November 18th, 2011
Latino Men Are Always The Most Critical Of Me

The people that get most upset about what I write are almost always Latino men.

I’m not stereotyping or exaggerating — this is simply a fact. Nearly all of the hate mail that I’ve received after publishing certain articles has been from Latinos. This makes me uneasy, and I don’t even know how to unpack it. I’ll likely receive more hate mail just for saying that. I’d also like to make it clear that my writing comes from my lived experiences and particular perspective. I’m not claiming universal truths — but simply describing my own personal reality. If that offends you, I am not sorry.

I grew up witnessing all forms of machismo.

I saw mothers coddle their sons so much they didn’t know how to do anything for themselves. Many times they grew up to be men who don’t even know how to fix themselves a plate of food or wash a dish. The girls were always expected to learn all sorts of chores while the boys enjoyed the domestic pampering. I also grew up seeing men cheat on their wives, duplicitous lives enabled by their mothers.

Latino men are the ones who have most insulted my intellect and tried to “teach me” how I should navigate the world. I have gotten into so many arguments since I began my blog. Most of them began after I was basically told how ignorant and wrong I was on a particular topic. That little Mexican woman is an imbecile! I must show her the error of her ways. I have also been accused of internalized racism and “selling out,” which if you knew me at all, you’d know how incredibly wrong that statement is.

That’s not to suggest that other men haven’t insulted me or been condescending to me, but I can’t deny that it happens much more frequently among my own people. It actually hurts me to realize that. It’s even harder for me to write it. I was genuinely shocked that so many Latino men were offended by my article about my interracial relationship. Nowhere in my article did I say that I shunned Latino men. In fact, my plan was to marry one, but my boyfriend, who happens to be white, was the only man that allowed me to be myself and respected me as a woman, an intellectual, and human being.

I assume that, in some ways, the entitled attitude stems from the servitude they received from their mothers and other female family members. It comes from the notion that women exist to only serve their needs. They must feel that I, a Mexican woman, should shut my mouth, and that it’s their duty to tell me what to think. I can’t help but I’m grateful that I’ve known so many men that have not perpetuated this behavior or attitude. My brother grew up to be a great husband and father, for example. My male Latino friends are kind, compassionate, and egalitarian.

To the rest I say: I have come this far all by myself. I don’t need your help.

[Photo By striatic]

