White or brown, girl or boy. It doesn’t matter.

Guest post by Denise Fixcat
Photo by Cassie Leah Photography
Photo by Cassie Leah Photography

The most frequent question I get about my pregnancy is whether I want a boy a girl. The second question is whether I want to know. The only reason I would like to know is for practical reasons, the baby shower. My husband says he wants a boy because of the “boyfriend issue” if we had a girl. I’ve noticed that’s something that freaks many men out about having a daughter.

It makes no difference to me whether it’s a boy or a girl, whether he has brown skin like me or she has light skin like my husband. I was born in Mexico City and my husband is from California, he is half Mexican and half Guatemalan with British ancestry (we think, sometimes he seems more Scottish to me) that makes him look white.

People are always shocked when he starts talking Spanish and he’s even had to face racism from more brown-looking Mexicans he has met. Racism has also shown its ugly face in comments that our baby will be a beautiful light-skinned baby.

I know it’s so ingrained in our society to look at white babies as more beautiful than those of color, but it angers me. At this point in our so-called evolved society, shouldn’t we have grown out of that? Sadly we are nowhere close to seeing people from the inside out.

I doesn’t matter to me whether our baby is a boy or a girl or brown or white.

Another comment I hear a lot is, “It doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or a girl as long as it’s healthy.” Of course I wish the best for my child and I hope more than anything she will be healthy and I am taking precautions to take care of her while she is inside me, growing and preparing to come out into this strange world.

But I will not love him any less if something goes wrong. She is my baby no matter what. I know it’s an innocent comment and just good wishes but it makes me think about parents and children who have to learn to live with a disability and how society at large sees this. We no longer see it as punishment for our sins perhaps but there is still an element of discrimination.

All these issues have made me realize how hard it is to be born into this world, where being a specific gender or color already maps out part of you life. I do have the hope that despite stereotypes and racism, despite all the hate in this world, it is possible to succeed and have a fruitful life, whatever that path may be for my child.

There are many who have fought for civil rights and struggled with much more discrimination than my child will ever face and I thank them for that. I am thankful for Jesus and Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez and Digna Ochoa, all revolutionaries in the name of love for those who have been outcast, those who have been discarded by society.

So to my son or daughter I want to say, that it doesn’t matter to me what gender you are or what you look like, I already love you forever and nothing will ever change that. If the world sees you for what you look like, show them who you are inside, show them your true beauty.

I will do my best to teach you about the truth, the faith, the hope and the love that I have found in my life, the most important tools to battle all the hate, discrimination, and racism that still plagues this planet.

Comments on White or brown, girl or boy. It doesn’t matter.

  1. "British ancestry (we think, sometimes he seems more Scottish to me)" – just FTR, British is Scottish. Scotland, England & Wales are all part of the British Isles.

      • LOL The following is not meant to be preachy, nor to say I believe in division, because I believe in multiculturalism but I found your comment, Anna, amusing. So the following is meant in a tongue in cheek way.

        Not everyone thinks that Scottish or Welsh is English. In fact, there continues to be a strong secessionist movement in Scotland (and they have an independent parliament) and in Wales many people still speak the Welsh language. Although the British Isles share common (and conflicting) histories and many commonalities in culture, Scotland, England and Wales are unique cultures. So while they may all be called the British Isles, I dare you to call a dedicated Scotsman "English" LOL

        • Marie – Scottish secessionist movement – correct. Many Welsh people speak Welsh – correct. But you totally fall down by using the word English. I'm English – but my passport says I'm British – and so would the passports of people in Scotland and Wales – which is just a geographical fact (which I realise you acknowledge).
          There's no need to dare Anna to call a Scot English – because she didn't, she said Scots were British – and they are.

          Apologies for highjacking the comments. Lovely article.

    • Glad someone else noticed that too. Racism is racism, there is no such thing as reverse racism.

      Otherwise, this was a great read.

