I'm A White Mom, And I'm Exhausted By People Touching My Biracial Daughter's Hair
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I’m A White Mom: Here’s My Experience Of Raising A Black Daughter In Australia

Comments (67)
  1. Frecks says:

    When you made the choice to lay down with a black man and have a child with him, you made the choice to deal with whatever hair texture came from said child’s head. Race relations in Australia may be different than in the US, but learning to care for a mixed-race child’s hair has nothing to do with that. Do your Googles and figure out how to care for your child’s hair. And for the love of God, stop letting people pet your daughter. She’s not a zoo attraction, she’s your baby! Tell them no and go about your day. You don’t owe anyone access to your daughter. You’re not teaching her anything except that strangers have the right to her body. Is that really what you want her to learn? And they’re pulling her hair? See…nope. All of the no’s.

  2. Robin says:

    While I appreciate the article, I was mixed before it became cool. I never fit in and I’m okay with that.

    Here are something I’d tell this mother:

    1. DO NOT let people touch your daughter’s hair! Stop it. Just stop it, okay. She’s not a pet or some “thing.” Stand up for her.

    2. Learn how to do her hair, please. It took me years to finally be comfortable with my hair. Look, it’s hair. It’s not rocket science. Brush it. Braid it. Put quality products on it to keep it from tangling and looking a hot mess. SO what if you’re used to white hair. It’s time to get over it and learn.

    3. Your daughter will be okay.

    1. Keri says:

      #1 YES!!! This first thing I thought while reading this was “why is she letting strangers touch her daughter’s hair?”

  3. Sarah says:

    Also those people who want to touch your daughter’s hair under the guise of “fascination” are lying. Most of the time it’s an attempt to “other” her and convince her and themselves that she’s different from normal and weird whereas they are the “standard”. It’s creepy how much of an instinct this is with a lot of white people.

    1. Camilla Palmer says:

      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your concern for my child but I can assure you she is NOT neglected. Nor do I ignore my responsibilities as a mother. I do care for her hair and I think if you read the article again you would see that you might have misinterpreted my words.Thanks again for the reply. That is, above all, my intention when I write – to engage others in conversation with me so I can learn more.

  4. NerdLove says:

    I LOVED this article. I loved how honest you were. I am biracial. My mother is white. I understand how it is when dealing with others. It amazes me that people still have issues with this.

    I’m in my 20s and I remember growing up in had kids in my class think I was adopted. When I would explain I wasn’t I would get crazy reactions like I can’t believe your mom had sex with a black guy because your mom is actually cute. I had one classmate tell me he was disgusted that my mother had sex with some one outside of her race. I replied we’re all humans so she technically was within her race.

    Anyway. People are foolish as hell. But it’ll be okay. People will make assumptions. You will be judged from blacks and whites. Your daughter will be fine. You teach her that there is nothing inferior or weird with her. You let her know that she is more than her race. You assure her that she has more to offer the world than “good” hair and light skin.

    I’m grateful for my family. My mother taught me that I was more than my race and that my race wouldn’t get me good grades in school or a great job. We discussed race but we never obsessed about race.

    Also my sister HATED getting her hair brushed. Hated it. My mom usually had to chase that girl down.

    I also love the websites curly Nikki which is mostly black natural hair and chocolate hair vanilla care which is a white mom black daughter hair site.

    1. Camilla Palmer says:

      NerdLove your comment has made my day and made me feel like it was worthwhile writing this piece. I am indeed going to take your advice. I very much appreciate the idea that ‘we discuss race but we don’t obsess about race.’I am going to check out that Curly Nikki website too. I am happy that you have some inkling (or your sister does) of how much a person can actually hate having their hair brushed and the lengths they will go to to avoid it! (Especially a 2 year old!)

      1. Natisha Sloley-Hamilton says:

        First and foremost I loved this article. I loved that you basically showed your heart on your sleeve. Why pass judgement and why be mean about her experience? Camilla I am going to give you some of my own experiences. First I am black and my husband is black, but on the lighter side. When my son was about a month old I went to get my eyebrows waxed and the owner of the shop an Asian lady told be verbatim “Girl, they gave you the wrong baby that baby is white.” While it annoyed me I didn’t say anything, I ignored it. A couple of week later all three of of us were in the supermarket and a white lady kept looking back and forth between the three of us with this confused look on her face. So I decided to let her know that yes this was our baby and he came from between my legs. Since moving to the South in the US and having my first child my eyes have opened to how people respond to race, especially since my family is from the Caribbean. I’ve let people feel my child’s hair in the past. But, there came a point where I felt that enough was enough. That is a personal decision. There will come a day when you and myself included will have to explain race to our kids. But that is when we feel that they are ready. I agree with some of the other lady’s do some research on hair care. It is best to comb it out when it is wet with conditioner in it. Make it a fun bath time experience. Do not wash with shampoo everyday. Play around with different products to see what works best.

