Taylor Lautner, born in Grand Rapids, MI on February 11, 1992
Let me start off by saying that calling this post "The Race of Taylor Lautner" is absurd as, clearly, Taylor is a member of the human race, and referring to his "race" would be offensive to Taylor. I mean, this is not 1850s Virginia, people. As a further caveat, this is not a "bash Taylor" post because I am actually somewhat of a fan and I sincerely wish Taylor the best. Indeed, this post is one of several to commemorate the release of Taylor's film Abduction AND the honor bestowed upon Taylor when he was named Robots In Masquerade's "Celebrity Most Likely To Be A Robot". But now that all of that is out of the way, let's gown to the nitty gritty, so to speak. The primary reason why I penned this post (in addition to the reasons listed above) was to address Taylor Lautner's rather puzzling appearance considering that every source refers to him as "White" and occasionally mentions "distant Native American ancestry". There is no mention of Hispanic or Latino origin, or of Black origin. Yet, all one has to do is look at a picture of Taylor as he has progressed through his young life to feel that something doesn't quite add up.
A photo of Taylor with his parents Dan and Deborah, and his sister Makena.
Most of us that were subjected to biology classes in the process of our education are familiar with the random assortment of genes. Essentially, all that means is that if you take two individuals and lock them in a room together so they have plenty of time to... ahem... "bump uglies" (my favorite euphemism for sex), it is entirely possible that the child that pops out nine months later might look nothing like either parents because of simple Mendelian random assortment. This is how two "White" Afrikaner parents in South Africa can have a Black baby: each individual has a distant Black ancestor and those genes happened to combine in the offspring. Take a look at the picture of Taylor Lautner's parents above. Both of these people would unequivocally be described as "White" in modern day America; then look at all the pictures of Taylor. First of all, he doesn't look like either of his parents and clearly looks more "ethnic" than they. Most sources that mention Taylor's background (including Wikipedia) describe him as being of "mixed French, German, and Dutch heritage... [with] distant Native American ancestry". Um, ok. Taylor looks straight up American Indian, even Latin American, to me.
Taylor with his sister Makena. Whatever his background, Taylor never had any problem in the looks department.
So what are the possibilities? The most obvious possibility (mentioned above) is that both parents have American Indian (or other non-White) origin and that these non-White genes just happened to combine randomly in Taylor leading to an appearance very distinct from that of his parents. As part of this possibility, it is possible that Taylor has Black or Latin origin that he and his parents are entirely unaware of. Another distinct possibility, which has yet to be mentioned is (here it comes): Dan Lautner (Taylor's Dad) is not really his daddy! Is this idea all that surprising? It is a distinct possibility that Taylor's Mom Deborah was getting jiggy with someone else in their small Michigan town and that Dan was passed off as the father when he really is not. This would explain why Taylor looks mulatto or mestizo when he supposedly only has "distant Native American ancestry" and nothing else "ethnic". Is it possible that Deborah Lautner fathered a child with a Black resident of the town and passed Taylor off as being Dan's son? Perhaps Jorge, the keeper of the local Mexican taco stand, happened to be free Friday and Saturday nights...
In Maury Povich voice: "Dan Lautner, you are NOT the father of this child!"
A question I must address is: why do I care? Good question. Certainly, I am the last person to say that each individual should fall prey to that American phenomenon of attempting to claim membership in some unique group for oneself so as to be different from other people. In this case, I do not think Taylor has some obligation to claim American Indian origin in order to be different from other young actors in Hollywood. In fact, I truly respect Taylor for not doing that when he is essentially unaware of any recent American Indian origin. What I do find interesting, however, is the extent to which the topic is ignored. I suppose this says much about where America is in the year 2011: that we can take someone that is clearly non-White, call them "White", and no questions are asked. [Please review the post: The Ethnic Origins of Varina Howell Davis, First Lady of the Confederacy.] At the very least, this is an interesting subject for discussion. So what do you think? Is Taylor Lautner White, Mulatto, or Mestizo?
"Woo hoo! I'm a Mestizo!"