When the news of Sandra Bullock’s recent baby adoption broke with the morning sun, a smile as long as the Louisiana bayou broke out on my face. Here was little Louis’s precious face on the cover of PEOPLE and on every morning television show, nuzzling his glowing mommy. I know that feeling, that intoxicating smell of a milky baby’s breath and sweaty chick-fuzz. And the flip-flops of love and worry that tumble in a new mother’s stomach. My very first emotion was happiness for Sandra, especially in this time of pain over her husband’s bad behavior.
My next thought had to do with the sweet brown melanin in that yummy boy’s skin. How could one not notice how beautiful this baby was? (Aren’t all babies beautiful?) Yet, so many politically correct online bloggers, reporters, and comment posters ignored his race. Kudos to you, but by ignoring a physical trait completely draws attention to it. I mean, if Sandra’s baby had been a blonde tow-head with bright blue eyes, his physical attributes would have been mentioned. So, why the silence over melanin? It seems we are as progressive as we are confused. Afraid to say the wrong thing. Yet to create a race-less society would be to homogenize beauty. How sad.
Here’s what’s wrong. As a single mother of two biracial children the wrong thing is to not mention how cute my kids are. How fabulous their curls spiral. How their mocha complexion looks positively breath-taking in colors like bright orange and turquoise. How their strong brown legs shine in the froth and frolic of ocean play. To ignore human beauty, whether it be white, brown, beige, curly, straight, or frizzy, is to draw attention to race as an “unmentionable.”
Even Sandra, in her PEOPLE magazine interview failed to mention her baby’s appearance, simply calling him “perfect.” Perfect he is, as is every healthy baby, but Sandra, he is also exceptionally gorgeous, partly because of his racial mix.
The thing about beauty is that it is in the eye of the beholder. We are all attracted to a set of visual stimuli that created in our brains through a series of exposures in our formative years. My particular early life experiences happened in Nova Scotia, Canada, where I was born. Many Americans don’t know that the true end of the historical “underground railroad” was Nova Scotia, where run-away slaves sought refuge and safety north of the boarder. To this day there is a huge population of African-Americas (I’m told that title is preferred over African-Canadian) on the east coast of Canada, and when I entered elementary school I attended a fully integrated public school. My first crushes were boys with brown skin. Many of my playmates were black girls. Sitting at my school desk, behind well coiffed braided heads and high cheek bones wrapped in flawless glowing completions, I developed a penchant for that version of beauty. So, it was no surprise to me that I would fall in love with a man with dark skin and give birth to such beauty myself.
Like Sandra’s son, my babies are perfect. But they are also brown. Gorgeous brown. And to say I don’t LOVE they way they look — because of race — would be a lie. I’ll never forget the first time my then three-year-old compared her legs to my white legs in the bathtub. She wanted to know why her legs were brown. I didn’t even have to consider my answer. I quickly responded with, “Your legs are brown because your Mommy is smart. I found the most beautiful man on the planet to be your Daddy because I wanted you to be the most beautiful girl. And it worked.”
All babies are beautiful, but Sandra Bullock, don’t be afraid to scream it from the top of a mountain that your BROWN baby is beautiful.