OPINION: Mixed raced children will not fix racism

OPINION: Mixed raced children will not fix racism

Eyewitness News
Johannesburg/Cape Town, South Africa

Danielle Bowler

Images courtesy of Tarryn Hatchett.

Danielle Bowler says being a visibly mixed-raced person is often to encounter yourself as a perpetual question.

Logging onto social media last week, I came across a meme that is frequently posted without interrogation of what it means or implies. ‘End Racism. Have mixed babies’. The images that appeared alongside these words are of light-skinned children, with blue eyes or masses of curls. A popular idea of what mixed raced children look like. A popular ‘type’ that is favoured, because of an appearance that is close to white, yet simultaneously ‘exotic’ and ‘other’.

The problematic idea that we can fix racism through outbreeding it, shares a similar logic with the notion that mixed babies are cuter, and the assumption that if we date, marry or befriend people across racial lines we cannot still be racist. It ignores how we can and often do make exceptions out of people who we are in intimate relationships or friendships with.

As Ella Sackville Adjei points out in her story about her ‘racist one night stand’, ‘racists don’t wear badges’ and not being racist is not as simple as being intimate with someone of another race to you. But it also ignores the fact that those mixed raced children are born into a world structured by race.

But the idea that we can fix racism through making everyone visibly mixed still has currency. Despite the existence of mixed raced people and race-homogenous societies in the world, where race still matters. Despite evidence that race’s logic runs deep. Despite reality…

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