- U.S. gamers create as much carbon dioxide as 5 million cars 3 Years Ago
- Disney+ TV characters like Ms. Marvel will appear in MCU movies 3 Years Ago
- Apple TV+ offers something for younger viewers with ‘Helpsters’ 3 Years Ago
- How to watch ‘The Mandalorian’ Today 7:34 AM
- ‘Snoopy in Space’ is a delightful kids show that parents will love too Today 7:08 AM
- How to watch ‘Lady and the Tramp’ Today 7:00 AM
- Netflix’s ‘Let It Snow’ delivers a stocking full of rom-com coal Today 6:41 AM
- Student allegedly posted roommate’s ‘missing’ flyer on Instagram before being charged with her murder Monday 11:45 PM
- Reddit AITA: Man verbally abused partner through cat impersonations Monday 7:18 PM
- Facebook finally lets you kill distracting navigation bar notifications Monday 6:14 PM
- Artist says Thinx underwear campaign ripped off their memes (updated) Monday 5:48 PM
- Google reportedly gathering millions of Americans’ personal health records Monday 5:00 PM
- Trina goes off on Walmart shopper who allegedly called her the ‘N-word’ Monday 4:14 PM
- Bored of Helvetica? iOS users finally have some new font options Monday 4:00 PM
- Amid panic, YouTube says new terms of service won’t impact creators Monday 3:56 PM
You know what’s weird? Genetics. Sometimes two parents will have brown hair and their kid will be a redhead. Sometimes their kid’s skin will be darker or lighter or have more freckles. It’s the nature of genes that none of us come out a perfect 50/50 combination of our parents. And yet whenever this happens to children of an interracial couple, we tend to treat the kids like zoo attractions.
The latest instance is around a pair of fraternal twins in Illinois born to a black father and a white mother, one of whom has pale skin and blue eyes, and the other whom has darker skin and brown eyes. This is a totally understandable occurrence from a genetic standpoint, and yet their mother, Whitney Meyer, is calling them “miracle babies,” saying she and her boyfriend “don’t see color,” and that their children are “why racism shouldn’t exist.”
No. A pair of twins with different skin tones is not why racism shouldn’t exist. In fact, the fetishizm of biracial people and interracial relationships (and let’s be specific, biracial people where one of the races is white) as “proof” that racism will just die out is actually pretty racist! And that’s because it perpetuates the lie that racism is based solely on skin color.
Racism is certainly is based on skin color, but also on class and cultural perceptions, institutional white supremacy, and whiteness as a race one can “become.” It lets us off the hook, assuming that by 2050 everyone will have beautiful, brown-ish skin and “almond” eyes and all the other features we exoticize. “Look how nice we look, as a people, when white gets to be more interesting and minorities get to look white,” wrote Jia Tolentino about the phenomenon for the Hairpin. “Look at this freckled, green-eyed future. Look at how beautiful it is to see everything diluted that we used to hate.”
The last time a story like this came around was in 2015, with a pair of biracial twins from the U.K., and before that it was in 2012. And sure, it’s probably incredibly rare that this happens. But putting value in that rareness, as if it means anything more than a fact of genetics, does nothing to dismantle racism. We never follow these twins into the future and hear of them being treated differently for their skin colors, or question what race means when you have a black father and white skin. Nor do these stories open the conversation to the specific forms of racism and pressures biracial people face, like feeling not “enough” for either side of their family, or the constant “What are you?” questioning. Nor do they discuss how identity can be so malleable. We only hear of what a wild coincidence it is and get a feel-good story about how we’re all equal.
Meyer said that her older son reads to the twins every night. “People in this country could learn a lot from my son,” said Meyer. “He’s so innocent, he doesn’t understand racial tensions, because to him it doesn’t matter, as it shouldn’t matter to anyone else.”
The Illinois twins will no doubt be loved by their parents, their brother, the viewers and readers who see this story and understand skin color doesn’t tell the whole story. But to say racial tensions don’t matter is to discredit the millions of people who have been affected by those tensions, died because of them. Simply saying so certainly doesn’t help them go away.
Jaya Saxena is a lifestyle writer and editor whose work focuses primarily on women's issues and web culture. Her writing has appeared in GQ, ELLE, the Toast, the New Yorker, Tthe Hairpin, BuzzFeed, Racked, Eater, Catapult, and others. She is the co-author of 'Dad Magazine,' the author of 'The Book Of Lost Recipes,' and the co-author of 'Basic Witches.'