In an interview given recently, Taye Diggs said he doesn’t want his son to be called black, instead encouraging people to call his son what he is: biracial. As a black woman raising two beautiful biracial children, I disagree. I want my kids to love being black. I also want them to love being white. More than anything, I want them to love being who they are.
Even though I know we all say this, I have the cutest children. Because they came from me and their dad. They’re this perfect mix of both of us. From their eyes, to their noses, to their little limbs, down to the color of their skin. They also do this cute thing where, when they sing together, they harmonize perfectly. (Conveniently this also happens when they cry.) I’ve always thought that they were beautiful because they’re my babies. But from the time I became pregnant until now, people have made sure to remind me that “mixed babies are the most beautiful!” And now, because my kids are old enough, people will go so far as to them how beautiful they are because they’re mixed.
It makes me cringe.
When both kids were born, everyone was so curious about what they looked like, not who. When my son was born, he had sandy hair and grey eyes. People on Facebook “hoped” they’d turn blue, but I prayed they’d turn brown, like mine. When they did turn brown, Facebook was disappointed, as if his blue eyes would make him more white, less black.
Over the years I’ve stood idly by, watching my friends touch my daughter’s hair, looking her straight in the eye and saying,
It’s lucky that you didn’t get your mom’s hair. Your hair is so soft and beautiful.
Reminding her that her whiteness was better than her blackness. Like it was something she should be grateful for. That she should be proud not to to look like her black mom, the woman who helped create her, the person who provides for her. That she should be proud her hair didn’t reveal her Otherness, despite the fact her skin would.