On the Desirability of Brown Babies

I was a bit inspired to write this blog after reading Umar Lee’s blog, On Being a White Muslim in America . I also read a few blogs where the authors stated that black women wanted to have babies by white or Arab men in order to have light skinned and curly headed babies. Sure, I know some ignorant black women who have said similar things. But for the most par, my friends are conscious and wouldn’t spout of some nonenense like that. On the other hand, I have heard a few educated black men say that they want to marry a mixed girl because mixed girls are prettier. I have also heard a few black say that they wanted to marry someone white, Asian, or Latina so they would have pretty babies. As one author stated in the comments, it was often hoodrats who stated that they desired a non-black baby’s daddy in order to have babies with good hair. But more than blackpeople, I have heard these statements from members outside of Black American community. In fact, I hear about the desirability for pretty-brown-mixed-babies from liberal white, Asian, Arab, South Asian, and Pacific Islander women. So, if we are going to analyze and critique the ethnic self-hatred of some African women and Black American women, we must analyze and critique the reasons why some women want to adopt African babies or have bi-racial babies who do not look anything like them.
Is it ethnic self-hatred? Is it admiration for African features? Is it a vision of a racial utopia where we are all shades of brown? Or is it something else. I would argue that some really problematic constructs underly America’s fascination with mixed babies.

Keep in mind, I am not saying that all people involved in interracial relationships hold these views. But there are some tendencies that are problematic. I am not saying that mixed people are not attractive. I think all groups and ethnicities are beautiful in their own light, including multi-racial babies. And being in a multi-cultural environment, I enjoy seeing little blonde babies and little Asian babies, as well as little chocolate drop babies, and the curly headed brown babies running around. However, I just find it problematic when you assume that multi-racial children are more attractive than mono-racial babies. And while this might sound liberal and progressive, especially if you are a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant who is rejecting white supremacy, it is still supporting white supremacy because you imply that an African person is only beautiful if their genese are diluted with European, Asian, or Meditterranean genetics. This is problematic in a European dominated society with European standards of beauty. It has had disastrous effects in the Black American community. And it is the reason why we celebrate Beyonce, as opposed to Kelly. For those of us who are phenotypically Africa, these notions are especially harmful, as they affect our self image. But my focus is not on why African women and women of African descent (Black American, Black Latina, and Carribbean) and their responses to European standards of beauty in a global order that is dominated by Europe and the West. I am talking about women, and perhaps some men, who are not members of the African Diaspora who want to have ethnic babies–especially black babies. I see it as part of fetishization and there is something about fetishizing black-ness that is deeply disturbing. Then on top of the fetishization, the celebration of those who are not-quite-black or nearly-white over their darker skinned counterparts.

I live in California, the Bay Area that is. There is a lot more racial mixing and there really isn’t a middle class black community anywhere in sight of Northern California. So my experiences reflect the product of my environment. In California mixed families and bi-racial people are common. More often than not,it is the mother who is non-black and a black father. Few of my black friends were single mothers, but many of my non-black friends eventually did have mixed babies out of wed lock and at young ages. I often see white, Asian, Latina, etc. women (and teenage mothers) pushing a stroller with either a clearly bi-racial child or an ambiguous child. I have pretty good ambiguously black radar because so many people in my family are light skinned, multi-racial, and racially ambiguous. Sometimes it is the subtleties that you notice, but I digress. I grew up in a terribly racist elementary school. I was subject to a lot of racial discrimination because I was the only black girl in my school. But now when I look back, there were a few mixed children in my class who just passed. They were not subject to the daily enslaught of racist jokes and cruelties such as “let’s play segregation today.” On the other hand, my brother’s experiences in Santa Clara were different because many of the white and Mexican American girls pursued him. Black men were cool, they were the athletes, the dancers, the popular kids. But for black girls in integrated environments, it tends to be a lot harder. We are often overlooked by our black male counterparts and the non-black men will not take a second look at us.

