2007-10-18

'I love my mixed race baby - but why does she feel so alien?'


This journalist wrote an article about having a mixed race child here. She talks of how difficult it is to look at her and relate to her because she "looks different". I see why her husband and her have since split per another article. Being that I want children and in an IR relationship, I have expected my children to be biracial. I have never once thought they would feel different, or I would not be able to relate to them at all. If I am their mother, and my husband is their father that is all we need to make the family. I relate to my husband being that he is of a different race just fine. He doesn't feel "alien" at all. I wouldn't expect my child, my own flesh and blood to be either. Why would she write such drivel? Is she not concerned her child might one day find this article and read it as she learns her mother feels distant from her?

She's getting very dark, isn't she?" This is what one of my friends recently said about my much adored - 12-week-old daughter.

She didn't mean to be rude. But it was a comment that struck me with the force of a jab to the stomach.

Immediately, I was overwhelmed by a confusion of emotions. I felt protective, insulted, worried, ashamed, guilty, all at once. The reason? My lovely, wriggly, smiley baby is mixed race.


Why is it an insult to say a child is getting darker? Why are you guilty or ashamed of your own child? Are you guilty or ashamed of your spouse who you laid down with to make this child? How dare you have shame because your baby is dark skinned, I am sure by virtue of the father she looks ten times better than you. Dark does not equal ugly, why would this woman think this way?

Into this positively Scandinavian next generation, I have now injected a tiny, dark-skinned, dark-haired girl. To say she stands out is an understatement.

So what she looks different from your lily white Scandinavian looking family, she is probably the most beautiful person in your family, and it seems her skin tone and hair color is an inconvenience.

One reason for my fear is my own mixed reactions to my daughter. Don't get me wrong, I love her. She is the child I didn't think I'd have after my first marriage broke up. She is the only granddaughter in our family and we all dote on her.

But when I turn to the mirror in my bedroom to admire us together, I am shocked. She seems so alien. With her long, dark eyelashes and shiny, dark brown hair, she doesn't look anything like me.

I know that concentrating on how my daughter looks is shallow. She is a person in her own right, not an accessory to me. But still, I can't shake off the feeling of unease.

I didn't realise how much her looking different would matter and, on a rational level, I know it shouldn't. But it does.

Evolution demands that we have children to pass on our genes, hence the sense of pride and validation we get when we see our features reappearing in the next generation.

With my daughter, I don't have that. Do black fathers who marry white women and then have paler-skinned children feel my sense of loss? Or maybe Chinese mothers or Middle-Eastern grandparents grieve when they see a child they know to be their own, but whose features don't reflect that?


You have an aversion to mixed race children, but yet you made one. Of course the child looks like you, she is just a darker version, and I am sure she also looks like a lighter version of her father. Unless all his genes took over and now she is super duper Indian child. You still feel alien to a child that came out of your body. That is a completely crazy concept to me.

Even if I don't fit this profile, my daughter's difference definitely points out the fact that my children come from two different fathers.

If I wanted to pass us off as a nice, neat nuclear family, she would blow my cover at once.


Oh no your kids have different fathers. This has nothing to do with race, and rather you poor decision to procreate multiple times. If you wanted them to have the same father, get knocked up by the same man. It is so easy.....why couldn't this woman have thought of that?