"mixed kids are cuter" ?! - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 06:48 PM
 
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yes. same here, when we are in the states everyone goes on and on about the kids tan(brown) skin, and when we are in MX its all about the omg blond/light hair and blue eyes. shrug.gif


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#32 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 07:02 PM
 
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Exactly.  Even "positive" stereotypes are racist.  "They are all good at...  math, sports, can dance... whatever... " may sound like a compliment but it isn't.  It starts with classifying the person as "other than" the mainstream and it continues by basically robbing them of specific talents they possess and the hard work they put into turning that talent into a high degree of skill.  It can be hard to internalize the idea that something that sounds like a compliment is actually not, and is, in fact, a damaging racial stereotype. 

 

OP, thank you for starting this thread.  I think this is a valuable discussion and I hope you will consider returning to it. 

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#33 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 07:17 PM
 
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I think babygirlie is on to something. I do think in general people like "mixed children" because they have white features and tan skin which is what is held up as the ideal in our culture. I am white but have olive skin and have always been told that I look exotic. People used to ask me where I was from all the time and were quite disappointed when I named a place in the U.S. And, yes, they often commented that I was especially beautiful due to this mix of features.

 

I do hear what the OP is saying. But just to be entirely honest, I'll admit that I too think that bi-racial children are generally better looking. To be 100% honest I'm a little disappointed at times that I chose to procreate with a very, very white guy. I'm sure that's some kind of crazy cultural bias or maybe outright racism. But I don't think we'll get anywhere in this conversation if we can't be honest about how we feel without people freaking out and getting defensive.

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#34 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 09:24 PM
 
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I'm not even sure if everyone in this conversation realizes that "better looking" is an ever shifting rubric, always heavily laden with cultural bias. 

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#35 of 158 Old 04-21-2011, 07:32 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by GalateaDunkel View Post

 

It's inappropriate to put people on the spot about their ethnic background, even if the comment is supposedly positive. It indicates that you are viewing them through the frame of race rather than as an individual. Even if you mean it well, consider how many other people are making such well-meaning comments as well; it adds up to the person feeling like other people want to talk about their ethnicity ALL THE TIME, which can feel like a racist situation even if the people making the comments aren't individually being racist or negative.

 

I can see this - it might make one feel as if people can't see them beyond their race/ethnicity ... It's truly unfortunate ...


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#36 of 158 Old 04-21-2011, 07:43 AM
 
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I am white-asian with "almond shaped" eyes and auburn hair.  I hated being exotified as a kid (and yes, people did that a lot).  I hated it as a teen/young woman too, unbelievable how empowered people feel to comment about how all asian women are so sexy, and they think you have the "best of both" (pretty eyes, but with the auburn hair).  I don't think that very many people are aware that the "mixed babies are cuter" has been used in several times/places to try to exterminate an indigenous population or "improve their appearance" by "crossbreeding" with white people so that the resulting kids are prettier (or smarter, or whatever gross goal it was).  So there is a whole other social layer to that that many people may not be aware that exists.

 

But neveryoumind, what's more important is that someone is offering a compliment.  How dare someone get offended, their feelings don't matter at all.

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#37 of 158 Old 04-21-2011, 07:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post

I am white-asian with "almond shaped" eyes and auburn hair.  I hated being exotified as a kid (and yes, people did that a lot).  I hated it as a teen/young woman too, unbelievable how empowered people feel to comment about how all asian women are so sexy, and they think you have the "best of both" (pretty eyes, but with the auburn hair).  I don't think that very many people are aware that the "mixed babies are cuter" has been used in several times/places to try to exterminate an indigenous population or "improve their appearance" by "crossbreeding" with white people so that the resulting kids are prettier (or smarter, or whatever gross goal it was).  So there is a whole other social layer to that that many people may not be aware that exists.

 

But neveryoumind, what's more important is that someone is offering a compliment.  How dare someone get offended, their feelings don't matter at all.

 

If you don't mind me asking - how did your parents react?   My kids are visibly mixed - so far not an issue yet but would like to know how to deal with this if it comes up ...  

 

 


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#38 of 158 Old 04-21-2011, 09:29 AM
 
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I am doing a paper for college.  One thing I found interesting is that lighter skin was the desired long before the European dominance in the early late Middle Ages - Renaissance.  Lighter skin tone equaled wealth, people that didn't have to work as hard.  Post Columbus traveling to North America caused a noticable shift in peoples thinking and the development of "race".  Our North American history also brings into other issues, however I know longer think it is as simple when there is a preference of color or lighter skin as racism.  It has been going on LONG before Europeans dominated the world within all groups, the lightest was prefer because of perceived wealth and wealth equate with beauty.    