Now that black is in, a lot of women who are not black want little curly headed brown babies. Someone noted that in Belgium and Amsterdam, there are European women who get pregnant by African men and raise their children on their own. I don’t know much about this phenomena, but I thought it was interesting. But this leads me to reflect on the kind of ideologies that non-black mothers tell their children. Some of the ideas the ideas are really messed up. Some believe in the racial essentialisms. For instance, one bi-racial man told me that because he was black and white he reflected the merging of two distant strands of humanity. This made him more powerful than either because he was a bridge between the two races. Of course, this is bullshit. In fact, there is more of a genetic range in East Africa than anywhere in the world. In fact, European and Asian lines are really a small recent branch off of a long and ancient family tree. Some bi-racial families like to tell their children that they are extra special (as if Black Americans are ethnically or racially pure) and that they bi-racial people saviors to the world. Some claim that racial mixing is the solution to the world’s problems. But they often fail to look at the case of Brazil to see that social stratification and racism exts there, despite official policies that encouraged racial mixing. All one has to look at how white the government looks like to this date. Some of the racial essentialisms serve to create dangerous color hierarchy that only serves to reaffirm white supremacy. They try to teach their children that the world is color-blind, but many fail to teach their children the complexities of their heritage (especially the Black heritage that has been silent in historical record). The desirability of having brown babies often has little to do with affirming this rich heritage or linking up with the struggle of people of African descent.

At times, it has to do with the ways individuals would like to construct themselves and the fantasies that they have about the black “other.” It can be a way of rejecting white privilege. A white woman with a brown baby is not accepted into white elite circles. Nor are Asian women accepted in their communities and Latina women are often ostracized by their friends, families, and associates. Many are disowned for dating or marrying outside their race (On the other hand it is rare for black families to disown their sons or daughters. And they often raise multi-racial children and treat them well). Having brown babies can serve as a way of advancing an agenda or affirming a new constructed ethnic identity. They can participate in black culture because they now have a rightful place as mother of a black child. However, many women who only date black men and have brown babies would not change their own ethnicity. They do not want to be black women at all. They comletely enjoy their privileged place as desired/objectified other in a community that is so rife with self hatred. In fact, many non-black women feel superior, while at the same time, they often resent black women. I have heard several non-black women talk completely disparaging of black women, our looks, our hair, our body shape, our attitudes, and intelligence. (I am sure that many are regretful that they disclosed to me their off the cuff thoughts. But they have been extremely insightful). This is especially the case when they are competing for the attentions of a black man, or trying to bolster themselves up when comparing themselves to their partners’ exes. I have always wondered why some of my friends and associates felt that confortable saying such statements to me. Perhaps they were looking for me to validate their views. And I take responsbility for not challenging them on their wack statements. It seems as if many non-black women who are into urban/hip hop/black culture hope to raise new brown/black women who will accept their authenticity and be color blind. Having brown babies seems to be a complex social phenomena that I think we have only begun to unpack. We should look at what’s going on to understand how colorism is being reproduced in our community and how the ultimately can have devastating effects on those who are phenotypically Black.

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46 thoughts on “On the Desirability of Brown Babies

  1. Salaam. I came to your blog through Umar Lee’s.
    I found your post very interesting. I am white and my husband is Arab, so our children (insha Allah we will be blessed with them) will be mixed race, so I find these issues interesting

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  2. wow, well said Margari, and you didn’t make a blanket statement
    that put people in any one category, rather you presented some very insightful comments to consider. Purity of intention is the criterian for ones’ actions. I thoroughly enjoyed this piece, take care, peace/love/light

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  3. Arab is not a race, so your children are not be mixed-race insha’Allah. Within American racial categorizations, your husband falls into the White/Mediterranean/European category. Instead, your children will be multi-ethnic (Arab Americans). And while you will have haters, some of those same catty women will celebrate your fair-complexioned children. BTW, Mabrook to you sister on your recent marriage, May Allah protect and guide you.

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  4. Very Interesting…Unfortunately, it seems everyone wants to be something else, hence the popularity of skin bleaching soap in the Middle East and Africa, and tanning in Europe and America. I have an African co-worker who swears black American women hate her because she’s married to a black man *SIGH* I feel it’s more because she is a Muslimah because she’s a chocolate sister *smile*

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  5. Hmmmm, I will have to comment on African and Black American relations in an upcoming blog. I agree with you I really doubt that African American women hate on her because she was born in the motherland. The statement seems so absurd to me that it really seems like a generalization and an attempt to distance herself from her Black American sisters. I am sure if she spoke to more of us she’d get a different perception. But I would have to differ, tanning in Europe is not about trying to be black. Instead, it reflects and outdoor leisurely and healthy lifestyle (i.e. yachting, polo, etc.). When those hobbies became popular among the white elites, a healthy tan became a trend. I look forward to your blog….

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  6. The specific desire to have an interracial child (as opposed to having one due to a romantic relationship without this specific intent) may be based on any reasoning, from blind adherence to trends to some multicultural ideology. But it is merely speeding up a process which would occur anyway.

