“Is My Boyfriend Racist?”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go. Today we discuss insensitive comments, parents’ role in a relationship, and how to handle a boyfriend who turns into a baby when he’s mad.

I’ve been dating this guy for over a year and he has a white daughter though I’m not sure why she came out white since he’s dark latino and his ex is too. Anyway, one time he told me if we have a baby he hopes our baby looks like his daughter: blonde and white. It kind of hurt me because we are not white. Do you think I’m overreacting? Or he is racist? — Not a Blonde

Being hurt over an insensitive comment isn’t “overreacting.” If you broke up with him without asking what he meant by that comment, you might be overreacting, so before doing something like that, find out why he said what he said. His answer may surprise you … or it may be a big red flag that this isn’t the kind of man you want to continue dating, let alone ever have a family with.

I’ve been seeing a guy for about eight months now. He’s a little less than a year younger than I, and comes from a very conservative Indian family (I too come from the same ethnic background, but my parents are more liberal). When we started going out it was clear that his parents wouldn’t accept me and he wouldn’t go against them. As our relationship has progressed, however, he told me that he puts me a little ahead of them (complete contrast to what he used to say, which was, “I put my parents above everything else”).

I’ve met most of his family and get along with them. They know that we are really close, and he’s even told an aunt and uncle that he feels differently about me than past girlfriends. We love each other and tell each other on an almost daily basis. Given how far everything has progressed I felt like things were starting to perk up and maybe there was hope for a future together, but despite everything, every once in a while he’ll refer to the future and I’m sure that reference doesn’t have me in the scenario. What do I do?? — Wants in His Future

Unless your boyfriend has flat-out said you two do not have a future together no matter what, there’s no way to really know that “for sure.” Regardless of what you think you know, you need to tell him that after eight months, you’re sure enough about your feelings for him that if there’s absolutely zero chance he sees a future with you, you’d rather spare yourself an even bigger broken heart and get out now before you invest more time and love into something that has a definite end date.

My boyfriend and I have been together for a little over a year, and are generally a very happy couple. He is very sweet and even-keeled, and we very rarely argue. But when we do, he sulks, whines, sometimes cries or raises his voice, and generally acts like a 6-year-old throwing a tantrum. This can keep up for the remainder of the night, even if we’re in public. It is incredibly unattractive to me, not to mention embarrassing. Every time it has happened (which I would say is probably about five times during the course of our relationship), it has been over something that he had the right to be annoyed about, but he handled it in the most immature way in the world. I was wondering if you had any tips on how to talk to him about his arguing style, or how to diffuse the situation when this happens? — Sick of Tantrums

Talk to him about it when you two AREN’T arguing and let him know that while you respect his right and justification to be angry, the way he expresses that anger isn’t healthy. Then, the next time he starts acting like a baby who isn’t getting his way, look him in the eye and say, “This is exactly what I was talking about and I will not engage in this childish behavior.” Then go somewhere else — home, to a friend’s house, to the movies, anywhere — and tell him he can contact you when he’s ready to discuss things like a rational and mature adult.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. kerrycontrary says:

    LW1: WWS, talk to him. Just tell him that it hurt your feelings and you hope a baby looks like YOU. And for the baby’s skin/eye color, genetics can be a total crapshoot so if both the mother and the father had white ancestry (which a lot of latinos do), recessive traits can combine to make a blonde baby. I know a black girl with a white husband who has 2 blonde children. They are both tan, but clearly blonde. If you really think the baby isn’t your boyfriends (i.e. the mother slept with a white guy) I would suggest a DNA test, but tread carefully as this can be really offensive.

    Also, what your boyfriend said may not be inherently racist (at least in my mind). A lot of people talk about what they hope their children look like. Like “oh I hope they get your eyes, my nose, and have brown hair”. Maybe he just really likes blonde hair and never thought he would have a blonde child. This doesn’t HAVE to be a deeper reflection on the impact of American beauty standards on people.

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      Oh and LW3….that is SUPER embarassing I can’t even imagine. No advice…but wow.

    2. I think I´ve said this before, but when Arturo and I were first discussing having kids, we talked not only about what we wiched they would inherit, but also all the crappy traits we each have that they could (his temper, my teeth, etc). Luckily they turned out pretty OK. 🙂
      Living in a latin country, it is very common here for people to think blonde/light skinned/ blue eyes is better. And it sucks. I´m guessing thats where LW1s BF is coming from.

      1. kerrycontrary says:

        And in America all the white girls want to be tan….so silly.

      2. I don’t! Oh, I’m Canadian though. Maybe it’s different here. I’m just making the choice between extremely pale skin and possible skin cancer. Seems easy enough to me.

      3. yea, ive heard that is the standard for beauty pretty much everywhere else in the world- because light skin means that you havent spent your day doing hard labor in fields…

        once again, america has it backwards from the rest of the world… haha.

      4. Here I think its more the blue eye thing, argentinians as a whole tend to be lighter skinned than typical “latinos”, but most people have brown eyes (all that spanish and italian blood). So people with light eyes call attention more (hence why I get stopped on the street by strangers that compliment my youngest´s blue eyes, while they completely ignore her older, brown eyed, sister. Ugh)

      5. yea, i think that is sort of typical in america too, just because blondes and light eyes are more rare. ive heard that they are going to die out in the next like 100 years, but i hope thats not true.

        i hold out hope that if (IF) me and jake have a baby, they will get jakes light eye/light hair genes and my mothers light eyes/light hair genes. i dont think that makes me racist either. lol

      6. Yeah it can happen, my eldest has brown eyes like Arturo, the youngest has my colouring (which I share with my father, and several more distant relatives). Genes are funny.

      7. genes are so interesting. like i wanted to go to school to study them, i think they are so neat. and, it is true that many latinos to get light skinned genes.. even like you said, argentinians who are 100% latino sometimes are just lighter, because thats just their gene pool. that happens in africa too- some parts of africa have very very dark skinned people, and some have very fair skinned people, but they are all still african. its very interesting how it all works. and then its super cool and weird when a situation happens like this LW, and the baby gets some recessive gene that hasnt been expressed in the gene pool for however many years (maybe thats what happened, i dunno).

        also, did you know that almost all black people in america have about 1/4 white DNA? i saw that on a show once about these celebrities who were tracing their genetics, it was super interesting. thats totally what i would do in another life. haha.