      2. NerdLove says:


        Yes its always worthwhile to write out your feelings and share them. Most of these comments are ignorant which is why Im not usually on this site. But there are people out in the world that understand your perspective and totally get it.

        The race thing like I said we dont obsess about it but we do discuss it which is great. I feel more people need to adopt that thinking into their philosophy. There is more to life than waking up every morning thinking about race. We were given the space to celebrate and acknowledge both cultures. There is nothing wrong in learning about white culture (although our mother prefers to celebrate more about black/brown culture) she wanted to make sure that we didnt run around going F white people. But at the same time made sure we appreciated being half black.

        Oh, yes my sister hated her hair getting done. I was better about sitting still my sister not so much. Shes also SUPER tender headed so she doesnt like people yanking her hair too hard or brushing it. Shes in her teens so shes better about it but when she was a toddler it was AWFUL. Our mom would basically moisturize it daily and finger comb it. Occasionally she would try with a wide tooth comb to get the knots out. Then she would either bun the hair or have it in two french braids. Or let it hang out free. Moisturizer is key. When hair is dry it breaks off and looks awful.

        My hair is fine but dense so its prone to frizz. I used to HATE when people would assume my hair was “good” because I was mixed so it should be a breeze to take care of. It wasnt. It took me years to get a good rhythm for it once my mom gave me my hair back and allowed me to take care of it myself. Im not sure what hair products you have available to you but I love the lines Shea Moisture and Cantu. I also love oils like olive, almond, castor or avocado. My hair is fine but it sucks up hella moisture. My favorite method is the LOC method. L= liquid (water) O= oil C= cream.

        Anyway. Once again Im glad you wrote about your experiences. I love hearing/seeing multi racial families because it reminds me of my family. Experiences like yours are what are familiar to me so I like hearing about them from other people. So keep sharing 🙂

  5. Dani says:

    It is a bit surprising to see the judgement by some of the commenters on this post. She is simply sharing her experience. I don’t think it is anyones place to tell her how to care for her child’s hair or imply she is neglectful obviously she is learning as we all do with experience.

  6. Sarah says:

    I think white parents with biracial children who can’t look after their kids hair is pure neglect. I went to school with a biracial girl (white mother obviously) who has braids done in January and wouldn’t remove them until DECEMBER. It was a MESS I tell you. It’s equivalent to not bathing your child IMO. Moms learn to bath/care for their kids. Why must white women and their kids hair care be different?! And also why are you not teaching your child that she has a right to refuse strangers access to her hair? And telling said strangers to back off? Like any good parent would.

  7. DarkEmpress says:

    This article was really interesting. I don’t know if you are asking for advice, but I will share what I know from my own experience growing up with a white father, who actually is not my biological parent because I think that I understand the experience of looking different from your parents.

    First, I’d like to say that my white dad is as I like to call him, the President of the Black Pride club. He is deeply knowledgeable about black history, black issues and a Bernie Sanders level champion of black rights. I think that its important that you learn about issues that affect Blacks in the Australian context, so that you can protect your child from them.

    I think the best way to protect your child is preparation. I think it is important to explain racism at a young age and say that ‘people may not like you because you are different from them, but those people are WRONG and you are amazing and special’ to your child. ad nauseum. I think that gives a child the confidence to feel good about themselves in spite of the racism they WILL encounter.

    Also I think its really important to tell your child that she doesnt have to try to be white or try to be black, just be herself. I know someone with mixed kids, and he tells his kids they are double- two wholes, not half. They are fully both races, and are fully entitled to participate in both cultures and shouldnt let anyone exclude them for being ‘half’.

    As for the hair, if your daughter does not like people touching her hair, dont let people touch her hair. Some people like the attention. I dont think its a big deal if you cant do her hair, if you can find a hairdresser nearby that you can take her to frequently. To comb your daughter’s hair detangle before washing, divide into large sections and twist the sections and braid at the very end. Washing the hair like this keeps it relatively detangled. Condition and moisturize a lot. Style the hair into sections and use hair baubles and twist and plait the ends to keep it detangled. look at videos on Youtube.

    1. Camilla Palmer says:

      Thank you for your reply. I appreciate your advice and many of the things you mentioned – in particular about preparing my daughter for the future – are right on track with what I already do with her. As I alluded to in the article, we live in a very different racial climate to what you guys have there in the states I think so mostly it is about teaching her about protecting her personal space and being proud of who she is.

  8. Tara says:

    Camilla please do not address those that are negative and have no experience with this topic. I am a black woman with a biracial daughter. I had the same similar issues but instead it was from blacks not whites. A lady in Walmart wanted to touch my hair not to mention the countless People that asked if her daddy was white (he was actually Spanish). People are infatuated with bi racial kids. Everyday she gets compliments on her curly hair no matter how wild or crazy it is. As a black mother I have struggled with proper hair products and trying to figure out what to do with her curls. Great job on this article. It made me feel great to know it wasn’t just me. You don’t want to be rude to people although them asking the questions are ridiculous. Great article. Great job.

