Saturday, August 29, 2015

My Brown Gingers: God's Beautiful Artistry

There's been quite a buzz over a certain Huffington Post article this week.

I first heard about it when a friend shared the article link on my Facebook timeline. (Thanks Mr. Mitchell!)

Well, I thought today I'd give my take on this cool project and add to all the buzz.

So what's all the fuss about? 

I'm so glad you asked...

The buzz is over redheads. Specifically, redheads of African descent. Redheads like the two that live in my home...

My Brown Gingers - Kalin and Jada
So of course I found the article "Photographer Explores the Beautiful Diversity of Redheads of Color" quite fascinating. 

The HuffPost article features London-based photographer Michelle Marshall and her project that documents Black and mixed-race redheads. 

"I want to stir the perception that most of us have a 'ginger' as a white caucasian individual..." says Marshall. "As we struggle with issues of immigration, discrimination and racial prejudice, Mother Nature, meanwhile, follows its own course, embracing society's plurality and, in the process, shaking up our perceptions about origins, ethnicity and identity."

Amen. I love this. What a timely topic in the midst of ethnic division and unrest in the world. 

I'd assert only one modification to Marshall's statement. I attribute the beauty and uniqueness of Black redheads not to "Mother Nature", but to God. God - the Creator of all people - brunettes, blondes and redheads alike.

But I adore Marshall's project. I enjoyed gazing at the beauty of the redheads she photographed.

It made me want to tell the story of my own redheads. So here we go...

Since November 22, 1996 I've answered innumerable questions about my redhead Kalin. The moment Kalin made his entrance into the world, my obstetrician Dr. Hope Griffin said, "Oh my goodness. Red hair!"

And that's where the discussion began. (And has yet to end.)

From that moment on, nurses nicknamed Kalin "The Mailman's Baby". They showed me evidence that his skin would remain very light (pointing out the back of his ears and another area that would make this post PG-13 rated.) African American nurses informed me they were educating their Caucasian counterparts about the diversity of colors found in African American people. 

My sweet newborn boy had somehow become a teaching tool of race and diversity.

And that's how it began. That's how it's continued until today... and multiplied in December 8, 2007, when Little Sister Jada Anne made her grand entrance, showcasing the same genes as her brother.

Little Sis Jada

Yet unlike my postpartum days in the maternity ward of Greater Baltimore Medical Center, today I relish the opportunity to talk about my gingers. They are like walking billboards, advertising diversity and the amazing handiwork of God. 

When I became an adoptive mother in 2003, and again in 2005, I expected to hear questions about my Christian and Joelle, who joined our family through adoption. Yet I've never gotten one question about those two. Instead, to the very day, I continue to answer questions about Kalin and Jada. 

Where did the red hair come from?

Were you a redhead when you were a child?

Is that his (or her) natural hair color?

Most questions come from strangers. I don't see it as an intrusion. But sometimes I wish I had more answers. I wish I knew where the red hair came from. I wish I could point to the person in my -- and my husband Anthony's -- family tree that contributed this recessive gene.

But I can't.

Even though I've done some ancestry research and found a trace to my Mom's grandfather who was of English heritage, I still don't know for sure where this gorgeous, ridiculously-abundant red hair comes from. Maybe I never will. 

No matter. I'll continue to discuss my gingers and their red hair with anyone who wants to know. We embrace this red hair. We love it. 

We wouldn't change it for anything in the world.


  1. Two gorgeous gingers being led by two amazing parents!

    1. Thank you Michelle!!! By the grace of God, that's for sure... :)