At the heart of it I love interracial relationships. I think there is something pleasingly peculiar about the union of two people you wouldn’t expect to connect based on their skin color (and presumed cultural background). I look at some interracial couples and can’t help but be intrigued, wondering how they met and what common ground they find in each other. Many interracial couples have the added pressure of receiving all kinds of grief from people who don’t think they should be together based on their races, and I think that it’s kind of cool for a couple to decide to deal with this, when they could avoid it by simply choosing to be with someone within their race. I’ve described the combined preceding as pretty ‘gangsta.’
[I'm not saying that interracial relationships are better or more honorable than any other]There have been a couple random stretches of weeks or months when I’ve been attracted to the idea of being in an interracial relationship; I’d see a couple on the street or get to watching IR videos on Youtube and be like ‘Oh yes’.
But for the most part, my personal attitude about interracial dating has usually been that I am not particularly seeking to date outside my race, but I would have absolutely no issue with doing so if that’s how the chips were to fall. However, I have felt a gradual change in recent years. In the past, whenever I’d get the urge to scope out the pool on dating sites, I’d include most (if not all) races of guys in my search results. In my own profile I’d indicate that the ethnicity of my matches wasn’t important.
But these days whenever I call myself looking through dating sites I find myself checking the “black” box only, uninterested in seeing profiles of any other. I can’t pinpoint when I started doing this, but I think it’s been a result of a growing concern I have. These days I am still open to other races and I don’t envision myself ever rejecting someone just because they are not black, but today I’m more inclined to say that I actually do have a preference for black men. The overriding reason being that if I were to ever procreate, I don’t think I want mixed kids.
I don’t really mean that how it sounds, but I do. It’s not that I have anything against biracial or multi-racial children. If I were to have them, I would not be embarrassed or ashamed of them or feel like I did anything wrong. I am not all that concerned about comments from the racist and I’m not too worried about them trying to figure out where they belong.[For the purposes of this post, when I say 'mixed' or 'biracial' I mean children with one black (or mostly black) parent and a non-black parent]
In the past, I had no reservations, whatsoever, about possibly having a biracial kid. I think on some level I felt like I’d be proud to have biracial children, them being evidence of my ‘gangsta’ awesome relationship and beliefs about racial equality. But I hate the way (black) people tend to view biracial/mixed people and now I think about how this disgust may affect my own hypothetical biracial children.
I am most concerned about my own capability to raise well-balanced biracial children with healthy self-esteem.
Genetics can flip the script and a biracial kid can possibly come out looking totally one race or the other, but more than likely that child is going to be a middle combination of their parents with the ‘typical’ mixed kid phenotype–lighter skin, curly hair, possibly lighter colored eyes.
I can’t stand how (some-many) black people can hear news of a black person dating a non-black person or having a biracial kid on the way and comment that the child is going to be so pretty, with no consideration of what the parents look like. All they know is the child will likely be light skinned with loosely-textured hair and as far as they are concerned, that’s beauty.
I realize this is a result of historical conditioning and brainwashing, and I understand it . I used to be the same way before I turned 18. I felt it a compliment to be described as light-skinned (which I’m not) and I wouldn’t flinch at someone talking about ‘good’ hair or their disdain for someone whose skin is just ‘too black.’ I know that everyone just can’t ‘see the light’, so to speak but it really gets on my nerves.
Some black people act like being less black makes for a better quality negro. Like diluting out the black makes for a prettier and smarter person, as if being black is an unfortunate state of being that requires fixing. And it’s funny how with other races it’s the opposite….if their child wants to have a kid with a black person, it’s an embarrassment and a shameful downgrade. And black people go ga-ga over the privilege of having some non-black blood in their bloodline because the kids will be so pretty (read: less black). I think something is wrong with that.
The implied suggestion that a black person cannot achieve a pretty child unless with the “help” of a non-black person should be insulting. As if a black person has little to no beauty to offer a child and is incapable of producing beauty with another black person. Most black people are not light-skinned, and to be so proud or excited about having a mixed kid just because he/she will not look ‘that’ black, seems kind of off to me. Your skin is dark and your hair is nappy (and i don’t say that in a derogatory way), but you’re so happy that your kid doesn’t look like YOU or have those features you have. I don’t think that’s right.
