Jessica Alba says she's proud of her heritage

02/08/2008 at 01:02 PM ET

Latina_cvrIn the latest issue of Latina magazine, actress Jessica Alba sets out to quash the misconception that she’s somehow ashamed of or embarrassed by her Mexican heritage.  The 5-months-pregnant actress scoffed at the notion, asking the magazine "why would I want to cut loose from the only family I know?"  Quite the opposite, Jessica, 26, says she is proud of her roots and that she is "excited for my baby to be brown," adding,

I just have to believe the dark gene is going to survive. Cash and I are like, please!

The baby, due in May or June, will be the first for Jessica and her fiancé Cash Warren.


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Sarah on

Those are strange comments! You can compare what she’s saying to an asian woman saying “I want my baby to be yellow.”

Strange comments.

asm1976 on

Well, I’ve been reading interviews that Jessica has given ever since she was on Dark Angel. She did appear to be obsessed with not being viewed as a Latina and it did appear that she had a “color complex” as we in the south would say. But, in all fairness, she was very young at the time. She’s grown up a lot of the past year or so. She didn’t realize how offensive her comments were sounding. I understand what she meant the whole time, but I can also understand why alot of people were offended also. I think the fact that she’s dating another biracial person has made her have a better understanding and appreciation for her heritage. Well, Cash seems to be good for her! I know the mixture of Mexican, African-American and Caucasian is certainly going to make for one beautiful baby! Can’t wait to see him/her!LOL

Jenny on

I agree. I worked for someone that called her baby a little brown baby and I always thought it was a little weird. Its not like people go around calling their kids little white babies.

finnaryn on

I just got done reading nasty comments on another site, bashing her for saying she wants her child to speak Spanish. I can only imagine what people will say now that she has said she wants the baby to be “brown.”

Maybe, “I hope the baby has my skin tone” would have been better, as I am sure that is what she really meant.

Becky on

Where’s the American pride in all of this, Jessica.


Sad–that a person with olive, brown or dark skin, can’t just be proud to be an American, without some of the elite members of the communities of color, becoming hysterical.

I’m pleased that these two people are bringing a child into the world. And I’m confident that the child will be smart, healthy and well loved.

I think that Jessica had it just right, when she expressed the desire to be thought of as an American. Is one not allowed pure, unadulterated, un-hyphenated American love.

It would seem so. Don’t think that someone with alabaster skin like Owen Wilson would even have to defend it.

Nineveh on

Well, but you have to admit, that her plan to only have her baby speak Spanish for the first 2 or 3 years will be problematic.
1.) she doesn’t speak spanish herself (she said so)
2.) the kid will have problems when it starts pre-school and doesn’t understand english.

if she wants to go ahead with this, I think it’s better to raise her child bilingual. and have someone that actually speaks spanish teach him or her.

MB on

i can understand who it might be odd for caucasian people to think of calling their child a “little white baby” but it’s not a weird thing for those of us who are latino. maybe that is just a culture difference. although i don’t even think it’s weird to hear someone call their child a “little white baby.” when my uncle married an irish woman we all commented on how white their baby was. those comments weren’t viewed as being rude.

“elite members of the community of color”…can you explain what you mean by that? i hope you weren’t trying to insinuate that minorities think we are better than caucasians! i am bi-racial and am proud of both my latina and my caucasian heritage. i will raise my children to be america, brasilian, and italian (all their heritages).

also, only speaking a certain language to your child at home for the first few years will not necessarily mess them up. another cousin of mine was raised with her family only speaking portuguese to her, but she still heard plenty of english from other people and did not have a difficult transition to school at all.

sorry for the long post but i feel very strongly that instilling cultural pride in your children is great and NOT un-American.

Becky on

It is not un-American to have cultural pride. It is UTTERLY, unAmerican, to admonish people of multi-ethnic backgrounds, to categorize themselves according to a fraction of their ancestry.