16 thoughts on “Latino Men Are Always The Most Critical Of Me

  1. For the Latino men criticizing her use of the term machismo:  Read the article again – she did not stipulate ALL latinos are machismos.    In her description of what a machismo is and  what fuels this “lifestyle” she never generalized that all Latinos are raised or behave this way.  She described what a machismo is, not what a latino is – big difference.  She also noted the Latino men she personally knows are anything but machismo.  Obviously, she doesn’t believe al latinos are also machismos.
    Lets put this on an even playing field:  What is a an American “Machismo” called?  Players – whether they are married or not.  Players share the same traits as a Machismo, as adults.  The American women who tolerate this also perpetuate the behavior and instill it in their own children.  This “lifestyle” isn’t bound to one culture, “gentlemen.”  Moving on to why she is probably with a white guy and why I, a white American, is with a Mexican.  Who you choose to be with is a personal preference based upon your values, goals, beliefs, wants and needs.  Obviously, you are going to try to find a partner that fits your own preferences as much as possible and provides you with the amount of respect and care you believe you should have.  Now, who are you to judge, for me or ohHellsNah, what the color and the origin of a man should be for us?  Who are you to judge what kind of man would  highly compliment our personal preferences? Beyond all races and cultures, there are only two types of people in the world:  Those with hearts that have more hate in them than love and those with hearts who have far more love in them than hate.  Those who judge us for pursuing happiness on the basis of personal preferences, have nothing but hearts full of hate.  All the names you produce and labels you put on us are nothing more than hate coming from a person who focuses to much on materialistic worldly things than on the more permeable issues of love and the pursuit of happiness.  Who am I to say “I am white and don’t want a Mexican because he is Mexican.”  Would I not be defeating my own ability to find a love that is based on values instead of materials?  So what if the man that compliments me happens to be Mexican!  There is no interracial controversy here.  Hateful people perceive a problem with interracial/cultural relationships.  Their perceived controversy will never be a realistic one for me.   I not only have the ability to choose who I marry and serve (omg did that white girl just say serve????) but I also have the ability to choose who is involved in my life.  I don’t include hateful ppl in my life.   Although, If it makes you feel better making a controversy out of my and others relationships, go right a head.And yes, this well educated, early 30’s, white American woman just said serve.  I bet all along you guys were thinking – “you’re only saying this stuff cause you’re a feminist, you are agreeing with ohHellsNah because you are just like her!  I bet you’re her mother or something”….ha.  The case is, I am very different:  I seek a very traditional Marriage, one most Mexicans can relate to, a serving housewife.    Although, all the men I’ve been with have been white, exception being my half white/asian exhusband.  A traditional marriage is what I prefer, but most importantly, only the most respectful caring man will recieve my servitude. (yes that means my exhusband was not very respectful or appreciative.  Servitude does not equal doormat.)   No matter what kind of relationship it is there must be a balance of respect, trust, loyalty, responsibility towards each other and love.  I believe I found a Man I would be very happy to serve as a wife.  He cherishes and respects me – we have a healthy balance.  Although, I would have never thought this man would be a Mexican who, 15 + years ago, struggled as an illegal immigrant and struggled to become legal as a means of  pursuing happiness.  Who are you to judge him or me for choosing a love that permeates all worldly issues?  The only thing that makes us different is our hearts: You either have a heart of love or a heart of hate.  Hate is the only thing that depicts interracial relationships in a problematic, degrading, and controversial light.  I honestly wonder if ya’ll ever get tired from all that energy spent hating others.

  2. Being a feminist and a Latino I can understand what you are saying.  Latino males simply have a bad self image and they don’t understand what it takes to be a real man.  A real man is to understand ones faults and doing something about them!

  3. No surprises there, about the reaction to your views. I would only add that many times vehemence is fueled by insecurity. The world is changing rapidly, and the old rules don’t apply — which is often a good thing, as when the old rules stifled human beings because of their gender, their social class, their ethnicity, etc. Those who stand to lose their position of privilege under the new rules can choose between adapting or whining. The complainers have made their choice perfectly clear.

  4. I am the older of  four sisters and two brothers, i grow up watching my sisters being rebels and not wanting to listen to me when i tried to discipline them, they always wanted to party until 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning, go out with who ever the hell they wanted and not listen to a word i had to say about it. several times they got their asses kicked by their boyfriends, those boyfriends that i didn’t approved of because i knew their intentions and i knew how they were, and they always used to say to each other, ‘i wish i had a brother that could protect us from assh***s like this!’.  i was so happy to hear that, really. i knew they were suffering and i knew that i had nothing to do with their suffering, it was them that decided to live that way, it was them that got what they deserved. my only intention was to keep them from getting hurt, from building a bad reputation, from taking the wrong decision. one day we were all together and started talking about the past, they all started crying and wishing to have listened to me more before acting stupid and end up suffering as they did. I am not a Machista, i’m just a guy that knows more about life’s hardships than any other female on this earth. to them, i was just a Machista that never let them do the things they wanted to do, today, they acknowledge that i was just trying to protect them and guide them trough the right path in  life. there are many many machistas among the latino community, but there are twice as many that are not machistas, so please stop blaming los hombres latinos of having taken the decision to marry a white man, you only wanted a man with the mentality and the character of a woman. isn’t that what today’s woman want from a man?