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_skin_color#Cultural_aspects_of_skin_color (Im not using wiki for my paper, but it sumerizes and make some food for thought).   

 

http://www.raceandhistory.com/cgi-bin/forum/webbbs_config.pl/noframes/read/1638  when Irish women were being breed with African men they were not concidered "white" Jewish also had to become white,http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0SOR/is_1_61/ai_61908763/  How ever it wasn't just the fact that they wanted lighter skin "mulattoes" because they were prettier but they could be sold at higher prices than cheap Irish slaves. A few male African slaves (which cost more) could be breed with cheep Irish slaves so they could fetch higher prices on the offspring because they were darker. The mixing of race was more complicated that just the slave owner raping his black female slaves and selling off the lighter skin.  That happen often, but the Irish women also happen.  

 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100057939  - natural changing of skin color though history

 

There is also a gender quirk... women are more likely to be attracted to darker skin men and darker skin men prefer lighter  -- "Fair Women, Dark Men" The forgotten roots of color prejudice" by Peter Frost. (However I am not 100% by this aurther it was food for thought).  

 

It makes me wonder what is part "hardwired" and part social constructs that use to mean survival, or at least an easier life.    

 

I also have to pounder facts that extremes in colors are the "oddity" and seen as exotic.  Being alabaster if often received as ill health or exotic (albinos are often ostracized).  Were dark skin like Alek Wek is also exoticized.  I wonder when people say "mix" kids are the cutest if it is not solely on racist notions but the fascination of different.  It is just another form of the "extreme".   I do think racism is a part, however I no longer believe it is as simple as racism.  

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#39 of 158 Old 04-21-2011, 09:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by indie View Post

 

I do think in general people like "mixed children" because they have white features and tan skin which is what is held up as the ideal in our culture. I am white but have olive skin and have always been told that I look exotic.

 

There is a far more fundamental biological reason - humans like symmetrical faces, even babies have a preference for them. Why? Because symmetry is related to genetic health (esp. strength of immune system) and we respond to that, generally without being aware of it. So kids with a mixed background are going to look cuter to us because of that, but skin colour and hair are far easier to be aware off so that's what is commented on.

 

On the other hand is how a particular society responds to perceived outsiders, and how the affected people feel about being seen as different. And that's where it gets really complicated, and very subjective.

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#40 of 158 Old 04-21-2011, 09:48 PM
 
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I understand your sentiment. OP.

 

However, I think that in certain parts of the US, 'exotic' is prized. Even models, nowadays, are more prized if they are 'exotic' aka not conforming to any one ethnic feature profile. Shoot, just the physical profiles of male and female models is exotic. Not many women or men look like them.

 

I can see where it is seen as having racial connotations. And I think, for a part, it is true. I'm Greek but am frequently seen as being a 'white' Mexican. I definitely get preferential treatment when going to hispanic places of business (which, in San Jose, is largely Mexican). Then again, I also seem to get more male attention from Hispanic males rather than white males. Always have. I guess, from a racial perspective, I am white enough for a Central & Southern American man, but not white enough for a Northern & Western European man?

 

However, I think that since our culture seems to currently value that which few of its members are able to achieve, saying 'mixed' babies are cuter than 'non-mixed' babies falls under this realm more and more. Having a classic blond, blue eyed Aryan look is still prized, yes. But now, not looking like regular (__fill in the blank__) is also prized. And it's not just those who look more white, either. And what is white, btw? To me, as a southern European, I so do not and never will fit the blond blah blah blah stereotype.  Anyways, I have found that this extends into 'non-white' mixes (this terminology is awful, are there any better words for this?) as well. Anything outside of normal is coveted.

 

My dh is half Irish and half Mexican. To 'whites' he reads as Mexican/Latino. From other ethnicities, he has been seen as: Persian, Greek, Turkish, Arabic, Mexican, Indian, Pakistani, Fillipino, Jordanian, etc. Phew. lol

 

Thanks to my light skin, green eyes but dark curly hair, my broad nose and thicker lips, I've been confused as: Italian, Persian, Turkish, Mexican, Spanish--really, anywhere that was colonized and could bring about my features.