Jay on

I understand what Jessica is saying. As off as it may sound to others, I fully understand what she’s saying and there is nothing negative behind the comment. She and her boyfriend are biracial and she would like for her child to show those different backgrounds. I don’t know, it’s not weird to me and I understand what she is saying. It’s not like she’s going to give the baby back if he or she has a light complexion.

daphneesmith on

The reactions I’d get if I said “I’m glad my babies are white” would be pretty interesting, I’m sure…

magenta on

Jessica fell victim early in her career “to looking white to get work” that a lot of mixed or “white-looking” ethnic actresses fall into. I great example is Jennifer and Meg Tilly.The entertainment industry just like the rest of this country is white-dominated. She did downplay her ethnicity early in her career. That’s no secret. Now she is trying to back-track because she is having a baby. She had some growing up to do. The entertainment industry is one of the most racist industries. I work in the industry (behind the camera a writer) and you would not believe the racist comments, scripts, ideas, dialogue that perpetuate. I say be proud to be Brown. She’s probably not close to her White-side of the family and who knows how they treated her or her Mexican family. Maybe good, but I’m suspecting not so good as someone who has been “brought home to dinner”. Some comments ranged from the silly “her hair is reallllllly soft” to just ignorant “are your people educated”. So If Black, Brown, Yellow people have a chip on their shoulder, I say wear it proud. Because as much as people want to think ohh it’s not so bad anymore or White people (speaking generally) are not horrifically racists all you have to do is turn on the golf channel.

Sanja on

I think it’s great that she plans to teach her child(ren) Spanish, knowing more than one language can only help then in life. And I don’t think they’ll have problems in kindergarten, I have a friend who lives in London and they only speak Croatian at home to their three sons. The boys have had no problems once they started kindy, it’s not like they live in a vacuum, they hear English everywhere they go (just like Jessica’s children will, after all their friends and neighbours will speak English).

Also, a neighbour who married a guy from Brazil (half black half white) always commented how she hoped that their kids will be ‘black’ like their dad, and no one (least of all his family) found it offensive.

asm1976 on

So what, now are people going to start bashing her for wanting to get more in touch with her ethnic side?LOL Again, I understand what she means. I think Jessica should invest in a Publicists or something similar. She knows what she wants to say, but for some reason, she can’t articulate it in a way that people understand and don’t find offensive. As far as the wanting a “brown baby” and “dark gene” comment, well, we will have to wait and see. Nicole Richie is hispanic, black and caucasian also, and alot of people think she could be fully caucasian (I don’t). When there is so much mixing, there’s no telling what could come out and when.

Becky on

People like Jessica Alba and Tiger Woods are absolutely the face of the degree to which this country has progressed. It is disingenous to use an isolated incident like what happened at the Golf Channel to characterize the degree to which non fully white people have progressed.

In a recent poll, Tiger Woods overwhelmingly beat out Tom Brady, for the man whose life you would prefer to have. Jessica Alba, has won many beauty contests and has been up against heavy competition including many of non-Minority heritage. Barack Obama–hello.

I’m not crying for Tiger Woods. Nor Jessica Alba. And you shouldn’t either.

Natalie on

I never understood the comments people made about her, as in the whole Jessica “don’t call me latina” Alba thing. She’s never said she wasn’t proud of her heritage, she just said she’s more american than latina cuz thats the way she was raised… i don’t see anything wrong with that but so many people gave her a hard time for it. I felt so bad for her cuz i understood what she was saying but others were just too ignorant i guess.

no matter what she says, some people are going to take it the wrong way…. thats why i would hate to be an actress lol

Yonni on

Here we go..

I think that she just means she is proud of her heritage, and having a baby that is part of her. My children are biracial and I am proud that they don’t look either one ethnicity or another. They are right in the middle and they are beautiful. People put too much emphasis on race/ethnicity. The poor girl had to defend herself over the issue so many times. Maybe she didn’t want to be viewed as strictly latina since she is an actress. They do like to play different parts not just based on their ethnicity. People need to lighten up..

JMO on


My cousin’s baby is 1/2 puerto rican and the baby is really white!

And I know another family who are from a Latina background and their youngest kid came out with blonde hair! Look at Kelly Ripa’s son for example. Both her older kids are dark hair, dark eyes, skin etc and Joaquin is all light.

