The Fetishizing of Mixed Race People and Why It Needs to Stop
Weird topic, huh? I mentioned in my last post that I’d be addressing the fetishizing of mixed people. It’s a heavy topic that needs to be addressed.
In our society there has been a fetishizing of mixed race people, in which they are held to a different set of physical standards than others. Mixed people are seen as “exotic,” and “unique.” While it’s true, mixed people are unique, it’s not fair to others that they’re given these passes based on their ethnic makeup.
What are some examples of fetishizing mixed race people?
One of the most prominent examples is found in the biracial baby. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone tell me they want to marry the opposite race so they can have those “cute mixed babies.” Here is an actual comment I found on topix.com:
“My cousin has a mixed little girl, part black and white. She is so gorgeous!! I just dumped my black boyfriend today, because I refuse to have a full black baby. All babies are cute, but mixed ones are the best… I can't wait to have my biracial baby.”
Stop choosing your partners for the purpose of having mixed kids! For whatever reason, mixed children are seen as the end-all be-all of cute kids. It’s the image of that perfect hazel eyed, light skinned child with “good hair.” (Don’t get me started on how problematic that phrase is…)
I don’t have hazel eyes. Never have. My fully Jamaican sister and I have the same dark, twin vistas of hell. Sorry to disappoint! If you're having mixed kids for this purpose, you'll be sorely disappointed to find out that there's no recipe for that perfect mixed baby.
Another example of this fetishizing is found in colorism. I mentioned in my privilege post that being mixed can be its own form of privilege. Every kind of privilege has its upsides and downsides. While being mixed has made me the object of a lot of confused stares and obtrusive questions, it’s also given me unfair advantages and standards. Because I’m light skinned, my color is perceived as more desirable than someone with darker skin. Colorism is real, and because I’m mixed, I benefit from it. The problem is that there are mixed people who are very light skinned and there are mixed people who are dark skinned. Light skinned people are always associated with being mixed, which marginalizes an entire group within the interracial umbrella.
You're beautiful, what are you mixed with?
Microaggressions are a huge part of fetishizing mixed people. It’s the little comments that really make it something special. A common one is saying because someone is beautiful, they must be mixed. “What are you, blasian?” Why can't a person just be beautiful without someone policing what kind of beauty it is? You may catch yourself in this thought process, I know I do from time to time. Everyone is problematic from time to time, the money's in whether or not you actively seek to correct your problematic thinking.
Why it needs to stop
By fetishizing mixed race people, you are further perpetuating mixed privilege, colorism, and you’re encouraging people to look at race. I'm sick of people wanting "cute mixed babies," assuming mixed people have "good hair," and not considering someone as mixed if they don't "look the part." There is no part, people! There's no universal mixed person! Each interracial person is different, just like everyone on this planet is different. Respect it, understand it, and move on.
I have two new articles up on collegemagazine.com! Be sure to check them out.