Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, even when that eye is damaged.
When I say damaged, I don't necessarily mean physical damage, but a distorted and flawed perception of what beauty is. The part of a person that thinks one group of people are better than the other based on their looks--like the silly, age-old light skin vs. dark skin argument.
Unfortunately, people still subscribe to the idea that “light is right." We hear it all the time, whether it's a rapper bragging about his light skin or 'exotic' side piece, or someone throwing a party at a club for #TeamLightSkin. Some people even subscribe to the idea that light skin is better to the point of obsessing about having biracial babies.
That's when YouTube Vlogger and MTV's Decoded host Franchesca "Ceschaleigh" Ramsey chimed in to set the record straight about folks fawning over biracial children in her latest YouTube blog. Chescaleigh, who is married to a white man, said that she often hears people fetishize her future babies, who may have curly hair with light eyes. In the video, she says:
"This gets me really uncomfortable, and I've even heard people say, 'Like, I really want to have mixed kids,' you know, when they find out my husband is white.Side note: Not all biracial people are a mix of black and white, and there are so many mixes that don't even include white people, like two people of color. But of course, speaking as a Black woman that's in a relationship with a white dude, that's a perspective that I'm coming at in this topic from, so please take that into account.
So this idea that being partially white is somehow more attractive or more desirable basically says that blackness is not attractive or desirable, and that's messed up because I'm not biracial and I'm cute as hell!
...Generally speaking, I think they're coming from a good place, but it's important to remember that, again, intent does not change impact, and also that we live in a world that holds up these oppressive ideas. And so these are things that people internalize without even realizing it, and then project them onto each other so I don't think that people that say this to me think all black people are ugly or hate people of color. And this is not a new concept, this idea that whiteness is more preferable or more attractive."
Point blank, it's creepy and disrespectful. Case in point:
Whenever I see biracial couples I just think about how cute those babies are gonna be!— Sha (@Sha)1445272489.0
Biracial half of my family has spent decades hoping their "mixed babies 😍😍😍😍" wouldn't be 4c and get as dark as ME 😒 https://t.co/J6yVX0ycHc— Dani DeVito 🇯🇲 (@Dani DeVito 🇯🇲)1445139358.0
And don't think it's only black people fetishizing over having brown, light-eyed, curly haired kids:
You also see it in the media's obsession with bi-racial celebrity babies.
In the video, Franchesca went even further with people's obsession over lighter skin by pointing out how the media uses biracial or ambiguous-looking actresses in ads, commercials and shows aimed at black people:
You see it a lot in media, too, when you look at advertising. Oftentimes you'll see multiracial or racially ambiguous people presented as one race or the other. You might see two black parents in a movie, or an advertisement, or a show, and their kids are biracial. Or you'll have a biracial actor whose character is not written as biracial, and so their parents will be one race. So it's really rare that you will see a biracial actor portraying a biracial character.
Not to be "that person" but for real, Hillary, Sandra, and Denise had me questioning life in my younger years.
The most heartbreaking part of her video blog was when she asked her followers on Snapchat to finish the sentence, "I am a biracial person who," and the responses were tough to hear.
"I am a biracial person who, throughout my entire life had people ask, 'What are you?' In a really, like, condescending way, and it's really infuriating.""I am a biracial person who has yet to find any community that completely accepts me."
"I am a biracial person who is tired of being told that I have to choose which race I have to identify as, and being told that when I identify as being Black and White, that I can only identify as Black."
"I'm a biracial person who has been told that I'm not really Hispanic, because I don't look like it."
Ccescaleigh went on to say exactly what I was thinking-- that you can't project your ideas of a desirable looking person onto your kids, because how they see themselves impacts how they see the world. Moreover, biracial people come in all hues, shapes, and sizes. You can be biracial and have kinky hair, or be biracial with dark skin.
Also, what happens if you spend all this time fetishizing over a biracial child who may not come out looking biracial? That's got to suck for you.
At the end of the day, people have feelings. The obsession over someone's features is disrespectful, especially to children who are still trying to find their places in the world.
And she's absolutely dead on according to Pia, the author of Diaries of A Mixed Fat Chick blog. Back in April, in an entry titled, "Black & White: The Exociticization of Mixed Race Women in Western Culture," Pia wrote:
The mulatta has historically been the subject of much fascination for centuries. The iconic female figure of racial ambiguity has represented the exotic “Other" – an object of male fantasy in which mixed race women are reduced to their body parts. And the danger in exoticizing us, is that we are reduced to objects to be admired, or even conquered. It is in this way we dehumanize and further oppress mixed race folks, which only adds to the complexities of racism.
She added later in the blog:
And so when people pay me a compliment that alludes to my mixed race, I am polite, but indifferent. Because what they are really saying is that I'm beautiful because I'm just different enough. I'm other. Though it may not be intentional, this type of fetishizing feeds into racism by reinforcing western beauty ideals that say to be too brown is overly exotic, and to be too pale isn't exotic enough. And thus I am left with the feeling that I am somehow racially superior in many ways, yet I belong nowhere. I have been systematically reduced to an object of societal fascination.
"Yet I belong nowhwere" is a sad reality for a lot of bi-racial kids who grow up and have a hard time finding where they fit in. Being bi-racial extends past cuteness. To the people who fetishize about having mixed babies, are you prepared to educate and empower your child about their identity?
Via Nicola Marven:
"Articles that suggest mixed-race people are beautiful are, ironically, reinforcing the horrible divisive thick line between races that mixed-race people like me have worked so hard to blur and smudge away. Believe it or not, if you are never given a single race of your own, you tend to spend a lot of time merging in and out silently with other groups like a discrete cloud. Mixed-race people don't want attention drawn to them. We don't want to have an extra spotlight put on us because we already have one every single moment that we walk down streets with anyone else who is not mixed-race. We don't want to be other, different, beautiful, exotic, fascinating, intriguing. Let us be ugly, or even just normal and mediocre. That's just fine."
Watch the full video below, and tell us your thoughts.