      8. It really is so interesting, I mean even in the same family you see such different traits. In HS I got taught the basics on dominant and recessive traits, but then irl it doesnt seem to play out that way (mind you that was years ago, thay prob had it all wrong hahaha)

      9. haha, yea i was taught the basic stuff too.. and i remember having to do a chart of my family, but i couldnt do it because i dont know them and i had to make it up. that was awkward.

        i think that in real life its just much more complicated. like its not just r1 and r2, there are like a million r’s and a million combinations of them. dont we have a DW-er who is in genetics?? where you at??

      10. Yes, it’s not a matter of “long wing – short wing”. That would be really cool. But sadly it’s much more complicated.

      11. Mr. Cellophane says:

        Not IN genetics now, but I took the classes on the way to a BS in Biology and Med School. The bits they left out in high school (ie. incomplete dominance, incomplete penetrance, partial inheritance, multiple genes, mutations, etc.) are the really complex and scientifically nasty stuff. It is also where most of the pigmentation questions come from. For example, genetically, there are only two eye colors, brown and blue, they could also be known as yes and no. But the genetics of pigmentation allow for every variation in between…lots of room for maybe!

      12. kerrycontrary says:

        Yeh I don’t think the blondes/redheads dying out in 100 years is true. Because there are still blonde people who marry blonde people. And blondes who marry brunettes that have blonde in their gene pool (like my parents) And not every country in the world is a melting pot like America. I’m assuming a lot of scandanavian countries still have a large number of blondes who (for whatever reason), aren’t marrying brunette people. And in the grand scheme of genetics/time 100 years isn’t that long.

      13. i agree, i think its just impossible with all the different people in the world that a certain trait would die out 100%… because even if in like 100 years there werent any blondes alive at that moment, their genes would still be there, you know? so they might pop up here and there or something.

        isnt that what they say about that mutation that makes your hair grow all over your body? its an ancient mutation that we used to have when were closely linked to monkeys, but over time it went away, and then sometimes it just pops up because it is actually still there, just very rarely expressed?

        ah the whole thing is so cool. i could talk about this all day. haha

      14. I lovingly tease my oldest that she’s a genetic freak of nature because my husband and I both have med/dark brown hair, I have dark brown eyes and his are greenish/hazel. But she is as blonde as she can be with blue eyes. And she’s 15, so it’s not like that baby blonde hair that she’ll grown out of. My mother has blue eyes and my husband’s sisters are blonde so the genes are there, but not visible in my husband or myself.

        When I’d be out and about with her as a baby, people were always asking me about what my husband looked like or if she was with both of us, we got questions about where her coloring came from. I was seriously considering telling people she was adopted just to get them to shut up. Even now, if she’s with just one of us, people will assume she looks like the other parent. Mostly though no one questions too much in front of her as she’s gotten older.

        Oh and in comparison, my second born is blonde with grey eyes and the younger 3 all have brown hair and eyes. And their skin tones range from pasty white to olive complexion. I’ve even been asked if my 3rd, and darkest, child has the same father as the first two – she does. So yes, genetics can surprise you.

      15. Astronomer says:

        Gah, people are so rude! You should never have to explain the parentage of your children to anyone, no matter what they look like. It totally burns me that strangers feel they have the right to ask these super-personal questions.

      16. Skyblossom says:

        Since my son is nine years older than my daughter people sometimes ask if they have the same father and if I’ve been married once or more than once. Why yes they do have the same father and I’ve only been married once and they actually look alot alike and remarkably have the same last name.

      17. Moneypenny says:

        I certainly hope blonde-traits don’t die out- that would make me an endangered species!

      18. Blue eyes can also be a mutation. Well, of course blue eyes in general started out as a mutation. But what I mean is that if you have two parents with brown eyes, and everyone in their families have brown eyes, and there haven’t been blue eyes anywhere as far as you know, then it’s possible that the baby is genetically supposed to have brown eyes, but has a mutation so the brown gene didn’t “fire”, leaving the eyes blue. And then their kids would get the brown gene, since there’s no blue gene in play. Same with green, they were meant to be hazel but it didn’t fire so they’re green. That’s how you sometimes get blue or green eyes in populations where the gene doesn’t really exist.

      19. that is so cool.

      20. Yeah, it is cool. 🙂 I started looking into it when I got pregnant, and it’s really interesting. And for hair colour, it’s even worse. They basically have NO IDEA! I mean, obviously if you’re part of a population without blonde genes (asian, indian, black), it’s unlikely to get blonde hair. But otherwise, it’s pretty much a crap shoot. So weird. Because my parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles all have brown hair, but me and all 4 of my siblings are blonde, and same with about half our cousins.

        And also by the way, blue eyes suck. They’re really sensitive to light. I have to wear sunglasses everywhere, even when it’s overcast. People think I’m weird because of it. And night driving? The lights from the oncoming traffic are almost blinding. My husband is basically permanently squinting because his eyes are so sensitive. Of course there are brown-eyed people with sensitive eyes, but the average blue eye is more sensitive than the average brown eye. Maybe blue eyes are better in low-light conditions, because they take in more light? But in today’s world, what difference does that make? Functionally, brown eyes are way better.

      21. Huh, I never thought about that, but I do wear sunglasses often, and my boyfriend who has hazel eyes never does. And night driving definitely sucks.

      22. Moneypenny says:

        Oh I totally have to wear sunglasses when I’m outside. Especially when driving. Otherwise I get a horrible headache. This explains why!

      23. I HATE night driving (my eyes arent really blue, more greenish blue), and I thought it was because of my crappy eyesight, maybe its the colour!

      24. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I actually think this explains why my night vision sucks. There are almost always some lights around, which ruins your night vision. If blue eyes take in more light, the moon and other lights off in the distance are going to be amplified and screw things up in the dark. Thanks for the explanation! Never thought of that before.

      25. x1000 on the need for sunglasses. I look like Jackie O regardless of what the weather is outside (snow is especially brutal) and don’t give a sh*t when people give me looks. It’s either that or walk around tearing up a lot of the time.

