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[Op Ed] I’m a White Mom With Biracial Children, and What I Do With Their Hair Is No One’s Business

Avatar • Mar 28, 2015

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Writer Maria Guido is fed up with random folks approaching her with advice on how to care for the natural hair of her own children. Read on for her take on these awkward encounters:

Maybe I’m just not the type of parent who likes unsolicited advice or people getting in my personal space, but one of the things that I’ve noticed about parenting a mixed-race child is that the general public seems to have no boundaries.

When you become a mother, you notice that the boundaries people usually have when dealing with others start to chip away. It begins in pregnancy when you may start to hear an onslaught of unsolicited advice from strangers, about everything from your diet to the probable sex of the child you’re carrying. Not to mention the complete strangers who come up and put their hands on, around and under your pregnant belly.

Then you have the child, and you become used to the “how cute” comments. Not a big deal. It’s not uncommon for people to comment when they see what looks to be a “brand-new” baby in front of them.

I understand that all parents experience this kind of attention, and it’s not necessarily negative. But after your child begins to grow, that attention usually wanes. As a mother of mixed-race children, I have yet to experience this “waning.” Maybe people have no boundaries when it comes to kids in general, but in my experience, having mixed-race children turns it up a notch.

My children essentially “belong” to both cultures, but there is a real gray area that exists in the boundaries people have when they identify something as their own.

My partner and I have two children together. He’s African American and Laotian; I’m Greek and Italian. One of the things I’ve learned while raising these beautiful kids is that the general public feels very obligated to comment on the way they look. White women pet my kid like he’s a show pony. Black women offer me endless, unsolicited advice on how to care for his hair. What’s the deal?

Read the rest at TheRoot

What are your thoughts? How do you think the writer should respond to the unsolicited advice?

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Understandable
Understandable
5 years ago

I say accept that the care of their type of hair is not something you have experience with, appreciate the free help and try an learn something. Sometimes getting better at something involves swallowing your pride.

Jordan Washington
Jordan Washington
5 years ago
Reply to  Understandable

That’s the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard. She’s right, it’s her children’s hair, not yours. She never asked any of these people for help, they just assumed that she needed it. That’s the problem.

FijiFreckles
FijiFreckles
5 years ago

If her children look unfortunate enough that strangers offer unsolicited advice she needs it. Get you and the author needs to get your head out your butthole,and recognize there may be a problem. I never been given unsolicited advice that I felt was so out there. If you look needy accept the help/reject the help, but please stop bitching about it,you choose to look,present yourself and your children the way you do and people will naturally react to that.

Yolanda
Yolanda
5 years ago
Reply to  Understandable

That’s absurd! There are black mothers who do not have experience with caring for their children’s natural hair either. My mother had 3 daughters and knew nothing other than grease and blow drying and frying our hair with a hot comb. She will have to learn just like any mother and not from unsolicited advice from people she doesn’t know. Being black doesn’t mean you automatically know how to care for coily, kinky, afro hair. That should be obvious with the surge of hair care websites, YouTube tutorials, etc trying to educate black women on how to properly care for… Read more »

Elle
Elle
5 years ago

I’ve offered help to a white mom with a biracial daughter (I have biracial children too and I’m black). As I sat behind her at a school assembly, I noticed how dry and matted her daughter’s hair was. Afterwards, I pulled her aside and told her about the LOC method. She was grateful saying her sister in laws were not helpful. I meant no offense. Writer, get out of your own way and get over the attitude. Your son’s hair might look as if you need help too!

BlackBombshell
BlackBombshell
5 years ago

Welp. Her kids’ hair does look a tad dry, matted, tangled, and unkempt tho… From the looks of it, she COULD use some help with developing an effective cleaning, moisturizing, and detangling (and night-time) regimen. Even hair left in it’s natural state sans any type of binding (rubber bands, braids, twists, rolls, etc.) exhibits some type of airiness and free-flow from roots to ends when it’s well maintained. From the picture, her children’s hair seems to not have that quality. My oldest daughter (age 8) has very coarse and kinky 4C hair. She also loves to wear her hair out.… Read more »