  9. Taryn Biggs says:

    I’m ashamed at some of the commenters. Motherhood is a learning experience. No one has it perfected. To bash and attack the mom because she gave you a 5-minute glimpse into her life is idiotic. Yes, her daughter will have to learn it’s not okay to be “petted.” She also never posted pics of her daughter and just mentioned what TWO black women commented. We are not the “know-it-alls” of everyone’s hair, nor did we go to school. Black women were the same people bashing Blue Ivy’s hair and it was healthy. Thirdly, it bothers me that women on this post are so small-minded they don’t understand cultural differences. The world is not like America. Have any of you lived in Australia or outside of America, or do you just assume everyone acts like Americans and is Internet-obsessed like us? Seriously, if your first thought was to attack Camilla, you’re no better than the white women that fetishize her daughters hair.

    Camilla, I’m not mixed-race but I love that you made yourself vulnerable to share you and your daughter’s experience. I know that’s not easy when the Internet (thanks to some commenters) has become such a narcisstic and judgmental space. I hope you do try different styles and find what works for you and your daughter. At the end of the day, it’s your love that matters and not the rude comments. Also, if the culture in Australia is less aggressive than the U.S., when they ask to touch her hair, I would maybe reply “Well we prefer if you didn’t, but I’m glad you like it!” Something that gives a compliment without letting you or them feel awkward. Also, your daughter won’t have to dread that moment anymore. Kudos to you and good luck!

  10. Jazii Jay says:

    Being petted is the worst. We don’t do people zoos anymore. Gtf off me.

  11. Wow. That was difficult to read. She addressed SO many different issues. Where do you even start….

  12. Shaun Lymas says:

    Maybe I’m sensitive when it comes to my baby, but I would have cursed that lady out if she said my kid’s hair looked like a toilet brush. Chile…-_-

  13. Lucy says:

    Thank you so much Camilla for writing such a brutally honest article. You haven’t once held back on you experiences and how they have made you feel. Truly beautiful and BRAVE.

    I’m AMAZED at how many people have misinterpreted your words and in response have been so judgemental and aggressive. I guess, sadly, these comments highlight even more the obstacles you face on a daily/ weekly basis and therefore your article is truly a success because of the reaction you have received. I would certainly urge you to use this feedback to write a second article – kinda evidence for your first.

    So many readers have zoned on your introductory paragraphs regarding hair care and the touching of your daughter’s hair (72% of responses have provided you with feedback on these issues and all have been negative. I agree they are important, but i don’t think they are the crux of what you are saying). Many seemed to have missed your point (especially when you have written in para 5 “But what’s my point?”) and the fact that it is the deeper issues at hand that our culture as a whole (regardless of race, colour, sex, religion et al) needs to get over. A person is not skin deep, but flesh and mind and spirit deep – and how to we encourage that to come out of our little ones and re-educate the older ones when so many seem to typecast/ stereotype because of the outer shell? When children are born, they are born without colour and judgement. It is society that teaches this. So how to we educate society?

    Please write a follow up! And in the words of Harper Lee i salute you! “Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

  14. Your Resident Librarian says:

    What an interesting article! I think It’s important to remember that race is a social construction, not a biological category. To see “mixed” as a descriptor, as if people are cans of paint, as if they are different species, only reinforces that people are somehow inherently, biologically different. They are not!

    Part of the reason people fetishize children with parents who look different is because of old, incorrect ideas about race, that were created by Europeans in order that they might enslave people, and take their resources. That kind of brutality requires that they not be a human being. Exoticized or demonized – two sides of the same coin. Either way, doing that to someone else makes them into something other than a human being. Remember that the English made the Irish into monsters of a different “race” in order that they be dominated, made into indentured servants and shipped off to American and Australia. Cultures can be different, and that’s something to be celebrated, nothing to be ashamed of.

    As many of the comments mentioned above, self-confidence is the most important thing to cultivate. She should be proud of her hair, her skin, her culture. She should know that she isn’t the first, but in fact, part of a longer history of people from different places intermarrying and blending cultures. Sometimes under good circumstances, other times under forced conditions. Don’t wait to tell her that – she’s never too young to start learning those things.

    Keep a library of body-positive, confidence-building children’s books! Spork by Kyo Maclear is wonderful. Grace for President by Kelly S. DiPucchio is also cute. Start building your library of books for each age, as she grows older: Frantz Fanon, ‘White Skin Black Masks’ ‘The Souls of Black Folk’, W.E.B Dubois. The quicker she knows she is not alone, in history or in the present, the happier and more confident she’ll be.

    As far as her hair – I recommend keeping it simple with the styles. Tools: Spray bottle with water, wide-tooth comb and paddle brush for detangling, soft brush for smoothing, and a rat tail comb for parting. Leave-in conditioner & then an oil to seal in moisture. It depends on her hair type, coconut oil can be a good sealer, or something lighter, like Alaffia – Beautiful Curls hydrating oil (they make excellent products which can be ordered on-line).


