case, when people comment on how different my two children look (which is true, and I can't blame them for commenting) I always worry that they'll wrongly assume that my white-looking child can't possibly be my husbands, and that I must have had an affair. It makes me feel really defensive even though it shouldn't.
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#20 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 09:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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:

your kids are definitely your kids and your dh's kids. DS1 already has your family smile.
Aw thanks

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#21 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 09:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe she meant. "He's so cute. (Separate thought) He doesn't look black at all." Which would be less offensive. Maybe you were being over-sensitive. I'm really sensitive to any mention of my baby's race. I get this "offensive compliment" a lot: "Oh! Half-Asian, half-white babies are the cutest!" Offensive to me.
It's a possibility! But I don't know... she is super sweet but also a person who just says what she thinks. I do think I am over-sensitive though, it's hard not to be, you know?

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#22 of 40 Old 03-16-2010, 10:29 PM
 
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And I'm not saying this is the case for you, but sometimes I think we read into these sorts of comments because of our own hangups. In my case, when people comment on how different my two children look (which is true, and I can't blame them for commenting) I always worry that they'll wrongly assume that my white-looking child can't possibly be my husbands, and that I must have had an affair. It makes me feel really defensive even though it shouldn't.
Honestly that's not even necessarily a race issue. DH and I are both primarily caucasion. We're both on the paler side, and both have dark hair. BOTH of our children are blonde as can be! Now, DH was blonde as a child, and there's definitely a line of blonde Dutch on my side. When we all go out together we definitely get the looks. Either people seem to be thinking that I was sleeping with the mailman or that DH is a stepdad. It doesn't help that both kids tend to favor my side in the obvious features. I've even had people ask me if DH was the kids father! So yeah, I totally get being defensive about it!
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#23 of 40 Old 03-17-2010, 12:33 AM
 
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I have to agree with PP in that there's a good chance that they were probably two separate comments but worded pretty badly!!

Just from experience, most people assume that if there is one white parent and another of some other ethnic background that the other ethnic background will dominate the child's feature (I actually had a friend who specifically wanted to marry a white guy so that her kid's would end up looking just like her ). So if something to the contrary happens people are genuinely shocked.

For instance, DD is the spitting image of DH (I'm white and he's a mix of just about everything except for Asian). We even joke that's it's a good thing that I didn't have a c-section because I saw her come out of me. Despite that I get comments ALL THE TIME about how DD looks "just like me". Umm.. no. But that's ok! I really think people are just saying that to be nice or because it's clear that she's mixed and they feel bad that my looks probably won't be passed on or (and this is probably also very likely) she has a lot of my mannerisms. Or maybe they just need glasses!

FWIW I think anybody would be absolutely crazy not to see the resemblance in your sons with your DH. They look a lot like him!!!
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#24 of 40 Old 03-17-2010, 12:50 AM
 
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No advice, I just wanted to say that I worry about this all the time, since I'm white, and DH is black. I think that when we have a child, people may think I'm not the mother if she/he is very dark, or vice versa.
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#25 of 40 Old 03-17-2010, 12:53 PM
 
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I am hoping she didn't mean anything by it. Probably not. I know even with a biracial son, I get surprised with the shade variations and me/my friends talk about it very openly. I commented in the store about a little black boys blond hair, I just loved it and it was so cute. Both parents were light and you could tell they were mom and dad and I honestly didn't mean anythign racist about it, but I am sure they get really tired of the comments about their boy's blond hair.

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#26 of 40 Old 03-17-2010, 03:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Pearl H View Post
I get this "offensive compliment" a lot: "Oh! Half-Asian, half-white babies are the cutest!" Offensive to me.
I'm not really offended by it but about half the (mostly white) people seem to feel inclined to make this comment.

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#27 of 40 Old 03-17-2010, 03:33 PM
 
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Nothing to add, except that I think your kids are awfully darned cute! I think I'd add them to my crew any old day! Love love love their smiles and curls! Sweet picture!
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#28 of 40 Old 03-17-2010, 03:34 PM
 
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My little brothers are all half black, beautiful kids growing up, looked a LOT like your babies.

Anyways I would get it all the time as a kid when ppl would say, "well they are not your real brothers". Um we have the same mother, I take care of them i love them, they are my brothers.

I remember taking them to the park when I was younger, (about 18), and another neighbor of my moms was there and said something like "Well at least they look more Mexican, then black". I remember feeling really helpless, and kinda paralyzed with anger, I kicked myself the whole way home for not ripping into her.

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#29 of 40 Old 03-17-2010, 04:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Pearl H
I get this "offensive compliment" a lot: "Oh! Half-Asian, half-white babies are the cutest!" Offensive to me.
I'm not really offended by it but about half the (mostly white) people seem to feel inclined to make this comment.
I don't find it offensive either. Actually I'm having a little difficulty understanding why it's something worth getting offended about?

Implying that it's better to look whiter, that's kind of offensive (although I'm not certain that's what was going on in the OP either). But just saying mixed babies are cute? I don't have any kind of issue with that.

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#30 of 40 Old 03-17-2010, 04:26 PM
 
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I don't find it offensive either. Actually I'm having a little difficulty understanding why it's something worth getting offended about?

Implying that it's better to look whiter, that's kind of offensive (although I'm not certain that's what was going on in the OP either). But just saying mixed babies are cute? I don't have any kind of issue with that.
Me either.. I always loved it when people would coo over my brothers and say things like "mixed babies are so beautiful!" I agree they are, I also think all babies are beautiful lol.

Its when people comment in the negative that really get my goat. Its like they slap you and smile at the same time. its weird and uncomfortable.

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