        My blue eyes were also a “fun” complication when trying to take wedding photos outside. I look like a crazed squinty person in some of the shots 😉

      26. That’s how my hubby always looks (not crazed, but definitely squinty). He can’t keep his eyes open for cameras if it uses a flash. Luckily our wedding photographer had great equipment, and we did it in a greenhouse, so it was light but not direct sunlight. We got some open-eye pics, which is unusual for him. 🙂

      27. Yeah, and it makes total sense that northern people would have light eyes. Same as with skin, if there’s less light, you need less protection from it. And in fact, speaking of light skin, my brown friends get SAD much worse than I or my white friends. Makes sense, if the melanin in their skin is blocking more vitamin D than mine is. My skin’s super pale, and actually the lack of sunlight doesn’t bug me. I much prefer staying inside, mostly because of my sensitive, burn-prone skin and my super-sensitive eyes. Man, I am so lucky I live in Canada! If I lived near the equator, I’d be a freak. 🙂

      28. It makes me really mad when people do that. They’re little kids, for god’s sake. Just tell them both they look lovely or mind your own business. It used to happen with my sister and I a lot, some old aunts used to tell her she looked lovely and like a little princess and then pat my hair and say “and you’re very smart”.

        (btw this is us. It is kind of funny. People usually think she’s my girlfriend because you can tell we love each other more than regular friends and spend lots of time together, but we don’t look the same race: .

      29. hahaha, you do look similar though, the same shaped face and eyes I think. A friend of mine has a boy and a girl, who are IDENTICAL except the boy has dark hair and skin (like my friend), and the girl is blondish with green eyes. I think Ipve mentioned on here before that my friend was asked if she was the nanny of the girl one time.

      30. People just won’t shut up.

      31. Yes, it’s terrible. It’s gotten to a point where “ojos lindos” (beautiful eyes) it’s mostly a synonym for “blue eyes”. It sucks.

    3. I agree. I think everyone who doesn’t have kids imagines what they ideally want their children to look like. I generally like tall guys and I hope my kids don’t get my shortness or metabolism but I do hope they get my pretty blue eyes. I also think when we do have kids, we’ll be so enamored with them that it won’t matter whose traits they got.

      1. I agree with this. I always hope that my kids will be very dark, that they’ll look more black than white. But I also know that even if they come out fair skinned I’ll love them just the same. My mom told me that before she had me, she always imagined that she’d have a daughter that looked just like her. Olive skin, curly curly hair, teeny tiny frame. Instead I came out the exact opposite of what she always imagined, but she tells me that I’m even more perfect that she could have ever dreamed (perfect to her, obviously, because she’s my mom). So you’re right Anna, that I think we all imagine what our children will be like, but once they are here, they are their own person, and we love them even more than we thought possible.

  2. Regarding LW1, it might just stem from his affection for his daughter. He has a light-skinned daughter who I assume he loves, so he might imagine his future kids looking like her by default. I would be more weirded out by the comment if he didn’t have his daughter.

    1. This is what I was thinking, too. I’m sure he thinks that his daughter is the most beautiful child that has ever existed, so of course he is drawn to her traits. My mom is Italian, but we all turned out very fair. To this day, my mom adores blonde babies and thinks they are the cutest: it’s because they remind her of us when we were little.

  3. LW1: Does your boyfriend regularly make comments that are racially insensitive? From his comment that you mention, it’s impossible to know whether he is racist or not. He may have been saying “I hope that our future child is blonde” in the same joking manner that I would say to my husband “I hope that our child doesn’t look like an alien” because I looked like an alien when I was born. If his comment is really bothering you, talk to him about it. After a year together, you can ask your SO anything.

    LW2: WWS. Talk to your boyfriend about whether or not he sees a future with you. Today

    LW3: The next time your boyfriend is throwing a tantrum, tell him “Here comes the WAAHmbulance” and walk away. 🙂 But seriously, WWS.

  4. LW1, WWS– maybe he’s just worried about other people’s racism & is hoping for a light-skinned baby so the world is a little kinder to her? Although, I’d say there are problems with having that kind of attitude as well. So maybe the answer is just… he’s racist.

    LW2, WWS!

    LW3: What the fuck. Someone who acts like this is not worth dating.

    Also… GUYS I’M AT WORK FINALLY. My office has been closed all week without power due to Hurricane Sandy, & at home, the lights juuuust came back on last night (still no internet) & I’ve missed you all 😀

    1. I’m glad you have power!!! One of my coworkers just got power back yesterday- she was THRILLED!

  5. LW2– You sound a lot like a friend of mine, who was white and looooved Indian guys. She kept dating Indian guys who made it clear to her that they couldn’t/wouldn’t marry a white girl. Why are you subjecting yourself to this? If he told you that you and your family are too liberal for his family, and you would never be accepted, why would you continue to date him, if marriage was what you ultimately wanted? You need to have a serious discussion about if he would be willing to go against his families wishes and marry someone like you. If he’s not willing to do that, then you need to MOA and find someone who will.

    1. Yeah, I’m not sure what LW2 is hoping for. With families like her boyfriend’s, the parents and extended family will always be a big part of their life, particularly if they marry. I don’t see him ever making a big break with his family (and, if he is happy with them, why should he?), and I’m not sure how she’ll feel being a very involved member of his family if she is significantly more liberal.

    2. I was curious about that too. She says, “When we started going out it was clear that his parents wouldn’t accept me and he wouldn’t go against them.” So why keep dating? I sincerely don’t understand.

  6. LW1: No, he’s not racist. I’m sure he loves his kid, and I’m sure he thinks she is the most beautiful thing in the world, so I’m sure more than anything he would love for his next kid to look like his daughter.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I am always annoyed when people jump to the, “maybe they’re racist?!!” conclusion. I’m half-Hispanic/half-white (my mother is the Hispanic one) and she tells me aaall the time that she wants my kids to have light hair and blue or green eyes. And I always laugh and tell her that it’s not going to happen because I’m sure my brown hair and brown eyes will trump the guy’s traits (my boyfriends have all been white, light hair, blue eyed guys). Then she tells me that it could happen because my uncle has green eyes. Aaaaand I just laugh some more and the conversation is over. Is my mother racist? Absolutely not, and I would be horribly offended if anyone even suggested it. She finds those features attractive, and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that it’s because she doesn’t have the light hair, light eyes combo. People always want what they don’t have. So that little comment your boyfriend made? I sincerely don’t think it means a whole lot of anything, but that’s just me.

