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"She's like a poster baby for the U.N.!"

Posted on

August 22, 2013

The New York Times' Motherlode column recently featured an essay by Nicole Soojung Callahan on the questions and comments she fields as a mother of multiracial children.  Statements intended as compliments such as “Mixed kids are always so beautiful,” can have a negative impact: "She went on to list my 5-year-old’s 'assets': wavy brown hair, light coloring and, of course, double eyelids – in other words, her more stereotypically Western features, the ones associated with her white half."

Nicole herself is of Korean heritage and she was raised by white adoptive parents in a predominantly white town.

"As a child, I used to desperately wish for paler skin, lighter hair and rounder eyes; I would have gladly undergone any kind of reinvention available to be able to pass for white and stop hearing the ethnic slurs on the playground. It is so painful to imagine my daughters ever wishing away their Korean heritage as I once did. I don’t want them to believe it is their white half that makes them attractive or that they owe anyone an answer to the question “What are you, exactly?” And I hate that they will always have to grapple with such comments from people who don’t know any better."

Read the full essay here.