    1. Your Resident Librarian says:

      Whoops! That’s ‘Black Skin, White Masks’, Frantz Fanon. Typing too quickly!

      1. Camilla Palmer says:

        hi! thanks so much for your response. I couldn’t agree more in terms of the power of literature to guide us through life. I am currently doing a PhD in creative writing to so reading and writing and theory are central to everything I do. More than anything I have gained so much from people’s comments here and some of the advice is just great. It is rather confronting to put something on the internet and have so many responses to contend with but I have learnt a lot and hopefully it will help me be an even better mum to my daughter. thanks again!

        1. Your Resident Librarian says:

          Go PhD!! Thanks for sharing your experiences – it’s clear you love your daughter. Here’s hoping you find a community of supportive people on-line and in Australia.

  15. Amy says:

    Not all but a large amount of commenters have missed the entire point of this article. It’s not about the child’s hair or the mothers parenting. It’s about why people think it’s okay to voice their courisity about this child as if she were a circus act. Why they find it okay to say disrespectful things to the child or mother. It’s about racism and sexism because as she stated this never happens when she is with her partner.

    The author did state how she didn’t “plan” for motherhood while pregnant but sees the importance of it now. And she is trying to learn and teach her child at the same time. All these comments and no one has offered any helpful advice except “stop letting people touch her hair”. No one told her about Mixed Chicks, carols daughters, or John Freda frizz ease or Miss Jessie’s products. No one shared with her to comb from the ends to roots. To put a moisturize on it and braid it into two braids to enhance her curls or wet the edges and use coconut oil and a scarf to lay them down. And not get frustrated at it bouncing back to its natural state when wet. This isn’t something she should have known when procreating. I’m Black. I have been all 30yrs of my life and I still struggle with my hair. Hell just last month I broke the blow dryer while drying hair.

    Mom I think you’re on the right track with sharing your experience and creating a conversation. Continue to love your daughter and teach her about boundaries. And most importantly to not let the ignorance of others make her feel that she is inferior.

    In 2016 the “-Isms” are very real.

  16. She should stop allowing strangers to pet her kid like they are a damn puppy. No, just no.

    1. Sophia Hoyte oh I totally get that I have a head full of interesting hair but we can’t complain about being treated like an experiment if we allow people to treat us like an experiment. 😁

    2. Sophia Hoyte says:

      My grand daughter’s and (for some strange reason my hair) attracts attention, hers when it is not blown straight, the curls are out of this world, she is bi-racial. I am black. Mine naturally curly black hair with an unusual texture and it attracts lots of attention, even from black people I just laugh. I would walk into a gathering and all conversation stops. It’s quite funny.

  17. Tamara says:

    It’s sad that there is still so much racial tension present in this world, but such is life. I thank you for sharing your story, and I agree with Robin and others who’ve previously commented about not letting anyone touch her hair. They would be HIGHLY offended if someone did that to them, and to repeat what’s been said before–she’s not a pet!

    Is there a way to contact you via social media? My God-Daughter is mixed, and I could provide some tips in learning how to manage her hair. Either way, you will get the hang of it.

    1. Camilla Palmer says:

      Hi Tamara,Thank you for your comment. I am on Instagram @millapinch Right now, my technique is to detangle it with my fingers and use a really deep conditioning treatment which I leave in for a while, detangling all the while. (My daughter really hates her hair being combed and it becomes a real battle for us – thus I appreciate many of the comments on here but to suggest I have neglected her is somewhat extreme.) If I can, I will then either put it into section and plait it but as I said, she really hates this being done so usually her hair is out. This seems to be working so far.

      1. Tamara says:

        Wow, I’m reading all of these comments, and have been taken aback by some of the negative comments. I don’t think you’re neglecting your daughter at all! It’s a learning experience-my best friend (the mother to my God-Daughter) is black and she’s always learning new things about parenting her daughter. Especially when it comes to her hair. There’s a lot of parents who always try to comment as well (regarding her hair), so I can imagine how it would piss you off. When I come home to visit, I usually do her hair, which is why I felt compelled to reach out to you, because I just don’t agree with the bullying.

        Your method sounds good. I will reach out to you via social media, and we’ll chat some more. 🙂

        1. Camilla Palmer says:

          thanks Tamara for your great comment. I am on Instagram @millapinch if you want to chat more. 