 

My sons, facially, are quite similar. However my oldest has a light complexion (peaches and cream, I believe it's called), curly light brown hair, and big brown eyes. People comment all the time on how lucky he would have been if he'd been a girl. People still mistake him as female all.the.time. My youngest son has a medium complexion, dark eyes and dark straight hair. Still confused as female. I guess people think baby boys are supposed to look ugly or something?

 

Anyways, because my husband and I seem to blend into many different ethnicities, so do my sons. It's interesting.

 

It might also be a backlash from the very recent past where 'mixing races' was illegal.

 

Ami

 

 


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#41 of 158 Old 04-21-2011, 09:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaMunchkin View Post



 

If you don't mind me asking - how did your parents react?   My kids are visibly mixed - so far not an issue yet but would like to know how to deal with this if it comes up ...  

 

 



My parents reacted awkwardly.  I am adopted and they are white, and they were told that I wouldn't probably look "mixed".  I don't believe they were awkward over the race thing, just the adoption thing (it was not Something You Talked About generally, though things were starting to change then.)

 

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#42 of 158 Old 04-22-2011, 08:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am so thankful to others who have chimed in to this discussion since I last checked. Particularly folks who have shared their experiences as people who have been on the receiving end of the "compliment" themselves who have thought about it in the context of social issues and history. This is really what I was hoping for when I originally posted, because I'm trying to be a thoughtful parent who teaches my child to think critically about issues, including race - which she will surely encounter. While I think it's quite possible for some folks to go through life ignoring race, I doubt someone who hears about her hair, her skin tone, and so on can do that. Like I said in the original post, I'm thinking about it more and more, because I'm the recipient of these comments simply by having the little one in my uterus!

 

It's especially helpful to think about how to talk to a young person about this as it comes up in her life. I'm sure it's an issue that I'll continue to think about - and will have to be willing to examine my own assumptions as a person who has never experienced (for most of my life) anything but being part of the dominant culture.

 

I really hope folks consider the input of those who have been considered particularly "sexy", etc, because I think it's worth thinking about what that means to our future teenager daughters.

 

 

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#43 of 158 Old 04-22-2011, 09:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by minnowmomma View Post

 

I made the comments earlier and actually, they imply nothing about your cousins who do not look like the person complimented. The cousin might perceive it that way which is sad and unfortunate and makes me rethink my comments. But it is not what what I said or subconsciously meant. I don't think some mixed kids are cute because they look less like a certain race (African-American, Asian, Caucasian, whatever) but because I like their looks or hair or whatever on their own terms. I also have a soft spot for big afros, redheads, and girls with ringlets. If I am going to compliment one child, and not another, then I only do it to the parent and when other children aren't present. All compliments single someone out and best to do it private. Is it truly so so offensive if someone tells your kid is "beautiful" or has "great hair." 

 

And I don't think most people mean it in a racist way either. Sure, maybe some, but not most, not in my experience. I live in a very mixed community and lots of different kinds of kids get complimented.

 

How insecure do you have to be that a compliment to one person becomes an insult to another? That a whole category of positive praise and appreciation has to be avoided? I can think of many situation where the comments could be unkind but I don't think you can forbid a whole category of commentary as racist because of it.

 


 

 



 

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#44 of 158 Old 04-22-2011, 05:50 PM
 
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It's especially helpful to think about how to talk to a young person about this as it comes up in her life. I'm sure it's an issue that I'll continue to think about - and will have to be willing to examine my own assumptions as a person who has never experienced (for most of my life) anything but being part of the dominant culture.

 

I really hope folks consider the input of those who have been considered particularly "sexy", etc, because I think it's worth thinking about what that means to our future teenager daughters.

 

I'm really glad you started this thread, OP - I think it's great to be able to talk about racial identity in such an open manner.

 

Just to add another (possible) complication to the matter - some of my real life friends are very proud of their various heritages, and it would be considered almost an insult not to acknowledge such an important part of their identities, including their physical appearance, mixed or otherwise.  My very limited understanding is that there have been cultures in history that have been basically wiped out of existence through forced homogenization with their respective dominant cultures.  Yet, another twist, not everyone with the same background even agree what the ideal scenario is in terms of how others should regard their background.  

