On more than one occasion, during my seemingly eternal quest for love, I’ve been accused by friends and acquaintances of being “racist” for trying to date Latinos. In all fairness, part of this is totally my fault and the result of my whining and chiflazón. Yet, there’s also I believe a misunderstanding about what motivates me and other people like me, who are interested primarily in dating other Latinos.
First and foremost, let me say that I have dated mostly pochos like me, but I’ve also dated Cubans, white men, and Asian men, finally coming to the conclusion that all men on this planet are idiots when they are in their 20s. Some of my complaints, which I’ve heard other Latinas share, too, about trying to date Latinos include: They want to get married too soon, or they’re divorced with kids young, they’re too short, as you become more educated there are less Latinos around you, they’re scared of educated/professional women and I’m sure the list could go on.
As I’ve shared these sentiments with friends and acquaintances, often the reaction I get is, “Why do you have to date only Latinos? You should date a white guy.” Well, as I mentioned, I have and what bothers me about the tone of the question is that it always tries to put me on the defensive. I have good reasons to date Latinos and here they are.
A big part of who I am as a cultural being is a pocha. I’ve dated men from Mexico and it’s just not the same as being pocho, there’s so much cultural connotation and experience wrapped up into being, as they say, ni de allá ni de acá, that it’s hard to share that with someone who’s never been exposed to it (or isn’t interested in being exposed to it).
Part of that is language. When I tell someone they are being chiflado, I want them to understand! If I have to explain to them repeatedly every single time I use a pocho word what it means, it defeats the purpose of using those words in the first place. What about food? I have a pretty Mexican repertoire when it comes to food, but also the way I decorate my home, the way I expect my family life to function, the way relationships function (my grandfather called my güelita “gordis,” something that would be super offensive in English) and lots more. I don’t think wanting to continue the way of life in which I was born and raised is legitimately racist, but I know that none of these explanations will suffice to convince some people of that. Ultimately, I’m totally fine with that.
Because, I also know many couples who come from different cultures that manage to make life work. So what if someone doesn’t understand the concept of “a la tiznada,” as long as we speak the language of respect and love, right?
Follow Sara Inés Calderón on Twitter @SaraChicaD