  18. roseinweeds says:

    such an honest experience camilla has shared. hmm…i echo the sentiments of other commenters about strangers touching her hair. im an african american woman and on occassion get asked to touch my (natural) hair. its annoying. i know sometimes people dont mean anything by it…but…can people be that ignorant?

    i loved how camilla kind of touched on the infatuation of a mixed-race child. its interesting to me that this continues to be a “thing” despite the ongoing encouragement in black culture for black women to embrace who they are naturally…

    my heart hurts that its possible that biracial children could be (1) alienated and/or (2) amplified on a pedestal. there has to be a balance in society and in our homes to race our children, biracial or not, with better cultural awareness. and as a anglo parent raising a black child, i find it so vital to encourage the child’s connection with their blackness in whatever way that may look like.

    im sure you are a great mom, camilla. protection AND growth of your daughter’s heart and mind is an ongoing journey. love and wishes to you!

  19. LuckyMeCandy says:

    Camilla, your baby girl is beautiful and I thank you for sharing your experiences. People can be so cruel ( including some commenters here), but it sounds like you are getting your stride and doing a wonderful job with her. Best of luck to you.

    1. Camilla Palmer says:

      Thank you. Your words are very kind.

  20. Rachel says:

    I am a little suprised by the negative comments on this article. My sister has a blonde headed curly haired child and she too sometimes develops something close to dreadlocks! It sometimes happens when you are a busy working mum, just as my straight haired kids could sometimes do with more regular hair washes so they don’t have that greasy limp look they have some days. And can I just say I think your daughter is a divine creature and has the most beautiful hair. I too have been in situations where others were touching my children in a way that was over bearing and to those of you out there who are being so critical – it’s often not that easy to tell people to back off and even when you do they often don’t get it so maybe just back off yourselves and try not to be so critical of others.

  21. All about the u know says:

    The address that i typed above maybe wrong☝🏽but if you google “black hair vanilla care” it should appear!

  22. Happy Curls says:

    People are ignorant and quick to throw judgment. We are all human and deal with situations differently and very much the same. Sometimes when you are actually in a situation you deal with it in a total different way than you thought you would. I am mixed race and know and have experianced many of these issues – I also know that Australia is one of the many countries known for ignorance when it comes to different races and have experianced it first hand there on a number of occassions. Never-the-less it is ignorance and nothing more. If you can understand that it will take the anger away from the person and the situation. We all have a responsibility to share knowladge with on another and to help eachother grow. That is not to say that we can go around to everyone explaining to them right from wrong but we can have more patience and understanding when situations test you. People learn different lessons at different times in their lives and it would be nice if you could make room for that and accept that maybe they haven learn that lesson yet. Maybe you can help or maybe you just have to give them room to find the answe themselves. In regards to hair – It truly isn’t a black thing – Curls are curls white, brown or black. Curly hair is very dry and doesn’t like to not be moisturised that is just the fact about it and just how some white people don’t know how to control their crazy maine of curles is just the same for brown and black. One tip form this mixed chick – Conditioner without silicon in it is your friend and shampoo without sulphur (sulphur drys out the hair). Put down the brush – curls hate it and use your fingers. once you have washed and conditioned your hair run some more conditioner through each section and detangle with your fingers delicately then let it dry naturally. you will have perfect healthy curls. when you sleep put it in a plate and use a silk pillow and in the morning let it out and shake it. your curls will be ore streached you can repeat this for upto 4/5 days befor you have to wash it again and if it is feeling dry than give it a sprits of water and add a little more conditioner if needed.
    You obviously love you child very much. Don’t worry about the negative things people say – half the time they don’t really mean it they just don’t truly understand the situation and you also have a sister (Sarah) who loves you very much. Sending Warmth

  23. Melissa says:

    Firstly kudos I think to the mum who put it out there and gave a warts and all account. Australia is a horribly racist country, certainly wouldn’t be my choosing to raise a non white child.

    However, what’s far worse than letting strangers examine your daughter like a curio is the fact that the daughter has seemingly accepted that as a norm, bending forward to let herself be examined. That is disgraceful.

    As for the hair, unless your purposefully growing dreads, letting it matt is just horrible. Combing that out would be agony a) because of the knots and b) because the scalp will be tender from not having been stimulated.

    The hair needs to be combed, that will stimulate blood/nutrients to feed the hair so it remains strong and not dull, plus regular combing makes it less painful.

    Try the loc system and sponge if you want the messed up look.

    A white male professor adopted a black daughter. He took the time to research how to look after her hair as it’s integral to her identity. He has published you tube videos re how to look after the hair – so no excuse for not knowing how to care for your daughter’s hair.

  24. Mixed Chick says:

    Firstly, this mother should be commended for giving an honest account of raising a mixed race child, it is not easy especially as there is so much focus on the world on race opposed to us all as human beings.

    Being mixed race and the youngest of 4 siblings (im 29) I completely identify with all the comments made from both the white / black ladies regarding her childs hair.

    I recalled numerous accounts of people wanting to touch my hair, tell me its not done right, know where Im from as im “exotic”… Even last week someone at work asked to touch my curls as they were ‘amazing’…. As much as I know it was a genuine compliment, being told your hair is ‘good’ or ‘just so different’ gets pretty frustrating as to me, I am just me. I let her touch my hair as I know her and where it come from but genuinely my motto is if your touching my hair then im touching yours then people very quickly get the picture that its a bit of a weird thing to do. Some people are generally intrigued by hair, I know I am, but sometimes a quick explanation of my hair types saves the awkward touching.

