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Don't Ignore Sandra's Baby's Race!

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Wendy Walsh: When the news of Sandra Bullock's recent baby adoption broke with the morning sun, a smile as wide as the Louisiana bayou broke out on my face. Here was little Louis' 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.

wendy walsh

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? Yet so many politically correct online bloggers, reporters and comment-posters ignored his race. Kudos to you, but ignoring a physical trait completely draws attention to it. I mean, if Sandra's baby had been a blond towhead with bright blue eyes, his physical attributes would have been mentioned. So why the silence about 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, I think the wrong thing is to not mention how cute my kids are. How fabulously their curls spiral. How their mocha complexions look positively breathtaking 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 was 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 runaway slaves sought refuge and safety north of the border. To this day, there is a huge population of African-Americans (I'm told that title is preferred over "African-Canadians") 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 cheekbones enveloped by flawless, glowing complexions, 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. Perfectly brown ... gorgeously brown. And to say that I don't LOVE they way they look --- because of race --- would be a lie. I'll never forget the first time my then-3-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 tell the world that your BROWN baby is beautiful!

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16 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous April 28, 2010, 12:08 PM

I think the author is out of her tree - all I’ve read are comments speaking about how gorgeous that adorable little fellow is.

AND for the record - I NEVER really talked about how physically attractive my children were as babies, but rather referred to them as precious, perfect, etc. A real mom sees her infant beyond how physically adorable they are.

chris April 28, 2010, 12:45 PM

I just have to ask…Why are you making his race an issue??? Babies are beautiful because babies are beautiful! I swear if people were going on and on about the fact that he was black, then you would complain about that. Stop trying to stir things up and maybe next time write a post about how a beautiful baby got lucky because he was adopted by a wonderful person who will make a great mom.

graceym April 28, 2010, 12:54 PM


arent all african americans.

AND why focus on looks?

TH April 28, 2010, 1:17 PM

@CHRIS i COMPLETELY agree with u! I usually like Dr. Walsh’s articles but i do not see the need to make race such an issue. for sure if the ppl were talkin about the baby’s race tht wud be an issue. so Chirs i agree, lets just focus on how lucky this beautiful baby is to have such a wonderful mom!

Anonymous April 28, 2010, 1:26 PM

This article is ridiculous. The first poster was right on point.

I agree with the overall point the author is trying to make but she went about it the wrong way. In fact, it’s so ridiculous that it actually detracts from the original intent of the article and that’s sad.

Yes, I think it’s important to discuss race. As an AA woman, I’m definitely going to teach my children about race and to be proud of who they are but I’m also not walking around with a megaphone saying my child is black. Does that mean I’m ignoring who they are? Not at all.

Listen, people were going to talk about the baby’s race whether Sandra mentioned it or not. And who’s to say that she didn’t? Perhaps she did and the journalist chose not to include it. Or maybe it could be something she will discuss in a later interview. Who knows. The author should give Sandra the benefit of the doubt.

Silence does not mean unawareness.

Dara April 28, 2010, 1:27 PM

Interesting point of view. Great article, but I would have to agree with the others. I don’t see what color the baby’s skin is. What matters is that she gave the baby boy a home. It would be absurd to adopt a baby JUST for its skin pigmentation..

Kristen April 28, 2010, 1:50 PM

Holy crap, if any article WOULD have pointed out the babies race then people would have been up in arms. It’s a no win situation, good grief. Just give the child a loving home, that’s it, end of story.

Gilemena April 28, 2010, 1:53 PM

As mother of an Asian child, as well as a Caucasian child, I think this woman is nuts for criticizing Sandra Bullock. My children are and always have been PERFECT. Understood within “perfect” is BEAUTIFUL. I never said, “My son is beautiful BECAUSE he is blond and blue-eyed” and “My daughter is beautiful BECAUSE she has beautiful skin, gorgeous eyes, and silky black hair.”

They are just PERFECT. Perhaps the author needed a “hook” to write an article, but this was a very weak one.

Jennyhunt April 28, 2010, 10:34 PM

Wendy: I think you are wrong here. You are assuming a LOT by suggesting that because bloggers and common people did not comment on Sandra’s baby’s skin color that it means people do or did not think he is beautiful. In fact, earlier in the day I read plenty of comments from readers who had commented on how gorgeous he was! Either we are starting to over-analyze or we are jumping the gun by always assuming the worst when it comes to race, as you just did. What’s more, why do people HAVE to comment on a child’s beauty in the first place? I hate to burst your bubble but some people do not care. Also, I believe more people were in shock over the double-whammy announcement regarding her divorce and adoption. So, please, before you start pitching theories and ideas based on what you believe to be everyone’s point of view, think first. Because you might be someone to automatically comment on how cute one’s kid is does not mean the rest of the planet has to. And it certainly doesn’t mean that because comments aren’t quickly made about a black baby’s beauty that it means we are all racist.

lilli April 29, 2010, 2:50 PM

Who cares what race Sandra’s kid is- he is adorable but one doesn’t need to say, “what an adorable brown baby”. In fact I think her comments about her own preferences and daughters are idiotic. She clearly has a strong bias for all things brown and cannot see the beauty in anything else- self loathe much?!? Black, brown, white, yellow, pink- all beautiful. Try focusing on more than their skin color, like brains, skills, personality, etc. She comes across as vain and shallow: she chose a father based on his “beauty” and claims that her children are the most “beautiful” as a result of that.

Anonymous April 30, 2010, 11:33 AM

It was almost laughable the hush in the published commentary on this topic. Comments like “who cares what race this child is?” are just absurd. This is still America, and we show we care every day. They didn’t need to talk about this child’s beauty in terms of his race, but more importantly there should have been some discussion of interracial adoption and families (especially in light of the Nazi drama surrounding Jesse and mistress). Of course that was a consideration of the adoptive parents, like financial ability, the other children’s reaction and parenting schedules, it would be irresponsible otherwise, so why is it wrong to mention it now? They mentioned national vs international adoptions, they mentioned single parent vs couples adopting, but skimmed the issue of race. I don’t think they needed to discuss it in terms of beauty, but I do think the author is right that there would have been much more commentary on the physical characteristics of a Caucasian child. Maybe the authors did not feel qualified to discuss it. But I’m glad that at least one blogger talks about it, because a post-racial world, it is not. There is something dishonest about the pretense.

Howard Stern May 9, 2010, 9:00 PM

Miss WALSH you are a DORK

Howard Stern May 9, 2010, 9:02 PM

Miss WALSH you are a DORK

Howard Stern May 9, 2010, 9:09 PM

We are supposed to be color blind but Wendy things otherwise. How did this Wimp ever become a DR.? She once was a newscaster in L.A. CAL maybe that’s all she sees is in black and white.

Allen May 9, 2010, 10:22 PM

Interesting article. It is almost as if the author views black people through their eyes even though she is white. People are naturally drawn to those of their own race but as a black man I can never understand how someone could only be attracted to a different race. Its like an obsession.
I still think Wendy is a beautiful person.

jewel May 14, 2010, 1:42 PM

I think this is something that needs to be said… I agree with you that america is becoming a place where RACE is a bad word. I think noone said anything because they don’t want to discuss the other aspects of Race… ps I dont think she meant the baby was mixed I think she was just saying (race in genreal) and ANYONE can be a Dr. *okay I also think its upsurd to think that you can mix people like crayons and think that all mixed babies are gonna be cute… but that is another topic

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