    The only reason that there are races today is that the movement of people between regions was slow enough that some local force like sexual selection (people liking certain features and colours better), founder effects (if the first people in a region had a roman nose then later most people there will have the trait) or minor local pressures like seasonal day light or the effects of elevation on atmosphere, pushed a population to be more similar to locals than to those at a greater distance.

    Now that the last few centuries/millennia have seen increasing contact between people there is more intermarriage than the divisional forces can overcome.

    This is not a bad thing. While there is extremely little in the way of genetic diversity between races in regards to genes themselves, the novel gene combinations and frequencies that isolation has produced will provide humanity with a far greater source of variety in the global population. In fact humanity is in need of more diversity since genetic evidence suggests that our species was near extinction a mere 700,000 years ago. Bottlenecks like these can limit genetic diversity and put a species at risk if they occur too frequently.

    People have been following fads just as long as they have been following traditions but in this case the fad is just reinforcing the direction in which nature is moving anyway.

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  7. Hmmm, your environmental determinism is interesting. Speaking in such a long duree still overlooks the power of culture in determining people’s lives within their local contexts. Your theory implies that human beings have not been mixing and that genetic diversity is incumbent upon various phenotypes mixing. Scientists have shown that there is greater genetic diversity in Africa and in fact greater diversity within a racial category rather than between the racial categories. They have shown that race is not the only factor in genetic diversity. This further highlights the fact that race is a social construct. Also, the type of pseudo-science argument about strenghtening the race has been used by some multi-racial people to argue their superiority over mono-racial people. But when it comes to black people, we are not mono-racial but clearly multi-racial with African-European-and Native American admixture, so that argument does not really hold weight in the American context. This argument is dangerous because while it argues for superiority over the dominant white groups, it also argues for superiority over black groups on the strength that they possess European genes. It is a modification of late 19th and early 20th century racial determinist models and a bastardization of Darwin’s notion of evolution—Social Darwinism.

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  8. What an insightful post! .. Thank you for sharing your observations with us. In light of the scientific explanations that have been raised here, may I add one of my own observations..

    I recall from my scientific readings that if two organisms can mate and reproduce with each other, then they are one species. For example, in other species, though they may have different fur colors (like squirrels and rabbits, some are brown and some are black) they still mate and reproduce with each other. However, it appears, the most intelligent species on the earth, humans are the only species trying to categorize themselves into races in attempt to create a phantom “racial construct”, and establish some type of “racial self-actualization” and “superiority”. i.e. “White, mixed, black, Indian, and other”. Scientifically, if we can reproduced among each other, then we are one species, NO one is better and everything else that is our bodily construct is due to ”gene expression”..

    By Nationality, I am Somali, but in my appearance, I am racially ambiguous, I don’t have a traditional “Somali Look”. I have lived in many countries as a child, I been to Kenya, Uganda, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and now I am living in the United States. I could pass for many things. My complexion is Caramel, when people see me, I get all kinds of stuff, including are you from Pakistan, India, African American, Ethiopian, Sudan, Yemen and Egypt, Somali and so on.

    But the most traumatizing experience for me as a child was when I went to primary school in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. I was the fairest student in my grade class, there were few none Uganda students in the school .The Ugandan students use to chase me around pulling my hair and calling me “Muzungu” which means white in Swahili. This might come as shock to someone, but yes, I was prosecuted because I was not dark enough. Some teachers use treated me special, being extra helpful and nice to me as I was trying to get adjusted to a new country and a new school. And majority of the teachers were extremely harsh that I use to be sent outside on the school play ground when the sun was at its zenith, and ordered to kneel with my hands on my head. I could go on about my experience there, but I would like to share the lesson I learned.

    The reality is, in any place where people are not as heterogeneous; there will always be extreme reaction to a different person, in appearance, dress or language. Now in America, I have experience racism because I am Muslim, a woman and black.

    As for marriage, people get married for different reasons, if it is race, then that is one of the most pitiable reasons in the world. The human skin is one organ of many organs we have, if a person falls in love with the skin organ; it is like falling in love with any other part, say a person’s pancreas, hands, eyes, or intestines, funny but true.

    Personally though, I have always been touched and inspired by the black struggle. The little I have heard and learned about the ancestral history of African Americans and the civil rights movements have shaped my values when dealing with people, “it is not the color of a person’s skin but the content of their character”.
    Being in America, I believe I am part of the black struggle, in a different way, but in a different time from a different experience. The people from African, mainly I am referring to African immigrants have been through the colonialism and have the same race issues that plague African American. I will save my comments on this for later, a post that’ll address the racial dynamics of African immigrants compared to African Americans.