So my point is that just bc you have the genes in you doesn’t mean that the kids going to 100% look like one parent over the other! I think Jess’s comments get misconstrude at the same time they’re a little odd.

oh well

Janelle on


I am confused by this:

“It is disingenous to use an isolated incident like what happened at the Golf Channel to characterize the degree to which non fully white people have progressed.”

I think that the other posters were referring to the realities of racism. Despite what you may believe, it still exist. The fact that Tiger Woods and Jessica Alba are celebrities does not mean they don’t encounter racism.

Your remarks alone confuse me because you use the term “non fully white people”. What about minorities who are not white at all? Are they a lesser status than those who or “non fully white”? I have never posted on here, but your post puzzled me. Racism is a reality and it’s real. Ask anyone who lives with it on a daily basis. Your comment says “non fully white people have progressed”. The concern is not minorities progressing, it’s about America progressing. In my opinion, America has progressed some but there is much more that can be done.

Me on

Becky, your comments are uncalled for. Make the effort to truly analyze where you are coming from before you make such asinine statements that are rather offensive.

I would have commented on some of the things Jessica Alba said, but I am more shocked at some of the postings.

magenta on

The Golf Channel incident WAS NOT AN ISOLATED incident. I used it as any example, any ways. Unless you were not paying attention to Jena 6, Dom Imus, nooses hanging on the office doors of Black Columbia University Professor, the fact that hundreds of Black women go missing each year but we were subjected to Natalie Holloway day after day after day.

And as for people saying they want to be like Obama or Tiger. Are these people of color or are these White people. Because trust me, no White person ever wishes to be Black. They may talk the talk, but very few would walk the walk. And if a White person said this to me, I’d think them completely naive about the reality of ethnic/Black people in the US or just straight up full of ish. By the way, my husband is White and we are planning to raise our kids as Black. He says when the cops pick up our son for being the “all purpose Black man” they are not going care if his father is White as all they see is “black-face”.

Jaclyn on

The thing with Jessica Alba is that her behavior earlier on in her career (ask the Vancouver crew that worked on Dark Angel) taints everything she says or does now.

She is back tracking, trying to make up for her earlier comments, and over-correcting herself. She has made it quite clear that she has no respect or love for the Spanish culture in the past and I seriously doubt that has changed now. If it has, more power to her but she cannot erase what she has said in the past.

Renee on

I think Jessica means that she wants her child’s skin tone to reflect his or her mixed heritage. Nothing wrong with that. I don’t see the harm in her statements.Just think, not too long ago it was important for people to have the lightest skin possible if you were a minority in order to be as “white” as possible.

Melanie F. on

Of course racism is just as alive today as it was 70 years ago. It’s not as blatant in some aspects but it very much still exists. In all fairness it’s hard for someone who doesn’t have to experience racism on a regular, to understand that. They see changes like Obama and Hilary being able to run for presidency, Tiger W. and Jessica A. success, Oprah and Bill Gates both billionaires, everyone being able to vote, dine wherever they want, go to school wherever they want etc…. and people automatically think, “well in 1940 this didn’t happen so a lot must have changed”. That’s true but a lot is still the same don’t think for one minute that just because you see a lot of minorities in higher positions that racism doesn’t exist, or that they don’t still experience racism.

If you have one of those big throw rugs in your house and you sweep trash under it, to someone else it may look like it’s clean but lift up the rug and you will see the trash. Just because you can’t see something does not mean it doesn’t exist.

P.S. Minorities aren’t the only ones who experience racism, white people experience racism also.
Jessica most definitely needs a PR. She just seems to keep digging herself in a hole with comments that are meant to be innocent. =(

Mary-Helen on

It seems like people are determined to crush this young woman like they were with Jennifer Lopez back in the day. Let her be. I find it amusing that Angelina Jolie can say things like her baby is a blob and she got knocked up and loves her adopted children more and we praise her for her honesty and Jessica Alba can’t say what she feels without constant scrutiny. I can’t help but wonder if it is race sometimes.

