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Latin Women Don’t Always Like Dancing

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Stereotypes and Interracial Dating

Lately I’ve read a lot online about “Hispanic dating” or “how to date Latin women”, and I keep hearing the same things: Latinas are fiery, family-centric, take things slow, etc., etc. You think of the stereotype and I have heard it. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Latin women don’t ever fit these stereotypes. What I am saying is that these stereotypes aren’t always helpful. In fact, any stereotyping that might go on in an interracial relationship, Latin/Hispanic or otherwise, can actually do a lot to harm chances with a perspective partner.

You can’t expect to correctly assuming very much of anything based on your partner or love interest’s race. Interracial dating, in that respect, is much like any other type of dating. When two partners come to the table with preconceived notions about background, personality, or values, based on race or any other factor, you can bet that problems will abound. For example, I love Asian food, even more than I love what many would call Mexican food. I prefer a movie, dinner, and a quiet evening over a night out dancing at a club or a bar. I like David Fincher movies. How would any man know that based on my race? They wouldn’t. And if they tried to take me to a Mexican Restaurant, followed by dancing at a club, or back to his apartment to watch El Secreto de sus Ojos, you can bet that I wouldn’t be very happy.

Let me make clear that I am not saying that stereotyping is some gigantic problem in the world of interracial dating. Honestly, there have been times that I have gone on a date and it was some guy’s dumb luck that he suggested we go salsa dancing. I come from a cross-cultural Hispanic family, and I was never taught by my family how to dance salsa. However, I needed a couple of extracurricular credits to graduate back when I was attending college, and you know what class sounded like the most fun? Introduction to Salsa Dancing. So while stereotypical attitudes may have been what drove men to ask me to salsa dance in the past, it worked out anyway. Sometimes that’s how it is.

On the other hand, I have two sisters, just as Latina as me, and neither of them can dance salsa. One of them can’t dance at all, which came as a huge surprise on one double date that we both went on. “You don’t dance? But I thought Latinas loved dancing?” The point is that stereotypes, whether they concern Latinas and dancing, African-Americans and soul food, or Asians and large families, aren’t always true. A lot of times people don’t even realize that they are stereotyping to begin with.

This is because, sometimes, stereotypes stem from some aspect of the truth. As a Latina, I was raised Catholic in a very tight-knit family setting. When I moved away from home, some of my values went to college with me, some didn’t. Some of my values changed because of my education. I am still very close to my family, and I still identify as Catholic, even if I am not as fundamentalist or traditional as my parents raised me to be.

Stereotypes themselves can have a way of helping us roadmap possibilities in our heads—but they are never to be taken too seriously. There is no substitute for an open mind, great conversation, and a willingness to learn about your partner from the ground up.

About the Author: Miranda Santiago is a psychology major and freelance writer.  She enjoys writing about dating topics, appealing specifically to relationships involving Latin women. Apart from writing, Miranda enjoys windsurfing, playing the piano and cheering on her favorite baseball teams.

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