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  9. Salaams S,

    Thank you so much for your perspective on this issue. You have raised so many good points. Your experiences must have been so painful and I can relate because of my own experiences of exclusion. I would love to build with you on your experiences. I think it is important to have open dialogue between African immigrants and African Americans. I hope we can do that here because so many would benefit from it.

    There used to be psuedo-scientific theories of race and the origins of African, Asian and European people. Some even claimed we evolved from different species. The word mullatoe came from the term mule, which is deeply insulting. A long time ago, Westerners believed that the product of mix-raced marriages were infertile like mules. Madness and stupidity!! There is no such thing as a pure race. Better yet, those racial categories are fictions. We are the same race–human race.

    And as stated in the Quran, we were created as different tribes and nations so that we can get to know each other. I love exploring difference and commonality. We have so much shared than different. In our efforts to get to know each other, it is important that we not approach our relationships out of self-hatred or trying to exoticize and essentialize people. No Snow Here has made an important point, as a racially ambiguous person. She said that she is wary of the motivations of the men who approach her because they try to project their own fantasies of ambiguity on her. I just pray that people appreciate you for who you are. You are an individual and unique with so much to offer. And I welcome you, and others who are interested in overcoming these divides, to engaging this discussion.

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  10. As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    I’ve personally known a family where the daughter was in a Somali madrassa and being called “gall” which, I’m told, meant white with connotations of “kafir”. The girl was basically white, but the daughter of an American Jewish convert to Islam and a Somali mother, and they generally spoke Swahili at home. In the UK, many Swahili speakers are in fact Asian or mixed-race, since we took a lot of the Asians who were kicked out of Africa during the early 1970s.

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  11. assalamu alikeum

    Yusuf,

    Gaal (or Gaa’lo in plural) means non muslim/kafir and is used to describe all non muslims. The only reason why its mainly used to refer often to white people in britian for example is because the majority of white people in u.k are non muslim whereas thats not the case with blacks, asians etc..(although non muslim blacks/asians would also be refered to gaal as well) The word itself is not a racial derogative one but obviously like any word, can be twisted to be offensive. The children at the somali madrassa really should have got told off for using that towards your friend. We have a few half somali/half european kids at ours who all look white as well but if they ever used that towards them, they’d get beating lol. Alhmdualiah none have though.

    Saying all that though, in somalia i got called a ‘gaal’ on several occasions by random people in the streets and i’m somali from both parents! lol. sometimes its just sheer ignornace really.

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  12. I found your blog extremely interesting and honest. My mother is black and my father is african. I know also what it feels like to go to school and feel inadequate. I grew up in Atlanta, and EVERY black boy wanted a light skinned or hispanic or white or indian or mixed girl. Anything but black. Mixed boys at my school even went so far as to say, I don’t like black girls because they act ghetto. Not every black girl is like that. There are intelligent, young black women in the world. In our society, African Americans are still living with plantation mentality. If you don’t pass the brown paper bag test, you’re inadequate. Many times my sister and I have been told we’re pretty for a dark girl. I’m kind of medium brown color and my sister is really dark. All the same all of this prejudice against our natural state of being has made many black girls including myself, have extremely low self esteem. I grew up in the “hood” and most of my circle of friends wanted to get with an asian boy, or a indian boy, or a puerto rican boy. Never a white boy. And many of them have had children at young ages with another race. I feel like I would be letting go of who I am, if, because I wasn’t happy with myself, I married/had children with another race. Whoever I choose to marry, if they are a different race is fine with me and I know my family would not disclaim me. But I need to be happy and content wit myself before I should do so. And everyone who is contemplating making a decision like that, ESPECIALLY white people, should seriously think about what they will make their child go through. White people are not accepting of other races. I’m not making a racist comment, this is obvious fact. America is a VERY white place. From the government to the streets. That’s just the way it is.