    Also… It’s not that rare for Latinos or Hispanics to have blonde hair and blue/light eyes.

    1. I think you are right about people wanting what they don’t have. I’m Italian, so typical dark eyes/hair, and my fiance is fair-haired with beautiful green eyes. I really want our kids to inherit his eyes, probably because growing up I always wanted my eyes to be anything but brown.

      1. Yeah, definitely. Growing up, I always wanted straight hair and blue eyes because I didn’t like my curly hair or care for my brown eyes. But I had friends who wanted my hair and some who wanted my “big, brown eyes” too, and I thought they were nuts.

      2. I always wanted curls (I had dead straight hair, which has gone kind of wavyish after 2 pregnancies).

      3. you can have some of mine! i always wanted to know what it was like to have straight hair that you could actually style and brush!

      4. I could settle for wavy hair. With curly hair, sometimes I just don’t want to deal with it. A few months ago, I dropped around $400 for a Brazilian Keratin treatment… it lasted a good while, and fortunately has made my hair so much more manageable.

      5. the thing is its not nice wavy, but some parts have wave, theres even a little curl in one spot, others are still straight. My hair sucks hahaha.
        Also, I´ve never been able to use curls, the always straighten themselves out in like an hour.

      6. Ahaha eh I almost feel like I’d want that rather than my hair! Nothing is worse than straightening your hair, walking outside and watching your hair go from nice and sleek to a giant frizz ball lol.

        Grass is always greener, eh? Aha.

      7. My hair doesn’t hold curl either! It will last for about 20 minutes, then it goes back to straight 🙁

      8. I always wanted curly hair!! I’ve got brown eyes, and straight brown hair. Could it get any more boring?!

    2. I don’t know, I want my kids to look like me. My whole family has blue eyes, including all 4 grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc. Blue eyes feel like family to me, which is probably why I ended up with a blue-eyed guy. I would be sad to have a brown-eyed kid, not because I hate brown eyes, but because it would feel strange not to have one of my biggest family traits show up in my kids. I actually find most brown eyes more attractive than most blue eyes. The only blue eyes I like are the dark ones, like my family has.

      Also, one of my best friends had a blonde, blue-eyed baby. Her and her husband both have brown hair and eyes, and same with all their parents. She’d prefer the baby to look more like her. It upsets her because when we go out with the baby, people assume its mine. I’m guessing its hair will darken as it gets older, but it looks like the blue eyes are staying.

      1. Moneypenny says:

        So, my family has been the opposite, in that everyone has seemed to have kids with an opposite-looking mate. My mom’s mom had dark hair/blue eyes (Irish) and my grandpa was brown/brown (Croatian), and all 6 of their kids including my mom have brown wavy hair and green or hazel eyes. Most of my uncles married blondes or redheads. My dad’s mom was a strawberry blonde, and his dad was brown/brown, and my dad is blonde and blue-eyed. So, with my sister and I they got one of each: I am blonde and blue-green eyed, and my sister is brown haired and green eyed. I’d love to have towheaded kids one day, but from experience, we’ll see if that happens!

    3. My mom is always talking about how she wishes every baby that’s about to be born in the family will look like the whiter parent (lots of little “oh, I hope she gets your eyes!” “I hope she gets your hair!”) and I do consider it racist as fuck. What kind of person tells someone “I wish your kid doesn’t look like you”? Because that’s basically what they’re saying: “you’d be prettier if you looked whiter, I hope your kids get the chance even though you didn’t”
      I don’t think people always want what they don’t have. People with low self-esteem do, but “people” in general? Not really. Lots of people are very proud of how they look, and would like their kids to look like them because they think they’re hot and they would like them to be hot in a similar way.

      1. I kind of have to agree with you. I don’t know if its racism so much as it is self-hatred, but there’s certainly something very sad about folks who, instead of wanting their kids to look like them, want them to look as white as possible. I don’t think though that it says as much about those individuals as it does about society as a whole that whiteness is so idealized 🙁

      2. I guess it could have to do with what someone said above as well, that you want your child to fit in or not suffer as much as possible, so I guess it´s entirely possible that if someone suffered for being who/what they are, they´d prefer their kid to not go through the same thing?

      3. This makes a lot of sense. It’s still kind of lazy, though. “Work to end racism? Nah, too much of a hassle. I’ll just hope my kids look white so they won’t be affected by it, and leave it at that”

      4. Ahaha good point

      5. I think calling it laziness is too simplistic, and I don’t think the two options (hoping your kid has more “white features” so they fit in more and working to end racism) are mutually exclusive. Life is filled with so many challenges as it is, and as a parent, it’s understandable that you don’t want your child facing extra ones.

      6. well what about people who hope that the kid takes on non-white traits? is that still racist?

      7. I think it’s less relevant because with white on black racism (or another minority), whites are widely recognizes as being in the position of power.

      8. the attack says:

        So having an opinion about your child’s race is okay unless you’re hoping it’s white? I don’t think that makes sense, and yes, I completely understand the dynamics of racism. I just think either it’s okay or it isn’t.

      9. yea thats what im confused about too. so if i hope that my kid would look black/polynesian/asian/whatever, thats fine, but if i hope it has my white skin, im racist?

        i mean i guess if i was like, well yea, whites are the best, totally i hope my baby is white, sure thats bad. but…. there are people like just like how pale skin looks. or how asian eyes look, or how black hair looks or whatever. whats wrong with saying that you like those things…?

      10. the attack says:

        Yeah I really don’t like double standards like this one. I’m really pale, and I hope my kids look like me. My fiancé wants them to have my blue eyes too. Guess we’re racist since we’re not hoping for our kids to magically turn out black! Good grief.

      11. You have got to be kidding me with that response! Obviously, I don’t think any of the comments have been referencing white parents with white ancestry who are hoping/assuming that their children are white. It specifically is referencing people who aren’t white but hope their kids look as white as possible.

      12. But maybe he just wants his kids to look like his other daughter, the LW won’t know until she talks to him about it.

      13. the attack says:

        No. It’s referencing a person of one race hoping that their children are either their own race or another race. Sorry I’m too white to give a darker example?

