Reaction to “I’m Not the Nanny – Darker Mom, Lighter Baby”

My lastest HuffPo piece, “I’m Not the Nanny – Darker Mom, Lighter Baby” has received many responses, generated some interesting dialogue and been highlighted in two HuffPo Live segments (The Problem With Calling Mixed Kids More Beautiful http://huff.lv/16Cgjag  and Darker-Skinned Women With Lighter-Skinned Kids http://huff.lv/19LltRx).  I wanted to share some people’s experiences and comments.  Please feel free to check out the different feedback left here on my site as well.

From Huffington Post:

Alisha Dixon

“Though my mother and myself are “obviously” African-American, the 2 children she had with my step-father (a white man) were anything but “obvious”. What my mother and I experienced (when taking my little sister out in public) is that people almost always assumed my mother was the nanny. Very few even bothered to ask and I even remember some encounters when people criticized my mother for not doing what she was paid to do or for not acting like a good care-taker. One time a woman got in my mother’s face for yelling at my little sister, saying “what if her parents heard you talk to her like that” My mother proceeded to tell her things I cannot post on HP. We also encountered many people who literally turned up their nose when they found out she came out of my black mother. They though my sister was adorable, then when they found out she came from a black woman, it was instant disappointment. Surely she is still cute, even if you feel her breeding is questionable. Turns out, half black equals loss of cuteness.

So yes, sometimes those comments are just people being ignorant, but let me tell you that you were spared a lot of hatred because your child has 2 black parents. We have come far, but still have a ways to go.” 

allykay

“I’m mixed race and look like neither of my parents – my dad has blonde hair and blue eyes and my mom is chinese, but her skin is very dark. I look latina. My parents got married just so that it would be easier to travel with kids who look nothing like them. Once, while having dinner with my father, the waitress thought we were on a date!!! He’s only 45 years older than me! She thought I was his mistress or something. So awkward. My friend (white) married an east indian man and her daughter is very dark. She is constantly asked when/where she “got her”. She always bluntly responds “when she came out of my birth canal”. It’s kind of hilarious, and sometimes frustrating, but you just have to roll with it. Plenty of people look nothing like their parents, regardless of race. It’s just the wonders of genetics! I can’t wait to see what my kids might look like (one day). They’ll be four different races!”

LibAsinErtarian

“How often are you confusing simple surprise, or curiosity, with racism?

As a Grandfather of a mixed race Grandson I’ve seen it. I’m white, but if I have him with me I get looks, and so does my daughter. When his Dad has him he gets looks as well since my Grandson is much lighter. Yes, I’m sure some from ALL races may have some issue, but most are simply comparing and in their own minds trying to figure it out, even if they have no issue with the answer.

We’ve ended up with a mixed race family where the Grandparents on both sides all get along great, jokes from BOTH sides, and 100% tolerance. We love them, they love us, and none of us cares if we get an odd look at times.

Love your son, teach him to be proud of himself and where he came from, and get off the paranoia unless someone directly discriminates or makes hurtful comments. You’ll both be better off.”

Angela Gray (in response)

“I have seen a cross section of reactions and had numerous encounters with people that prompted this piece for me (all of which could not completely be captured in the blog). I have received looks in the past regarding who I have dated, been friends with and while being with my mixed race brothers or my Grandmothers (one white and one light-skinned). We joke, we laugh, we love, we attempt to educate (at times) but again – I just was not thinking about encountering this with my child.

For me, I do not see it as paranoia and there have been hurtful comments. Life is full of processes and processing. These are my thoughts while I process. In the end, what does matter is my child, the people I love and those who love me. Thanks for sharing.”

LibAsinErtarian (in response)

“Hurtful comments are simply wrong, no matter the cause.

Hang in there though. A brunette may also be often asked things like “Are you sure he’s the dad”, when the child is blonde. Let it go.

Otherwise, congrats on the kid 🙂 If all else fails give him/her to a grandparent to spoil, hehe. We’re good at that part of our job!

Otherwise, my apology as well. I think I read at least a little more into your blog than you had intended.”