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  13. Salam alaikum ,Umar Lee’s comments in regard to Arab men and search of white women is accurate, fair, based on astute ‘street sense’ of what is happening. We don’t expect the universities, with ‘liberal dogmas’, to reflect that raw but right understanding. I’m a product of the streets (London) and & the ‘post-modernist’ education of the British universities and do not believe that the first is in way inferior education compared to the latter (which may not even be ‘education’) . As generalisation & a cliche it is of course well known among Muslim men of the streets what motivates certain women from specific ethnic backgrounds. Somalis (mainly northern but also southerners) like white men. But it is also true they are less fussy than others when choosing a ‘partner’; while Asians are different (they like white men but do not marry them unless divorce to an Asian has made it permissible- for the parents). As to blackwomen, as with Arab women, the ‘educational’ system appeares to create a desire for white men & the love of the newly acuired vocabulary to justfy it (‘multi-cultural terms’,etc). But their motivations may be different from why white men marry them (the justifications may be the same though)-and again, Umar might be spot on about Muslim white males from a middle class background. Arabs as rule do not marry ‘blacks’; nor, even those close to them in regional terms, ‘Somalis’. Arab males, like Somali women, may share the same love of white colour, regardless of the ‘shape’ it is presented in. White women of a more homely, palaine-Jane type may find the unique attentions too flattering to resist. None of this is product of Western colonialism per se. But the ‘Fanon’ diagnoses may be certainly applicable to many of the diaspora women who find it nice to celebrate their small but invisable portion of Irish or ‘Red Indian’ (indigenous blood) in trying to produce families lighter than themselves. Inshallah, I have offended no one here, but Umar’s insights, provocative, sardonically, but wittily obsevered, deserves a defence from here, in London, as it seems a fully justifed geralisation. Wal Allahu ya3lamu al haqq

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  14. assalamu alikeum

    jamal, somali women on the whole (disporia or from homeland), prefer somali men first and foremost (sure they drive us insane at times 😀 but we love them deep down lol) and its the same with the brothers- don’t mean that even those somalis dont find other races/ethnic groups appealing. Granted that things are differet with somalis living in western countries. The somalis in britian are the most fevorant in the qabil system and are less open to marrying others (including other somali tribes) compared to somalis in the rest of europe, north america and australia.

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  15. Salaam alaikum,
    The Somalian community in the US tends to stay with their own. On the West coast, I don’t see a lot of intermarriage. I don’t see many somali women with white men, nor are they marrying outside their own group. I have always seen Somalis as a proud people with a strong sense of their own identity. I don’t profess to know much about the community, but I’m willing to learn. I think the important point to take away is that It is not as if Somali women have some natural pre-determined inclination towards loving Europeans as opposed to their own. Not everyone wants to be white, not all black people have some natural inclinaiton towards self hatred.

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  16. Interesting post. I was browsing through the internet, attempting to find something regarding biracial adults making racial jokes about their African American identity that they may or may not acknowledge. I have encountered a biracial man (African American and Caucasian) who thought that it would be amusing to make racial comments about slavery and the complexions of various African American individuals. I did not find any of the jokes to be even slightly funny. In fact, I took them as a personal insult. I am African American and I have delt with racism from other races, never my own. I almost felt as if I was not dealing with anyone who identified or acknowledged that they were biracial. Has anyone dealt with this type of ignorance? How do biracial individuals identify themselves. Do they acknowledge the fact that they have African blood and that slavery is also a part of thier history? I am confused at this point. For this specific topic, when using the term biracial, I am refering to African American and Causasian. Help….

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  17. Geenyus wrote: “In our society, African Americans are still living with plantation mentality. If you don’t pass the brown paper bag test, you’re inadequate.” The ironic thing is that this epidemic is in the urban as well as the black upperclass. Your statement reminded me of two books, one was “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Toni Morrison (I think that’s the right book) in which the main character (light-skinned black woman) goes through a series of heartbreak relationships-all with different black men. One of these relationships the guy wanted her to keep her hair wrapped up and in a way put her on a pedestal as a possession. More specifically about the brown paper bag test. This issue of light-skinned and jungle music is among the black elite in America, I came across an interesting read: “Our Kind of People” by Lawrence Otis Graham. Throughout the book he discusses classism, racism and elitism that blacks suffere throughout history and we carved our own caste system (not permanent like in Eastern societies) but basically everyone always need to feel better than someone else and we use distinctions in education, race and class to do it. It was like we’re admittedly American now, we can take what good financially and etiquette wise but don’t marry them, but if you happen to be light because of white historical lineage take advantage of it. The contradictions make the mind whirl during the read. It does provide an antecdote for those who have it ingrained in our head that our only greatness was ancient civilization or the talented 10th in Post-Reconstruction era or something. But I must admit that in black culture I see how the lighter and darker black women have it easy. I asked a guy at work, and said it’s not fair, black men like extremes, you either have to be light-skinned or chocolate dark like the model Emaan or something and the guy grinned for ear to ear, I said “Exhibit A.” So the brown/light brown are caught in the middle of this racial tug of war too, even among Black Americans.

