Why do people expect a perfect and equal blend of both parents in mixed race children? They expect a certain look and when it’s not apparent, they ask why.
Although our babies are only 8 and 10 months old, we’ve both already experienced intrigue and assumption when it comes to the colour of our babies skin.
Amelia is mixed race (half Jamaican) and her partner is white, British. Arlo is very fair in complexion with blue eyes and blonde hair, taking after daddy in the looks department.
Jodie is white, British and her partner is black British (Jamaican descendant). Jax is also fair in complexion with brown eyes and light brown/blonde hair, just like his mama.
Both of us have noticed that when we are out and about as a family we’re becoming increasingly stared at and even approached by people who can’t help but comment about the fact that our babies are indeed “very fair” and they then typically look at us and our partners to make an assumption of what our sons probably should look like.
Of course we know it’s all very normal for people to comment on who the baby looks like, the mum or the dad… but this isn’t about that.
Instead of asking what the boy’s names are, how old they are, the ice breaker (or not as it may be) is usually a comment about their skin colour.
Mothers at soft play have approached Jax’s daddy and highlighted the very fact that Jax is “very pale” in comparison to him. It is usually the first thing they mention upon seeing them both together as father and son (a great conversation starter right?)
Amelia has the same situation when out and about with Arlo. Whenever she is out in a social situation with Arlo she almost always has someone comment on the fact Arlo is very fair with the old “he must really take after his dad then” to follow. She also agrees that when they are out as a family with Arlo’s dad, she is always greeted with confused and intrigued expressions.
Although we’ve yet to experience anything directly racist as mothers of mixed race babies, but with the way the world is still, we are both expecting it one day and isn’t that sad? I don’t think any of these people mean to inflict any harm when commenting (we hope) but in the long run it may actually be harmful. Especially if our boys are questioned as they get older about their skin colour. For us as parents it’s a bit tiring having to entertain these conversations about our mixed race child’s skin colour, especially when it’s almost always a conversation starter. I guess what we’re struggling to answer is, why it has got to be at the forefront of people’s minds when they see us?
Someone else who is all too familiar with this is Lauren, Educating Mummy, mum of two boys Milo and Oscar.
This is what Lauren (@educatingmummy) had to say about it:
“Unfortunately, we as a family have been subject to so much ignorance about the difference between the boys’ skin tones, hair colour and eye colour- similar to Ameila and Jodie. People constantly compare and contrast what the boys look like and that really grates on me. People have suggested that I have had an affair with a white English man and this must be why Oscar has blue eyes and blonde hair. People have asked us if both of the boys have the same dads on many occasions. People used to be obsessed with Oscar’s blonde hair and blue eyes.
To begin with it really got my back up as I could not believe the audacity of some people. How could people be so obviously rude to us? Why did people feel that they could comment and message me so directly about this. I used to try to justify it with comments such as Miles is technically mixed race, my dad is mixed too and he has blue eyes, Miles’s Mum is mixed race too and has green eyes. 4/6 of Oscar’s and Milo’s Parents and Grandparents have either blue or green eyes- why could it not be possible that he has blue eyes?
Then I took a step back and I have to be realistic. I have to be prepared for silly comments as I have an open profile, a few followers and I post a lot in regards to the boys. Thankfully as the boys are getting older, people are realising how much the boys do look a like. But I do still get negative comments. But instead of shouting from the rooftops, I delete it and block them.
In reality (real life), I get asked if the boys have the same Dad and I just outright blank them. Because nobody got time for that anymore. Does it matter if they do or don’t? And why is it your business anyway? I often see people staring at us and I see people whispering. I just try to put that down to having cute kids. But sometimes, when bystanders hear both of the boys calling me Mummy, I do hear “oh I did see that in the news before, twins born with completely different skin tones, it does happen.” Even when we was in Jamaica, some of the staff asked if the boys had the same mums, that was new.
I am hoping as the boys get older, they are not questioned about their difference in looks because I do not want them to feel that they need to look a certain type of way because of their ethic background. They can’t help being the way they are and people should leave them to be happy.
Is that too much to ask for?
P.S. It would really throw a spanner in if our next kid came out with ginger hair right?!”
Lauren has discussed this subject in more detail on her own blog and you can read her post here.
Jodie & Amelia x