      14. camorzilla says:

        I really think he probably wants his kids to look as white as possible- why? Because they’ll have it easier in this world whether anyone wants to admit that or not.

      15. “Yeah I really don’t like double standards like this one. I’m really pale, and I hope my kids look like me.” That’s exactly what we were saying. That people tend to want their kids to look like them, unless TV has made them believe they’re not pretty enough. There’s no double standard here.
        It is more common for non-whites to want their kids to look white, though, and that happens because the beauty ideal was modeled after white people, and that part is 100% racism, yes.
        But no one’s calling you a bad person or a racist because you want your kid to look like you, I’m not sure what’s offending you so much.

      16. Avatar photo theattack says:

        It’s not offending me at all. I just think people are using the the concept of “racism” too loosely here. I live in the South where there are plenty of people who are racist through every thread of their being, so to say something as simple as what he wants his kid to look like (especially when there’s a legitimate factor at play – his already existing daughter!) is racist seems a little dumb to me. There are people who are very actively racist, and that doesn’t at all look like this guy’s comment.

      17. Thank you, rainbow. I think you made the point I was trying to make more eloquently!

      18. As I said above, I actually don’t think it’s racist per say, but I do think it’s severely problematic when people want their children to look as white as possible because of how idealized whiteness is in this society. And no, I don’t think it’s the same if someone wants their child to have more of the features that aren’t idealized. I believe the LW’s concerns were not that her bf wanted his children to look “white,” but the underlying reasons she thought he might feel that way.

      19. the attack says:

        I get what you’re saying, but I think that’s a societal problem. If the dad is affected by society and hopes his kid doesn’t have to face the issues he had to face, etc, that still doesn’t make him racist. That makes him a part of the society that values white characteristics over all others. I think it’s sad to accuse a person of being racist over one comment about their child. Racism is more than that. And I know you’re not saying he’s racist, but I just don’t want to blame him for having a wish about his child or for that wish aligning with the widespread (but yes, problematic) societal values. He didn’t create the problem, ya know?

      20. No, but he’s a pussy and he needs some pride and self respect. With things like this you’re either part of the solution or part of the problem, and wishing your kid was white when you’re not is perpetuating the notion that being white is better.

      21. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Well in this comment you just perpetuated the notion that being a female is problematic and bad. You must be sexist by your logic.

      22. Pick any synonym you like, and the content of my comment makes sense and it’s not sexist. Pick any synonym you want for any word this man used in his statement, and it’s still problematic. And that’s the difference.
        And really, using my choice of words instead of my ideas against me when English is not even my first language? that’s cheap.

      23. Avatar photo theattack says:

        How am I supposed to know English isn’t your first language? But no, it’s not cheap. I think it’s a pretty good illustration of my point here, which is why I chose to say that.

        “No, but he’s a vagina and he needs some pride and self-respect.” See? Not any better.

        I think he is being a part of the larger societal problem here, but that’s not his fault. He’s responding to his surroundings, which is very natural, especially as a parent who’s hoping for an easier life for their kid.

      24. “No, but he’s a vagina and he needs some pride and self-respect.” See? Not any better.

        Lame and very very not clever.

      25. Avatar photo theattack says:

        It wasn’t supposed to be clever. I did exactly what you told me to do.

      26. Still not clever.

      27. I’ll be back at 8pm to see if you could come up with a way to attack my comment that doesn’t rely on a technicality or translation error. Have fun.

      28. Avatar photo theattack says:

        ….Okay? I don’t care, since I already told you I wasn’t trying to be clever. I’m not trying to be a lot of things, so it seems odd that you’re latching onto that.

      29. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I actually already did give you an argument. You just chose to ignore it in favor of telling me I was lame and not clever.

      30. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Actually rainbow I think your comment is pretty sexist. I also happen to find it pretty offensive. No need to sling gendered insults around.

      31. GatorGirl, I’m sorry if I offended you. I apologize and will refrain from using the term as a synonym for coward from now on.
        What bothered me about TA pointing it out is that she used it to dismiss my point instead of making it it’s own point, but I don’t have a problem with picking another word the next time if that’s the problem.

      32. Avatar photo theattack says:

        rainbow, I did not use it to dismiss your point. I used it to make the point that you are probably not completely sexist because of one bad thing you said, and we can’t say that this guy is racist because of one thing he said.

      33. Grilledcheesecalliope says:

        I don’t think the LW meant rascist in the way people took it. It’s more about the harmful effect that idealizing white traits has on people of ethnic populations. Like, since most black people are somewhat white some of us come out with lught eyes, lighter skin and ”good hair”. Those traits are valued more than african traits. It isn’t racsist in the classical sense but it is harmful both to the children with the valued trair and to the.children without. I think the LW is realistically looking at herself and the bf and imagining their children looking like them. The bf’s comments aren’t rascist per se, but they do make her wonder what sort of identity issues he might have and instill in their children.

      34. Grilledcheesecalliope says:

        Omg i can in fact spell racist, i hate that last week i was spelling quarter ”qaurter” and could not stop.

      35. i mean, is it possible that some people just like the way it looks? i get that it might be a whole huge complicated racial issue, but what if its just as simple as “i like the way it looks”?

      36. The thing is, aesthetic preferences don’t exist in a void. They’re modeled by media. So until we get to a point were every race is equally portrayed (and I mean, equally, not black models for “ethnic jewlery”, asian models for schoolgirl uniforms and Hello Kittie merchandising, and white people for the rest) you can’t really tell.

      37. *jewelry

      38. *kitty

      39. well, i dunno, id like to think i can form opinions about whether something is pretty or not based on more then just how things are marketed.. and i get what you are saying, that there are always white people modeling clothes ect, but even still. what if you just like the way it looks? i believe it can be as simple as that. not everything about race is racist, and preferences about races dont have to be racist either, i think.

      40. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I think this goes into things like which races you’re most attracted to as well. People can’t change that, and it is definitely not always based on what’s advertised to us most often or anything. Maybe it’s affected by that, but we don’t completely operate like robots being fed data by the media.

      41. The problem is that it’s impossible to separate the two (whether you simply like “whiteness” because you genuinely like the way it looks, or whether you like “whiteness” b/c we live in a society where it’s idealized).

