Why It's Not Cool To Tell Interracial Couples They "Have" To Have Kids

Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
Since my boyfriend and I began dating three years ago, I’ve encountered a lot of comments, often from strangers, about how we must have children because they will be gorgeous. Now, I love a compliment, but it’s often clear that these comments have nothing to do with my or my partner’s appearance. Rather, they’re inspired by our race. I’m Italian, and he’s Black, and according to the people pressuring us to have a kid, mixed-race babies are soo cute!
One time, after we’d been together for a year, my partner and I were at a luncheon, and the woman next to us kept bringing up our hypothetical interracial children. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted kids at the time (and actually, I’m still unsure), but when I tried to end the conversation, she began to tell us how she wished she had a mixed race kid, because they are just the best. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something felt really wrong about what she was saying — it was as if she was ranking skin tones, and by combining ours, my partner and I were giving our (again, hypothetical) children some sort of competitive edge. The conversation didn’t leave me feeling angry, though, since it seemed like she was trying to be nice. I mostly just felt weird.
Of course, it hasn’t just been that one conversation. This has been a recurring theme whenever the topic of kids comes up. It comes off as if some people think interracial couples have an obligation to procreate, or that mixed-race kids are some sort of novelty. And that doesn’t really sit well with me. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be flattered or offended (or neither). I just know that if I do decide to have a baby, it’s going to be adorable because, duh, babies are adorable.
In speaking to interracial couples I know and others via Twitter, I found I was far from alone. Through their stories, I was able to pinpoint just why these comments were so problematic.

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