"mixed kids are cuter" ?! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 158 Old 04-18-2011, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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...

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 of 158 Old 04-18-2011, 05:24 PM
 
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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

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#3 of 158 Old 04-18-2011, 09:03 PM
 
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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


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#4 of 158 Old 04-19-2011, 04:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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...

 

 

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#5 of 158 Old 04-19-2011, 04:38 AM
 
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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. 

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#6 of 158 Old 04-19-2011, 10:44 AM
 
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*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.

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#7 of 158 Old 04-19-2011, 11:01 AM
 
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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.

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#8 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 10:39 AM
 
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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"...

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#9 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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...

 


 

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#10 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 11:26 AM
 
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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.

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#11 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 11:57 AM
 
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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).  

 

 

 

 


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#12 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 12:02 PM
 
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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.

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#13 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 12:07 PM
 
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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.
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#14 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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1. a lot of racism isn't very hidden

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

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#15 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 12:11 PM
 
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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 ...


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#16 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 12:19 PM
 
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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).
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#17 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 12:23 PM
 
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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.

 

 

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#18 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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....

 

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#19 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 12:29 PM
 
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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:
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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.

 

 

 


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#20 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 12:33 PM
 
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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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#21 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh my God.


and, thank you... i know.

 


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#22 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 12:55 PM
 
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Due to television, I thought we were suppose to like white people with nice tans hence the mixed is prettiest. Frankly I'm sick of people saying I'm too pale to be pretty and I should go get cancer to look better. And it has made me very self conscious. My husband was so ashamed of being pale he went through this ridiculous stage of using every self tanner known to man. It made me so sad for him. I'm also made sick when my black friend says black is dirty and ugly.. I want to look like you. It's just all around too sad. I do think it's insulting because it's saying as a white mom you're ugly and as a black dad he's the other spectrum of ugly but hey.. at least your kids will be cute because they'll have white features on a tan body. I mean.. of course your kids are going to be cute but so are their parents! And it shouldn't matter if they are pale with a flat nose or dark with a slim nose... but just because they are them. :/

 

Hope I conveyed myself in the way that was not taken poorly by the community. I also lived in a country where the color of your skin was graded (like on your id card) and how important you were in society and what jobs you could hold (literally). Pretty demeaning and plain old stupid.

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#23 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 12:55 PM
 
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But it seems that it is *not* the case that most people feel only blonde babies are beautiful.  Posters here are getting comments on their beautiful babies of all colors.  Where then is the evidence that the comments for your (read: anyone's) baby are racially based?  They of course focus on the personal aesthetic qualities that he has (blonde hair and blue eyes), but the same person might comment just as appreciatively on another baby's quite different personal aesthetic qualities (eg dark hair and dark eyes).


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#24 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 01:01 PM
 
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Quote:
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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.

 

 



Racism is not perpetuated by speaking as though it exists, is common, or as though historically or modernly a preference for racialized features is not an equivalent to a preference for "green eyes over blue."

Where racism or the effects of racism appear is also not always intended, but that doesn't make its appearance less valid or worth commenting upon. Projecting racial neutrality onto a culture that is not racially neutral in the hopes that the projection will render race itself neutral is ... risky. At best.
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#25 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mambera View Post

But it seems that it is *not* the case that most people feel only blonde babies are beautiful.  Posters here are getting comments on their beautiful babies of all colors.  Where then is the evidence that the comments for your (read: anyone's) baby are racially based?  They of course focus on the personal aesthetic qualities that he has (blonde hair and blue eyes), but the same person might comment just as appreciatively on another baby's quite different personal aesthetic qualities (eg dark hair and dark eyes).


This misses the point entirely. We are talking about a dominate culture commenting on the "other" - either by exoticisizing 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? Is anyone in this discussion even coming from a non-white perspective? I understand that I'm coming from a privileged perspective when I talk about this topic; does anyone else?

 

 

 

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#26 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 03:06 PM
 
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I couldn't agree more with the OP.  I am a black woman with many multiracial family members.  I hear those sorts of comments all the time and cringe at the message it sends children who are not obviously mixed.  Black people continue to struggle with images of beauty that has a long history of being defined by-- the closer you are to white, the prettier you are.  My biracial family members are made to feel 'special' because of their 'exotic' features while the black children feel less than pretty because they aren't obviously mixed and people overlook their cuteness.   Both groups end up feeling badly and confused.

I have more to say but am short on time. Back later.............


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#27 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 05:06 PM
 
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 And its not racist to point this out if there are no disparaging comments about either/both/mixing races.


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.

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#28 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 06:01 PM
 
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I would just like to point out that the opposite of "cuter" is *not* "hideously ugly".  Having a personal, individual opinion that a certain person or group of people is particularly attractive to yourself does not mean you consider everyone else ugly.  Saying that it does heightens the emotion, I know, but I don't think it's fair.  I think my kids are cuter than I was, but that doesn't mean I think I was a dreadful looking baby.  I was pretty cute too.

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#29 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 06:28 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...

 


 

 

 


As an african american i understand what you are saying and what the people making those comments are unconsciously thinking.Which is basically that a child that is soley african american can't be beautiful because they are too dark or have course hair.What they fail to understand is that we come in all colors and hair textures and there is beauty to be found in all of them.Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,and love can make those with the most asthetically unpleasing feature beautiful.Perhaps the next time someone says something like that to you, you should gently remind them that there is beauty in all races whether they blend or not. It might actually put something on their mind that is not as superficial as a person's looks. 
 

 

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#30 of 158 Old 04-20-2011, 06:33 PM
 
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I think any blanket statements about race/ethnicity are problematic. It's that "always" part that really bugs me. I mean, really? "All" "mixed" kids are cuter/prettier than any other kids? What? Postitve stereotypes aren't necessarily much better than negative ones, you know? Like saying all Asians are great at math - great at math isn't a bad thing, but the generalization is. It's not treating those multi-ethnic kids as individuals, as people.

Now, as to my person experiences - I'm white, my husband is white, my kids are white. But we live in Mexico, and it's really strange. We get comments about our kids' looks every time we walk out of the house - and it's always about their white skin and blue eyes - always very complimentary, but it makes me very uncomfortable - probably because there are huge class issues here between white Mexicans and Mexicans who look like they have more indigenous heritage. I worry about the message that's being sent to my children. I will say, though, that the whole "white privilege" concept is a lot more striking to me since I moved here.
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