I’m a black woman of mixed heritage with a white, blonde-haired daughter. Before I gave birth to my eldest child (who had a white dad) I wondered what colour she might be. My main concern was that the baby was healthy and I hoped for a girl. My nine-pound-one daughter Keziah, who arrived after a slightly scary delivery by ventouse, was pale-skinned with brown hair. Her colouring didn’t surprise me as I knew that mixed babies are often born white, and their colour ‘comes in’ a few weeks later – I was born white. But unlike me, my baby girl stayed white, her eyes turned blue instead of brown, and her hair changed to a blonde that was almost white in summer.
It wasn’t a big deal for me to have a white child – I have a white mum. It was only when others commented that I realised how unusual it must seem. Later, friends who hadn’t known me before I was pregnant told me they thought I’d adopted her. ‘Ooh, isn’t she blonde?’ people would remark, when looking at my girl’s roses-and-cream complexion, white-blonde curls and bright blue eyes. What they really meant was, how on earth did you manage to produce such a Scandinavian-looking child? The only signs of Keziah’s Ghanaian heritage were her curls and frizzy ‘baby hairs’, and the fact that she tanned easily and never burned. I didn’t want to talk about Keziah’s dad, who died when she was two, so my stock response became, ‘Yeah, her dad was blonde as a kid.’ I was lucky – I’ve read stories of women of colour with white children who strangers assumed was the nanny. Others have been accused of stealing their own child.