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One thing I took away, but have yet to fully unpack, from my recent conversation with my mom is that I fear I may have heightened stereotypes, too.
She mentioned how the majority of stories of heartbreak and depreciation I shared with her in my younger days—one of which was physically harmful—involved black men. I was attempting to find love in a person I found attractive, consequences and all.
Thirteen years of dating boys outside my race and it took sitting down to write this essay to have the first, real conversation with my parents about interracial dating.
I used to say I didn't have a type, but if we go off consistency, I do.
"You're going to end up pregnant before you're married," she once said. But my grandfather—my mother's father—wasn't too fond of my dad.
My dad knew that in order to ask for my mom's hand in marriage, he had to have a house ready for her. He also knew that the American Dream was the dream he wanted to achieve for them. She's always said that he's 'mi media naranja' (a Spanish saying for soul mate).
Once, in 2011, my then-boyfriend and I left a photo of us, taken at an event, at a bodega by accident.
When we came back to retrieve it, the guys behind the counter, which looked to be Latino, handed it to us ripped in half.
Racial tension between Mexicans and blacks, especially on the west coast and in some parts of the south, is tied to an ugly history.
Stories, which laced with racial stereotypes, were told continuously that they became truth.
Those "stories" tell of black men leaving their women, and of black men being promiscuous and violent. While problematic, my parents' thinking was the thinking of their time.
I've dated other races aside from black men—my first and only boyfriend of two years was Korean. "My parents, I should say, have never forbidden me from dating black men, or a man of any race, but their silence, more so my mother's, has been felt—it rendered each guy invisible.
But I've never dated someone of my own ethnicity: Mexican. And I would say Colombian, but that courtship never blossomed into much after he came over my house and serenaded me with his acoustic guitar. Time and again, after being introduced to a black guy I was dating, my mother either let out heavy sighs or foretold my future under her breath. My dad used his seasonal, strictly temporary passport for work and came to Arizona to pick fruit.My mom knew her father wouldn't approve either way. She knew if she wanted to be with my dad, she'd have to runaway with him. Despite not knowing she was pregnant with my older brother at the time, she hid in a bunk in the back of my father's van and they crossed the border together.