This is going to sound very naive

(56 Posts)

But when do you consider someone mixed race? My ds's father is black, I am white. However ds' dad is 1/4 african, therefore my ds is 1/8. I am 1/4 Czech but wouldn't consider myself mixed race?

Although ds's dad is only 1/4 African, he is definitely black! My ds looks tanned, but has my caucasian hair, I suppose he appears Spanish.

I apologise for how ignorant this sounds! But would I term my ds as "mixed race"? I have done, because he has a black father and white mother. But because he is just tanned- I would still describe him as white.

MoRaw Fri 24-Aug-12 13:59:04

Well it depends. If you simply go by the colour of the skin, then if he looks completely white, then you could get away with saying he is white. If he does not look completely white, then you should not raise him to believe he is white because this will just lead to confusion and pain for him. Sorry but society would not be kind to him if he thinks he is white but he is perceived as otherwise. He would be ridiculed and this might lead to all sorts of psychological issues for him.

However, technically, regardless of the complexion, he is mixed race whatever way you look at it - whether he appears white or otherwise.

My son looks white but I would never confuse him by telling he is white. I am black (tanned colour). Imagine the confusion for him if he is raised thinking he is white but his mother is black. Also, he may very well get darker as the years go by (although many people think he might not). For his sake, I hope he does get darker as this will reduce a lot of the potential confusion.

Ultimately, you should do what is in the best interest of your child (taking into consideration his future interaction in society, his psychological/mental well-being, etc). Unfortunately, we cannot escape the realities of society.

I am leaning towards describing my son as black with dual heritage. However, if he remains pasty, I may have to drop the "black" and just say "you are of dual heritage".

It's difficult because people have mixed opinions on my son's appearance, some say he looks completely white, others say he looks mixed race. Also, his father doesn't have much contact with him. That doesn't mean I want to deny his heritage, i'm just thinking along the lines of what you were saying, because you are black your son may become confused, but as my ds isn't growing in the same household or even particularly close to his father, maybe he won't feel so confused.

The whole thing is rather confusing to me! I think because I cannot really answer whether my ds appears mixed race or white. I am more than happy to refer to him as mixed race but don't want to confuse him by doing so! I am proud of ds' heritage, I think mixed race children should be celebrated and are often absolutely beautiful! I'm wondering if I can somehow link a photo of my ds for opinions on his colour!

Trills Fri 24-Aug-12 14:20:33

I might sound naive too - but does it really matter?

I don't think that whether your DS considers himself mixed race should be based on strangers' opinions of his skin colour.

MrsLettuce Fri 24-Aug-12 14:29:24

If you change the question to "is my son of mixed ethnic heritage?" then the answer is simple, yes he is. As are you and his father.

IMHO his skin colour is actually irrelevant.

AmberLeaf Fri 24-Aug-12 14:33:12

I know black people with two black parents who's skin is so light its barely even tanned looking so skin shade in itself isn't something to go on.

How much contact does he have with his dad? Or his dads family? IME mixed race children who have contact with both sides of their families have an advantage(?) For want of a better expression.

I wouldn't let him think he is white for the same reasons MoRaw mentions. I also think it would be beTter for his self image if all aspects of his heritage are acknowledged positively. It may not be such an issue now while he is young but is likely to be as he grows up.

Thank you for your replies. Regarding pictures of ds- This is simply out of curiosity, not to determine whether or not he is mixed race. We went for a hospital appointment once and the receptionist gave us a form which she had already ticked "White, British". When I said, he is mixed race she kind of raised an eyebrow. I guess since then, I have felt like some kind of fraud selecting the "mixed" option. I want some clarity because if I am confused, then ds will be too!

He see's his dad for a weekend a month. His father and grandmother are the only black members of their family, as it was the grandmother's absent father who was Nigerian.

We have had all kinds of responses from strangers such as the incident above to someone commenting on me clearly not using suncream because he was so tanned hmm. All these experiences have left me confused.

Polyethyl Fri 24-Aug-12 14:42:12

I'd suggest being open about it, because these things can re-emerge generations later.
My mother has a white friend, daughter of white parents, who married a white man. The baby was born Chinese. Uproar ensued. Wife accused of adultery. DNA tests, distrust and much hurt followed, until an elderly great aunt admitted that a great great grandfather had served in China, where he had taken a local mistress. Which had been long since forgotten as the generations passed.

