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The majority of what my parents know about other races they've learned through media or second-hand stories.Stories, which laced with racial stereotypes, were told continuously that they became truth.
ran on Gawker earlier this month we received hundreds of comments and emails objecting to, agreeing with, or otherwise responding to Baker.This week, we're publishing some of those responses as part of a conversation about race and relationships.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.While I've dated other races, I'm mostly attracted to black men. I have strong Mexican men in my life, too—my father and my two brothers—that I hold close, respect, and admire.My eyes and heart tend to steer me in that direction. My brothers never seemed to have an opinion as to the type of men I dated, and were only concerned with how each guy treated me. My dad has always been a quiet man, and his only insertion in conversations about my dating life: "Are you happy, 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.
I can't pinpoint physical features or characteristics of black men because that's not only wrong, it's just not the entire case. 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.
What I'm attracted to can be found in men of all races: strong arms (sense of protection), a great smile, nice build (healthy), ambitious, passionate, a sense of humor—a touch of sarcasm helps—and a kind heart. "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.
I've dated other races aside from black men—my first and only boyfriend of two years was Korean. 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).
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. 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.
Then, when I was five-years old, they moved to Tracy, about an hour drive east of San Jose, where the population was, and remains, predominantly white.