 

Bottomline is for some, it's upsetting if people do - not - acknowledge or mention their background.  For some others, they get upset if people - do - acknowledge it or mention it.  And those with the same background don't even necessarily have the same preference ... shrug.gif  

 

Please let me throw yet another wrench into the discussion ... traveling abroad ... especially to places where the society is not as diverse as here in the US.  The curious looks, stares, and questions.  Some might consider their responses/reactions to be blatantly racist by most here in the US though they're most likely acceptable from the prism of the local culture.  

 

That's one of the thing, in my mind at least - I imagine that when my kids grow up, the world will be even more global than it already is.  Our children may have very different kind of racial/ethnic identity - I'm not thinking of different extent but actually different view of what that identity means ... I hope it'll be more fluid if it exists at all.  My hope is that it'll just be one part of their identity, that they'll have many more lenses to use to interpret their lives.   I'm hoping that their background will matter even less because by that time hopefully almost everyone they know, in real life, or online (can you imagine twitter/facebook 20 yrs from now) - will be very diverse, exotic, just as much as they are.

 

Honestly, I doubt that racism will die by the time our children grow up - I guess my point is that (I'm hoping at least) by then, our children will have access to an even bigger world, even more diverse community, that perhaps that prejudice won't affect them as much.  But then again, perhaps it'll become worse - who knows.

 

I guess my point is I'm not sure there's a one-size-fits-all approach that will make everyone happy.  My hope is that in the future it won't even matter because hopefully our children will feel like they're part of the global world as opposed to some particular ethnic/racial group, or even some nationality.  I may be overly optimistic - but hey one can always dream ... or just dream on, as some might say ... lol.gif


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#45 of 158 Old 04-23-2011, 03:24 PM
 
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I'm going to go a whole different direction here.  I LOVE RACIAL PHYSICAL FEATURES IN ALL THEIR VARIETY!  I have absolutely no problem with commenting on specific features.  I love laying naked next to my husband and seeing my paper white skin against his glowing bronze skin.  The contrast excites me!  My cousin's husband from Ghana has black, shiny coal black skin, and it is exquisite!  I have yet to meet anyone with whiter skin than mine (though I have yet to meet an albino) and I think it is gorgeous!  My daughter's cafe con leche skin is breathtaking!  The unending variety of physical features fascinates me, from the pure Nordic features of two of my grandparents to the mulatto features of my niece.  I love interracial mixing because it gives rise to so many new features!  I also love "purebred" crosses because the "classic" combinations can be lovely!  In my mind, physical features of all kinds are to be celebrated, for their beauty and unique-ness!  I always make a point of telling people what I see is beautiful.  And if it is the result of a specific race, well, why ignore or avoid that?  My daughter's peaches-and-brown sugar complexion is from her Mexican daddy!  Precious!  And my hair-of-a-thousand-reds is from my Scottish ancestors!  Wonderful!  I'm not ashamed of being Norwegian, Irish, Scottish, Bavarian, Alsatian, Cornish, and Slovakian!  I love how those ethnicities make me look!  And I'm not ashamed of my husband's Mexican mestizo looks!  And why deny that our physical features come from our ethnicity?  The various ethnicities of this world are all so fascinating and worthy of pride...why not express this fascination and pride through admiration of their physical expression in our faces and bodies?  Beautiful, beautiful variety, LOVE IT!  Wear your features (which come from your race) with pride, and admire those of everyone else!

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#46 of 158 Old 04-23-2011, 03:48 PM
 
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Again, saying "my comments exist outside of the ongoing history of race" does not actually remove them from that history. Nor does maintaining an awareness of how often racial characteristics have been and are used to assign social value, and being aware that this creates sensitivities in terms of commenting on racial characteristics, imply shame or denial.
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#47 of 158 Old 04-24-2011, 11:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by bk_hope_2_b_mama View Post

This misses the point entirely. We are talking about a dominant culture commenting on the "other" - either by exoticizing the "not too other" features that work for our beauty standard (but aren't TOO different or TOO black or TOO Asian, etc, etc, etc) or talking about the beauty standard that's more associated with our culture to begin with. Are you seriously suggesting that the comment, "mixed babies are the cutest!" is not racially based?

 

Indeed not; I was responding to Chamomile_Girl and not to you in this post.  (Quotes didn't work for some reason.)  Nonetheless, I hope you enjoyed becoming huffy. 