    Raising mixed race children is no easy job, I remember being about 6 and a lady questioning my mother about whether all 4 siblings had the same dad as they were not the same “shade”… Ignorance at it’s finest. It just so happens that we all took different genetics from our parents and subsequently were all born with different hair textures. They were also several times both parents were insulted for having children with another race

    luckily for my mother London in the 80’s had a booming caribbean community which meant she was able to learn how to look after and adapt routines for each of our hair through friends and a whole load of trial and error. Even to this day I am constantly trying new methods with styles and products as my hair constantly changes and i have accepted my curls are an on going learning curve. Working curly hair requires hydration, love and above all dedication!

    One thing for sure to install into your daughter is who she is and accept that she may fully never look like mummy or daddy but is just as beautiful in her own right.

    The hardest part I have experienced being mixed race which I see with alot of my mixed race friends and family and if im honest still struggle to this day is solidifying my identity. As a child my mum was my idol but around 7 it really hit me that I didnt have long flowing brown wavy hair like her nor did I have floor length dreadlocks and dark sunkissed skin like my dad. Which was quite a mind blogging moment of ‘what does that make me’ which was followed with alot of conversations from my parents…i recall being asked in primary school the old age question of if there was a war between white and black who would I choose and asking my parents in a flood of tears what would I do, i remember being totally devasted…. This has left me in a position where when I now enter a room with either full white ppl or full black ppl I never feel entirely comfortable as I know I look different and will either be a figure of intrigue, envy or hate when really all i want to do is blend in and let me personality shine. Diverse settings are always more favourable which in London is becoming the norm thankfully. But I think the cultural identity of mixed race people is a very interesting conversation as i believe its alot deeper than just being a blend of two races and should not be overlooked when considering what you daughter my experience internally.

    As much as you may struggle as a parent to raise a mixed race child, your daughter will may face issues of self identity (particularly if its an area with limited diversity) which is common for most girls but with a dash of how does being mixed race slot into this and its extremely important that you try to guide her as much as possible but also understand that as much as you want to you may never truly feel what she is feeling. The best thing is to never have questions, particularly about race as off limits and children are never too young to start understanding and to show her that this journey from hair to skin is a joint one that you will both take together…

    In an ideal world we would ‘all accept one another’ but the reality is people dont so you we need to raise children to be able to handle that and be fully confident in there skin no matter what race they are.

  25. Twinkle says:

    Hold on. This is a bit ridiculous..if you’re white..then your daughter is biracial not just black. Strange!

    1. Unfortunately I didn't choose the article's headline. In Australia we tend to use the term mixed-race. Certainly I don't think of my child as either black or white but as my daughter. It is others who call her black. says:


  26. Um yeah she should prob move her somewhere more cultured, and diverse, this sounds like a nightmare

  27. LaNanda says:

    While I agree with some of the others that are saying you should learn to do your child’s hair, and stop people from petting her like a zoo attraction, I feel for you. You’re being subjected to rude behavior by both black and white women. I also agree with a previous poster that your daughter might be learning that it’s okay to allow others access to her body. Be careful!!
    I would simply tell the white women, “No, you may not touch her hair.” I would ask the black women if they have any suggestions on where you could go to learn to care for her hair. A hairdresser whose specialty is children’s hair…. Some type of class or workshop…. Even YouTube videos… If she offers advice, great! If she offers negatively, don’t give her the time of day. It really is important to get a handle on this before she becomes old enough to become self-conscious about it. You also want to stop that petting business before school or daycare. Otherwise, children and ignorant teachers will be treating your precious baby like a mascot.
    My heart truly goes out to you. I hope you find your footing with this soon.

  28. Jay Sims says:

    My nieces are biracial i get sick of that shit too….

  29. Just tell them no she not a pet and then get over it there should be no shame for sticking up for your child and don’t be tired cause she will be doing it her whole life

  30. I couldn’t finish this foolishness.
    First, she needs to toughen up. She had a baby with a black man. What did she expect? It is 2016. Her baby is not the first biracial child born in this world.
    Second, stop allowing people to pet your child like some object. Eww, she don’t know where those people hands have been. Jeez.
    I bet that baby keep some kind of germ going, she allowing strangers to touch it.

    1. Camilla Palmer says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply. You articulated your sentiments so well. However, my child certainly does not ‘keep some kind of germ going.’ Indeed, it is comments such as yours which prompted me to write the piece in the first place. It is people like you, who make mindless and insulting statements about a child without once thinking of the consequences for that child and their family nor taking responsibility for your own irresponsibility.

      1. Gracen says:

        I find it interesting that you consider comments from someone on the internet who will never be exposed to your child to be “irresponsible, mindless, and insulting” but you seem to be fine with people who come in direct contact with your child being able to pet her like an animal and say within her hearing that her hair is like a toilet brush.

