An interesting commentary by Jason L. Riley of the WSJ today. He's black, his wife's white, and they're expecting baby #1. So here are two comments he and the Mrs. have received recently:
Upon finding out, friends can't resist informing her that "interracial children are beautiful." It's said in a tone that suggests deep gratitude and admiration, although the reasons are a little unclear.
I'm not sure what this means either -- are there certain deformities in pure Caucasoid or Negroid (that's the technical classification) people that are alleviated in their progeny by interracial genetic inputs? Is this some platitude that is meant to mollify the person with the less dominant genetic inputs (i.e., the white half of the union in this instance or in a Caucasoid-Mongoloid union [again, technical terms])? Is there some lingering concept that adding the black drops to the white base paint mix will make the paint more uniformly white (let's see who catches that reference)?
Wiley's reaction is:
The comment may be kindly meant, as a sort of reflexive compliment, but it inevitably suggests that she is being congratulated for her willingness to place the aesthetic enhancement of the populace above the imperatives of racial purity. She's heard the remark, or some variation of it, from a dozen different people if she's heard it from one. And more often than not . . . it's the first thing they blurt out, even before asking about gender and due dates.
There are worse thought processes, and in the course of the six months or so that the woman is obviously or openly pregnant (most couples do not reveal pregnancy until after the first trimester), someone lacking a thought/speech filter will blurt out something stupid. And sure enough, Wiley's wife was slapped with such a comment.
A short time later, at a wedding reception in London, your wife finds herself chatting with a Danish woman she has just met. Back at the hotel, your wife informs you that the woman asked her, "How do you feel about having a baby who will look nothing like you? I have a lot of friends who have interracial babies, and they feel totally alienated from their children."
This is pretty stupid, even for a European in a homogenous society. The Monk's closest blood relation other than his parents is probably MonkCuz1 and her mom AuntMonk1. At last check, MonkCuz1 is interracial. The Monk has never had any question in his mind that she's MonkCuz1. And MonkCuz1 and AuntMonk1 are about as close as mom and daughter can get. AuntMonk1 is white.
In other words, it's about love, not race. Jason Wiley loves his wife. She loves him. They married and decided to have little Wileys. Their children will bond with them because they love them and take care of them.
At its core, the parent-child relationship stems from pure animal instinct: mapping and bonding. The parent has the need to take care of the critter; the critter learns who will take care of it, and that care and comfort bond determines the relationship.
Why do adopted children bond with their parents? Why do weaned pets bond with their owners? Why do certain animals care for others -- i.e., a momma dog will care for lost pups of some other canine litter? There's no genetic relationship, but care and love. The conceit that "I'm alienated from my child because s/he doesn't look like me" is a product of human thought minimizing the relationship, not a natural reaction.
The Monk's happy AuntMonk1 never had that reaction, and he's pretty sure MonkCuz1 would say the same.