Kelly on

I *think* what she meant by the brown comment is something similar to what one of my very best friends in the world (a beautiful, intelligent Latina) meant when she was describing another friend (also Latina) as brown. To her (and I suspect to Jessica)being brown is more than a color…it’s a common heritage and a sense of pride in one’s ancestry.

Allie on

< >

THANK YOU!! growing up in the south, do you know how many times i have had racial slurs thrown at me, just because of the color of my skin?! i’m white. i never spoke a single word to the people who insulted me before or even after the incidents. and why should i? ignorance is all over the place, black, white, asian, hispanic. i’m sure as heck not going to contribute to it. it’s 2008. people need to stop judging others for the color of their skin. it’s beyond pathetic. people should just be proud of who they are and all the differnt races and cultures WE ALL EMBODY WITHIN THAT SKIN COLOR. american, or not!!!!!!

i’m in no way, shape, or form a jessica alba fan, but dang people!!! i say good for jessica for saying she wants a “brown” baby. it’s a part of who she is. yes, she’s an american, but not matter how hard you try to twist it, she’s also mexican. have you never heard mexicans refer to themselves as “brown?” because i know i sure have!! another case of how different cultures speak amongst themselves!!! yeah, she happened to say it to the media, now ya’ll are turning into something racial?!?! she’s proud of who she’s become. she’s matured. let her be.

Becky on

A debate on racism, without consideration for solutions, is bound to be non-productive. Obviously, this is not the forum for it. But, a few words to clarify my earlier stance.

The halcion days of lifetime employment are over. And, the economic effects of globablization are brutal. The economic pain felt as a result, is sometimes perceived as racism. (Terminations, lay-offs, benefit cuts)

I don’t think that it is imperative that we talk about racism. As much as it is imperatif that we should think and talk critically about it. Why do some transcend race. Can we learn from those that transcend racial predjudice? What are the controllable variables in ameliorating racial stuff. Are the spokepeople on racial matters, effectively communicating a message that increases predjudice versus reducing it.

What effect does colorism play in racism?
And what effect does population density play? In other words, is there less racism in Anchorage Alaska, than Washington D.C.

I don’t have a problem acknowledging, racism.
But, absent some scholarship, what does such discussion get you. Not much. Except demoralization.

Janelle on


We’ve strayed so far from the original post, that I’m going to try to keep it to a few lines. What you propose as a measure to end racism appears to be an academic discussion. I don’t have all of the answers. I think that any change has to be genuine and come from within; it’s a culture change and America has been slow to change its culture.

Also, it’s about more than economics. Many middle class and upper class minorities endure racism every day–that was my original point. I wouldn’t equate success with transcending race; it just appears in different forms.

To the above posters, I agree that white people are discriminated against. I disagree with the use of the word racism. Rac-ism and all other “isms” mean that you have some power to oppress. Most minorities don’t have the power to oppress white people. I don’t justify such behavior, but the effects are much different.

That’s my last two cents on the subject. I’m off to look at fun posts to uplift me:-)

Kotie Jack on

As someone who is a Seminole Indian and brought up in her Culture, on her reservation, I am very glad to read this. Jessica Alba has every right to express her pride in Being Mexican, and being proud of being BROWN. I also know a lot of us back home (and in NDN country) refer to our babies as “our little brown babies”.

I think when Jessica first came on the scene, people tried to mold her into what the popular celebrities were at the time (All American, Blonde haired, Blue eyed girls next door. Britney, Jessica Simpson, Christina Aguilera etc.). I think now she is trying to reclaim her heritage, she wants pride in herself and in her family. I think it’s important to remember Heritage, when we try to form to certain society standards we lose the rich, beautiful Culture passed on from generation to generation.

It’s wonderful knowing her Baby will be brought up with pride in her Mexican heritage.

yaosa on

I don’t know if some of you are aware that Cash is part African American so perhaps her comments were referring to both of their mixed heritages.

I think many people are in some kind of bubble about race.