Lucie
5 years ago
Reply to  BlackBombshell

Thumbs up for the last paragraph. My black mother had no idea what to do with my hair because she had no idea what to do with her hair. So guess what happened when it was time for me to do my own hair? Yup, I had no idea. Personal preference is important but ignorance is not cute. She doesn’t want unsolicited advice which is totally her prerogative but she is not the first white woman in creation with a black/mixed child. At least give your kids the tools they need (when they are the appropriate age) to do for themselves.… Read more »

Lo
Lo
5 years ago
Reply to  BlackBombshell

I see nothing wrong with the children’s hair in the picture it looks like Afro textured hair if I’ve ever seen it (and I have to look at mine and my son’s everyday) everyone’s hair is different and will do different things and look different ways regardless of hair care routine so the comparison to your child was irrelevant and small minded.

robin
robin
5 years ago
Reply to  Lo

i definitely would have to disagree. I think the key point that the lady above is making is that regardless of the hair type, mom should be teaching the best haircare regimen. To have natural healthy hair, deep conditioners are expected along with proper oiling and satin cap for sleeping at night. These things are all required to keep the hair from drying out. If someone provide her this advice why not take it to maintain healthy hair. Everyone has a right to do what they want, but there a definite standardized practices that create healthy hair.

Lo
Lo
5 years ago
Reply to  robin

I disagree if that was the intent then the comparison of the children should have been excluded and who is to say her children don’t do all of the above and that their hair just simply LOOKS like what others may call dry. Everyone’s hair is different. Plus the pic may not even be her children.

EugenieImogene
EugenieImogene
5 years ago
Reply to  BlackBombshell

And the pic might not even be the real ones of her kids. This is exactly what she is talking about. Not everyone wants their kid’s hair to be weighed down with Shea butter, castor oil, curling puddings, Eco gel etc. Stop forcing your hair regimen on others.

obby
obby
5 years ago
Reply to  BlackBombshell

I don’t know how you can tell what her children’s hair needs are just from watching a blurry photo. But again, it’s not our business. She owes it to her children to do what she thinks is best, not what you think should be. We are so quick to judge based on the appearance of hair. You have no idea what type of mother she is. When it comes to things like hair, as strangers I think it’s best to only give advice when asked. Imagine someone trying to give you unwanted advice for something else that is not hair… Read more »

JenniD
JenniD
5 years ago

I hate to be that person but before you got married and had kids with a black man did you not think stuff like this would not come up? This isn’t something new nor is this really because your kids are biracial. People give all kinds of unsolicited advice to kids about their hair, appearance etc. Hello Blue Ivy any one? This is one of those things as a mother your just going to have to get use to and move on. Simply say please don’t touch my child or I like his hair in a fro not braids and… Read more »

BubzLife Starlight
BubzLife Starlight
5 years ago
Reply to  JenniD

That’s what I’m saying, she’s whining, yet BW go through this all the time. lol it’s nothing new.

Anonin
Anonin
5 years ago

OK then…

Elli
Elli
5 years ago

Hey, both my parents are black and I had to learn from somewhere to take care of my hair because it was breaking, dry, and what regularly worked for “normal people” wasn’t working for me.

empress
empress
5 years ago

I am mixed hair type 2b and mixed people have our own special hair needs, and when I was little my black side of the family talked a good game but they couldn’t make my hair look good either. Mixed people’s hair routine needs to evolve through trial and error. I have 3 sisters and all of us have different hair needs. Unless you have personal experience with biracial hair types you aren’t helping trust me…

Cosita
Cosita
5 years ago
Reply to  empress

LOL! Oh, yeah because being black gives you a free pass of not having to use trial and error to figure out a routine that works for your hair. I take it you’ve never been on a hair forum because there are black, white, Asian and everybody else seeking advice on their hair. You mentioned your hair type is 2b and that is just one small aspect of hair qualities. My hair is 4a but also protein sensitive, low porosity, fine, and prone to itchy scalp so to think I can use everything every black person can is absurd. So… Read more »

Cosita
Cosita
5 years ago

Oh yeah Black mothers get unwanted unsolicited advice about how to care for their nonbiracial children’s hair. (eye roll) Ever heard of Blue Ivy? I have heard white mother criticized about their non biracial white kids hair too especially if it’s a boy and it’s long.

