Jun 3, 2011

Is that Her Natural Color?

When people see my middle child, their first reaction is almost always the same. They wonder about her hair. Years ago, I might have been offended. We lived next door to another mixed race family who's child was born with bleach-blonde hair and the mom always got the same looks and questions. People wondered aloud if we colored our babies' hair. She was offended. For a while, I was too. It makes you wonder what kind of mom they think you are--one that would but chemicals on a newborn's head to change her hair color! But now it's no longer a shock when they ask what they always ask:

Is that her natural hair color?

2011 All Rights Reserved, Bobby Duncan
The genetics are pretty amazing. In order for her to have red hair, she must have inherited the gene from both sides of the family. My sister is red-headed, so we know where it comes from on my side; but my husband is black and the red-headed tendency is not so obvious unless you look at one other feature: freckles. Red hair and freckles go together.

2011 All Rights Reserved, Bobby Duncan
My husband, beautiful mother-in-law and one brother-in-law all have freckles. Beautiful, aren't they?

I found an article that argues the number of redheads will decrease as the races intermingle. But my daughter is an example of how our intermingling races are still very capable of producing vibrant, beautiful redheads.


  1. Aww...this is too cool! I've seen redheads a lot in my hubby's Latino family and also quite a few in black families, so I know they're out there. Good point about the freckles! Your daughter is so cute too! This question that people ask always makes me think of the aboriginal families in Australia. Many have red and platinum hair which is completely natural, but it's very hard for most people to understand. We're so used to seeing the stereotypes that we don't stop to think that there might be something else out there. Thanks for shining your light on this conversation. :) And I love seeing your family photos!

  2. I didn't know that about red-heads and freckles. Or maybe I did? It's fascinating to me what genes come through in the process of cell division. I love the science behind it. Your daughter's beautiful. I love red-hair and freckles, maybe more so because they are so rare. Whenever I see one that's not out of a bottle, I do a double-take. I can't believe that people ask you if you dye her hair. I think it's so rude. Thanks for sharing your pictures. : )

    Thanks for your comment, by the way on my language-personality post. I'm in awe of the discovery. You have so much knowledge and experience Jen. Do you have an opinion about bilingual education? Do you think it does more harm than good? Or do you think there's a "limited" place for it?

    Sorry to be long-winded.

  3. Chantilly: I am thrilled to know that you've seen many redheads! The article I read made it sound like they are becoming so rare. I've never read about aboriginal people with red/platinum hair! Thank you for enlightening me! I have a new subject to research :) And thanks for complimenting my family. My son's picture is in my Memorial Day post. I've been trying to feel less paranoid about sharing photos!

    Ezzy: I also am fascinated by the science of genetics! I wonder all the time--how can my children come from the same gene pool but have so many differences? It is miraculous!

    I will never mind any of your long comments! I love them. I will answer your questions about bilingual education in a long-winded comment on your blog. I thank you for reading and really enjoy your comments!

  4. Jen, I wanted to come back and say THANK YOU for answering my question about bilingual education. The issue has been in the back of my mind since reading Richard Rodriguez's book and then later watching his talk at the Chula Vista Public Library. While I agree with some of what he says about private vs. public identities (home vs. secular), it bothers me that we live in a country that DOES NOT VALUE multilingualism. How narrow a view! And although I know it's not a majority who think this way, but a small minority that's able to shape policy because they seem to be better organized, I'm still embarrassed by it.

    I hope you don't mind if I pop over from time-to-time to pick your brain. : )

  5. So amazing that thing called genetics! I love your daughters hair! I have also seen a few biracial kids with blond hair and blue eyes...so beautiful too!

  6. So amazing that thing called genetics! I love your daughters hair! I have also seen a few biracial kids with blond hair and blue eyes...so beautiful too!

  7. Thank you! And thank you for your wonderful blog! It has some great tips!


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