Need Wood: ¡Me Gustan Los Latinos!
I’m white, in my late 20s and I’ve just recently discovered the joys of Latin juice—even to the point that the only people I want to date are Latino. Here’s my problem: I don’t know how to go about it. A great deal of the Latinos here either don’t speak English very well or don’t speak it at all. And I don’t speak a word of Spanish. So how do I overcome the language and cultural barrier to be with the hombres I want?
— Latino Lover
Dear Latino Lover:
I give you my friend Bill who only dates Latinos. Bill took lots of Spanish classes, used the Spanish version of his name (Guillermo) when he went out to Latino bars and tried chatting up his Spanish prey in their own lingo.
Here’s what he discovered: If you’re white and you approach Latinos in Spanish (or more accurately, broken Spanish) they take it as an insult. It often makes them feel like you think they’re too stupid to speak English.
Don’t assume they can’t speak English just because you hear them speak Spanish to each other. You may think trying to speak their language is endearing but they (sometimes) think it’s condescending.
So now, when Bill goes out he approaches Latin guys in English not in Spanish, he uses “Bill” instead of “Guillermo”, and he plays up his Anglo roots as much as he can.
And you know what? He gets more Latin a– than a Tijuana toilet.
Bill’s experience reminds of an ugly truth about sex and dating: To a LOT of people, including minorities, whites are at the top of the social pecking order. From the bottom up, the calculus of our class-conscious culture goes like this: African-American, Asian, Latino, Anglo. I don’t agree with it, but I do notice it.
This pecking order isn’t pre-ordained; it’s cultural. Society believes it, encourages it and a lot of us act on it. If you don’t, good for you, but you probably know lots of guys who only “Date Upwards.”
If you buy into the idea that some colors are better than others, that some languages are better than others, that some income brackets are better than others, that some education levels are better than others, then social status will influence your dating choices.
I think it’s true of a lot (but not all) of African-Americans who only date whites, of Latinos who only date whites, of Jews who only date Christians. By dating people with the qualities you don’t have the hope is that you’ll then be seen as having those qualities. It’s called the Halo Effect. Wealth by association, intelligence by proximity, worth by proxy.
By the way, it also works in reverse. You can really see it in HIV positive guys. I have one friend, who when he first sero-converted, started dating guys below his perceived social status. “I felt so disregarded by society’s view of me,” he said, “that the only way I could feel good about myself was to date other people society disregarded.”
Sick? Maybe. Human? Absolutely. Bottom line: If you want more brown, get more white.
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