FYI: My Mixed Kid Does Not Have The “Perfect” Skin Tone

10
1950

OH MY GOSH! She has the perfect skin tone – all tan. I’m so jealous.

Sad to say, I’ve heard this once or twice in reference to my mixed kid.

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And, sad to say, I cringe every time I’ve heard the statement.

Yes, more often than not, the intention behind the statement is meant as a compliment. But this “compliment” perpetuates the prejudiced belief that one skin tone is better than another.

And as a God-fearing woman of color, I cannot condone this.

Here’s why.

My Mixed Kid Is Multiracial – Don’t Take That Away From Her

In my case, my DAUGHTER is a mixture of White and Black. For other mothers, their children may be a mixture of Hispanic and White, Asian and Black, etc.

No matter the combo, intentionally pointing out the “perfection” of a mixed kid’s skin tone is equivalent to telling both parents, ‘Well, your skin tones suck.’

And, let’s be honest. Would you even bring up skin tone if my kid appeared to be from one race?

For example, have you seen a white baby and said, “OMG, I love white babies. Their skin is so amazing” ???

I highly doubt it.

My child is multiracial, so don't take that away from her. This is why I don't like people complimenting my mixed kid on her perfect skin tone. #racism #mixedrace #mixedkids

Please, Let’s Not Continue The Discriminatory Mindset Which Originated From Colonialism

Sounds like a mouthful right?

Well, here’s the basic explanation.

COLONIALISM is defined as the practice of taking control of another country and exploiting its resources to improve one’s economic influence. Unfortunately, it was historically always accompanied by slavery and resulted in discriminatory beauty standards (amongst other things).

The premise of these biased standards infers that someone of a lighter, or tan, skin tone should be favored above others.

Not only did this contribute to key elements of slavery and culturally embedded class systems, but it also affects how people of color navigate their beauty today.

Don’t believe me? Think about this.

Why was RIHANA’S FENTY BEAUTY cosmetic line such a game changer in 2017?

It was because Rihanna intentionally launched a high-quality makeup collection that let women of every skin tone and ethnicity know that THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL. No tweaks necessary. Apparently, that’s not the norm. And that was only a year ago…

Have You Heard About Skin Bleaching?

Remember I said that this skin tone “compliment” perpetuates the prejudiced belief that one skin tone is better than another?

Well, there are some parents who actually believe in this, and to act on their belief, they bleach their children’s skin (and their own) so they can have a lighter aka “perfect” skin tone.

This practice, widely known as SKIN BLEACHING, is achieved by use of rubbing peroxide or manufactured whitening creams on one’s body up to several times a day. The health hazards are beyond horrendous, and that’s putting it mildly if you are using a product manufactured by a large corporation. Some people, particularly parents, may create their own DIY concoction, which could present even more unpredictable dangers.

The reality is, this is a global epidemic.

Even as a millennial myself, I know that it is pretty rampant in the USA, Africa, India and my home, the Caribbean. RESEARCH has even unearthed that it happens in parts of Asia as well.

And it all stems from the belief that “if I have a lighter skin tone, I’ll have a better life.

Crazy right? Sigh.

Oh And Let’s Not Forget About Colorism

In the same vein that there are people who actively try to get as close as possible to the European ideal of beauty by bleaching their skin, there are also black people who discriminate against mixed kids because they tend to have a lighter skin tone.

This is known as COLORISM, and unfortunately, it is pretty rampant in society today.

All it takes to get an idea of what this looks like is to search the hashtag #lightskinned on social media platforms like TWITTER and Instagram. Do that and you’ll see how people make assumptions about those with lighter skin tones, or how some use it as a way to identify themselves as if they are a part of a completely different race.

Can we just cut the BS??

Why on earth do we need to create more boxes to categorize ourselves in and alienate others?

I’m not here for it. Please leave my child out of it, thank you.

My child is multiracial, so don't take that away from her. This is why I don't like people complimenting my mixed kid on her perfect skin tone. #racism #mixedrace #mixedkids

Mixed Kids Are Constantly Asked Where They Are From

Last but not least, mixed kids are constantly asked to prove their heritage by people from all walks of life.

