• Wed, Jul 31 2013

10 Things You Should Never Say To The Parent Of A Mixed Race Child

I have two kids. They are mixed race. They get their Greek and Italian roots from me and their African American, Laotian and American Indian roots from their father. Consequently, people say a lot of weird things to us.

To be fair, people may very well say weird things to all mothers. But these are some things that strangers or casual acquaintances have said to me that I have found to be pretty problematic. My friends can say whatever the hell they want – I have no problem with that. But strangers annoy me when they say the following things.

1. “What color do you think he’ll be?”

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This was asked of me several times when I was pregnant. I always found it very odd. I guess I have heard people say things like, I wonder if he’ll get his father’s red hair? before and never thought it was too strange. I just really never knew how to respond to this question. It’s not like my husband and I spent hours in front of the Sherman-Williams paint palette sheets at Home Depot, pontificating about which shade of beige, tan, or brown our child would be. I was usually just the asshole that said, skin color.

2. “You should do (insert hairstyle here) to his hair.”

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Oh, the amount of unsolicited advice a white mother with mixed race children gets about their kid’s hair is unbelievable. I’ve had women stop me on the street and recommend a variety of products to tame my child’s frizz. I had a woman at a restaurant actually put olive oil on my child’s head. I’m not kidding. It somehow doesn’t occur to anyone that I actually like the way my child’s hair looks. I’m not blind.

3. “I thought he would be darker!”

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Um, okay. I never know how to respond to this. This one is right up there with He’s so cute! He looks nothing like you! I’m sure all parents can relate to that one.

4. “Are you the nanny?”

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This has never happened to me, but it happened to a close friend of mine, who also has a mixed race child, all of the time. She would constantly have women come up to her at the park, asking if she had time to take on another charge because she interacted with the child in her care so well. She told me she would just look at them, shake her head and walk away.

5. “Mixed babies are the cutest!”

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Aren’t all babies cute? Well, maybe not. Obviously I agree that my child is ridiculously adorable, but something about having to point out that he is mixed is a little strange to me. I’m not sure that I would ever say, Asian babies are the cutest! to an Asian mother. Those words just wouldn’t feel right coming out of my mouth.

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  • ndk13

    Why did you mix ? It goes against nature !

    • Just why

      Says who you moron? We’re all humans. Why are you even here on this post just to say that or are yo curious? I think the latter.

  • ndk13

    races should never !!!!! Mix , period !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Noni

    White women have mixed raced babies specifically for the genes… They may aswell visit a black men sperm bank!! lol

    Seen it enough times!!

    Also black women do it too, to be fair..

  • Kenneth Garfinkel

    I agree with your opinion that every baby is cute in the eye of his mother. But I’m still afraid of the psychological problems the mixed children may face. I observe that they probably suffer the confusion of self-identify and be alienated by certain people.I just write a article about this topic and I want to share with you, I would like to receive your opinion after you read it. The url is :

    http://www.interracialpeopledating.com/warning-right-efforts-to-educate-your-children-after-interracial-marriage/

  • LB

    Try to enjoy the attention…almost 99% of it is in good faith, even if the person asking isn’t as familiar with familial blending. I’ve been asked “what are you?” more times than I can count, and get it almost weekly. With the right point of view, it’s kind of flattering, because you’re noteworthy to that person. I’d be hard pressed to call ‘racism’ on someone who asks ‘where did you get that hair’ or complexion, etc. I think we throw ‘racism’ around a bit too light-heartedly these days.

  • Brittany

    Growing up a redhead I feel is sort of similar to mixed race.. I’m the only person in my family with red-hair and always looked like an odd ball or maybe just a friend of my sisters.. We were asked several times if I was adopted, who my dad was, was it infidelity? Along with the many stares and comments about how redhaired babies are the cutest and will it turn brown when I get older? Also the incessant TOUCHING of my hair! I used to hide it under a blanket and not take pictures with my family because of this. I still have an adversion to people to this day because as a ginger with no soul my right for personal space is negated and anybody can just touch my hair. Its infuriating.

    • Just why

      I am so scared my kid will be a redhead. Omg

  • Jacqueline Ramirez

    I have a mixed kid and so is my mother mixed.. I have heard too much sh!t from people….one person said to me….why is your mother skin gold…..lol….I was like wtf do you mean? then she said to me are you sure that’s your biological mother?…I couldn’t stop shaking my head. After my child was born…lots of people at hospital would ask me…where’s her (my daughter’s ) mother….Cause my daughter she’s very light and her hair is very silky even up to now. Anyway Another time i was going on boat trip to Denmark, I came a cross a woman we talked a bit, then she told me that “I hope you have her birth certificate or documents” cause if you’re being stopped at the boarder, they might suspect you as a kidnapped. so make sure you have the document closer by. Unbelievable how people stupid can be.

