A parent of multiracial children speaks out on the parenting blog at The New York Times on the phrase, “Mixed kids are always so beautiful…” My response to her…
“Unless parents are multiracial, they cannot understand the experience of their children despite being in mixed marriages.” (Mengel, 2001. Rethinking Mixed Race)
2 points: (1) We are. (2) Positive stereotypes are still stereotypes and still categorize individuals thus disregarding the individual. However, with the sudden surge in the multiracial population, most people don’t recognize there was a time when multiracial was not automatically defined as beautiful. You were caught between traditional monoracial norms, and there was no one that looked like you in culture or media. The phrase “multiracial children are beautiful” became popular when I was in high school, and I clung to it because it was the only time people seemed to acknowledge I was pretty. Multiracials have a long history, and it was only about 30 years ago when the American Psychological Association stopped recommending that they just “pick one” to avoid the associated psychological distress, a phrase commonly referred to as “the tortured mulatto.” I do not disagree with the author’s frustration with the stereotypes, or strangers’ willingness to say stupid things to her children based on their appearance alone, but it is important to recognize that there there were multiracial people before your children, and we all deal with it in very different ways.
Having said that, I consider myself very lucky to come from a multiracial lineage. Here’s a picture of my grandpa. We share the same birthday.