      42. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

        I like the look of different things about different races and I don’t think that makes me racist. Black skin is gorgeous. I love latinos deep hair and eyes. The red hair and green eyes contrast of the Scottish. The unique features of Japanese people. I don’t find those beautiful because of some commercials in the same way I don’t love my husband’s personality because of a Cosmo article. I certainly don’t think I am racist because I can appreciate the beauty of races other than my own.

      43. ele4phant says:

        In the case of the LW’s boyfriend, could it be possible that he’d like his next child to look like his older, blonde child? Not because blond is preferable, but because he wants his children to look like siblings, and well, she’s already here and she’s blond, so that’s that.

        I mean, he could be racist, but given the little information we have there’s a lot of angles to look at this from, not all of them racially motivated.

      44. You don’t need to have the same coloring as your siblings to look like your siblings. you could also have the same coloring and yet look nothing alike

      45. camorzilla says:

        This is SO true. My two brothers and I all have different hair, skin, and eye color yet it is very obvious we’re related to the point that people who have met my brother but not me will ask if I know him because we look so much alike.

  7. Sue Jones says:

    LW1 – It may just be that he hopes his children can “pass” since so many people are unconsciously racist that he thinks they would have more opportunities in life if they look white. That stinks, but historically it has been going on for generations – blacks in this country who were light skinned often “passed” as white and married whites and kept their darker kin secret, and they would send money back home… Is it any different than wanting your kids to be tall as opposed to short since tall people statistically make more money? Many Jewish girls get nose jobs so that they look less Jewish… now I am not saying this is right or wrong. So perhaps it is important to hear from him why he wants white blonde and blue eyed kids. Maybe it is motivated more by his perception of opportunity for his kids. And in a perfect world none of this would matter.

  8. SweetPeaG says:

    I once went on a few dates with a guy from Israel. He told me on our 2nd date that he would never marry a girl who wasn’t Jewish and from the same background as him… which I am not. His family would never approve. He was basically telling me that he would never take me seriously. And, I know on a 2nd date, marriage should be the furthest thing from a person’s mind. However, I would never want to continue even casually dating someone who saw me as a big fat deal breaker.

    Also, we went out to eat to a place that serves breakfast all day. He then proceeded to (without asking) eat my pancakes… like MOST of my pancakes. What the heck? I never hung out with him again.

    I know this doesn’t really help LW2, but I wanted to share that little story. I do think that you have been with this guy for long enough to ask him an honest question and get an honest answer. You deserve it. If he would never go against his family’s ideal, then that is a problem.

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      Who eats someone else’s pancakes. That’s pure evil.

      1. People have no shame.

      2. SweetPeaG says:

        Right? I was way too meek/overly polite in my younger days and didn’t even call him on it. In my mind I was thinking “Okkkaay? What is this?”

    2. Eagle Eye says:

      I mean, at least you told you – its better to spring it on you on the 2nd date and not like a year into the relationship

      But yeah, no one touches my pancakes…

    3. He stole your pancakes? I would have stabbed his hand with my fork >.>

      Food is a very dear thing to me and I hate ppl stealing from my plate. I don’t mind sharing if they ask me(unless it’s chocolate or dried fruits or nuts), but outright taking it from you?


      2. Do they play Friends reruns 24/7 down there in Argentina?! You’re great with the references!

      3. yes they do! and i was thinking about joey too 😀

      4. well, not 24/7 but they used to be on at midday during the week and i think around 5pm. I dont know if they still rerun them though.

  9. I can’t add to WWS for the LW’s, so I want to chime in on the genetics convo, because I too think it’s fascinating! My husband and I recently decided we’re not planning to have kids at all, but we’d been referring to it non-seriously for years. I absolutely don’t want to be a parent but I can’t help wondering what our kids would have looked like. Being a redhead and damn proud of it, I dreamed of having a little boy with my red hair and my husband’s thick curls. Every time I saw a redheaded toddler-age boy in public, especially with a head full of curls, I’d get all gleeful and say “I want one!” (But not really.) But baldness also runs in my husband’s family so if the kid got any of his hair genes, he probably wouldn’t have it for long.

    My father-in-law’s hair had gone completely white before he was 30. In the past year I’ve started finding rogue white hairs in my husband’s head and beard. He’s not bothered by it at all – in fact, I think part of him is almost a little excited about the prospect of going all-white. I think he’d prefer that to going bald – his older brother already has the little monk’s circle on the crown of his head. My husband’s hair is thinning back there too, but not quite as bad as his brother’s; I think he’s holding out hope there.

    The nice thing about being a redhead – sort of a trade-off for our susceptibility to sun damage – is that a lot of us never go gray, or at least, not until much later in life than many of our peers. My father, from whom I get the red hair, is over 50 and while his hair isn’t as vibrantly red as it used to be, more of a strawberry blonde, he has a lot less gray than his similarly-aged peers. (It’s mostly in his beard.) His father’s hair was brown-black but he lived into his 70s and retained a full head of hair and only had a touch of gray, so I’m feeling pretty good that my brother and I will remain redheads long into our Golden Years. (If my brother doesn’t go bald like our mom’s dad.) My brother was actually voted Best Hair in his high school class, when he used to wear his hair long. It’s a little deeper auburn than mine and was so thick and shiny when he had it long. The girls in marching band LOVED him for it and probably were the driving force behind the vote.

  10. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    I don’t have anything productive to add to this conversation today other than I just hope/wish that my children are born healthy.

    1. I think it goes without saying that everyone agrees with you, about your children and their own. It’s fun to think about what traits of yours might get passed down to your children. Hoping that your kid gets your nose or your husband’s strong jawline doesn’t mean you hope for those things MORE than just having a healthy child.

      1. REally? I know all I cared about was that my daughters be pretty. ANd thank goodness one of them got my light eyes, at least. Their health? meh.

      2. I’m just hoping that any kid of mine doesn’t look like my nephew… Seriously, that kid is not cute.

      3. yea, i mean, its the whole combining you and your partner, right? thats the allure of kids for many people.. so seeing it (and imagining it) physcially represented is not unusual or bad.. and also, genetics are cool, so guessing what might happen based on what two people look like/their families histories is cool too.

