On Mixed Babies

I imagine that for all pregnant women speculation about what your baby will look like is just par for the course. When you’re part of a mixed race couple, however, this speculation turns into something much more disturbing. Because, essentially, what people really want to know is how brown or how white your baby will be. The fact that it matters has become really difficult to deal with for me. I don’t necessarily think this curiosity is born of abject racism, or a even a negative or hateful place, but I also come from a culture where the whiter your features the more desirable you are overall. The rate at which I’m approached about the subject has become increasingly uncomfortable.

There’s this current fetishazation of mixed race couples (i.e. #swirl) that extends to mixed race babies. Some claim this is just a move toward acceptance: more mixed babies means more mixed race couples and I guess that’s progress for some people? The truth is, though, that all the “Oh my god, I can’t wait to see your mixed baby” comments are just plain creepy. Not to mention everything it implies. What the fuck is a mixed race baby? If my baby isn’t as mixed as is deemed desirable by today’s trends will she have to grow up with some sort of inferiority complex about that? As the Indigenous Latina child of a very white European Latina woman, I have to say, as much as it pains me, that I did. If you happen to be Latino, where colorism is an ongoing issue that the community often point blank refuses to acknowledge, the ways in which people root and wish for white babies (with holy grail light eyes!) is especially disturbing. It took me so long to appreciate my own beauty outside of a white spectrum, and I’m so afraid that my unborn baby will have to struggle with those same demons.

You have to understand, though, that when you grow up in a community where pairing up with a white person has it’s own particular catch phrase, (“mejorando la raza” or “improving the race,”) it’s difficult to not be disturbed by how much people hope our baby will have Jeremy’s blue eyes or even my mom’s green eyes. I often fall into this trap of explaining my entire lineage and the diversity of it, so people understand that this baby might look like fucking anybody. That she will be cute by virtue of the fact that she is a baby (and like, no lie, we are a cute people regardless of skin color), but that’s also tiresome. So just, please save the speculation, at least from me. It’s not charming or sweet, even when I know you intend it as such. I can’t help but wonder why people care so much, and even though intentions seem to be wholesome, where that curiosity is born from is maybe not so much.

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