This thing has been bothering me for a while now… Why do people feel the need to say things like “Oh, I just love little black babies!”.
And by “people”, I mean European-American women, and by “feel the need” I mean that they do it frequently enough to make me annoyed.
It comes more often now that we have Nya, but I can remember people saying it a lot when I was in college or highschool too. Girls in my class, remarking over one of the girls who got pregnant, actually began arguing on whether or not they would want black, hispanic, or asian babies.
The first time I heard of the concept was probably when my dad was reading the Little House on the Prairie books to us. The main character, Laura, a little girl of a homesteader family, witnessed a Native American caravan who were retreating from the East. And she said something to the effect of “I want a little Indian baby!”.
As if an Indian were just an adjective to a thing, and the thing were a baby. Just like a red toy fire engine. Or a blue bassinette.
As if a baby were something that could be aquired; and then dispensed with as the mood changed. Of course, Laura was a child in the book, and of course, her parents frequently said stuff like “The only good Indian is a dead Indian” but the passage about the baby rang in my head for a while.
It’s not really the fact that people say African American babies are cute. They are. So are European babies. Babies in general are cute. There are some that are funny looking, of course, just like there are funny looking people. But what gets to me is people saying that they “want one”.
At one time, European Americans in this country could point at a African American baby, say they wanted one, and for a price, could get it.
Maybe it’s because people with more melanin have traditionally been enslaved. Sure, it’s been a long time. But these things tend to lead to other things, like this t-shirt. Though it would seem just as degrading to me if an African American said it about a white baby.
The reason i’m ranting is that someone said this to me just recently about Nya, and I had absolutely no idea how to respond.
I talked to one of my coworkers about it, and they laughed.
“It’s ok,” she said, “the proper response to something as ignorant as that is to say ‘I like the pasty white babies too…'”
15 Replies to “Black Babies”
…It’s something isn’t…? The deeper part of me as a black person wants to tie it back to blacks being 3/5th’s a person, not absolutely human. So, our babies were the equivalent of puppies essentially. Absolutely, its just a sign of how deeply the ignorance is inbred in our society. Absolutely, Barak Obama being elected is essential to minority and U.S. progress, no doubt. Unforunately, for most “white” or “European American” folk as you phrased in the correctness of P.C. terms, unintentional ignorance will be present. Sad absolutely. Clear cut absolutely. Sickening definitely. We as higher intelligenced “evolved” folk need to really identify that we must separate the action from the person. Though difficult…”many know not what they do”…so to speak. [I think this elections Republican campaign openly showed how smug, arrogant and indignant folk can get, regardless of how biblically correct “Pro-Life” is.] A common thought process for me though: (Step 1) Benefit of the doubt/Think best!! [It’s hard absolutely. Get past this, its a sign of your submission to God in itself; maybe just me.) (Step 2) Understand/BrainStorm-inquire to try to understand [may involve conflict] (Step 3) Educate [ie. “My child is not a damn animal to be added to your home to hug and love; but a gift from God created in love to be nurtured. She can be God damn green with rainbow hair…she’s gonna be cute, and she’s not an animal, and as a responsible Dad who planned for the potential fruit of loving my wife correctly, THIS IS MY FRUIT. Get your own this way…then we can talk…God bless you!!] (Step 4) Grow together. ITS A PROCESS baby. You almost need as much head as you do heart with folk…cause absolutely nobody has the perfect mind-set…especially these folks. You and me are close those Ben! [Thank God I’m saved cause cuss words and phrases was all through my mind. I’m workin’ on renewing my mind.] Love y’all ~D
P.S. Kiss my godbaby that I never seen yet for me…and I’m talkin’ bout Nya, not New-New Talisha.
I think Asian babies are the cutest. Why didn’t you guys have one of those?
Seriously, though, I have to say that I have never, ever had someone compliment my kids on their skin color. Black folks don’t seem to feel the need to let me know that they think white babies in particular are cute when they coo over my kids. I think for white folks, saying that *insert minority here* ‘s babies are cute is a way of showing off a defensive sort of “I’m not racist!” vibe. A “doth protest too much” -Colbert-esque thing.
Similar to how mortified white parents are when their children innocently point out the colors of other people’s skin. In my (very extensive) experience, black people don’t mind having their skin color pointed out by children, and why should they?
better than my responce(if said by a white person):
I like the white ones better;
they taste like chicken.
Then they don’t know which ends up. And when they start calling me sick and messed up, I point out that they just refered to your beautiful, healthy child like a toy someone could buy.
I’ve been nice about racism for a while, but now, yeah, now I point out stupidity when I see it, usually by trying to say something just as stupid.
Right on, man. Meg basically said the most thoughtful stuff, so I’m with her on all that.
It’s definitely a problem and very rude, but what if someone finds African American babies objectively cuter to them? Is that racist, or just an issue of attractiveness? I think about it like I would think about dating someone of a different race–is it racist to simply not feel attracted to someone of a particular race? Or is it racist to find a particular race very attractive?
On the whole, though, I do think that folks who say, “I think (insert minority here) babies are cute!” probably don’t understand what they’re saying, or how they’re trying to compensate.
And even more in general, there’s a strange line that you can cross when making comments about other peoples’ body attributes. Is it right at all to comment on, desire, or be jealous of someone’s eye color, skin color, body type, or hair color? When is it flattery, when is it guilt-inducing, when is it racist?
Agreed – the ‘ownership’ part is the problem. I really am not offended when White people overcompensate by calling me beautiful. Their overcompensating makes me feel good about myself (I choose to take them at their word) and them feel good about themselves – so it’s a win-win. The problem is definitely in the desire to ‘have’ one – it tells you exactly what kind of parents they will be: the kind that only likes babies & smacks them around when they’re not ‘cute’ anymore, the kind that teaches their children to say ignorant things and perpetuates stereotypes & racism.
Try being an African American mother with sons who are mixed w/ Japanese and who are very very light. I have had stares…and I even had one lady ask me (cashier at Walmart) what my baby was “mixed with.” She was European American…by the way. I was so shocked that someone I didn’t know could be bold enough to ask me what my child was “mixed with” that I hadn’t prepared myself for a snappy come back. However, the more I thought about it, the more it p’d me off.
I’m a twin. My brother is dark and I am light. My mother said when we were babies…African Americans thought my brother was cute…and European Americans thought I was cute. This color thing drives me crazy.
Peace and Blessings,
Oooh man… I’d have a whole BUNCH of responses for her… since when could you class kids with a pedigree???
We deal with the same thing. My wife is darker (like a Orange Pekoe tea), and my kids are pretty light. So, when we’re out at the mall, if I step into a Radio Shack (which I am prone to do), people give here really strange looks that seem to say “Are you the Nanny, or…”