We still live in a very racist society and being pc doesn’t change what people think or what they teach their children. If you haven’t walked in anyone else’s shoes you don’t have a right to judge!

Thank goodness for our differences, if only for the fact that they make people think outside of themselves and try to understand each other and thank goodness that underneath all that skin and hair we are all the same!

Daze on

Guess I am a little behind the times, but what is the background of this child going to be (what is Jessica and Cash’s heredity?). I don’t understand the debate.

Becky on

Again, all that I am saying is that debates on race, need to involve discussions about solutions. And “critical thinking” about why some transcend race, while others don’t, is crucial. Otherwise, mass inertia, will stall further progress, for those minorities still ensnared. But, clearly there are people, who have transcended both the corrosive effects of racism and colorism. Society, as a whole, would benefit from hearing more from them, and less from others, whose only claim to fame, is rhetorical excess and self aggrandizement.

amandamay on

ok, i wasn’t going to post, but…..

first i totally have no problem with jessica alba or what she has said (now or in the past) but since we’re talking about race…. i’ve never understood why black people are referred to as “african american” but white people are just “white” – many black people in the US aren’t african – they are cuban, jamaican etc etc (yes, you could argue that thousands of years ago, all initially came from africa, but then one could argue that all white americans came from europe, so should white people be called “european americans?) so referring to all black americans as “african americans” isn’t correct. also, should i be called “irish-american” since my family came here from ireland only 2 generations ago? i’m not saying people shouldn’t love their heritage or celebrate it. on the contrary, i think that’s fantastic. i’ve just never understood these labels. i say we’re all americans, each of us with different, interesting histories and cultures, each of us unique, but all of us “americans”….so there’s my two cents 🙂

Erica on


Cash Warren’s father is black (actor Michael Warren) and his mother is white, while Jessica’s father is Mexican and her mother is white (of Swedish heritage, I believe.)

As for Jessica’s comments, I understand what she is trying to say and even think it’s kind of sweet, but based on some of the comments she has made regarding her ancestry previously I also think she is doing some serious backtracking.

madinat on

snow white and the seven dwarves.

case closed. white ppl DO make similar comments about babies complexions, just using fancier words

Daze on

Thankyou Erica, for clearing that up. Genetics can be a tricky and facinating thing. So whatever parent or ethnicity, or combination Cash and Jessica’s baby is going to take after the most, the one thing I am betting on is she (or he) is going to be gorgeous.

Danica on

Jessica Alba is an example of what happens when children are not brought up to love their ethnicity. In interviews, she said her parents didn’t speak Spanish to any of their kids so they could grow up “American” and not as latina americans. Most likely in her youth she was trying to be american but now as she is older is appreciating her culture more. But its very obvious that she has an identity crisis and issues with skin color.

Now contrast that to Nicole Richie, who is 1/2 Mexican 1/4 black and 1/4 white. She has always maintained that she was raised as a black girl and self identifies as one. So now even though she colors her hair and could easily pass for a white girl, its not a big deal and public doesn’t give her grief for it because she obviously doesn’t have a racial identity crisis and it shows.

Lily on

Well said Becky and Amanda May. Might I suggest that we give Jessica some slack? To me, the brouhaha surrounding her comments just proves the mess that we’ve gotten ourselves into….clearly, there are social expectations that she will behave a certain way or make certain statements regarding her ethnicity, and when she doesn’t conform to those expectations, she gets attacked. In my opinion, she has absolutely no obligation to either ignore or proclaim her ethnic background.

I am of mixed race (as we all are, really). If I were to put a label on myself, it would take several seconds to spit out! I am interested in the cultures of my background, but first and foremost I consider myself an American, because I actively subscribe to our shared ideals and culture. American identity is flexible — it encompasses ethnicity, religion, and other “divisive” characteristics. As we all know, this is not the case everywhere in the world. To me, being American means that we can all make our own choices about how we see ourselves. Lest I sound too PollyAnna-ish, I’m not discounting the ugly legacy of racism and other social problems that require serious discussion and collective work. But after living abroad for several years and seeing the way that diversity is unworkable where I am, I am more glad than ever that I am an American and am able to transcend labels at home in a way I can’t elsewhere. So it kinda makes me sad — and lose faith — to see that Jessica Alba is caught in a trap with no escape.

