What they say: I want to have mixed babies, they're so beautiful
What I hear: You want to make my brown features more Eurocentric.
When I hear folks talk about how they want mixed babies all I hear is that they want to erase certain features. Lighten skin, change hair textures, lighten eyes, smaller noses, etc. These things don't make you beautiful. It has taken me years to be comfortable with the parts of my body that have a closer proximity to blackness.
I grew up, like most people, getting messages of how thin white women are beautiful and anything that strays from that is simply something to change.
Personally I'm from an Afro-Latinx and Ashkenazi Jewish background and gave my white grandmother tons of grief for simply existing and being brown, curvy, and not obviously Jewish.
There are many ways to be mixed race, I feel like the assumption is a POC being mixed with some kind of white. This is an oversimplification of a wide array of experiences.
The dictionary defines it as people whose parents or ancestors are from different ethnic backgrounds. Mixed people have the right to define their own identity and their relationships with their varied ancestry.
The mixed identity is a sensitive and sometimes distressing identity that can draw on narratives of privilege, oppression, and fetishization that can vary for each individual.
We have to confront our own experiences of belonging and non-belonging, of feeling like lesser, neither, or downright nothing. We have to confront how our very existence can be the product of colonization and colorism. We have to confront living with different marginalized identities all at once, in many different contexts.
Read my previous post here about asking mixed people "What are you" and why it's an issue. (TL:DR Our identities are not curiosities, small talk, talking points, or tokens. You don’t know what our backgrounds mean to us.)
The issue with eroticing mixing the races is how it plays with white supremecy and how folks work to uphold those beauty standards.
Exoticization: a manifestation of white supremacy designating something as “other” but nonthreatening, unfamiliar but tameable, bizarre but seductive, seductive in its bizarreness. When it comes to mixed people, this can be uniquely disgusting. So basically taking all the scary "other" bits and making them more palatable to white supremacy.
When you call a mixed Black POC “hot” because they are not fully Black, you are degrading and oppressing their Blackness while disrespecting the details of their identity. This shows up for many POC who are mixed Black like myself, but being “less” Black, but “enough” to make them an attractive novelty.
Don’t search our mixed features for familiar stereotypes.
I've been told they can see my black ancestry by the texture of my hair, or the curve of my body. This is not a compliment. Sometimes we love to celebrate where features come from, how different histories play upon the landscape of our physicality or our values, but that’s because we live it. Don’t reduce me to a set of physical stereotypes.
So no, I'm not exotic. I'm from the Bronx....