      4. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I totally agree with what you’re saying, I just think people so wrapped up in wishing their kids was x, y or z and it’s just crazy to me. Sure it’s fun to discuss what your future kids might look like but there is so much pressure put on a kid before it’s even born. I hope its a boy, I hope it has my red hair, I hope it goes to an ivy league school, plays soccer, has their dad’s taste in music, etc etc. It’s just so much hopes/expectations.

      5. Didn´t you say the other day you hoped your future kids were as well behaved as you and your siblings? 😉

      6. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        You’re definitely right on that one.

        I’ve recently started to change my opinion about these type of things. I think the artificial pressure of wedding planning (you know “having to have the perrrrrfect favors/linens/invitations etc etc etc) has made me sort of step back and re-evaluate my world view. The important thing on my wedding day is that I marry my a man I love deaply and we make that life long commitment. And when the time comes to have kids, I just want them to be born healthy. I’ll love them the same if they throw temper tantrums or are little angles 🙂

      7. SO long as they´re not obtuse. 🙂

      8. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        One day I will learn how to spell. Seriously.

      9. Yeah but how am I supposed to love a kid if they don’t have dimples?

      10. Sue Jones says:

        Both my husband and I are short hairy trolls. Our son has blue eyes, and is tall and very handsome so far. You just never know!

    2. GG, I wanted to let you know that in the part of the conversation that got moderated out (I guess that’s what happened) I apologized to you for using “pussy” as an insult. Take care.

      1. False alarm, it’s back. Could be my connection. Anyway, I see what you mean and I didn’t want it to look like I never addressed it.

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I saw. After some googling I can see how the term came about being a synonym for cowardly. In my experience it has more of a gender oriented meaning which is why I’m sensitive about the use of it. I prefer to use equal oppertunity insults 🙂

  11. the attack says:

    Not every comment about race is racist. I really don’t see any evidence that he’s racist, but I do think it’s sad that you’re trying to make a huge generalization about your boyfriend based on one comment. You’re not giving him credit that he has other opinions and thoughts on the matter that contribute to whether or not he’s racist.

    1. Northernmermaid says:

      Hey, theattack. I don’t want to pick on you, but I think that one of the reasons people might be prickly about your comment about this whole issue is because you are absolutely exercising your right to want your kids to look like you. Good on you! You should. Totally not racist at all. However, that right that you have is unfortunately a privilege for many people. The societal pressures behind wanting white looking children forces that right that you are free to exercise into a privilege for the rest of us. And that blows. Sure LW 1’s boyfriend might not be racist, but I can’t fault her for hesitating about reproducing with someone who doesn’t share the belief that their child will be beautiful regardless of how white he or she looks. I think it is admirable that she doesn’t want to instill that subconscious self loathing that many minority or mixed children grow up with.

      1. Avatar photo theattack says:

        “I can’t fault her for hesitating about reproducing with someone who doesn’t share the belief that their child will be beautiful regardless of how white he or she looks. ”

        Am I missing something? Did he say that he wouldn’t think a child would look beautiful if it didn’t turn out white? I’m pretty sure he only said that he would prefer the next child to look like the one he already has. I’m apparently not allowed to create examples using my personal life since I’m white and anything I say is apparently irrelevant, but his comment could mean many things. It could mean what you said above, or it could be similar to “I hope the next kid turns out athletic like his brother.” Like I’ve said several times, this is just a big jump to say that he’s racist based on one stupid comment that we have very little information about.

      2. ‘I’m apparently not allowed to create examples using my personal life since I’m white and anything I say is apparently irrelevant’.

        Sigh. I usually really enjoy your comments,but I have to say, my very tiny violin is playing right now.

        We are both white. We are privileged. Lets not pretend we aren’t. Lets not pretend situations are exactly the same for us as they are for those people who have less privilege.

      3. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I very much acknowledge that I’m privileged by being white. In fact, it’s something I’ve done extensive soul searching on because I am absolutely full of white guilt. Thanks for that though. I’m just leaving this post, I think. I’m tired of practically being accused of being racist just because I’m white and happen to think that this guy’s comment doesn’t automatically make him a racist. I use one bad example and suddenly I’m practically the poster child for white supremacy over here.

      4. Avatar photo Northern Mermaid says:

        I certainly didn’t mean to call you racist. I don’t think anything you’ve said is particularly racist either. I think using the example of “my fiance is white, and I’m white, and I want my kids to be white like us” is just not a one-to-one example of what could be going on in this situation. I understand that you were trying to empathize with the boyfriend in this scenario, but it’s just not the same. When I think about your personal example, I actually kind of see the LW’s point of view. “My boyfriend is dark skinned latino, I’m dark skinned. I hope we have dark skinned children like us”

        I agree with you that this one comment doesn’t necessarily make him racist, however, it is kind of a racist thing to say. If the LW is worried about her boyfriend’s comments, she needs to ask him about it. All she told us was he said he wanted his next kid to look like his daughter, “blonde and white” if there is a follow up that says “because I just think blonde hair looks great on little kids.” or “because she’s so athletic” or “because it would be fun to have kids that look just like twinsies!” then, ok.

        But, if the LW has a problem with the attitude that her boyfriend wants their children to look blonde and white, it’s ok for her to pause and think about how that attitude will effect her hypothetical future children. I know if I had a boyfriend that said, “I hope our kids come out with all of your recessive genes, blonde hair, blue eyes, white skin, the works” I’d be a little offended.

        The answer to her question is probably what you, and other commenters have said, “No, that one comment doesn’t make him racist. You should probably talk to him about it if it’s bothering you, though”

        Again. I’m really sorry that you thought I was calling you racist. Totally not the case. I was just trying to point out that I didn’t quite see your example as particularly apt for this scenario, not that I found your desire or examples from your own life as something of less value because they come from a place of privilege.

        I probably shouldn’t speak for anyone other than myself, but I certainly don’t think that anyone views you as the “poster child for white supremacy.”

      5. Hey, to clarify, I dont think what the attack is saying is racist either, I just think she’s not entirely right in what she IS saying.

  12. LW1: So in the few months since I moved back home my dark little Indian brother has gone through more face creams, skin lightening creams, etc than I have probably in my whole life time. I’ve realized that it’s very easy for people who aren’t actually racist to still continue to value fairer skin because in many circles that’s still the dominant model to judge what is attractive.
    WWS- it doesn’t sound like you should break up with him over this one comment but if it’s really bugging you just talk to him about it.