  • Sezgi

    What is accomplished by diluting the meaning of “racism” so much? The only truly non-racist person is one who is not conscious at all about his/her own “race” nor that of others. There are very few people who fit the bill on that one. And, it remains to be seen that fitting such a definition is “good” in the first place — how can ignorance of societal/historical facts be something to strive for? Rather, race, like anything else, is a piece of information. It is an often misunderstood and always over-loaded piece of information, especially in the West. But equating “benevolent racism” of complimenting a “mixed” baby to his “White” mother with the kind of truly deplorable racism that gave rise to KKK and the Nazi party is disingenuous.

    The fact is, as everyone knows, people will say anything while enthralled by the cuteness of a baby. I know I have said “I want to adopt a Nigerian baby” when amazed by the hugest cheeks and eyes, and softest skin I have ever come across (with a skin tone that indeed looks edible like chocolate). I have also at various times been in love with the look (including how they look back at you) of an East Asian baby, South Asian baby, Mexican baby, European baby, and many Middle Eastern babies (whatever “race” they may be!). Does that mean that I just switched what kind of racist I was at various times?

    As for “mixed race” kids, yes they are interesting to be sure, usually making my eyes quite happy from surprise, though we are all of “mixed race” actually. Case in point: I would LOVE to touch the hair and pinch the cheeks of the boy in the photo of the first comment. I wouldn’t do so (or I would to give him $1), but his fiery afro atop chubby speckled cheeks definitely do make my eyes laugh a little bit. So cute! If “mixed race kids are so cute” happens to come out of my mouth when seeing such a combination, well, call me racist of insensitive or whatever.

    Myself being Turkish and my SO Iranian, does that also mean we have some kind of “inferiority” complex because we complement some statistical features of non-Middle Eastern folks? Or, might it be that we are coming from such a mixed part of the world to begin with that we genuinely embrace diversity?

    In fact, although my family is from Central Anatolia, I have gotten all kinds of questions about “where are you from” with guesses ranging from Northwestern Europe to South American to Afghanistan to “half Japanese” and on another occasion “half Indian” (both Indian Indian and American Indian). I have even been thought to be part African American by one elderly African American man during a particularly tan summer. Only other Near Easterners have some skill at honing in on where I’m from, as they regularly get wild guesses too. My SO can pass for a South American or a mixed white/black person with his adorable afro, color, and height, though he is actually technically Caucasian (as in “from the Caucasus” literally, north of Iran).

    The fact is that everyone is meta-racial, everyone is “mixed race”. Everyone is also originally originally from Africa, a continent housing the greatest range of skin tone and bone structure than anywhere else combined. And, diversity in a population is good. These are scientific. The rest is just cultural, historical, and “identity” based. But the important issues regarding the identities of those who descend from historically oppressed minorities is only superficially dismissed here. What is more offensive, really?

    The fact that the writer of the article is giving rules on what to never say to a “mixed race child” in particular whereas some of those rules APPLY TO ALL CHILDREN PERIOD expresses her own extreme awareness about the mixed race-ness of her kid. Why should one especially not touch the hair of mixed race children rather than all children (in the U.S., at least — in other countries such attention is completely expected)? The underlying claim is that mixed race kids will be far likelier to have their hair touched, race-based cuteness emphasized, or to be subject to the “What is he?” than other kids. Does the writer really think that “pure race” (again: whatever that means!) children don’t get asked “What is he?” a lot?

    People comment on how much a child does or does not look like one of his/her parents all the time, regardless of how mixed or pure the race is — again, even associating this with the mixed-ness of the baby’s race is actually racist too! I joke to a friend that his kid looks nothing like him — is he sure of the paternity? Of course I wouldn’t make this joke to a stranger, but there is some humor involved in all of that (given that the parent has an iota of self-confidence). What arises from the union of two people is a curiosity period.

    The idea that there is a special set of “well meaning but actually offensive” things that apply especially to so called “mixed race” kids but not other kids is in itself already a “racist” mindset. No, not the kind of malevolent racism that is actually dangerous, but a great hypocrisy and slight dishonesty at best.

  • Sade

    In regards to #10, it’s not just your baby. My baby is English, German, Norwegian, French, Scottish, Irish – blond – and people, mostly Mexicans are always trying to touch her. It’s the weirdest thing. Why would you touch a strange baby? My mother in law said she had the same problem when my husband was a baby.

