Can white parents have a black child?

+5 votes


For extra credit, can white parents have a Native American child?

in The Tree House by Living Horace G2G6 Pilot (640k points)
Hey, RJ, I think you should take the ethnicity tag off this question.  We've had this question before and I would contend that race does NOT equal ethnicity.  Neither does color of hair or skin.
Philip of Spain's Conquistadores, who came to the Americas , frequently carried  " mixed blood" being descendents of Moorish matings and during the occupation of the Netherlands ,  Jewish heiresses were often forced to convert to Catholicism and were married to Spanish soldiers as a "reward" to their service to Philip.  It's not unusual for DNA reports of presumed white Christian people to get a listing of small percentages of African and Sephardic genes, particularly in Mediterranean and Latin America populations. Two  blonde, blue-eyed, "white" parents who share such descents could have a child where the "dark" recessive emerges .

Consider the Cajuns and Creoles.

4 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer
There's a few examples of twins born to mixed race parents, where one appears more white and the other, more black. Like so:
by Jessica Key G2G6 Pilot (319k points)
selected by Living Horace
I also knew of twins where the girl was dark skinned with negroid features & hair the boy was fair skinned, blond and blue eyed.  The mother was English and the father West Indian
I guess the father wasn't pure African.

This goes back to Mendel's peas.  Cross-breed pure strains and they all come out the same.  The fun starts when you breed from the hybrids.

That's because they have a dominant gene and a recessive gene and they can pass on either one, but not both together.

And we're all hybrids.  We all carry a lot of recessive genes.  Which means we pass on to our kids traits which are not the ones we think we have.

Which also means we've all inherited traits from ancestors who showed no sign of them.
+7 votes
If the parents are NOT mixed race, then NO they cannot biologically have a black or a native american child.

It's all in the genes. Another rule is that 2 blue eyed parents cannot biologically have brown eyed children.

For those of you who remember Chuck Norris from his heyday on the 1980s. He was supposed to be half white and half indian, but his blond hair and blue eyes made him look fully European only.

Apparently both of his parents were mixed European and native Indian and Chuck inherited the Europeans genes from both parents.
by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
Two blue eyed parents can have a brown eyed child Robynne. They may be carrying a dormant gene that carries forward the brown eyes from a previous generation.
Had to go looking to find this. Apparently it is VERY RARE.

All I know for a fact - is that my sister and her husband both had blue eyes and all 3 of their children had blue eyes. And I'm going to stick to that.
The color of your sister's children's eyes is a fact, Robynne, though that doesn't make it the rule for every situation, or of the one specifically being addressed by this question.
It is indeed rare Robynne, which is all the more reason to ensure that we do not mislead people about the possibilities. It can have unfortunate consequences for a family if they mistakenly assume that parentage should be questioned purely on the evidence of eye colour.
There is a lot that goes into eye color - it is not one simple gene. We like to simplify it in our 9th grade bio Punnett squares but really more goes into it.
Haha, Yes Liz! I fondly recall those squares.  There is a tool  on that provides some insight into the complexity of genes such as those for eye colour. It's the eye colour guesser! (quite fun!)  It shows that there are multiple genes that add certain colours, add shades, add other traits (like grey ring around), darken or lighten, etc. Very interesting if anyone cared to check it out.
+5 votes

If by "white" you mean Metis (mixed european and Indigenous), then yes. If by "white" you mean of Polish descent for example, then no.  What genetics the parents have, will determine what combinations are possible for their decsendents. But, please remember that "white" and "black" and "brown" are simply descriptions of skin colour and are very diverse "groups" in terms of ethnicity and heritage. Being part of one of those categories does not tell much information about what genetics a person has carried forward from their ancestors.  DNA is very complex, with traits that can show up every 2nd or 3rd generation, dominant and recessive traits (person has the DNA for that trait but it is expressed or not depending on what other DNA they have), and there are even some studies that show that environment could play a role in the expression of some traits. It's also worth noting that the concept of race, and who fits into what categories, is highly influenced (if not entirely) by culture/georgraphic region/media (what source your learned the information).  Some people base it mostly on looks, others completely on ancestry, and others on DNA - there are a multitude of opinions and ways to categorize people - so the answer to this question will be different depending on what perspective is taken.

by Tannis Mani G2G6 Mach 2 (20.7k points)
edited by Tannis Mani
+5 votes
Neighbors of ours in CA, had 2 children that were white, then a child with darker skin, dark eyes and the curly dark hair.  It nearly caused a divorce and accusations were flying.  They both had DNA tests and the 3rd child was no doubt, their child.  Upon further investigation, the mother found out that her great great grandmother was the result of a slave and "master".  Their child was born quite fair for having an african mother and was raised by the mistress of the house to avoid scandal.  Those genes lay dormant until they resurfaced in her great great granddaughter's 3rd child.  That couple had 3 more kids after and all were white.  So YES, it can happen IF there is that gene in the family genepool somewhere!

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