Chevanne
5 years ago

There’s a couple things at play here. One is that being white and having your children fetishized by white people thinking they have free range to touch you has to be stamped out. Nip it. Second, every single parent in the history of forever gets unsolicited advice. The frustrating thing is that sometimes those people are right. Wearing Afro textured hair in its natural state doesn’t mean just leaving it out. You still have to care for it. It needs to be shampooed, conditioned, moisturizer and styled. So as reticent as she may be to admit it, she need to… Read more »

Many Hair
5 years ago
Reply to  Chevanne

I agree with you, Chevanne. To writer Maria Guido: I agree with you too. There is nothing that calls for unsolicited hair advice. And I applaud you for having courage to speak up and defend yourself against all the haters. You’re not alone. However, this is not entirely about having biracial children–all mothers receive unsolicited advice–and yes, there are mothers who continue to receive such advice beyond the “new baby” stage: one example is mothers who raised their children with natural hair in the 80’s & 90’s & early 2000’s before natural hair was deemed “cool.” There are other examples too… Read more »

Lillie
Lillie
5 years ago

I wish someone offered my mom advice on how to do my hair! I walked around looking a mess! I am nowhere near mixed BTW.

Cecilee Wade
Cecilee Wade
5 years ago

No parent should look better than there children, if you get up and comb your hair daily you should do the same for your child. I have seen numerous biracial children with white parents who do absolutely nothing with there children’s hair, because of lack of knowledge and a reluctancy to ask for help. Then get offended when someone takes notice to the fact you have no idea what to do. If nothing else just comb it and oil it so it doesn’t look dry, you can’t let it air dry like Caucasian hair and it can’t be washed daily.… Read more »

BridgetTweeter
BridgetTweeter
5 years ago

LOL EVERYONE tells you how to do everything when you have a child. How to burp them, how to discipline them, how to cure their cold, if you should or should not let them sleep in your bed. TELL the truth what really pisses her off is the fact BLACK women are giving HER advice. WHY do we like to pretend that just because a white woman will sleep with a black man she is some how open and accepting to the black woman as her equal. OH no she still very much embraces the white privilege she knows she… Read more »

Val
Val
5 years ago
Reply to  BridgetTweeter

Wow you sound insane! Did someone steal your boyfriend? Your insecurity is palatable.

Freetea
Freetea
5 years ago
Reply to  Val

palatable”

That word…I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Try “tangible” or “palpable” on for size. I don’t know how I just ended up giving a White woman help with the English language.

Mackenzie Irick Milks
Mackenzie Irick Milks
5 years ago
Reply to  BridgetTweeter

What…a…random…correlation.…(slow blink). You get out of something what you bring to it, I guess.

Toniette
Toniette
5 years ago

My thoughts exactly.

Cheryl
Cheryl
5 years ago
Reply to  BridgetTweeter

You couldn’t be more right and the people disagreeing are clearly WHITE women! I wish they would quit trolling our blogs with their basic, boring selves!!

nyame
nyame
5 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl

black woman speaking.…& that’s a very racist comment.

michalovesanime
michalovesanime
5 years ago
Reply to  nyame

No it’s not, black people can’t be racist towards whites since racisme is an institution that benefits only white people set up when our ancestors were brought to America, stripped of knowledge and power to serve white supremacy. So tired of people just reiterating what white people say to deflect from the actual problem, white culture. What she says may be prejudice ( i dont think she’s wrong, white people can’t stand not being included in anything) but could never be considered racist

FijiFreckels
FijiFreckels
5 years ago

Because chances are, if you weren’t raised with a black family, or are close to black women or males pre-husband, you don;t know wtf you’re doing.Just don;t want those children to look unfortunate like so many biracials do the tighter their coil looks.

Toniette
Toniette
5 years ago
Reply to  FijiFreckels

In her defense, a large majority of Black Women still don’t know what do to with their hair outside of perming or weaving it. Much like all of the drama behind Blue Ivy looking “unkempt”, I think that it is unwarranted and that the woman should do what she wants with her kids’ hair.

Latoya
Latoya
5 years ago

Who cares about people giving advice to u. If the kids are looking like they stuck their fingers in a light socket you need advice

starapple
starapple
5 years ago

What this, or ANY mother, chooses to do with her child’s hair is none of my business.