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  18. It is sooo sad that some of us (African American’s) are so ignorant concerning our own racial identity. I just don’t understand these things….a relaive of mine is also a victim of the self hatred epidemic among black America. He has sought out (and pretty much usually does) a European woman for companionship. Actually, marriage…..Not to say that all African American men who marry caucasian women have self hatred issues but, in this case it is evident. Why do we have soooo many issues? If it is not one thing, it is another….

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  19. It makes me wonder how many of these women looking to have “brown babies” get disappointed when the baby comes out white?

    My wife has medium skin complexion, but dark eyes and very curly black hair. I am white (very white) with dark blond hair and blue eyes.

    Both of our boys turned out white, dark blond hair and hazel eyes. Both of them would easily pass for white, but my wife and sister in laws say the oldest one could pass for a very light Palestinian or Syrian, some of whom look white.

    Genetics is a roll of the dice. You never know what you are going to get.

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  20. haha, Abu Sinan,

    It is like some black folks who have a baby by someone white or light skinned in hopes of having a child with “good hair” and the kid comes out with kinky hair.

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  21. assalamu alikeum

    Itrs not just black folk who desire ‘brown babies’, i know alot of white women/girls do here (u.k) too. Many of the white girls in my old school slept with black guys in the hope of having a cute ‘mixed baby’- (and many did get pregnant) cos according to them, they were ‘prettier’ than plain ole white babies. But what i found funny was they were all expecting kids with ‘pretty’ hair like themselves and some of the kids came out with kinky hair and they have a heart attack because they dont know how to deal with thick kinky textured hair. Many of them had to call on the help of black female friends on advice.

    I saw a little mixed race girl with her white mum at the shops a while back and her hair looked rough (and i mean rough!)- her hair didnt even looked brushed (she had thick and kinky hair). You could tell the mum might have had diffiuclity in managing/styling her hair because in comparison to her sister , who had sleeker, ‘softer’ hair and it was neat, brushed and tied up in a nice curly pony tail. I’ve seen so many little mixed race girls in the streets like that (like the 1st lil girl). Aleast a black mum in that situation would know what to do with the hair.

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  22. By the way what do you mean arab is not a race? You have more education than me, and obviously more cultured so I was wandering what do you mean by that, Im just curious to know

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  23. Salaams Almira,
    Education does not equal culture. So, I am not more cultured than you.
    Arab is not a racial category, but a cultural-linguistic group. Up until the rise of Arab nationalism, the term Arab was used in urban centers (like Damascus) to designate Bedouins who came from the Arabian peninsula. Many people who reside in what we now know as the Arab world have distinct cultures and languages (such as Berbers in North Africa). Also, there are Arabs who are Black African, Arabs who are Mediterranean, Arabs who are descendants of Central Asians who migrated to the Middle East. I even know of some Asian Saudi Arabians (their mothers are Filipinas). Even the racial categories (Black, White, Asian) that we use to divide the world do not work in understanding ethnicity and culture. Racial categories are poor descriptions for understanding dynamic cultures and history.

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  24. Good post.
    I will have to disagree on one issue. Plenty of non-black guys look at us. And if they are allowed, they will do more than look. I do not doubt Umar Lee’s experiences/assertions about some bf/wm marriages in the muslim community, however it is not the whole story.
    We couldn’t have as many of these marriages as we do if wm just plain old found black women unattractive. LOL.

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  25. A closer reading of my blog and my writings will reveal that I do not think that non-Black guys look at us. Nor will you find me asserting that men outside the Black community are uninterested in romantic relationships and possibly marriage with Black woman. But I am sure that a thorough study of interracial marriages in the Muslim community (like the one Grewal conducted) reveals the gendered racism that exists in the Musllim community and negatively affects Black women.

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  26. I agree with Muslim Gal, there are tons of white people that want brown babies with curly hair, its not only limited to black people.

    In my case, I am half Somali half Italian. My dad is Italian and my mom is Somali. Did my dad marry my mom to have tanned kids with curly-wavy hair? IF those were his intentions then it back fired, because me and my 4 siblings came out as white as him.

