Posted by: Ophelia | July 18, 2008

You mean race isn’t genetic?!

Some things aren’t always black and white. Then again, sometimes they are – like the twin sons born July 11 to a German couple.

The first baby that was born, Ryan, has light skin and blue eyes. His brother, Leo, is dark-skinned with brown eyes.

“None of us could believe it,” the maternity ward’s head doctor, Birgit Weber, told one news source. “Both kids have definitely the same father.”

Stephan Gerth is German and white. His wife, Florence Addo-Gerth, is from Ghana and has dark skin.

It was “a real surprise,” Gerth told the German newspaper Die Welt, adding that the most important thing to him isn’t color, but that everyone is healthy.

The odds are one in a million, say doctors, but it can happen with fraternal twins due the genetic soup in our backgrounds. Peter Propping, former director of the Institute for Human Genetics at Bonn University, told Die Welt that the black mother may have had some white ancestors, or that the white father may have had black ones. Very occasionally, the roll of the DNA die may cause the baby of biracial parents to inherit only the genetic coding for one color.

(The Body Odd)

You mean skin color isn’t a given based on parentage? NO! I for one am shocked. I wish people could get the hell over this. Skin color is variable and determined through more than one genetic marker–its not a given, and really ought not to be so shocking that children might not be the same hue as their parents. Then again given social rules, I guess it’s hard to grasp that yes–a black woman can give birth to a white child. The social construction of race was well designed to avoid such an accident and I guess old habits die hard. The lighter twin will be visibly white but will he still be black because of his mother? Is the darker twin whiter for having a white father? The rule of hypodescent says that both of the children are black and the points brought up above are moot–but still. If there weren’t a question, there wouldn’t be an article marveling over the twins’ existence. Isn’t it amazing how DNA doesn’t have the common decency to follow the constructed rules about race?


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