      • I agree, racism is racism. But I think she meant reverse when it's racism that you wouldn't expect. i.e. racism from your own "race" for not being recognizable enough, like not knowing the language or not looking like everyone else. I'm full Mexican, but I look white and I don't really speak spanish, so I often get racism from other Mexicans due to my un-mexican-ness! So yes, it's still racism, but it's just a bit different than how you think it would be.

  2. Wonderful! As for the "as long as it's healthy" comments, I don't know about other people but I've often said that. I've never meant it as "I hope your baby doesn't have a disability" but a "I hope nothing goes tragically wrong."

    • I agree! I never thought of “healthy” as a baby without a disability. I’ve only thought of those failure-to-thrive sort of situations.

  3. i too couldn't of cared less if this baby was going to be a boy or girl. brown like my husband or pale like me. i just want a happy child that grows to be an amazing human being from the inside out!

  4. It irritates the hell out of me when my mom gushes over my husband's sister's kids (got that? They're not even my mom's grandkids), especially the little girl because she's blond and blue eyed. DH and I are both white so luckily the "worst" we'll have to deal with is a brunette baby instead of a blond.

    I do plan on not revealing the gender of my baby (whenever I have one) to anyone except maybe my husband, if he wants to know. I won't even know until later in the pregnancy (mainly because I know I'm bad at keeping happy secrets).

  5. OH man! Hear hear! This made me tear up! My baby is going to be half Mexican (me) and half white (papa). I'm pretty sick of my man's mother telling me that she hopes my baby will have beautiful blue eyes like her and all of her children, because then they'll all have the OCEAN'S SOUL. Uhm, what? Are you saying my brown eyes are not beautiful, are they ugly? Well, thanks!

    I too get reverse and odd racism, because I'm an incredibly pale Mexican, which makes me nervous for my baby! I know my man's mother has an easier time excepting me because I look white, but what if my baby doesn't? My baby could be a golden child with chocolate eyes like my niece, which I think is beautiful, but what will the paternal grandmother do?

    I wish everyone would just stop guessing! My baby is a baby and it's going be awesome. Can't we just leave it at that?

    "I already love you forever and nothing will ever change that." !!! It's crazy falling in love. I love my boyfriend more than anything in the world. And now there's a baby inside of me? This baby transcends love (regardless of sex, eye color and even health!!!)

  6. Thank you for this. When I got engaged, my mom told me how much she was going to love my "little mulatto babies" ( Im white, hubby is 1/2 chinese, 1/2 African) I lost it! First of all, why couldnt she just say "babies" and secondly, mulatto is a derogatory term meaning "mule".

    I also specifically didnt find out the sex or reveal my name choices until my daughter was born because I didnt want people to make assumptions about what my child would be like before she was even here.

  7. It's great to see this post and to read comments from different cultures – here a darker-eyed baby is more likely to have people cooing over them! Just goes to show…

  8. I can't believe people actually think that way… I think so much of the wonder is seeing how the traits of the parents blend to make a new and beautiful being. And I've often felt the same when someone says 'as long as it's healthy' beautiful piece, thank you for writing it!

  9. This is my favorite column so far. As a future mom of biracial kids, I am glad to see others with similar ideas!

  10. It's good to go into it thinking this way, because there will be a lot to deal with later on once the child is out in the world.

  11. I was made to learn this rote style as a child at school- we were told it was by Kath Walker (her angilicised name)- late in life I learnt that it is by Oodgeroo of the tribe Noonuccal, Custodian of the land Minjerriba.

    Parts of your post made me think of it… I hope you like it. I've been told that it's a little sexist and outdated- but surely the idea of a mother talking to her son (it was dedicated to her first son, Denis) is, well timeless.

    Son of Mine
    My son, your troubled eyes search mine,
    Puzzled and hurt by colour line.
    Your black skin soft as velvet shine;
    What can I tell you, son of mine?
    I could tell you of heartbreak, hatred blind,
    I could tell of crimes that shame mankind,
    Of brutal wrong and deeds malign,
    Of rape and murder, son of mine;
    But I’ll tell instead of brave and fine
    When lives of black and white entwine,
    And men in brotherhood combine –
    This would I tell you, son of mine.

