In college there was no doubt in my mind that I would marry a Mexican. I didn’t want my culture to be diluted. I wanted to live in a Spanish-speaking household. I wore Ché Guevara berets with rebozos and Tehuana blouses. I just stopped short of wearing a poncho and purchasing a donkey just to really make a point. I wanted my partner to understand my family, and not judge them for being so incredibly loud.
Fast forward seven years and I am living with my white boyfriend. Throughout my early 20s, I avoided white guys. I didn’t want to “sell out” (though it can be debated that I always was a “sell out”). I didn’t want to live in fear of them saying something racist. I didn’t want to be their “Latina college experience.” Sometimes I believed they wouldn’t even find me attractive. I also didn’t want to have to explain what a “chancla” was or what I meant when I said I was “empachada.” I also didn’t want to explain my Chespirito references (like when I get “la chiripiorca“).
I just wanted them to understand.
But that didn’t work out. The brown men I dated didn’t do well with my independent nature. Some of them were off put by my very non-traditional beliefs and lifestyle. I’m not generalizing, though. I’m sure that there are plenty of educated brown men who are comfortable dating unconventional brown women and don’t secretly want a white girl. Please don’t send me angry emails, for I know these men exist. I, however, never met one who showed any interest in me. Believe me – I looked. Also, the further I got into my education, I’m talking about graduate school, the fewer Latinos I came across.
That is not to say that dating a white man was my last resort. Far from it. I can’t imagine a better partner for myself. I’m lucky to have found him. It’s in meeting him that I let go of many of preconceived notions. For example, not all white people eat boiled hot dogs for dinner, listen to Dave Matthews Band, and do the funky chicken at weddings. These are things I simply did not know. My boyfriend sincerely wanted to know about my culture, he valued my intelligence and was interested in my innumerable opinions.