        I hope, for the sake of your child, that you are as assertive with the people that you meet in the real world as you are on the internet. And please stop letting people pet your child. As mentioned above, the people who do so are “othering” her and they are using you as their in because, in their minds, you are one of “them” and she isn’t.

        1. Camilla Palmer says:

          Couldn’t agree more. I defend my child from people who liken her to a toilet brush as well as trolls who assume she is carrying some sort of disease. I am not fine with any of it. And comments on the internet are just as dangerous whether my child reads them or not. Someone, somewhere reads them. They are out there now and they should be addressed. In fact what strikes me as funny is that people such as yourself choose instead to focus on this rather than the actual point of the article, which is regardless of what I do or say, these attitudes continue to exist in society. Why?If you read the article, I do not condone these people’s actions. In fact I wrote the article because I am so confused by it. Again, it is easy for people to read something and comment, to justify their initial reactions using strong language and to assume on my behalf that I do not care for my child in a way that suits them. In reality things are always more complex, more nuanced and it isn’t simply a case of me walking around with a cape and sword knocking out of my way any white person who others my mixed-race child. The answer has to be more than that. I am just trying to find the answer. I have no doubt my child will grow up with a strong sense of self because that is what I will endeavour to teach her. However it is not good enough for me to just sit back and be silent about these things. Many people must be experiencing similar things and I feel that if an open and engaging discussion is had then progress can be made.Thanks for your comment.

          1. Gracen says:

            I did read the article. Every word. In it, you wrote the following:
            “On each occasion my daughter, herself familiar with this routine, compliantly leant her head forward whilst the stranger ran her fingers through her tight curls, always getting stuck and pulling until my daughter winced and ripped her head away.”

            What jumped out to me was that your daughter was “familiar” with strangers being allowed to touch her in an ungentle way that you acknowledge is hurtful and made her “wince.” To me, that is not defending your child, that is teaching her to be “compliant” to people who hurt and demean her. Four women in a row you allowed to do this. I want your child (and all children) to grow up with a strong sense of self, but how do you think that will be accomplished if you are allowing people to physically hurt her for the sake of their curiousity? It is not just what we teach our children but we permit to happen.

            And in no way am I being snarky but am asking sincerely did you google this? Raising a biracial child? Raising a black child? Because you are not the first white woman to do so and there are tons of informative websites out there about this by women in your situation. One I can think of off the top of my head is chocolatehairvanillacare. That blog has been around for six years and while her situation is not identical to yours (her daughter is full black) she probably has useful tips for you. She has specifically addressed white people wanting to pet her daughter.

            Many people are experiencing situations and discussion is always useful but when so much great information is out there, maybe it’s best to do a little research.

        2. Camilla Palmer says:

          Apologies for applying to the earlier comment but can’t work out how to leave my response another way. I appreciate your last comment, and you have a point, I can see how the words of mine that you quoted would be read that way.I do a lot of research on all these issues (I did quote some of my recent Google searches btw) and the website you recommended was actually cited by another commenter and I went and checked it out and it is great.I am not aiming to incite any drama or argument. I am honestly working through an experience and even though the internet is a kind of crazy place (and I am used to having my work published in tiny tiny academic things that don’t get this kind of audience) I am really appreciating and learning so much from all this feedback and conversation.Also, Americans are a lot more forthcoming with their opinions and perhaps my piece is inflected with my Australian sensibility which has somehow been read as me being apathetic or not standing up for my daughter. I do not allow my daughter to be subjected to any kind of physical harm. Not at all.Anyway, thanks again for the commentary. 

    2. I wonder if you would still be attacking her if she wasn’t white. 😒

    3. If a black woman shared this same issue you would be giving her a shoulder to cry on.. But no, I forgot black woman are bitter when white women date your men. But let it had been a swirling sister with a biracial child.

  31. Candie says:

    Why the hell would this woman & mother subject her child to such ignorance by actually allowing other women, strangers, to touch her child’s hair?!?! Her child is not a damn dog and her hair is not there for their amusement. The mama should of firmly said “How the hell would you feel if we asked to pet you & run our fingers through your hair?”

  32. Taryn Biggs says:

    *go to school for hair.

  33. Rachel says:

    I’d just like to add. I really do think the reason we don’t tell people who are touching our children to back off in a more forceful way is that most people are just genuine in their inquisitiveness and they are not meaning to be mean or disrespectful they are just nosey and want to touch something they have never been exposed to. That doesn’t mean we are not looking out for our kids, or that we don’t get fed up it just means we are tolerant.