    @Jamal. please don’t generalize about Somalis. 99.5% of Somalis marry other Somalis. In 19 years i have only met 2 Somalis ( one half Italian and the other half Swahili) that were mixed…

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  27. Just wanted to make it clear I do hear what you are saying Hill. I did the online thing and did not put my “race”/ethnicity into my profile. I had one person who was very interested in me for her nephew/son (don’t remember which) based on the personality that came through and on my stated values. She was pakistani. When she found out I was black she immediately lost interest.
    Corresponded with another dude, Arab. Suspect he lost interest for the same reason.
    Same thing happened with a pakistani-american guy. When he found out I was black, it was a no go.
    In the case of the last two guys, I’d responded to their ads. Several months later when I put up an ad of my own, these same two guys responded with great interest! Again, based on apparent personality/values compatibility.
    The sheer irony still makes me chuckle. It also makes me a little sad. Both these guys seemed very much ready for and desiring of a compatible wife. But when presented with a likely prospect, they rejected her based ONLY on her ethnicity.
    Their loss was mine AND my husband’s gain. I got (masha’allah) a guy that loves me inside and out, and his family didn’t give two figs about me being black either.
    I am glad I didn’t marry into a family that would be a source of stress for me and my children about our phenotypes.
    Allah is indeed the Merciful.

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  28. Exactomundo!!
    In contrast, I’ve seen how many proposals white women right after they take Shahada. I’m not saying that all Arab or Desi families discriminate. There are some cool situations and I’ve seen some very welcoming and open families. But sometimes that openness borders on paternalism and self-righteousness. Some people act as if they deign to be my friend. And I’ve also seen some uber pious immigrant Muslims deign to marry a woman despite her ethnicity. That, I found extremely offensive. I think people forget that Black people in interracial relationships also overcome biases and prejudices and learn to accept difference. It is not a matter of being beneath or above someone. But being able to meet them face to face as human beings.

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  29. Salam Sista –
    I am glad you pointed out the paternalism and self-rightousness from some non-black muslims when they approaching AAs for relationships. Its is akin to what Bernald Lewis outlined in his books that non-blacks would illustrate their piety by being involved with a person of African descent. It is basically saying, I am so pious that I even accept Africans or Zanj.

    I love your sophistication in dealing with these issues – you are right on point.

    Salam

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  30. So its damn if you don’t and damned if you do. Isn’t it a sign of piety to marry someone whom the rest of the community rejects? Isn’t this a virtue? Doesn’t the prophet say marry the orphans, widows and divorcees who were seen as undesirable? If black women are seen as undesirable in some muslim communities, isn’t pious to look beyond ethnicity and social stigma and marry them for their righteousness.
    Also, what do you think about Black Muslims who only desire to marry other Black muslims? Is that not discrimination?

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  31. Khalid,
    Your comments really really the naivete of your thinking. Frankly anybody approaching me with an attitude that I am undesirable and that they are marrying beneath themselves needs to keep on stepping. That type of condescending attitude leads to abuse. That’s not the attitude that Muhammad took when he married the widows and divorcees. Those women were worthwhile, and in fact, Khadijah was considered the best of Women. The point is to reject false social constructs and stop acting like people are beneath you.

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  32. You read me wrong. Muhammad(pbuh)married Khadijah at a time when virgins were held in the highest esteem and divorcees and widows were considered unmarriagable. He went against the social taboo because he was wiser. I’m not suggesting one marry someone they find undesirable. I’m saying that if you recognize that this person is worthy you should marry them DESPITE what SOCIETY says about the relationship.
    I”m sure there have been men who have found black women desirable and pious but stopped short of taking them as a wife because of what their family or societies say. I’m saying that it takes virtue and courage to go against the grain.
    Personally, if a women is attractive, pious, kind and intelligent I’ll take her regardless of class and racial issues. If my family or community has a problem with it then they can go where the sun don’t shine.

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  33. HI sistr,

    Please do not judge all swahili speakers and Africans as people desperate to marry an Arab or bleach our skin. As a British citizen and a Tanzanian, who has visited most parts of East African, this is far from being the case. Yes there are Arabs and Indians etc but in general we are nations or Muslim black individuals with a strong moral background. I wish for you at some point to have the opportunity to travel and see the beauty of Africa and enjoy the culture.

    Peace. Amina.

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  34. hey enzo just becouse u havnt been around somali people does not mean that somali dont marry other somali people…there is a whole nation in africa made up FULL somali.

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  35. As-salaamu alaykum,
    looks like there’s a lot praise for Somalis…As a Somali I’ll gladly accept it :). I remember, a while ago, one my older brothers warning me about bringing a white girl (or anyone other than Somali) home. To his credit, I don’t think he included muslim sisters in that warning, regardless he was passionate about his identity even though living in NA for such a long time. Not all Somalis are like that, I know of many Somali sisters married to either white or bosnik (maybe albanian?) husbands, I see the those brothers at the U. However, mainly Somalis are protective of their identity, especially the young generation.

