We all know the Kardashians. The family of K-named reality TV stars that have launched into being some of the most famous in the world. Part of their skyrocketing fame is credited to their social media presence, as they are known for being very active and responsive to fans on Twitter and Instagram, for instance. A large part of their appeal is that they share their lives with the world, for better or worse.
Now that the sisters are older, four out of five of them have children. In 2018, the family grew very quickly, with babies being born back to back. Those three babies: Kim’s Chicago, Kylie’s Stormi and Khloe’s True, are heavily featured on their parents’ social media accounts, as are the other children in the family.
This past weekend, Kim Kardashian posted a picture of the three babies on her Instagram, captioned “the triplets.” The photo is adorable — all three babies are making the exact same facial expression at the camera. Yet, in the comments, there was a slew of racist comments about Khloe’s daughter, True, saying she’s “too dark.” One comment even, “I hate that True is so dark, the other two are a nice mix….she’s a cute kid just too dark.”
Comments like this led to Khloe disabling comments on pictures of True from her Instagram page. When asked about it on Twitter, Kardashian responded, “Honestly people are disgusting and they are hurting themselves. For anyone to critic a baby is obviously not well.”
The true irony of the situation is that all three babies are mixed race; all of their fathers are black. However, because True’s tone is slightly darker than the other two, she is referred to as “ugly.” This is a prime example of not just racism, but also colorism.
Colorism is not purely discrimination or bullying based on race; it’s discrimination or bullying based on shade, and it’s rampant on social media, especially toward babies.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a photo of a baby or small child, with light skin, blue eyes and curly black hair with the caption “goals” and a heart eyes emoji. And don’t get me wrong: It’s sweet to be able to coo over a baby. I do it all the time. However, there’s an underlying issue with the babies that go viral. They are hardly ever a darker shade of black.
When googled, lots of Instagram and Pinterest pages come up: @mixedracebabiesig has 280K followers. A Pinterest page titled “biracial baby boys” features memes where men indicate that they’re selling their sperm, captioned “Guaranteed lightskin kids,” and includes photos captioned “Mixed babies are the best babies.”
This preference for light-skinned mixed children cuts both ways. Social media is rampant with negativity for Beyoncé’s daughter, Blue Ivy, with comments saying things like they thought she would look like a “caramel skinned princess,” but instead looks like a “32 year old lesbian with a. criminal record.”
Making a point to nitpick the appearance of a baby is weird enough. Using an innocent child to spread racist and colorist ideas about what “beautiful” means? Cancelled.