  34. Sarah says:

    I have read and re-read this article many times and I have read and re-read the vile and nasty comments even more.
    Camilla is my Sister and her daughter is my wonderful, independent, bursting with personality Niece. I love my Niece like she is my own child, so to read these horrendous comments absolutely breaks my heart.
    Yes it was my Sisters choice to share her story online and therefore she has left herself open to other peoples opinions, that is what happens when we share a snippet of our lives on the Internet.
    What baffles me is all the attention being paid to what really is a small part of the article…my Niece’s hair. To accuse my sister of neglect is downright absurd. This little girl could not be any more loved, any more cared for by her parents and extended family. I know this for a fact.
    I may be a tad biased here but let me tell all you vile women this….my Sister and her intelligence can run rings around you. You have never met a smarter woman in your life.
    I’m guessing most of these commenters are American and have no idea about the issue of race in Australia. It is very different from America. My sister has travelled the world, she has lived in different countries and we were both raised to be respectful of all people no matter their race, religion, sexual preference or culture. So it is not in our nature to tell people off for showing an interest.
    I myself have a daughter who is blonde haired, blue eyed with curls like there’s no tomorrow. I too have struggled taking care of her hair some days as I don’t have the same type of hair as her. I too have googled how to care for curly hair. What is wrong with that?! How is that any different to what my Sister goes through learning to take care of her daughter’s hair?
    I live in the Middle East and have seen the curiosity different groups of people have to my own daughter. When she was a baby local women wanted to hold her, people wanted to take photos of her, very much the same as what my Sister has dealt with.
    This is a woman sharing an opinion and giving an insight into her life.
    Let me state clearly again that my Niece has not and never will be neglected by her parents or extended family. We are a tight-knit family and I find it abhorrent that you women feel the need to judge so harshly a woman you have no idea about.
    My advice is to get yourselves a life, get yourselves educated and learn to respect other people. Get out and see the world and maybe your narrow minded judgemental little minds will be opened ever so slightly.
    I am so grateful for the family I have, that taught my Sister and I to love everyone, not judge, educated us, asked us to see the world and mix with all kinds of people. Thank goodness for my family. I really feel sorry for some of you on this page.

  35. Britt says:

    What i think it is, is that there is a culture difference in Australia and in america because to be mixed in australia is anomaly (thats what i get from the article) versus to be mixed (especially black and white) in america is very common. So, i could see why some readers could respond negatively to some parts in the article because of cultural differences. Not to mention this article does give off a hinge of the tragic mulatto stereotype. Nevertheless The author is right ppl do tend to fetishize biracial children. But, i feel her daugther should be fine as long as she is taught to love and accept her blackness from both parents. I not saying neglect her white side, im just guessing that may be easier to accept because of the world we live in. Also for the mother, there are many forums and sites dedicated to parents of biracial children ..that may give you more info on textured hair. You may even find someone who may share your particular experience to connect with.

  36. All about the u know says:

    Have you ever checked out blackhairvanillacare.com its a blog made about a Caucasian women who adopted a young black baby and how she cares for her daughters hair!

  37. Happy Curls says:

    sorry for all the spelling mistakes I was in such a ruch to get out of the house I didn’t check what I had wrote – but you get the drift I am sure xx

    1. Camilla Palmer says:

      Hi there,thank you for your really lovely words. I appreciate the great hair advice too  and I’m sure as my girl gets older and is able to do her hair for herself it will be easier.I honestly don’t take offence most of the time – I think the vast majority of people are well meaning. You hit the nail on the head though – Australia is terribly ignorant in many respects, exceptionally so in regional areas such as where I live. We are a funny people in many ways, some good, some bad. I simply wanted to share my experience and it really heartens me that I have articulated something that speaks to others also.I really appreciate you (and everyone else) for taking the time to respond.

  38. HoneyButter says:

    Wow…the nerve of some people. A lot of these comments are ignorant and come from small minded people who likely never walked a mile in camillas shoes.

    Camilla, dont even respond to the bs. Im a black woman with naturally curly hair. I recently went to panera bread. The cashier while looking perplexed said awkwardly “I love your hair” she was full of it. I guess cause im from 2 black parents, its weird I have naturally curly hair. She just happened to be white too. I just chuckled to myself as I ate my food. But anyway, thanks for sharing and giving food for thought. Keep up the good work as a mother and writer.

  39. ladyluck538 says:

    Some of these comments are awful.

  40. Cute girl. My best friend is Ukrainian and married to a Nigerian. I’m The Godfather to their baby. I don’t see what the big deal is with this.

  41. Tell them to not touch your child! She can post on social media but is mute when it comes to her child??? *smdh

    1. Camilla Palmer says:

      Hi there. Apologies if that is how it came across in the article. I am most certainly not mute when it comes to matters surrounding my child. I do indeed vocalise my opposition to people touching my daughter or speaking about her in ways that make me uncomfortable. If I were just ‘to get over it’ like another poster commented then I would be inadvertently condoning it. That was what I was trying to get across. I don’t want to be passive. I want to protect my child and lead by example. I guess it is difficult finding a way to do that. It is easy to read an article and say ‘just say no’ but we all know things are more complicated than that in real life.


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