Lo
Lo
5 years ago

I’m sorry but I’m noticing a trend of racism in the comments on almost EVERY article on this site now smh it didn’t use to be this way and it’s sad and just to throw it out there I am black and I have a deeply rooted love for my race, culture, ethnicity and nationality and experience the same adversities as the average black woman but I must call it like I see it and what I’ve been seeing lately is straight up racism or discrimination at the least. Anything that is not CENTERED around black people is torn to… Read more »

alt-K
alt-K
5 years ago
Reply to  Lo

Thumbs up, Sis! I’ve noticed all the hate, too. I don’t know if people are just trolling on here or if they’re really serious. I couldn’t agree with you more. Where’s the love? Where’s the acceptance of different shades and forms of blackness? We are a very broad range of colors, shapes, sizes, and hair textures. I’m not quite understanding why folks are trying to exclude some folks and include others. We’re all black here, people! Damn! Whether you’re light, medium, or dark, it’s cool. If your hair is wavy, curly, coily, or kinky, it’s still cool. What gives, people?… Read more »

Well said
Well said
5 years ago
Reply to  Lo

Well said! No one is saying (anti-black) racism doesn’t exist but that doesn’t excuse the hate and racism displayed by some of the commentators on this site. And they are always getting angry at irrelevant things. They think the can fight racism with racism. Also miss me with that black people can’t be racist nonsense. I think we all could do better…

robynaware
robynaware
5 years ago
Reply to  Lo

I sympathise with the writer of the article and if black people would be more concerned with things non hair related it would be good to be honest…however you calling peoples disagreement of this article and others like it as racist is riddiculous. There’s good reason why people feel a bit salty is they sense that ladies with looser curls are getting talked about too much. Look wider than bglh and see how 4a-4c are often marginalised in both the natural hair community and the mainstream. Colorism and racism are real things. Sure some people may or not be be… Read more »

Understandable
Understandable
5 years ago

You’re right. Not every black person has experience taking care of natural hair. So, when any of us (for instance, those of us who just went natural, those who have children whose hair type they may not have experience with–and why not throw in those who are new mothers who have never had a baby before, as well as young people just starting out in life–basically anyone who is trying anything new or doing anything in life at which they are not yet experts and who finds themselves in a situation in which strangers feel compelled to give unsolicited advice)… Read more »

Lo
Lo
5 years ago

I’m sorry is racism not the term “we” as black people commonly use when we feel EXCLUSED?? Or when it’s convenient?? I’m just saying what ever you want to call it, the exclusion is uneccessary bc what is the first thing people outside of the black community say when we return the negative comments, names, actions, exclusion ect.? THEY victimize themselves and in turn it still takes away from our adversities so those whom have the “oh well” and “treat others how we’ve been treated” mentalities are contributing to that. And it bothers me that our REAL problems are overlooked… Read more »

lis
lis
5 years ago
Reply to  Lo

Reuniting the black race…what does that mean?

Brown
Brown
5 years ago

Personally, I would never give her any advice. If that photo is an indication of the ages of her children, then at this point I would assume she’s already received plenty of advice and chooses to allow her kids’ hair to have that “style”. On another note, I’m missing the trend of racism that supposedly has reared its ugly head on this blog. I find across Black blogs, FB, etc, that when Black people express themselves honestly (about how they feel, are viewed and treated, etc.), even though that honesty may be “raw” and “unfiltered”, it is considered racist. Please… Read more »

Chel
Chel
5 years ago

If it’s not your child you have no right to anything about that child, unless child abuse is occurring. Some of the bullshit in the comments about “well she didn’t grow up in a black household, so she needs to take the advice” doesn’t mean she can’t learn to take care of her children’s hair. If I am not mistaken, didn’t some of you new naturals take to the Internet and go on websites like, oh I don’t know THIS one, to learn about your hair? Growing up in a black household didn’t do my hair any good. I didn’t… Read more »

FineNaturalHairandFaith

How
is this any different than what people did with their comments of Blue Ivy’s
unkempt hair? People came to her defense
but now that the mother is white, there’s a different standard? Come on. The
fact is, unless you are abusing your children, people need to mind their
business.

lemonademaker
lemonademaker
5 years ago

My son gets his hair touched (he is biracial, I am black) and had a meltdown about it the other day. People won’t stop and he actually ended up sobbing about it. Because even though he says stop, they don’t. I am bringing it up at his Parent Teacher conference. People do it to a lesser extent to the other black kid, but I am not sure if it’s as bad as my son’s or bothers his friend as much. And maybe her writing about it, is her way of getting “backbone”. Raising awareness maybe.