 

However, since you bring it up, I would like to point out that there is an enormous difference between statements such as, "All East Asians are good at math," and "I find East Asian features more beautiful than other types of features."  The former is a stereotype, which is demonstrably false in its absoluteness.  The latter is a personal aesthetic preference, not something that can be shown to be true or false - nor something that should be subject to finger-wagging.  Whether it is racially based or not.

 

Of course we should all strive to erase sociocultural inequalities that lead (among other things) to preferences for the features of the dominant ethnic group; however that will never erase the tendency of humans to have aesthetic preferences in general, which will sometimes fall out along racial lines.

 

Regarding the particular comment about your unborn daughter, I agree that is rather a gauche statement and not something I would say to a casual acquaintance.  However it sounds like you are seeing something more than a mere lack of social grace.  It rather sounds like you are saying those people *ought not to have aesthetic preferences at all,* or at least not aesthetic preferences for one ethnic type or blend over another.  Are you??? 

 

 

Regarding the issue of whether there is a biological reason why people might find those of mixed ancestry more attractive than others: AFAIK this remains an untested hypothesis.  However, given that

a) it is an empirically verifiable fact that organisms with diverse genetic ancestry are hardier, healthier, and more vigorous on the whole than those with a narrow genetic legacy,

and

b) it is also an empirically verifiable fact that people are quite good at detecting health, vigor, and reproductive fitness in others (and that they usually register this as physical beauty),

it seems not unlikely that the hypothesis might hold some water.  Furthermore, it is something that is readily empirically testable should anyone care to do so.

 

 

When we use bogey-words like racism to reject out of hand hypotheses that are empirically falsifiable, we do nobody - least of all ourselves - any favors at all.

 

 


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#48 of 158 Old 04-24-2011, 11:35 AM
 
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Again, saying "my comments exist outside of the ongoing history of race" does not actually remove them from that history. Nor does maintaining an awareness of how often racial characteristics have been and are used to assign social value, and being aware that this creates sensitivities in terms of commenting on racial characteristics, imply shame or denial.


Yes, I agree actually.  This is why the statement made to the OP is socially out of line, IMHO.  Nonetheless, you can't go around legislating the preference that lies behind it.

 


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#49 of 158 Old 04-24-2011, 05:35 PM
 
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However, since you bring it up, I would like to point out that there is an enormous difference between statements such as, "All East Asians are good at math," and "I find East Asian features more beautiful than other types of features."  The former is a stereotype, which is demonstrably false in its absoluteness.  The latter is a personal aesthetic preference, not something that can be shown to be true or false - nor something that should be subject to finger-wagging.  Whether it is racially based or not.

 

 


I only like girls with big boobs.  Small chested girls are ugly to me.  BTW, I only like girls who are size 00;  all the rest are just gross and fat to me.  Kinky haired girls just seem low class to me, I only like girls with straight hair.  Hey, it's just my personal aesthetic that shouldn't be subject to finger-wagging;  no matter how those statements might make the recipients (both positive and negative, who wouldn't want to be informed of my preference for their type of boobs?) feel.

 

I can assure you that there have been times in my life where people's commentary on my exotic, beautiful ethnic origin were as welcome as someone commenting about how nice my boobs were.  I don't really expect you to get that, since obviously the only thing that matters is the commenter's intentions and the recipient should just shut up and be grateful and y so srs and all that but...just as you say you can't expect people not to make those statements, YOU can't expect that sometimes they won't be welcome, and you might receive some not so welcome statements in return.

 

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#50 of 158 Old 04-25-2011, 11:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
I only like girls with big boobs.  Small chested girls are ugly to me.  BTW, I only like girls who are size 00;  all the rest are just gross and at to me.  Kinky haired girls just seem low class to me, I only like girls with straight hair.  Hey, it's just my personal aesthetic that shouldn't be subject to finger-wagging;  no matter how those statements might make the recipients (both positive and negative, who wouldn't want to be informed of my preference for their type of boobs?) feel.
 

Actually that is a perfect analogy, thank you.  I'd say a preference for a particular type of ethnic feature falls in the same category as a preference for big boobs.  Obviously it is not generally socially appropriate to share your preferences with casual acquaintances; but having them is not indicative of some kind of insidious racist (or boob-ist) agenda.

 

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I can assure you that there have been times in my life where people's commentary on my exotic, beautiful ethnic origin were as welcome as someone commenting about how nice my boobs were.  I don't really expect you to get that, since obviously the only thing that matters is the commenter's intentions and the recipient should just shut up and be grateful and y so srs and all that but...just as you say you can't expect people not to make those statements, YOU can't expect that sometimes they won't be welcome, and you might receive some not so welcome statements in return.