    I find it really weird that Beyonce is more popular than Kelly. I remember back in my high school days that most of my friends (mainly Somali back then) found Kelly to be really attractive and I don’t think it was because she is darker, didn’t hear the same for Beyonce back then. But somehow Beyonce is all the rage now. I could careless about who is the latest sex object but it does speak to the acceptability of light complexion people by the rest of america.

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  36. Hi,
    I too came into your blog via the “on being a white muslim” blog post. I am a white european lady who coverted to Islam after a marriage to a white european man, who unfortunately was faithless. I fell in love with a muslim man whilst my love for Islam was growing stronger. What drew me to him was the fact that he loves Allah so, that he seeks truth, as I do. I married him and to be honest, I only make duah that Allah bless this union with more and more of it, because it has brought me such peace. He is an indian man, so I don’t know if “arab” is the right expression, but he is dark-skinned. Having been brought up in a racist environment during the height of petty apartheid, I was taught that mixed marriages were taboo both by my family, my country and the law itself. Yet here we are.. I don’t believe he set out to “catch” me because I’m white, nor did I flee from his dark skin. If anything, I’m in love with his darker skin because I love him from the inside out, and the outside in. I don’t particularly care if our children turn out curly haired, sharp nosed or tinted that gloriously beautiful colour my husband is. I welcome my Allah’s will and pray only they turn out to be children who love our Rabb as I and my husby do.
    Yes, we know there are some unspoken criticisms and there will be some unspoken “highfives” from ignoramusus who will either subscribe to “Hey he landed a white chick” or “What’s she doing with HIM?!” But we both make duah that Allah grant us many, many years of peace, protected deen, and growth in our Imaan and in our relationship. As long as we are muslims, I’ll make his samoosas for him and he’ll enjoy them. I’ll make my cod-fish and olives and he loves those too.. so perhaps,in a world of preconceived ideas, there is hope for unions that come from a desire to love because the other person so loves Allah.
    Keep us in your duahs. Will be visiting your site regularly.
    Rabs

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  37. I find this post very interesting.. a lot of people escape from this subject. I am a 17 year old girl grown up in Norway, I am norwegian the way I think,the way I behave, and the way I live. But i keep my african root and learnings my parents teached me. I am proud of who I am and amd very interested in Uganan history-where my blood comes from!
    I have been trought a really hard childhood, I faced gard racism at school and at home.. My mother teache dme early on that african hair is ugly, she always braided my hair, and when I told her I wanted to me natural she refuced me to.Skinbleaching is a subject my parents talked often about. My father always compared me to those white actors and singers, like kyle mingoue,sheron stone,J.Lo and many others.. He would always say they look more younger and more \beautifuler than I do.
    And one day he really broke my heart, he told me I was so Ugly that no man would ever want me, and I will never get a boyfriend or get maried.
    Its very painful,In the black community they always complained about my look, because I have hips, they used to say I got to loose some pounds and look more like my white friends.
    And when I stared dating, i dated only black men, cause am afraid on white people. the black boys I dated, never respected me, treated me like crap and complained about my skin- they wouldnt even wanna be seen with me. soo I gave up on them.
    After a while I met a guy from Afghanaistan. he was soo sweet, everything baout him was different from the black boys I dated, he treated ,me like a queen. But once again race does mathere, we had some problems with his friends. I think his friends didnt want to have a black girl.. After some month I found out he had got a true girlfriend who is white.. It broke my heart!
    Since then I havent been dating nayone, I feel like there is no man for me in this world. I feel that the men just jugde me buy my cover, because I black they feel they shoulnt love me..
    Its horible.

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  38. As a mixed somali guy,I have a hard time dealing with some ignorant people especially my somali friends.

    my mother was danish and did not convert when she married my dad ,they are still together,I am glad my father properly took care of us 3 sons and 1 daughter and we are all muslims which matter at the end.

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  39. I’m from Malaysia married to a wonderful Somali man, and what I have noticed being part of this community is that in traditional Somali culture, the women have alot of power, whether financially or culturally. This is the number one reason why 99% stick with their own. I have personally seen many times good muslim brothers from places like Bosnia or Turkey being rejected because the Somali sisters feared that their Bosnian/Turkish/Moroccan cultural customs would dominate the Somali and islamic ones and therefore lose power. These sisters also don’t have a fetish for marrying out to get ‘light skinned and curly haired babbies’ because there are plenty of Somali brothers that can provide them with that.

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