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El Dijo, Ella Dijo: An Intellectual Battle of the Sexes

Posted Mar 18 2006

Our topic was "Would you date outside of your race? It wasn't much of a battle since we agreed. ( MiGente.comJanuary 8, 2001)

Not only would I date outside of my race, I have dated outside of my race. Would I do it again? Sure. Would I go out of my way to do it? Not necessarily, but I wouldn`t be surprised if it happens again-an answer that irks a lot of people. Because I`m open to dating interracially, sometimes it`s taken that I ONLY date interracially. Interestingly enough, most of the negative reactions I have experienced came from my own community. It`s as if my loyalty to Latinos comes under question. Considering the diversity in our culture, history, and yes, racial backgrounds, it`s amazing that so many Latino/as are resistant to the idea of interracial dating.

Often times, people who make these assumptions or accusations are projecting their own insecurities. Interracial dating complicates things, throwing off their view of the world where everything fits into a simple box. There`s often a fear of "the other." Couples in interracial relationships are often seen as "rejecting" their own. While this may be the case for some, for many of us it`s more complex. Most of the people who make these types of assumptions don`t take into account the human element. People date individuals, not a culture or race. It`s very presumptuous to assume that two Latinos will automatically have more in common than any other two people. Race and ethnicity play a central role in my identity, but they are not the only factors that define me. Socioeconomic class, religion, personal interests, and basic life experience have also contributed to who I am.

Invariably, what has been the key in my relationships has been the issue of compatibility. How much could we compromise on differences, most of which had nothing to do with race? Do we share the same interests, values, and goals? Do we have good communication and confront conflicts head on? Yet, having a "color- blind" approach doesn`t work because there are some very real cultural differences that need to be addressed. The key is the desire to work through these differences and being open to entering each other`s worlds. Fortunately for me, when my relationships ended, we knew it was because it was something that we decided upon, not as a reaction from outside pressures.

Living in a world where so much of our reality is defined by our race and ethnicity, not a day goes by that I`m not aware of my responsibilities and experiences as a Latino male. As a whole, my experience with Latinas has been a good one, but to limit my life by other people`s insecurities could very well hinder the type of relation that I ultimately seek to have.

Daniel D. Zarazua currently lives in Detroit and is color-struck.

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