  • Mr.realist

    don’t know how your approach is but..I think folks who ask these kinds of questions should jump in front of a goddamn train…that is all

  • tk88

    Most of these are inappropriate, but you can’t really blame people for not knowing if you’re really the mother. While you think it’s stupid because you KNOW they’re your children and may have similar physical features you’re aware of…strangers aren’t. I’m sure these things can get frustrating when you hear them again and again, but they’re not being purposely offensive or ignorant. After all, I’ve taken care of/worked with children of several different races and plenty of people have assumed I’m their mother or correctly asked if I am.

  • Crmy Coco

    Most of these “aberrations” could be applied to any child–particularly unusually attractive children–and are not necessarily confined to mixed race children. Get over it. Get a sense of humor and use the incidents as teaching moments instead of clutching the pearls of white woman indignation. If you don’t want your children to be noticed, cover them with scarves. Honestly, I’ve seen some ugly mixed race children and wondered what the heck went wrong! lol Consider yourself lucky if yours came out looking good. lol

  • Gdk

    Nigger lover

    • Momoko

      Maggot lover

  • maz

    I insulted my ex’s child on his black and white side. She got all offended and threatened legal action.

    • iamone99

      Just a n igger, he will lose in a lawsuit.

  • Momoko

    As a mixed-race Japanese/Black woman, I have had it pretty much to here with random Caucasian strangers asking to touch my hair.

    I am even angrier at the ones who DO NOT ASK, AND TOUCH ANYWAY.

    Seriously… I can’t go shopping, get groceries, buy gasoline, or do anything in public, without some white stranger stepping up with a big wide goofy smile and their hand stretching towards me and then doing something completely horrible.

    Why do Afros make white people think you’re their dog and they can pet you? WTF?

    • ElleJai

      I hope you meet more white people with better manners in future. The ones you’ve come across so far sound like they need to be put on an island away from normal people.

    • iamone99

      Cuz it’s weird and not right.

  • Anna

    Who the hell would say half this shiite to anyone’s kid regardless of race. These questions are incredibly rude.

  • izzy

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  • izzy

    now you cant stop reading or else you will die post this to 100 other walls or else demon zozo will find you and drag you down to hell

  • Mooch

    This is brilliant! I’m a 20 year old mixed race girl and I’ve heard people ask my parents these sort of things all my life. Even now, random strangers come up to me and put their fingers through my ringlets!

  • a girl

    I don’t think the people who asks these questions mean to offend or even upset you. I am 13 and mixed race and when people ask, I answer. They are probably just curious. In this world, you do not come across a mixed race everyday…

  • a girl

    And to those people saying “Mixed race people are the cutest!”. I would barely find it racist. My cousin (Who is black) said she wants to be mixed race (like me), but my friend (Who is white) also said she would love to be mixed. I just think its people’s opinions, they is no need to fret over someones dream race…

    • iamone99

      Your friend is a liar.

  • me

    Im sorry, but why can we all be just honest and say that in general, no one Really likes seeing interracial couples-period, for one reason of another. No one is at home, hoping for an interracial couple parade. When people see these couples, most people are either confused, upset, repelled or some combination in between. My husband and I are both black, but his daughters mother is white. He Never even considered marrying her, but Ive had to ask, “What did he see in her? Why was he ever with her?” and honestly, other than the sex-there was no real good reason. -Sorry.

    • iamone99

      Your huusband likes mud sharks. Sick.

  • Buffy

    Oh damn,people can’t be THIS stupid!? I feel sorry for everyone who has to listen to such a crap!

  • iamone99

    Coal burner.

    • iamone99

      Sickening

  • MsC

    “4. “Are you the nanny?” does this happen to your black friend? Just curious. Most people are just ignorant of the fact that some of these behaviours, comments and sometimes curiosity stems from systemic racism, which is why they are so bothersome. It little different depending on which parent is black, (it’s likely far less shocking for the black parent I assure you), but for the kids it’s all intrusive. I like posts like this because it stops people and causes them to consider these things, like “would I want to be touched by a stranger?” Ya know, basic human courtesy and the like.

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  • D W

    I am more or less 100% white, but when I had long straight hair (to my waist) complete strangers would come up behind me and start braiding it. As a very private, introverted person, it freaked me right the heck out. And it killed me when they would act offended when I politely asked them not to do that.

  • kittymom

    My sister has the curliest hair out of my siblings (3 others). We are all “white”. People would always touch her hair, much to my sister’s and mother’s distress. Like, HOW WEIRD is that!! If she was an adult, would you touch her head!? People are incredibly thoughtless.

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  • cosmic girl

    Yeah just shut the fuck up haters, uneducated and racist.

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