Are you thinking of another poster?  I said in my last post that I don't consider personal comments of this type to be socially appropriate.  That is very different from saying they mean the commenter is racist. 

That said, you are right that neither do I think it is socially appropriate to return a well-meant (though less than tactful) compliment with a cascade of spittle-flecked invective.  Nonetheless, as you say, no-one can stop you from embarking on that sort of rant if you like. :shrug:

 

 


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#51 of 158 Old 04-26-2011, 08:13 AM
 
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Feeling empowered to make comments on other people's boobs because you feel like you're being complementary, is seen as something that probably shouldn't be done because it may be invasive.  I would say that when men in particular felt empowered to comment on women in that way, it most certainly was because of "insidious" or not so insidious sexism.  Women were there to be enjoyed, it's only complementary to comment on that.

 

Not sure where you got the idea that any return comment I would make would be "spittle-flecked invective", but thanks for the degrading image there.  If someone commented on my exotic looks, I just told them that I thought they had a nice butt or boobs.  Amazing how shocked that would make them (didn't have to lie even, I appreciate a wide variety of T&A, myself).  While they were sputtering (oh, is THAT the spittle you were alluding to?) then I often had a chance to explain how objectified their words made me feel.  Yep, you got me.  I'm a mean old you know what, I should have just accepted the compliment like a good girl.  But, as I said, whenever anyone chooses to make a comment on someone's race or body, to me that implies consent to having the other person share their feelings about it--and it's not always great.  By rights, if people felt that they should get to comment on my "asian eyes, so exotic with your red hair!", why *shouldn't* I get to comment on their rear end?  Why should one be socially acceptible while the other is not?  They're both talking about bodies and shapes.  If I express that I feel objectified when people comment on my exoticness or how they love "mixed" people, why is that invective?  I'm just expressing my personal preference, after all.

 

I can see that you're very excited about the scientific reason why people may prefer more averaged features;  but can I also remind you that there are many primal things that, while sure, most people will think them, it is reasonably considered polite to be careful about when/where you choose to share those things with strangers?  (For example, during long boring meetings, a LOT of people think about sex.  Well, a lot of people think about sex at random times period.  That's fine, and doesn't, at least in my perception, mean that the person is thoughtless or bad or whatever---but that shifts if they start whispering what they're thinking about to their colleage, or going up to the person they admire and saying "Wow, you look great!  I'd LOVE to have sex with you!!!"  The thought can be harmless, but the voicing of it may or may not be welcome.  Hey, you might hit the jackpot!  OTOH it's probably reasonable to expect that you might get a negative reaction from time to time as well.)  Also, you probably wouldn't believe how many people share those exciting statistics (do you know that humans naturally find you more attractive than regular white people because you're mixed?) with people they strike up the "U R SO EXOTIC" conversation with.  Or maybe I'm just a weirdo magnet.  So that info is nothing new, and is often used to bludgeon people who aren't happy with people commenting on their racial profile as to why they should just shut up and accept the compliment.
 

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Originally Posted by mambera View Post


 

Actually that is a perfect analogy, thank you.  I'd say a preference for a particular type of ethnic feature falls in the same category as a preference for big boobs.  Obviously it is not generally socially appropriate to share your preferences with casual acquaintances; but having them is not indicative of some kind of insidious racist (or boob-ist) agenda.

 

 

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#52 of 158 Old 04-26-2011, 12:49 PM
 
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Ok, I've been mulling over this thread quite a bit, and I want to chime in again. My original response was pretty flippant because I recalled receiving similar comments when I was expecting my first and figured it was just another way to congratulate a pregnant woman or, in some cases, perhaps an overcompensation, e.g., say mixed kids are "exotic" because they know it's wrong to say "weird" or "different".

I now have 2 daughters, and the topics of race, appearance, body image and self esteem take on a whole new level of importance. And of course, the challenges I THOUGHT we'd have we haven't, instead facing entirely different issues that I had never anticipated.

It's been a while since I read it and I should re-read it now that I have more experience under my belt, but Does Anybody Look Like Me? is a pretty good book for giving some ideas on how to field some of the comments/questions you may encounter with mixed children.

