So, I’m coming at you with a new series exploring race, the challenges of racial identity and what it means to be mixed race through small excerpts of real-life encounters. Expect a lot of racial talk, real-life narrations and hopefully some opportunities to start a bit of a discussion!
First up is an observation I’ve made from social media, most notably Instagram and Twitter but I’ve also encountered it in the real world. It’s an observation of this weird obsession and fetishization of mixed babies. There are so many accounts orientated around posting pictures of adorable little brown babies with sandy coloured hair and light coloured eyes. I can totally agree; these babies are beautiful and do look like the majority of my very own family, however, I can’t help but note how problematic this can be for the black community and also mixed babies who don’t fall into this cookie cutter expectation.
The idea that caramel coloured skin, loose curls and light eyes is attractive begs the comparison that dark skin, tights curls and dark eyes are not – characteristically features of a black person. Here would be the perfect time for someone to interject and state that it also begs the comparison that light skin and straighter hair isn’t either, which would be a valid point if the similarities between this idealisation and the treatment of light skinned people pre 1835 were not so apparent. The brash preferential treatment of light skinned folk dates back to the same treatment of light skinned slaves (the result of a white slave owner raping his black possession). They were given household duties away from the hard, physical labour of the fields and were seen as better and treated more humane than their darker counterparts.
Recently I was at dinner talking about my current broodiness with some friends and one exclaimed “You and Adam would make lush babies!” (Adam, also being my mixed raced boyfriend and future Baby Daddy). As much as I’d like to think she was saying this because we are both strong 10/10s (haha!) I knew what she really meant: that our yet-to-be-conceived-children would be worthy of their own Instagram account yielding hundreds of thousands of followers for the sun-kissed tinge of their mixed heritage skin. It wasn’t said maliciously, obviously, so I couldn’t start a racial rant about how problematic a statement like this can be but it did sit with me. As a female-twenty-something, I’m getting progressively more maternal with every cute kid I encounter and so I couldn’t help but think of all the others things (other than their sun-kissed glow) that my children will have to deal with when they are finally introduced into this very confusing, paradoxical world.
It’s the clear preferential treatment these children receive over their darker relatives that irks me, but I’m not for a second saying that everyone who says “mixed babies are so cute!” is saying so from a racist perspective. I just can’t help but draw these very obvious comparisons especially when dark-skinned kids don’t get anywhere near as much love.
What do you guys think? Do you agree? Disagree? Comment below and let me know!