Keyara on

I feel bad for this girl.She always says what she thinks everyone else wants to hear, but it always comes back to bite her.At her thinnest, I recall she started saying how she wished she was thinner.She says she wants to not be known as a sex symbol, but then comes all the mens magazines and the stories about one night stands and “do you have to be here??” the next day quotes. Maybe she was trying to be funny when she said all those bad things about Mexicans etc. I think Mexicans and latinos are now rejoicing in the fact that she has become exactly what she was making fun of them for.All these contradictions make her an open target I guess

Lauren on

ITA, Keyara (except for the first sentence). Jessica’s face may be cute, but her personality is ugly. For someone who goes around talking about “Mexicans spreading their seeds and popping babies out” as if she is so above that way of life(and then proceeds to get pregnant by a man she wasn’t even engaged to at the time) and demanded that people not call her Latina, she has no problem grouping herself in with Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz as one of the only Latinas who can greenlight a film. And the way she goes around publicly making fun of other celebrities (saying Eva Mendes isn’t in her league because she can’t carry a film herself when her past few films have failed critically and commercially and that Zac Efron looks like a girl with too much make-up) is no better in my mind than much of Paris Hilton’s behavior.
Even people on her message boards say they’re getting sick of her and her holier than thou attitude when all she’s really known for is a cute face and a hot body. She comes across as a total brat, and if she doesn’t grow up fast, her child is quickly going to become more mature than she is.

fallon on

I am not surprised jessica made anther not so bright comment, if you ever read interviews the girl has given through out the years she doesn’t come across as the brighest light blub. She seems to wanna sound so important and smart, that it comes out the total opposite. I have never heard any of my friends or family call their babies white or brown, just plain weird IMO.So now she wants the baby to learn spanish, she used to say she didn’t know any spanish because her parents wanted her to feel american and that she is american. Considering all her movies have bombed lately, maybe she should stop giving interviews and just lay low or find a good PR to help her sound better when she speaks.

Isabel on

I’ve never really understoond Jessica’s comments in the past. She is sooo LATIN looking and has a latin last name! I think she is just starting to realize how the comments she’s made in the past have affected how people view her.

Eydie on

I am an American but my ethnic heritage is Mexican. I speak Spanish and my skin is..hmmm not Crayola brown more like a nice mocha….it doesn’t matter. Jessica didn’t mean anything bad by saying she wanted a “brown baby”. I know that it may strike some people strange but it’s one of those cultural things. I have admired friends babies and said what beautiful white skin your baby has…I meant it! The baby had this beautiful white/pink complexion. What’s wrong with that?? I want a little “brown” baby too…lol…that doesn’t mean I’m a rascist…I truly love people of all colors and races and share my life with them. Our heritage is a part of us, we should not hide or assimilate out of it due to shame or fear. Be proud of your heritage and claim and support and defend your nationality…be a good American….love this country and this culture and our norms and standards and claim it as your own as well. Having connections/family/friends of different backgrounds goes a long way in understanding what other people mean when they say something we don’t understand. I think the majority of people who make rush judgements on other people are not exactly the type of people who are concerned in elevating their their thought process to that level.

Emily on

It may sound strange, but I don’t see any issue with the comments Jessica has made. I’m almost certain she would never have intended to insult anybody. I believe it is one of those ‘multi-faceted’ comments that can be easily interpreted in the wrong way. She is proud of her heritage (regardless of whatever ‘hang-ups’ she may have had in the past) and is hoping that those cultural features will be reflected in her baby.

It’s similar, in some way, to a family being proud of a particular nose shape that is prevalent throughout the generations, and hoping that their baby might continue that genetic tradition! It doesn’t mean that they dislike other nose shapes – they’re just proud of a feature of their family that gives them a sense or pride and belonging!

I completely understood what she meant and I only hope that others can read her comments in the same way that I did.

Nandy on