  5. As a Chicano who is now 60 years old, I still remember how Latin males in my own family was treated so much better than our female counterparts. Even though my mom was a single woman and fiercely independent she treated her own daughters in a less than egalitarian ways. I always sensed she was modeling her own mother, a very devout and traditional Mexican woman. But that should NEVER be an excuse or a justification for the failure of Latino men to treat Latinas as equals. As Latino men who have felt the sting and abuse of discrimination and inequality in our own country….and supports the civil rights of the Latino community….. we have not address a fundamental inequality that persists in our own community. What we do about it is the real question.

  6. In high school, my first love, the guy I thought I was going to marry, was 3 1/2 years older than me (that should have been a clue), domineering, and oppressive and happened to be Latino (Mexican-American). Fortunately, my maternal grandfather, who helped raise me, and other Latino males in my life were very loving, open minded, and supportive. I don’t know who these guys are that are posting negative, sexist messages on your blog, but know that there are many wonderful Latino men who stand for gender equality.

  7. The rubber necking has to stop and if you expouse feminist comments you will be chastised because we are tired of Mexican American women sounding like Gloria Steinem and crying about how women were raised. In the old Apache days men had three wives and the women accepted it, you comment that males were domestically pampered but ignore the fact that maybe they had to do the heavy labor that no woman ever has had to do proven by the fact that men die from manual labor and live less years. Of course the males are going to get upset at the hypocrisy of your selfish rant, just admit it, you wanted a White trophy. Read Huevos y la mujer latina: The De masculinization of the Macho it might help you clear your clouded vision.

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  9. I support your thoughts and feelings. I grew up seeing similar behaviors from men and their mothers; however, is their (Latino men) upbringing the root of all causes. Nevertheless, it only takes an intelligent woman standing her ground to change such ideology. Also in most cases is the educated kind that learns to treat women with respect and consideration while the uneducated still uses scare tactics to tame the female and be pampered by his prey.

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  11. I have nothing but love for you. I love reading about your experiences. As a Mexican male, it’s important for me to be in solidarity with my Latina sisters. I encourage folks to be active in the discourse about the gender inequalities that exist in our community/communities. Already our experiences as Latinos are silenced, and as Latina women your experiences are even further muted.

    My only beef with some of what you’ve written in the past and what you’ve written now is that it contradicts itself. You say that you’re not generalizing Latino men as being “macho,” but just by using the term “macho” you’re contradicting yourself.

    “Machismo” attempts to paint Latino males as the MOST misogynistic. But you can’t measure misogyny or patriarchy. You can’t say, “he’s more misogynistic than him,” or “damn, these Mexican dudes are much more patriarchal than White men.” There’s no litmus test for it, and misogyny is not a Latino phenomenon.

    For that reason it’s inescapable to be contradictory when using the word “macho.” The term generalizes by its nature. For example, in this piece you begin by saying that you’re not generalizing all Latino men, but then the word “machismo” is thrown in and by the end of your piece ALL Latino men become men that believe in “the notion that women exist to only serve their needs.”
    It’s important to be critical of gender in our community, yes, but when you use the term “machismo,” it continues to perpetuate a myth of sameness amongst Latino men that has been historically constructed by racist whites, in the same way that the image of Black males as “savages” was constructed.We need to be critical of gender inequalities, and I think we have certain ways in which we are familiar with it in our community/communities, but we shouldn’t use terms that define us and lock us into a particular way of being.I propose a conscientious solidarity in our community to be critical of our culture and of our history–the church, our colonizers, and the standards of “whiteness” that unfortunately continue to determine beauty, “correctness,” and other standards. And let’s encourage each other to undo all of the oppression that has made us play certain roles, or feel a certain way about ourselves. But let’s not continue to box ourselves (the way our colonizers boxed us, and the way society continues to box us). Let’s share our stories and our experiences, but also be critical and at the same time, critical of our criticism.

  12. The focus should be patriarchy and institutional sexism…not machismo. The discourse on machismo tends to be banal and vapid. There are many more Latino men who do not express those views…there are many white men who are extremely sexist…but all white men are never tarred as innately sexist.

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