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#53 of 158 Old 04-27-2011, 01:27 PM
 
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I live in a society where people use a variety of words for skin tones and another variety of words for hair colour and the way those words (colours, tones) are being used, in my personal experience, by no means have been said with racist attitude or lesser/better thoughts behind it, but as mere observations/descriptions of people's (each others' - each others' childrens') appearance. Not to say there is no racism existing here or that  there exist no discriminating comments/thoughts, however, as I experienced the above described (as a foreign resident with one of those skin tones that looks like one of those many different local skin tones, and which looks 'foreign' to some and  looks 'local' to others, as well as a mother of two 'mixed' children ;-) it is really just observation and social talk kind of thing.

 

Personally, about the 'cute' comment for 'mixed' kids, well, kids are always a mix of genes, and it is always interesting to see what a child looks like and in how many ways it looks like the father and mother or other family members. I also think that in many ways,  it is also exciting/interesting to (want to) see the 'new mix' which may lead to other interesting combinations(looks), for both 'outsiders' and (expecting) parents; personally, and in general, I interprete such comments more as an expression of excitment and human curiosity and not as offensive for either side of the family/origin/looks.

 

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Originally Posted by bk_hope_2_b_mama View Post

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...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just came across this thread, and haven't read the other responses yet, but couldn't help replying.  I totally get where you're coming from with this post.  I'm black, my husband is white, and we are a few months away from trying for our first child.  We've been a couple for going on eight years now, and if I had a dollar for every time I've heard something along the lines of "mixed kids are so cute," I'd be filthy rich.  I, like you, always get a funny feeling when I hear that sentiment -- it just seems so wrong knowing that people think by virtue of the fact that we are a mixed couple, our kids are going to somehow 'better' than if we were both white or both black or whatever else.  It really, truly bothers me, every time, even when I know the person means it in the nicest way, and aren't trying to be offensive. 

 

I also worry about our future kids developing some kind of complex because they may constantly be hearing strangers (and family and friends) saying things about them that imply they are different (or in the case of the "you're so cute" comments, somehow better) merely because they are biracial.  I also worry about the fact that there are so many people who expect us to have 'cute' kids.  I truly believe that I'll find my kids cute no matter what they look like (I'll be their mom, and I think that goes for any mom), but it bothers me that we have this society-based goal to meet -- as if we're breeding a litter of cute little cockapoos instead of just trying to have a family together -- and if our kids don't pass the cuteness test, they will be judged for breaking the cute mixed children rule.  I readily admit that I'm naturally a person who struggles with worrying about what others think, and for this non-issue to be something that I even have to think about is maddening.  Not sure how to explain it better, but suffice it to say, the entire thing is ridiculous. 

 

I'm interested in reading responses from BTDT moms (or dads) who have faced these kinds of comments and how they deal with it.  I also wish you a healthy rest of your pregnancy -- congrats on the upcoming addition to your family!
 

 


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#55 of 158 Old 05-04-2011, 02:05 PM
 
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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...

 


 


Yes, so far I, too, am a bit surprised by the responses.  If I am understanding your perspective correctly, and I think I do share your feelings, it is not so much that being told your babies will be cute is offensive, but that this implies that if your kid were just one race or the other, that they wouldn't be found attractive.  As a black future-mom (not even TTC yet), this totally bothers me.  It's undeniable that in our society there is a certain model of beauty that people of color don't often meet, unless they are mixed or otherwise appear racially ambiguous.  

 

I guess we all come from varied perspectives. so this is certainly not to knock the other opinions you've gotten that differ form mine, but you should by no means think you're alone in feeling this way.  I have heard this frustration expressed fairly often by moms of mixed race children.  Just to throw it out there, there are a ton of websites and blogs that "cater" to parents of minority and multi-ethnic/cultural/racial children -- you might find it nice to get some outside perspective on how others deal with these types of comments as well as any other common experiences they share.  My Brown Baby and Love Isn't Enough (formerly known as The Anti-Racist Parent blog) are just a couple blogs that I keep bookmarked, and that I know have addressed this very topic in the past. 

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#56 of 158 Old 05-04-2011, 08:57 PM
 
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#57 of 158 Old 05-27-2011, 01:47 PM
 
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Different treatment or preference to any race is by definition racism.  So yes, thinking mixed babies are cute is racist.

 

My DD is half white and half asian.  It doesn't really bother me when people say that mixed babies are cuter because I know and accept that people are racist.  It doesn't necessarily have to do with hate.

