Ever since I could remember, my abuela told me ” I don’t care who you marry or date, but he better not be a moreno…” to which I replied ” but abuela, isn’t the crack of our ass moreno..” to which I got smacked in the face
When I entered the dating world (oh let’s say sophomore year of high school, I promised my mother I would not get pregnant and if I did she had permission to literally kick my ass and send me to Santo Domingo) I didn’t see color, I saw things like: does he wear Doc Martens or Timberlands, does he work at the pizza place or the mall, do his parents go away for the weekend or does his mom sleep in the same room as him? But one thing that was becoming obvious was, I was becoming more attracted to different races.
Of course, at this time in my life my family thought I was a lesbiana because I had a Halle berry hairdo and read Kerouac while listening to jazz and I never brought home a novio (to my defense, I’m a private person, so I didn’t think it would be proper to bring home the 23 yr old I made out with the night before at a poetry reading). So when I finally decided to present a man to my family, all jaws dropped because, HE WAS A GRINGO! Ay Dios Mio! You could imagine the fuss this made in my family. My mother frantically thinking of what Anglo foods to cook, my uncle happy I’m not a lesbian, and my friends dissing it because “I didn’t stay true to my roots”.
Now all my life, my light skinned Dominican mother, made me do things outside the typical Dominican box.
What’s that you say? Well, let’s see. She never had her hair curly and natural, so neither did I ( I hated the weekly salon meetings UGH), she encouraged me to get into art and different music, took me to NYC every weekend to explore different cultures and learn, enforced a Spanish only weekend rule and God forbid if I spoke like I was from El Ciabo. And of course, I went to a Catholic school where I was the only morenita in the class. So for her to be shocked that I dated outside my race was a bit comical.
Over the years, the gringos have come and gone, and I’m currently with a gringo who is more into Dominican culture than a lot of my family members, so in a way its kind of refreshing, but I still get asked by my abuela ” Hey, how is that gringo of yours, when are you guys coming to visit me to I can roast him a pig in la finca”
Story by Mabel Peralta