Tamires C
Tamires C
5 years ago

I understand where she is coming from. I would say take the advices because they can be helpful.. but it must be annoying to get advices all the time without request

sanjidude
sanjidude
5 years ago

People are probably aggressively touching her kids hair because they can get away with it. I’m an adult with an afro and I see them secretly “going for it” in the reflection of the subway windows all the time. We can feel when you touch it people…it’s on our HEADS lol. The mom should be the one to protect her children from whom I refer to as “nap predators” and tell them to scream bloody murder if they continue to assault them. I mean, what kind of a nut thinks it’s OK to feel up a stranger’s head?? If black… Read more »

irieroze
irieroze
5 years ago

Other people should not care about other people children hair it dose not matter what the child ethnicity is. The only problem thing people should worry about when it comes to childrens hair is them NOT HAVING ANY EDGES. NOT LETTING THE CHILD GROW HEALTHY AND STRONG. PARENTS TO BUSY TRYING HAVE THEIR CHILD LOOKING GROWN AND WANNA BE CUTE WITH HAIR STYLES. KNOW THE CHILD HAIR IS NOT STRONG ENOUGH AND SHE HAS NO EDGES. SO AS LONG AS THE CHILD HAIR IS HEALTHY AND WELL TAKING CARE OF. WHY SHOULD IT MATTER ? YALL NEED TO LOOK AT… Read more »

Annette
Annette
5 years ago

You children’s hair must be in a terrible state but you can’t take a hint. There’s a huge difference between entitled white folks who pet your kids hair and concerned black women who see the state of your children’s hair and feel an obligation to give you the information to do something about it. Black people’s hair is something white people do not understand. It cannot be looked after the same way white people’s hair is looked after. I know a few black people whose parents are white and never taught them black hair care and it’s a disaster. I have no… Read more »

SHL
SHL
5 years ago

I understand your frustration. However, if i may can I please give you some cultural perspective. I have mixed raced kids. They happen to have beautiful curly locks that are just picture perfect. When they were very young strangers would walk up to them just to touch their hair wherever we went. At some point my daughter would hold her hands over her head as soon as a stranger approached in anticipation of them touching her hair. I never spoke out against it because I never felt it was necessary. Here’s why: my child is a part of this world,… Read more »

candice roma
candice roma
5 years ago

Let me rephrase then. I would smack any idiot who came up and touched my child without my or their permission.

LadyV
LadyV
5 years ago

I say that your being way to dramatic

Mackenzie Irick Milks
Mackenzie Irick Milks
5 years ago

Absolutely unacceptable! Why assume she wasn’t doing okay to start with? If it’s not okay for people do offer unsolicited advice to Black naturals based on their assumption that it “looks that way” because we don’t know what to do with it, then it’s not okay to assume that about a mother with her child. Unsolicited advice regarding your children makes the assumption that you need help so badly, it’s okay to have it forced on you in order to give you what you obviously lack. NO! Why assume that their hair is something she has no experience with? Why… Read more »

candice roma
candice roma
5 years ago

In regards to white strangers touching her kids, she needs to smack them hands back just like sistahs do. In regards to the advice, black people don’t largely know how to care for black hair, so it’s assumed she doesn’t either. And letting the kid’s afro be free is one thing, but “frizzy” sounds like code for “dry,” which might be why all the advice.

Rebels Clique
Rebels Clique
5 years ago
Reply to  candice roma

So why should she smack the white people hands but accept unsolicited advise from the black people? A lot of you black girls now a days think you know everything about caring for kinky hair. You do not. Nobody asked your opinions go make a blog and get followers who value your opinion. I don’t want any random stranger coming up to me telling me anything. Bunch of Shea butter know it alls.

labellefleur
5 years ago
Reply to  Rebels Clique

Aww

cryssi
cryssi
5 years ago

Interesting, I generally don’t comment on the child’s appearance unless asked for advice. My ex was biracial and his mother didn’t know at first what to do with his sister’s hair. Her hair mainly stayed in a long braid or bun. She was 11, so I gave her my hair stylists number and she learned from there.