  13. Northernmermaid says:

    I am usually more of a lurker, and not much of a commenter, but I had to chime in about LW 1.

    Wanting your children to look more white than you is probably not a sign that the individual is racist, but rather a response to the deeply ingrained institutional racism in this country.

    My grandmother is Mexican Indian. Her family came to California when she was very young, so she grew up in America. After all she experienced growing up, she decided she would rather have white kids than Mexican ones. So she married a white guy, never taught her kids Spanish, much less our native language, and passed on a white=beautiful mentality to my very Mexican looking mother. My mom internalized that and when I was born with receding gums (a trait that pretty much indicates native or Mexican–not Spanish ancestry) my parents spent thousands of dollars on braces and cosmetic dentistry so my smile would look more “white.” While I certainly don’t begrudge my parent’s choice, and I really did need the braces, and I get tons of compliments on my smile, I can’t help but feel a little sad when I look at pictures of my great grandmother, grandmother, and mom, because I look like what my great grandmother and grandmother wanted for their family, rather than just looking like the women that came before me. It took me a long time to feel comfortable with my black eyes, darker skin, and strangely reddish hair (speaking of the genetic crapshoot). I rarely played with dark haired or dark eyed or dark skinned dolls, and I used to disastrously dye my hair blonde. It isn’t racism, it is a subconscious form of self hatred that mixed people like me and my sister and my mom are taught to feel. It blows.

    Being mixed race or being the parent of a mixed race child is still a struggle in this country and while a white person marrying a white person might find features from other ethnicities or races attractive, they probably just want kids that look like them. There is of course, nothing wrong with that. It is the refusal to see how broken our society is when a couple of differing racial backgrounds would much prefer that their children look like someone else’s kids that is the problem for me.

    Sorry for the soapbox moment, but the desire to “pass” isn’t something that used to happen back when people were still racist (it is amazing how often I encounter the mentality that we are living in a post racial society. We are not.). It is a desire and process that still goes on and happens to people today. For what it is worth, I am 24 years old. Pretty young to still have parents that wanted me to look like the German and Irish sides of my family, rather than the mexican (and to a lesser extent, the Italian, but that is a whole other story. Yeesh)

    1. Thank you for sharing your story! I think it offers a personal perspective on what some of us have been trying to say.

    2. camorzilla says:

      Thank for for sharing this. I agree 100%. I think this is what most white people don’t get- that internalized self hatred that is reinforced every day by the entire country that non-white people can experience.

      1. Avatar photo Northern Mermaid says:

        Thanks guys. I generally don’t like to be so preachypants, but this topic kind of hits a nerve. I happen to have a fair skinned, blue eyed, blonde haired little sister. She ALWAYS got compliments on how beautiful she was/is (because really, she’s now super smokin) and “oh look at those big blue eyes” and then back at my mom “where did those come from?!”

    3. ^ THIS. South American ideas about race are…complicated. My father is able to pass as white, although he’s mestizo, and his dad (my grandpa, who was Amerindian) put in a lot of effort to make the kids culturally ‘white’. Though since they frequently went to South America to visit the family, it didn’t really take. As a side-note, Caribbean/Caribbean-adjacent Amerindian folks often carry the genes for brown hair or blue or green eyes (Columbus’ diaries note some surprise at grey-eyed natives turning up in the population). Mix in some of the Spanish/French/Dutch/Celtic ancestry that’s common in the area, and you can have some very light-featured kids (like Yours Truly) born to dark parents.

      Also, there are cultural ideas about beauty that stick around– doesn’t necessarily mean the individual is racist, just that they’ve been told since forever that blue eyes are awesome, quite possibly as an ingrained society-wide racism thing they’re not even consciously aware of.

      Finally, it might be a whole thing about wanting his child to pass. I’ve definitely seen up close with my family members that I’ve been treated better by store staff, etc. for being lighter-featured. Sad but true. BF’s attitude might just be about a desire for his kid to have something he didn’t, which is more a reflection on society sucking than on his personal ideas about race.

  14. Well, Idk where you are from LW1. But the little experience I had with Latinos that live in the US is that they tend to be racist. I was told by a woman from Ecuador that has been living for about 20 years in the US that I am better because I am white. Does he often make remarks like this one? Did he ever mention not liking to take the subway because “it’s full of black people” (I was also told this by the same woman)?
    It was not just her that was racist, her family/extended family/friends who were also Latino were kinda racist too, but they were not as vocal.

    I’d pay more attention to what he says to figure out if he is racist or you could just ask him, although he could just deny it (as the woman I mentioned above did) and claim that he is def. not racist.

  15. I think it was Jay Smooth or someone made a video about calling out people who are racist, and I think its important enough to throw into the discussion.
    Racism is an action. It is not a personality trait in the same way being lazy, or grumpy is. What the boyfriend of LW1 said may have been a racist COMMENT but does not mean she now has to tar and feather him (apologies if this in unintentionally a racist phrase, I almost said call up a lynch mob and remembered how inappropriate that would be). She needs to find out his intentions, to find out if they were racist ones. THEN act how she sees fit.
    Calling people racist acheives nothing. All they have to do is pull out their minority-skin-colour friend, and boom, they cant be racist. Everyone knows this is bullshit. Its because the action, or words used, can be racist without the person being inherently racist.
    Anyway, I find its easier to think about racism in this way. Its insidious, its societal, and its still here. But its an action we can make steps to change.

  16. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    LW1) No.

    LW2) His family disapproves of You? Get out now. It is a battle you probably won’t win, and even if you do — it only makes for a lousy lifetime of needless drama.

    LW3) Eh, my, he sure sounds annoying, but I would LOVE to know exactly what You did that made him so justified in his annoyance… That’s a rather large missing piece of the puzzle here…

    1. Avatar photo theattack says:

      “No.” Haha! Love that!

    2. That is exactly what I thought when I read the 3rd letter.

      “Every time it has happened (which I would say is probably about five times during the course of our relationship), it has been over something that he had the right to be annoyed about”

      Then just apologize LW.

      1. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        Right? The wording there was just off… It really set my mind to thinking…

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