  12. Am I becoming the unofficial proofreader? I don't know why but this stuff just jumps out at me.
    First sentence: a boy a girl = a boy or a girl

  13. I also do not want to know the sex of my baby! And I've never thought about the "as long as he/she is healthy" comment (something I have said before)….but you are right! Never thought about it that way. πŸ™‚

  14. How is that poem sexist? I think it's really beautiful. I have said the "as long as he or she is healthy" line but I always kind of meant it as "as long as I get to hold him or her in my arms at hte end of this whole thing" of course I will love my baby if he isn't healthy. I found out the sex only because it was driving me nuts not having a name to call this little person inside of me. It is very possible that my son will have brown skin. My boyfriend is half whiite half mexican and I'm white so I'm not sure how the genes will sort themselves. Im kind of hoping for brown skin and blue eyes. I thing that would be beautiful, but I know that he will be amazing no mater what.

  15. Great Read! I, too, am waiting for birth to see the sex of my baby. Also, I have 2 friends who are white girls, and they have kids with 2 men (brothers) who are Guatemalan. I have to say, those babies are SO CUTE! MY BF and I are both very white, and will probably have a blond/blue-eyed baby…but I am a tiny bit jealous of my friend's latte-skinned babies!

  16. I am pregnant too and cannot stand the boy/girl comments… trust me, gets worse when you already have one. I have a girl and everyone wishes for this to be a boy so that i can have a "pair…" As if children were collectible figures or something of the sort. Sorry, the boy/girl thing does not matter to me, and we would be blessed to have another girl (which by the way, we already know how to raise and we have tons of clothes for, etc.)

    As for the biracial thing, we are that too, although I suppose for our purposes it's not as noticeable; i'm am Peruvian and not dark-skinned, but not light either (i don't really know what the classification of my particular skin color is) and my husband was born in Italy and has the typical Mediterranean olive skin… so we look similar and our daughter looks just like me, just lighter. It is sad, though, that my daughter's lightness has seemed to be looked at as a positive thing in parts of my hispanic family and family friends when really it doesn't matter at all (and has not been mentioned to me except once by my husband's family)… I really think the attention to "whiteness" too is very ingrained in our Hispanic (or Latino) culture, with its roots in conquest, comparison, and the perception of the European conquistador/missionary as "savior."

    One last thing though, as to the "healthy" comment. I often say that I want a healthy baby and I don't care if it's a boy/girl. I have lost a baby in miscarriage, though and to me, a "healthy" baby is a live one. So I don't think it necessarily has to mean a non-disabled, "perfect" baby. The wish for a healthy baby is one of good spirit and hope, I think, and not a disparaging remark toward those children that are not "healthy."

  17. Thank you so much for the comments, I'm so glad that some people feel as I do and have similar experiences. It feels so great to share in this forum.

    As far as the healthy comment I hope I did not offend anyone, I know that most people mean well when they say that and my intention was not to make people feel uncomfortable but it's just something that I have thought when I hear it sometimes. I appreciate your comments and the perspective to mean simply a live child. I had a cousin who had down syndrome and died at 8 of cancer and I can remember the way people looked at him and how family reacted to my uncle and aunt like it had been punishment. I don't think it's as bad now but I still think we need to work on looking at babies with disabilities just as healthy and amazing as more physically healthy babies. I love Goddess Leonie's comment "Whatever we are given is a gift from Great Spirit."

  18. What a lovely post! And so thoughtfully written.
    I read with interest some people's experience that a white baby is thought of as ideal….I think babies of non-caucasion descent are sooo gorgeous, and they tend to be less pink and funny looking at birth. Its an interesting point that you raise about the saying 'i don't care as long as its healthy'. And I know what you mean that no matter what you will love your baby, but I do think there is difference between skin colour/gender and health. In that you would never wish that your baby was unhealthy but you might wish for a boy/girl baby. Does that make sense? I hope so…

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