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.As far as dating, I've encountered men who've thought of me as the Mexican woman that is there only to serve, speaks Spanish in bed, or has a connect to an inner drug cartel member.And those misconceptions were directed at me from men of all shades.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.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.They settled in a largely Mexican neighborhood in San Jose, California.
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.Both minorities have been reported to confront more than cooperate in certain areas; reports have pinpointed competition for jobs as a factor.What's crazy to me is that both groups, Mexicans and blacks, have been marginalized historically, and dealt with levels of oppression by systems, yet tension is between individuals.I kept getting hurt by guys, a lot of which had to do with my belief in fairytale love. And although I've gone through bullshit in various relationships before, as many have, my hope is to find my own 'media naranja.' My mom knows about most of the men I've dated, but she's only met the guys that have changed my life significantly, which I can count with one hand.It's weird to mention, let alone, specify the physical features of the men I've dated when telling their stories, because the shitty experiences I've gone through weren't because of their color; it was because they weren't right for me.
The curse is that those factors establish tradition.