Black, White, and Asian

On July 20, 2009, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke
Race Cube

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nathangibbs

I was taking Simone and Nadia out of their car seats when a black woman in the car beside me rolled up with her two children and a cart full groceries.

“They are so pretty,” she said.

“Thank you,” I said, continuing to unbuckle Simone.

“Are they mixed?”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Well, they sure are beautiful.”

“Thank you,” I said.

“Tell me,” said the woman, tapping into my friendliness, “what are they mixed with?”

“White,” I said.

“Really?” she asked, looking like she didn’t believe me. “Because they don’t look white.”

“Oh, we get that all the time,” I tried to reassure her. “Some people think they are Asian.”

“Black children who are mixed with white usually have sandy hair,” the woman said, as if she were some kind of expert.

“Well, their father’s hair is brown and my hair is brown, so they have brown hair.”

The woman didn’t respond and I took the opportunity to tell the girls to say bye-bye. They waved their hands, and we went inside.

***

Later, I gave our conversation a little more thought. I think this is what the woman was really saying.

Translation:

I was taking Simone and Nadia out of their car seats when a black woman in the car beside me rolled up with her two children and a cart full groceries.

“Look at those high-yellow girls. They are so pretty,” she said.

“Thank you,” I said, continuing to unbuckle Simone.

“Those kids look exotic and they don’t look like they belong to you. Are they mixed?”

“Oh, yeah,” I said.

“Well, I knew that. They are beautiful.”

“Thank you,” I said.

“Their father must be fine. Tell me,” said the woman, tapping into my friendliness, “what are they mixed with?”

“White,” I said.

“Well, they sure don’t look white. Are you sure you know who the father of your children is? I’ve seen white and black kids and these kids don’t look like they are mixed with white.”

“Oh, we get that all the time,” I tried to reassure her. “Some people think they are Asian.”

“Perhaps you should have a paternity test. Black children who are mixed with white usually have sandy hair,” the woman said, as if she were some kind of expert.

“Well, their father’s hair is brown and my hair is brown, so they have brown hair.

“Look, you can say that all you want to, but I am not buying it. You got with someone Asian and you know it, passing these kids off as black and white when they are clearly black and Asian. You should be ashamed of yourself. Hmmpfff.

A version of this post originally appeared on Singlikesassy.

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  • Carrie

    That’s a really interesting read Monique. I guess I sometimes think about what mix people are (even predominantly white people) but I would never have the guts to ask them. I do ask about accents though after I try to guess where they’re from.

  • It’s strange, but I get the same treatment and my husband is shades darker than me. I’ve had people ask me if my sons’ father is white. All sorts of questions to explain their hair texture.

    Anyway, I will post a product review of my favorite stuff I use in their hair soon. I look forward to reading your blog.