|Image via Jezebel by Steve Dressler|
"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."At first I couldn't put my finger on why this passage in particular really rubbed me the wrong way. Then I read further, and got more and more irritated.
After stating that going to nice restaurants with her boyfriend's Anglo family makes the author feel "awkward and guilty" upon seeing the looks of "confusion...judgement and disappointment" from the "Mexican busboys", OhHellsNaw (the handle that the author goes by), goes on to end her piece with
"There are so many interracial couples in this country, I don't see why people are still offended by it. We all have our particular preferences[....] And, I suppose, the the world can judge us all it wants because last time I checked, miscegenation was still legal."And then it hit me...At no time is there any exploration or acknowledgement of the REASONS behind why Latino men in so-called higher education might be hard to find, among other concerning oversights. Frankly, I also think the comments alone are enough fodder for a completely different blog post.
Regardless, it's too bad that this article showcases tired stereotypes and tropes that I, as a Latina, get pretty uncomfortable with. I know the writer gives an out by saying "progressive brown men exist, merely I simply couldn't find them", but I also wonder why these stories proliferate here on the web. "Why I date/married a white person" articles seem to be in vogue, and their defensive tone (comparing people questioning the cultural motives for dating in/out of ones' race as supporting miscegenation laws) irks me.
The busboys looking with "confusion" and "disappointment" are not looking because they want there to be laws against interracial dating, I'd wager. They are looking, like I sometimes look at Latino and Black men who date interracially, because they know that greater society tells them, (in many cases, both overtly and covertly told by upper class white folk, that brown people are de facto less intellegent, less attractive (unless they are 'exotic'), less desirable than a white partner, SIMPLY on the basis of race. That cuts, and it cuts damn deep. So if someone of your own ethnicity/race isn't welcoming your interracial coupling, it may be ignorance---as well as the fact that WE ALREADY GET TOLD WE AREN'T GOOD ENOUGH, in many ways FOR 'MAINSTREAM' CONCEPTS OF BEAUTY, INTELLIGENCE AND DESIRABILITY, but seeing one's 'own' people who might have also bought into that idea...Well, it sucks.
Combined with the plethora absurd comments underneath conflating race with ethnicity, not to mention conflating prejudice and racism with wanting a partner to get particular references, it was as if I had dunked my face in a gallon of haterade. (Sidenote: Just so everyone is clear: I am Latina, and I am black (Celia Cruz). There are 'white' Latinas (Meridith Viera), there are latinas who look more tanned (America Ferrera). It is not difficult, as ethnicity is where one is from, and race is what people LOOK like. *sigh* C'mon people.)
But I digress...
I wrote a long comment myself underneath the article, although I realized afterwards that my time would have been better spent just confining my annoyance to here. Regardless, the relationship described within the article sounds loving, happy and relatively healthy. The article itself is engaging, and it briefly touches on the class issues that often come with being of color (which are so often overlooked). That, alone, gets points from me. I suppose I'm more interested in the dynamics of navigating an interracial relationship (where is the significant other's POV, what cultural misunderstandings/obstacles and challenges they have traversed as a couple) rather than what basically amounts to an Open Letter To All The Haters.