MoRaw Fri 24-Aug-12 14:48:16

Cinnamon, feel free to post pic. Happy to give my 2cents. I know it is hard to tell when it is your own child. Mind you, I imagine different people might see you son differently. To some Africans, he might appear white. To some white people (particularly anglo-saxon), they would see him as mixed.

I imagine my son will get darker. He is only 9 months. So there is plenty of time for him to change.

Trills, unfortunately we live in society. This means that we must interact with strangers and their behaviour is important whether we like it or not. Our behaviour impact upon each other - hence "society". Since we our interactions with each other invariably impact on us, ignoring this would be to our peril. Creating a cognitive dissonance in a child may have a real negative impact on the psychological welfare of the child. Of course, we would all rather live in a utopia where ignorance, discrimination, etc were absent. Alas, that is not the case. As such, we cannot go about pretending these things do not exist.

AmberLeaf Fri 24-Aug-12 14:53:39

You can put pics on your profile page on here go to 'my mumsnet'.

slambang Fri 24-Aug-12 14:55:54

I tick the mixed race boxes for dss although they both look white. Their dad is middle eastern. It's not so much to do with what shade you match on a colour chart but what your origin is.

Ethnic monitoring comes from the fact that people can be discriminated against due to their ethnicity regardless of appearance. Potentially, though let's hope society has moved on a lot, your ds could be discriminated against as he has a black dad and is therefore potentally subject of racist discrimination. So in that sense he is definitely mixed race.

Thank God for our beautiful multicultural many-shaded mostly tolerant society.

Thank you ladies, (think) I have managed to upload a few photos of ds. Would be happy to know what you all think, I am very curious!

I think I will continue to see him as "mixed", although he is only an eight African, his father is black so it makes sense.

He is starting school in a few weeks, all the children are white, it will be interesting to see if he is viewed as white or not.

ChunkyPickle Fri 24-Aug-12 15:15:30

You're all mixed ethnicities (as am I, although they're all pretty pale races) - increasingly I think people need to realise that these blanket 'white' 'black' labels are just not descriptive or helpful or useful.

When ticking the box for healthcare it can matter which races are mixed in (as certain diseases are more prevalent in or restricted to certain groups - you were right to pull the nurse up on that, and she was wrong to assume) but in general life I don't think that telling your child he is 'black' or 'white' is going to really matter - by all means help him to know about his cultural heritage, but pushing blackness or whiteness on him won't do any good at all.

MoRaw Fri 24-Aug-12 15:18:45

How do I go about viewing the photos and how do I add mine?

http://www.mumsnet.com/member

I went there ^^ and typed in my login details. Or you can google "mumsnet, upload photos" and it will take you to a link explaining how to do it smile

Oh regarding viewing others, I'm not sure!

AmberLeaf Fri 24-Aug-12 15:34:13

Cinnamon you need to make your profile public for us to see your pics. If someones profile is public their username is blue and clickable.

Yours isn't currently so I can't see your pics!

Frontpaw Fri 24-Aug-12 15:38:04

So what's the 'legal' defenition of nationality? I had a slight disagreement recently with someone who announced that a child has the nationality of the father only. Obviously the mother/where the child was born has nothing to do with it [puzzled].

Frontpaw Fri 24-Aug-12 15:38:45

Oh I meant confused!!

Has this worked? Hoping i've made it public now!

AmberLeaf Fri 24-Aug-12 15:43:44

Frontpaw that's a load of tosh! Yes where a child is born and lives is what nationality they are.

Eg dad is Indian. Child born in UK to british mother (british by birth or citizenship) that child is also british.

AmberLeaf Fri 24-Aug-12 15:47:14

Yes it worked!

Lovely little boy you have. I wouldn't instantly think he has african heritage but I wouldn't be surprised or doubtful if you told me he did.

Frontpaw Fri 24-Aug-12 15:48:54

Tell me about it - I was quite gobsmacked and asked her to repeat please, as I didn't quite follow the logic. Dad only my backside!

My mum used to hiss 'and dont forget you're half English!' to us (she was english!) When we kids used to gang up on her with our scottish dad!

Thank you AmberLeaf! He is a handsome chap, but I am biased!

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