Robert S Cary

“For a little background, I am as white as can be, my fathers family is anglo-saxon/white english. My mothers parents were both from great britain, her mother was born in scotland, and her father in england. My wife’s mother was english and irish. Her father was from mexico. My oldest son has brown eyes and dark hair, with somewhat olive skin. My middle son is very anglo/saxon looking. My daughter is also quite white. Oldest son married someone white. Their oldest daughter is blonde blue-eyed, the second one is brown eyed with dark brown hair and olive tone to her skin. Their third child is a blue eyed brunette. The fourth one is blonde blue eyes. My middle son married a woman of mixed race, her mother is african-american, and her father is of german descent. Their one son looks like he could be hispanic. I do not know if there has been any incidents related to this mix of ancestry. I do hope that none of my grandchildren encounter any racism. I am not sure if as a society we have gotten to the point where this will not happen, but hope springs eternal. There is a saying I try to follow, “what you think of me, is none of my business”. Maybe some day in the not too distant future our society will live up to Dr. Kings dream of judging people by their character and not their skin color.”
.
“I know exactly where are you coming from even though I am white. With me it’s my accent, my son does not look very much like me and when I open my mouth and they hear my accent, they immediately decide that I am a nanny from Russia. I actually had people ask me how much do I charge, you know, for nannying.

I used to get incredibly offended, but now I just don’t care. Some people are plain hopeless, so don’t waste your time on them.”

AhalanMoon

“My husband is Asian. I am white. The strangest thing happened to me when I took our first child out, after he was born. Strangers would come up to me and ask “When did you get him?”

The first time this happened, I didn’t have any idea what they were talking about. I mean, I carried that baby inside of my body for 9 months…it never occurred to me that people would think he was not mine!
When I gathered my wits, after that first question I replied that my husband is Asian. And I am not even exaggerating when I say that this question was asked of me, by complete strangers, so many times over the next few years that I can’t even count. And it’s the rudest thing ever…who goes up to a complete stranger and asks them, about their baby/child “When did you get him?””

lucybu

“My Italian & American Indian mother and African American & Cuban father experienced the same thing with my sibling & I. Us 2 Asian looking kids just had to be adopted ’cause there was “no way” we were biologically their children. That was over 40 years ago. Says a lot about how far we’ve come as a society, or the lack thereof, doesn’t it?”
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7 comments on “Reaction to “I’m Not the Nanny – Darker Mom, Lighter Baby”

  1. I am Jamaican and Honduran. My husband, Puerto Rican and Portuguese. Although we have more races within us these are the four main one’s that I’ll mention because its a long list (for both sides). My husband and I have been together for 10 years prior to having our son and we have experienced the stares, the rolling eyes, the comments, and the frowns throughout our time together. Amazingly, it was not so much from those with lighter skin complexion but those with a dark skin complexion such as my own at least from our experiences. I don’t understand why people find it so awkward, and I can’t comprehend what the big deal is. Love is love and that’s all there is to it. I did forget to mention that we do get some, “Ah, its great to see another mixed couple” stares from other mixed couples as well. It’s sad really, like we are some type of oddity. But anyway, since we had our son, whom is now 2, the stares are worse but split. Half of the stares we get is of disgust and the other half of wonder and curiosity. Makes me laugh to see how backwards we are as a people to still find mixed couples with mixed children looked upon like a freak show. Oh, and of course, “is that your son?” comments. Like really? To me of course not to my husband even though he is lighter than our son. I even had a relative look at my son with a disgusted face when he was born and say, “oh that is definitely your husbands son,” wow. Needless today I do no talk to that relative anymore. I just surround myself with open minded people instead. Honestly, to me, it appears as if our society has not grown up at all.

  2. AngelR says:

    I am a white woman with blonde hair and blue eyes and my husband is african american. We have a daughter and a son and my son looks hispanic, but my daughter looks more african american. A grocery store clerk had the audacity to ask me is they had the “same babies daddy”. Ignorance!

  3. RachelD says:

    I also got to overhear “your nanny is here to pick up you” said to my daughter. Even in the hospital when she was born, the nurse didn’t want to give me my baby. She double checked twice! ( I guess that would be 4 times). People still assume that marriage between different races is an anomaly. I feel like the younger generation, however, is getting better at acceptance.

    Meanwhile, when my other daughter who is now 20 and looks more African American is out with my husband, people think she is looking for a sugar daddy. Ignorance prevails unfortunately.

  4. Tracey says:

    Im glad to know im not alone on this topic. I am a white woman and my husband is black, we have 2 little girls. When my oldest daughter was born one of the nurses actually asked if he was the father!! Its been almost 5 yrs since that, and it still bothers me. People stare at my kids when im not with my husband, and wonder how a white woman could have those color kids. Ive been asked if im the nanny, or worse yet, if they are my “real“ kids. Thank goodness I have a few mixed race couple friends who can relate, but other than that im alone on this. It doesn’t seem to bother my husband as much as it bothers me.

  5. liz says:

    First of all thank you for starting this dialogue! It’s time we all became one race: human. I’m Irish-Italian,(white is a color not a race)my son’s father is what people would call a black-man, from Brasil, though his skin is more mahogany or cherry purple. Anyway, our kid together came out what people call white, though his skin is more the color of a golden brown marsh-mellow, with sandy blonde hair and green eyes. I guess the Irish in me met the somewhere along the line of genes”Irish” in him and we had a green-eyed kid. But the questions when people would meet my kid’s dad and see that he’s black..so rude, “So is he the biological father?” What I wanted to say is: “Are you asking me if I’m a lying whore who got pregnant by another man and am passing this kid off to this poor dope just so he can have a dad?” Wow. The ignorance of some people. But what I do say is yes. Genetics really is a crap shoot isn’t it. It’s worse for my Ex- who is dark and the kid’s light since people know right away and stare. Except my kid looks exactly like his dad, only a lighter version and still color is the only thing people can see. My two cents thrown in too. thanks again for the blog and a chance to talk about this.

  6. Truth is, who cares? My son, who ended up dark like me, was light-skinned and curly haired when he was born. I have children who are light, dark and in between. I have a light skinned, green eyed blond haired grandchild and a dark skinned brown eyed, brown eyed grandchild and four more in between. I love them all with all my heart.
    My brother, a career Air Force man, who has a caucasian father, married a wonderful woman from Great Britain. In the 70s, they came to America to visit, bringing with them their two sons, one of whom was brown haired and grey eyed, the other red haired with freckles. They both looked like ‘wt’ children, but they both instantly fell in love with their dark skinned aunt (me!). I took them to the park, and was approached by one of my high school classmates, who asked ‘Whose white babies are you mammying for now?’, to which I promptly replied, “My brother’s”.
    We’ve put so much emphasis on ‘color’ in this country that we’ve ignored the most important part of a person….their character and the condition of their heart.
    I am happy to report, I am delivered and set free. I look for the truth of a person now, and how light, dark, fat, thin, pretty or plain they are means nothing to me. My life is fuller and richer because of it. I pray others find peace and freedom the same way.

  7. rose1929 says:

    my husband’s first wife was Korean, he is Lithuanian by blood, but just looks white. His oldest daughter is “obviously” Korean-looking and is married to a man who is sort of Irish looking–curly hair blue eyes. Their children do not look asian, and have curly hair and blue eyes. Even as a teen, people believed she was her dad’s date, wife, etc. She also gets called the nanny on a daily basis as do our other daughter because she also married a more or less “white” guy.
    I myself thought my whole life that I was German and English. I had my genome done and aha, I turn out to be….wait for it…a third Korean and a third African American. I had wondered why people on 23andme with “obvious” Korean and “obvious” black features were contacting me to share genetic profiles. I finally figured it all out. Yes, I look white, my parents looked white. Husband joked that he knew there was something “Asian” in me that he found attractive. My best friend (who is African American) laughed so hard. She said “remember that when I was growing up you were black if you had one drop of black blood”. I love it because there is a horrible bigot in my suburban neighborhood and at a block party she complained about one of the homeowners who had rented to a black family. I turned and said, why lady, I’m black too, are you trying to get rid of all of us? I LOVED telling her off in a meaningful way that would challenge her antiquated views.
    We are all mixed in some way. You would think by this time this is old news, but maybe the old die hards have to, ahem, die off. Our kids will think this kind of thing unthinkable I hope.

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