 

Not making any friends here...but if you are uptight about the word racist or racism, you probably don't talk about it as much as you should.

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#58 of 158 Old 05-27-2011, 10:15 PM
 
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Sorry but....well I think "mixed" kids are beautiful. I always have.
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#59 of 158 Old 05-28-2011, 01:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post

I am doing a paper for college.  One thing I found interesting is that lighter skin was the desired long before the European dominance in the early late Middle Ages - Renaissance.  Lighter skin tone equaled wealth, people that didn't have to work as hard.  Post Columbus traveling to North America caused a noticable shift in peoples thinking and the development of "race".  Our North American history also brings into other issues, however I know longer think it is as simple when there is a preference of color or lighter skin as racism.  It has been going on LONG before Europeans dominated the world within all groups, the lightest was prefer because of perceived wealth and wealth equate with beauty.    

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_skin_color#Cultural_aspects_of_skin_color (Im not using wiki for my paper, but it sumerizes and make some food for thought).   

 

http://www.raceandhistory.com/cgi-bin/forum/webbbs_config.pl/noframes/read/1638  when Irish women were being breed with African men they were not concidered "white" Jewish also had to become white,http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0SOR/is_1_61/ai_61908763/  How ever it wasn't just the fact that they wanted lighter skin "mulattoes" because they were prettier but they could be sold at higher prices than cheap Irish slaves. A few male African slaves (which cost more) could be breed with cheep Irish slaves so they could fetch higher prices on the offspring because they were darker. The mixing of race was more complicated that just the slave owner raping his black female slaves and selling off the lighter skin.  That happen often, but the Irish women also happen.  

 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100057939  - natural changing of skin color though history

 

There is also a gender quirk... women are more likely to be attracted to darker skin men and darker skin men prefer lighter  -- "Fair Women, Dark Men" The forgotten roots of color prejudice" by Peter Frost. (However I am not 100% by this aurther it was food for thought).  

 

It makes me wonder what is part "hardwired" and part social constructs that use to mean survival, or at least an easier life.    

 

I also have to pounder facts that extremes in colors are the "oddity" and seen as exotic.  Being alabaster if often received as ill health or exotic (albinos are often ostracized).  Were dark skin like Alek Wek is also exoticized.  I wonder when people say "mix" kids are the cutest if it is not solely on racist notions but the fascination of different.  It is just another form of the "extreme".   I do think racism is a part, however I no longer believe it is as simple as racism.  




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#60 of 158 Old 05-28-2011, 05:29 AM
 
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I'm going to go a whole different direction here.  I LOVE RACIAL PHYSICAL FEATURES IN ALL THEIR VARIETY!  I have absolutely no problem with commenting on specific features.  I love laying naked next to my husband and seeing my paper white skin against his glowing bronze skin.  The contrast excites me!  My cousin's husband from Ghana has black, shiny coal black skin, and it is exquisite!  I have yet to meet anyone with whiter skin than mine (though I have yet to meet an albino) and I think it is gorgeous!  My daughter's cafe con leche skin is breathtaking!  The unending variety of physical features fascinates me, from the pure Nordic features of two of my grandparents to the mulatto features of my niece.  I love interracial mixing because it gives rise to so many new features!  I also love "purebred" crosses because the "classic" combinations can be lovely!  In my mind, physical features of all kinds are to be celebrated, for their beauty and unique-ness!  I always make a point of telling people what I see is beautiful.  And if it is the result of a specific race, well, why ignore or avoid that?  My daughter's peaches-and-brown sugar complexion is from her Mexican daddy!  Precious!  And my hair-of-a-thousand-reds is from my Scottish ancestors!  Wonderful!  I'm not ashamed of being Norwegian, Irish, Scottish, Bavarian, Alsatian, Cornish, and Slovakian!  I love how those ethnicities make me look!  And I'm not ashamed of my husband's Mexican mestizo looks!  And why deny that our physical features come from our ethnicity?  The various ethnicities of this world are all so fascinating and worthy of pride...why not express this fascination and pride through admiration of their physical expression in our faces and bodies?  Beautiful, beautiful variety, LOVE IT!  Wear your features (which come from your race) with pride, and admire those of everyone else! 

 

I like this post, though some of the verbiage makes me uncomfortable.

 

I don't think our differences are shameful nor need to be ignored or pushed aside.  I think they are interesting and beautiful. 

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