Amazing Portraits of Biracial Kids

portraits of half Chinese kids
Beautiful portraits of half-Chinese kids (c) Karen Patterson

 

As a foreign mother with a half Chinese baby in China, it became very apparent that many of the Chinese around me – known and strangers alike – had some very interesting stereotypes that they seemed to assign to ‘hunxuer’, or half-Chinese babies and kids. After my own daughter came along, and I discovered this, simply by walking down the street and being confronted by young and old Chinese, mostly women and usually women who had had a child themselves, commenting on the skin color, the eyes, the hair, and how I wasn’t looking after her properly. No, in China there is not a lot of personal space, but there is a whole lot of unsolicited advice, from the barber to the small convenience store and everyone in between.

 

What were these mere strangers saying to me with regard to my beautiful half Chinese daughter? As soon as I mentioned that she was half Chinese, they would roll out a list of adjectives, focusing on the smarter, larger, better, healthier and more handsome or beautiful my daughter would be compared to Chinese kids. It was a very interesting experience, and one that made me want to express it through photographs.

 

So, I organized a photo shoot for all of those moms with half Chinese kids that I could find, and my goal was to photograph as many as possible, to hopefully capture that there is difference and variation. It was a fun time for both the adults and kids.

 

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Karen Patterson lived, worked and studied in mainland China for 15 years: She arrived in China in 1994 with a backpack for one year and wound up staying and teaching English, working as an immigration officer, and founding and managing 4 small businesses as an entrepreneur. Befriending the art community with her camera, she met and married a Chinese artist where Karen and her husband attended art exhibitions almost weekly for close to ten years. Having her daughter in China really opened her eyes to the extent of cross-cultural differences in the way that local Chinese view ‘half-Chinese’ kids, not to mention parenting styles and norms. Karen holds a BA Honors degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada and is a Masters candidate in International and Intercultural Communications. She and her daughter now live in Calgary, Canada, where she works as a Destination Service Consultant for Dwellworks and is writing a non-fiction book about her time in China.

5 COMMENTS

  1. All the kids are really lovely! Are some of them brothers and sisters? It is actually amazing how the gene responsible for the shape of eyes is strong.

  2. they look either Scandinavian, Italian or eastern European.. isn’t it weird how mixed white people look either more white or just completely white

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