No black child should feel like they aren’t cute or as worthy as a biracial child and that’s what black people tend to teach their children even if they don’t say it directly.
I could go on and on, but that’s not the point of this particular post.
What I just wrote about gets under my skin, something fierce. When I overhear discussions about how someone has such ‘good’ hair or how pretty someone’s kids are going to turn out because they are biracial or how some mixed person is a golden prize, I seriously have to leave the room or plug in some earphones. I can’t handle it. It pisses me off.
But considering the above, I seriously question my ability to raise a biracial child to feel confident and happy about who they are, while expressing my annoyance and anger about the self-hate black people have. I don’t even have kids and it affects me so much…I can only imagine how I’d feel when it comes to ‘compliments’ concerning my own hypothetical children.
One time I was in line at the grocery store holding the baby of a friend. The baby was black and had looser-textured hair. A black older lady behind me kind of cooed at the baby and said that she had some ‘pretty’ hair. I guess the appropriate response would have been ‘thank you’, but I didn’t know how to respond because my immediate thoughts go to what I explained above.
My hypothetical mixed children will notice that I bristle when I hear certain conversations describing them (or biracial people in general) positively because of their appearance. They will see that I refuse to acknowledge typical ‘compliments’ (black) people may give them and that I’ll get weird and uncomfortable instead of agreeing and building them up, too.
And I also should mention that I have a super color-struck mother and she has to watch what she says with me because her comments can ruin my day. My mother uses the phrase “bettering the race” to describe a black person who reproduces with a non-black person. She’d love any grandchild, but I know that having a biracial one would make her feel like she won a million dollars. Having to deal with her showing off and revering my hypothetical biracial kids would eat at me inside.
My kids will see me get so upset and if they are anything like me they will internalize all of that and wonder why they were born if I don’t ‘like’ biracial people and they may think I hate them because I’m jealous or because they aren’t more black.
And they’ll hate me for making them feel like they have to downplay their greatness, beauty and excellence. (Even though I’d never have my kids stay down a notch, they might take it that way).
It may seem that I’m over-analyzing things, but it is very, very important to me that my future children feel like I’m the one person who adores them and thinks that they are beautiful, smart and awesome, if no one else does. I know first-hand how frustrating and sad it is to lack that parental emotional support and affirmation, and I wouldn’t ever want my children to feel like that on my account.
I think it would be a huge challenge for me to raise biracial kids who are comfortable in their own skin and confident, while at the same time sending the message that they are not a step above black people, as society would have them to believe.
I think I’d have an easier time teaching a child to be black and proud. I feel like with a black child I’d instill that they are beautiful and to appreciate and delight in what makes them black despite what society says….while with a biracial kid I feel like I’d be kind of shooting down the praise that society already gives them, which could be confusing and screw her/him up. I feel like I’d have to go along with the current to preserve their self-perception and I don’t think I can do that. I think it would be hard to make them understand that they are beautiful because they are, and because they are mine, and not just because they look less ‘black’.
Then, not to mention how people will look at me and think I just wanted “pretty” kids or practically commend me for even being able to pull a non-black guy, considering how undesirable black women are and everything (/ sarcasm) . I think it would be just too much for me and I don’t know if I could see myself being a happy person when I’d encounter the ignorance way more than I do now.
Although it’s something I’m concerned about, I don’t see myself excluding a guy based on race. But still, I’m not going out of my way to do it.
Disclaimer #1: I’m not saying that biracial people are not beautiful. Just that there’s beauty (and ugly) in any racial combination and that black features/traits aren’t what makes someone less than.
Disclaimer #2: I’m not saying that ALL black people color-struck, but a good many of them are.
Do you have that same fear about having biracial children? If you have biracial children and you feel the way I do about color-struckedness, how do you handle comments or discussions that are intended to be positive, but a product of self-hate?
This is guest post from Bronj: