Yes, Mixed Kids Face Racism at Home.
When I was a kid in a car seat, I realized that white people saw my mom as some kind of savior to a brown child.
As my mom was filling her car with gas, a well-dressed woman we didn’t know came up to my mom and said, “I just wanted to say, it’s so nice what you’re doing.”
“Adopting a third-world baby.”
My mom laughed and told the woman I was, in fact, her biological child. She looked shocked and she apologized and left.
When a white person has a mixed-looking kid, it’s a statement. It’s…charity. They’re doing something above-and-beyond by dating someone darker.
Colorism is extremely common, regardless of race. Even people who are not white think about what their kids would look like if they married lighter or darker. So the fact that this was a conversation within the Royal Family didn’t shock me…it’s a conversation in regular households.
Did…did people not realize that?
Maybe it’s because I’ve dealt with being mixed my whole life. I take this knowledge for granted. But I’ve been told to lose weight to look “less Latina.” I’ve been told to “say I’m Italian.” I’ve been told that if I have kids with a white man, I could “fix my mother’s mistake.” I’ve been assured that since my mom has blue eyes, if I date someone with blue eyes, then my kids might have blue eyes, too! As if that were some sort of goal I had.
Even the Latinos in my family tend to want to date people who are lighter in skin tone than they are.
So…the Royal Family? I mean, yeah. Yeah, they’re colorist. They want their kids and grandkids to all look white.
I guess I’m just shocked at the shock. When Meghan and Harry got married, I shared and saw a meme about the Queen being salty about having dark grandchildren. So, people who had dealt with racism before already knew. We already knew what was going through her head.
But I see some people who are…shocked.
So I’m here to tell you that yes, colorism is a real thing. It’s a discussion that happens in the wealthiest and poorest of households. It’s the “if you feel like committing an act of charity, just donate, don’t have a kid with a person of color!” conversation. It’s the “if you want to do something crazy, just fool around with ’em, but keep it to yourself!” conversation. It’s the “but what will the neighbors say? Don’t you know you’re actually hurting your kid by having a mixed baby?” guilt trip. It’s the “can’t you find a…nice girl?” conversation, where everyone knows what “nice” means.
It’s the idea that somehow, having a mixed baby is an act of kindness, of charity, an offering, to the person who is darker, and is a terrible mistake for the person who commits this act.
It’s a way of thinking that I’m always aware of when I date someone whiter. See, the white/lighter man doesn’t usually reassure me that he doesn’t think of me that way. I have to bring it up. I have to try to figure it out. If I bring it up at the wrong time or in the wrong way, then I’m crazy and sensitive and “think too much about race.”
It’s a tightrope, and the lighter person gets to play dumb.
What I liked about Harry is that he didn’t do that. He seems to stand by his wife. He does seem shocked at the racism…which says a lot…but now that he’s aware of it, he’s doing right by his family.
But it’s hard to find that. I don’t want to marry someone and have his baby, and then realize that he thinks he’s done a good deed by giving me the time of day. I don’t want to feel pitied in my own family. I don’t want to have to tolerate my husband defending his family’s racism by saying things like, “well, they’re old. That’s how they are.” And what, by extension, then our kids have to tolerate racism, too?
A man who is willing to take a strong stance against his racist family instead of letting his wife shoulder the burden is protecting the next generation. He’s protecting his wife and children. He’s not just passing the buck to them, and letting them seem “sensitive.” He’s not acting wide-eyed and confused and helpless. He’s not saying to his wife, “why can’t you just get along? You know what my family is like. That’s just how they are.”
If you were shocked at this racism, pay attention. This is how it’s done. It’s painful. It means uncomfortable conversations, hard boundaries, and consequences if families don’t respect those boundaries. It means not letting your kids or spouse feel othered in their own home, and standing by them instead of blaming them for how they feel.
Because that’s usually what happens. People don’t have those conversations in order to “keep the peace.” They forgive parents for being “too old”…and realize that they have to then extend that courtesy to younger and younger relatives. It means being intentionally ignorant in one’s own house.
Dating a POC? Take notes from Harry.