By that, I am referring to that angling question people ask when they say, “What are you?” or “What is he/she?”

Again, would you walk up to someone who appears white, and asks them to give you their entire ethnic background and results from their ANCESTRYDNA™ test kit?

I doubt it.

So why approach my kid in that way?

Yes, I understand that you may be curious about my mixed kid’s ethnicity but there is a time and place. And frankly, you’re out of line if you ask me within moments of me first meeting you.

And no, you don’t get a free pass by subtly asking that question as you complement my kid’s skin tone.

Let’s Summarize This Shall We?

As I said in the beginning, I am aware that most people compliment my daughter’s skin tone with good intentions.

However, that doesn’t mean the statement is any less hurtful or impactful.

So for the future, be aware of your audience and simply say, “He’s handsome” or “She’s beautiful” instead of being hyperfocused on the pigment of a child’s skin.

Now as moms of mixed kids who get this comment, we have to do our part as well. We can’t control people. However, we can be assertive and EDUCATE others on this.

We can stand our ground and nip this in the butt as it happens.

Any questions?

This post was originally written and posted on baydiangirl.com.

10 COMMENTS

  1. I have a question. I have three mixed cousins who have beautiful skin and I love their hair and their stunning blue eyes. Is it ok to compliment their hair and eyes and just not how pretty their skin is or is none of it ok? ( I personally have complimented a white childs skin tone, I didn’t realize that was unusual) But I dont want to unintentionally offend anyone.

    • Hi Jessica, It is perfectly ok to compliment the beauty of their hair and eyes! It’s pretty cool that you compliment a white kid’s skin tone as well! I find that encouraging. Sounds like you truly find every skin tone beautiful and embrace diversity! LOVE IT!!

  2. I found this article very interesting!! I myself have three children who are bi-racial. They are half African American and half Caucasian. We have had many people compliment there hair and skin tone and as much as I agree with the writer of this article .. We tend not to take it to personal .. I feel if you are really genuine about your compliment then go ahead and compliment them 🙂 Or in general just say you have beautiful children .. it’s really that simple

    • Hi Jenna, I understand what you’re saying although “personal” is not the word I would use to describe this point of view. Either way, I agree that complimenting by saying that someone has beautiful children is a great compromise 🙂

  3. Honestly, I tell a parent if their child is beautiful. And I’m not gonna feel bad about it because race seems to be a hot topic. It’s a compliment. I also tell people they have great shoes, or hair, or their kid is super nice and respectful. Why is everything offensive now? Find a way to compliment others. Find a way to be thankful. Simple.

    • Hi there, race has always been a hot topic, especially for women of color. We live in a world that does discriminate against us for this. It doesn’t need to be a hot topic on social media, or media in general, for it to be a reality for us. There are grown men and women who believe they are not handsome/beautiful because they constantly witness people giving the “lighter-skin” kid the compliments and not them. And add to that how the beauty industry has a very hard time including multiple skin tones in their definition of beauty. Whether it’s offensive or not, this post starts a discussion about how we can change this by starting with something small in our daily lives.

  4. A compliment is always nice to receive, but no
    One is stupid. Oftentimes it is a very thin veil for information that is actually none of your business. I am clearly a black woman who has bright hazel eyes. People have asked me “what are you?” My entire life. What a question to lob at someone? I think individuals should ask themselves, why is this important to me before they speak? Are you using that info to predetermine someone’s value or intellectual capacity? Be honest with yourself and then relate to them as human beings all deserving of human dignity, human decency and your respect regardless of their heredity.

    • Hey Airotciv, I couldn’t agree more! Compliments are nice but we need to be more aware of our intentions. And if we didn’t realize that our intentions were based on a negative premise, we need to unoffend ourselves, change our behavior and move on. Respect goes a long way.

  5. I, personally, don’t like the term “mixed” and have been known to snarkily reply, “With what?” If pushed I would say, “Well they’re human!?”

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