Author’s note: This post was written in August of last year, but I remixed it a bit. Enjoy.
When I read Tracy Renee Jones’s “Aye Papi…………One Woman’s Love Affair With Latino Men” a year ago, I will admit, I was stoked.
An account from a Black Woman on her romances with Latino guys? I’ll read that.
Typing in “Black woman and Latino man” yields very few results. I mean forums from the 2000s detailing someone’s experiences are fine and dandy pero dame mas. So, instead of complaining about the absence of info on the subject, I decided to throw in my two cents on the Jones piece.
As I’ve said before, I love all flavors but I have a special place in my heart for Latinos (of all races, colors, etc). Blame it on Omar Barcenes in the fifth grade. Hearing another Black women share her story, inspired me to do a bit more research. After all, Black and Brown relations don’t just take place at forums, discussions and in history books.
And before you throw the “Latin@ come in all colors” shade at me, for the purpose of this piece I am refering to non-black identifying Latin@s. When I say “Black”, I am refering to African Americans. Got it? OK.
Here are my thoughts on Jones’s ” Aye Papi” piece.
1. Yes, to Black women expression
Strength is displayed anytime Black women bare our souls and talk about our encounters with racism, love or any other thing that requires vulnerability. Even in our happiness and comedy, our expression comes first. So, I genuinely appreciate her story. I too, have dated Latino guys, and while none of them have ended up my long term beau, I have learned a lot about culture, language and the ways in which racism works within the Latino communities that I was involved in.
Snaps for Black Woman expression.
2.Where the “Afro-Latinos”?
Many of the Latino men that she mentioned shared the Mario Lopez-like phenotype. I would have liked to see more mention of the diversity within Latinidad. I know many people carry the “tan skin color” but from reading this story, I get the impression that Afro-Latino, Asian Latinos and Indigenous Latinos are not included in this definition of “Latino”.
Unfortunately, that history of diversidad has been suppressed in the media, our schools, our history books and sometimes our experiences so I cannot assume this was the writer’s point of view.
3. This piece reminded me of sayings I heard while growing up
“Latino men have a similar background as Black men, though a little less damaged behind racial disenfranchisement and a lot more aware of individual civility, community engagement and shared culture,” says Jones. Growing up, I’d hear that Blacks and Latinos share a similar background, but I was also told that we were very different.
Our similar background was that both of our communities triumphed against discrimination. Our differences lied in our culture and language. Now, I do question the part about Latino men being “a little less damaged behind racial disenfranchisement” because Afrolatino men encounter many of the same racial bias that their African American counterparts do.
4.Ricky Martin is [insert wonderful adjective].
I can agree with Jones’s love for Ricky. I mean, look at him. He can’t replace Enrique though.
Let’s be real. ‘Aye Papi’ is one of the few pieces that dares to document Black and Brown love. Particularly, from a Black woman’s point of view. That’s why it will always be relevant. To all the Black Girls and Brown boys in healthy, happy relationships…keep on keeping on.
What do you all think about intercultural/racial/ethnic dating?