First, some history: When I waswatching my pops get ready to go out was something to behold. He would spend hours preparing his mask every morning for whatever crowd, person or community he faced. Even years later, my pops still took longer to get ready than my mother and sister combined, delicately taking a black Sharpie to any stray grays that might pop up in his goatee.
1. their tías will grill you 24/7.
My pops would explain that as a young man in the Dominican Republic, you had to work so hard perfecting yourself, preparing your mask, so that when a young European or American woman came through, she might choose you, as he would put it, might take you home with her, like that was your only way out.
Later he made his way to New York City, where he met my mother, who is Colombian.
Selected by whom became and remains my dilemma. I talked around it, mumbling about how I was trying to figure out who I was or whatever. There was nothing wrong with her at all. It just kind of happened. Over the years I have dated brown women and black women, but mostly white women. I also got weird vibes from some white people, namely the parents of the women I was dating.
Dating a puerto rican girl
And the ones who asked me if I speak Mexican. Yes, that is absolutely a thing. Which means that in the eyes of others, the color of the women I date is a big deal. I see people watching me with a stink eye, noses turned up, as if they think black and brown people would somehow be better off if I dumped my white girlfriend.
I started reading James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates and other black and brown authors looking for guidance, a road map, help on what it means to be a brown man in the world. Like: Yes, our bodies have been colonized. Yes, I am of blackness. Yes, the black body has done more for society than it has gotten in return.
I broke up with her because she’s white
Yes, society seems to want to embrace a lot of things associated with blackness without actually being black. How did we get here? If everyone is so woke, why are things so terrible? Anyway, what am I supposed to do? How do I love as a brown body in the world in a way that makes everybody happy? Am I the problem or is everyone else? Do white women find me attractive or do they see me as some exotic idea they should find attractive?
Do I find white women attractive or do I see them as some exotic idea I should find attractive? Not because of what or whom we love, but as a way out, a way of being seen and of being saved. That my power is only as valuable as the person by my side.
A whole system is coded within me. Before I was born, my mother told my father she was pregnant at 3 a.
She and my pops made a commitment to give us children everything they never had, to strive and achieve and provide for us, and in response to their aspiration, some in their world thought they were leaving their roots behind and trying to become something else. What does that mean — trying to be white? In truth, colorism has always been a thing.
I should have spoken up. You ever look at old family albums? You ever look at me?
3. plátanos will become your new favorite dish.
You ever look at yourself? Not even close. So here I stand, trying to be woke, and not dating white women, and feeling kind of bad about that. And also, I mean, a lot of white women are really cool. Obviously white women are cool.
Are you looking for hot dates in your neighbourhood?
All women are cool. Cool is such a simple word, not the word I want to be using right now.
Modern Love can be reached at modernlove nytimes. To read past Modern Love columns. But I was taught that we were all one people!