Same Old B.S.
Same Old B.S.
5 years ago

No one should be telling her about her own children. When a mother gives birth no matter their color she must learn to care for them. Guess what? My hair is not the same as my mother’s or my sisters. My mom had to learn to deal with my hair and we are all black. It sounds tacky and offensive that people are walking up to this woman like she is not her children’s mother. I think people need to accept the fact that she knows what she is doing. That’s like if people walked up to black women and… Read more »

Anon46
Anon46
5 years ago
Reply to  Same Old B.S.

You said it all. Wish I’d read your comment first, I could’ve saved time bc you hit the nail on the head.

robin
robin
5 years ago

It should not be all about what she wants for her kids and her lacking desire for advise from african american women. It should be about what is best for the kids sake. Thats whats important and should be the only subject of matter, Any black women with natural hair understands the necessary regimine and essentials for HEALTHY natural hair. Even mixed race women with natural hair can associate and understand the ‘curly girl’ struggle all black naturals must face. Nappy hair is not the way to go. Walking around with natural, unkept hair is unexceptable as a curly girl or… Read more »

obby
obby
5 years ago

I don’t care how dry or matted someone’s hair may appear to be. I will not give advice unless I am asked for it. It is not my business and it may offend them. Just imagine someone giving unwanted advice to you that is not hair related. But, if I were to ever feel compelled to offer suggestions, I may spark up a conversation about how interesting shrinkage is when dealing with afro textured hair and then see where the conversation goes from there. Maybe then I can indirectly suggest videos and awesome websites vs trying to give her my… Read more »

Anon46
Anon46
5 years ago

Um, she has every right to feel however she wishes about White women touching her children’s hair or Black women offering unsolicited advice. I’m Black & I always got irritated with ppl telling me what to do with my children-whether it was hair or anything else- when I didn’t ask. People have always been fascinated with my children & I don’t like it to this day. They aren’t biracial, just pretty kids with soft, curly hair. My son was very light so ppl assumed he was “mixed” and my daughter is browner than I but her hair is long &… Read more »

Lovein Life
Lovein Life
5 years ago

You guys, just live! Embrace your hair, and love. Love yourself and love others. It has to start with you!

herlucidsky
5 years ago

As much as I enjoy discussing all things hair online, I’m not openly this way in person because I know that not everyone is as enthusiastic about textured hair as I am. Unless of course I meet someone who is very much interested in discussing hair. Only then I will engage in conversation and maybe I won’t be able to shut up haha. But unless I am asked for advice and or suggestions then I will not give it because I don’t like to assume. Now if in some extreme case I see that there is someone who’s hair is… Read more »

Crmy Coco
Crmy Coco
5 years ago

As a mom, the author needs to tell ppl to keep their hands off her kids and mind their business if it bothers her so much. Black women comment on everybody’s hair and white women are always touching my son’s hair, complimenting it, even though he is not mixed. It doesn’t bother me. If it did, I would put a stop to it. Seems to me this white woman needs to invest in a backbone and set boundaries for herself.…just like the rest of us.

aosgrl
aosgrl
5 years ago

How about you all just take care of your own children! If her kids are traumatized in their childhood, she’s not going to ask you for money for Therapy. Mind your damn business. I’m a black woman saying not everything is about race. And some of you coming on here and saying she’s just mad that its back women tell her what to do and that she’s the real racist, would be the first to yell and get angry if some random stranger up and told you ANYTHING about your child in public. Have any of you thought about the context… Read more »

$8319184
$8319184
5 years ago

Are people giving unneeded advice or are the kids walking around with ecosystems in their hair and causing alarm?

BubzLife Starlight
BubzLife Starlight
5 years ago

BW give advice to each other, especially when it comes to hair. I could careless about her white tears. Blue Ivy got excoriated for her natural hair, and she thinks this is bad? LOL No.

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