How I Dealt With Racism As A Latina In An Interracial Relationship

Photo: Dean Drobot / Shutterstock
How I Dealt With Racism As A Latina In an Interracial Relationship
Self

Being Latina is an identity that is filled with beauty and complexities beyond imagination.

What’s beautiful about being Latina you ask? It’s the way we wear our red lipstick and our hoop earrings. How we’re obsessed with Selena, Bad Bunny and Ozuna. Our Spanglish.

You name it, being Latina in an interracial relationship is an experience of its own. 

But in a nation where the tension between black and white is as high as it’s ever been before, it can be hard to find our place sometimes.

As Latinx folks, we struggle with our identity as “in-betweeners”. 

We’re not from here (America), but we’re not from (insert Latin country here) either.

We have to be proud of our language, but we also don’t want to be discriminated against, so we shouldn’t speak Spanish.

Oftentimes, we’re forced to “pick a side” instead of being able to define our identity on our own terms.

RELATED: An Open Letter To Black Women In Interracial Relationships

That being said, when it comes to our relationship with ourselves and with others, one important piece of the work is to examine ourselves and our identities. 

If you are a white Latina and in a position where you benefit from being light-skinned, it’s important to realize that and do the work to ensure you don’t perpetuate anti-Blackness.

This is something I had to come to terms with myself.

When we are called in for our light-skinned privilege, we must understand that it is out of love and listen so that we may learn.

Remember, you are Latina no matter what, but you must have a level of awareness so that your relationship with others can continue to thrive. 

If you are an Afro-Latina, it’s often a struggle for folks to understand how you can be both Black and Latina at the same time.

But remember, you are a beautiful mix of two cultures and deserve to be seen and acknowledged for that. 

When it comes to our romantic relationships with people outside of our community, we’re scrutinized no matter who we date.

When dating someone who is white, we are praised by our families but stereotyped and judged by our partner’s family.

When dating someone who is Black, we’re still criticized, especially from our own community due to the very prevalent anti-Blackness. We. Can’t. Win.

There is no handbook or manual that teaches you to navigate an interracial relationship with an already complex identity.

Whether you are dating a white, Black or asian person, there are ways to handle uncomfortable situations that establish boundaries and respect for you and your relationship.

Establishing boundaries won’t be easy or comfortable, but it’s the right thing to do for you and your relationship. 

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

RELATED: How I Discuss Allyship In My Interracial Relationship

So when abuela praises someone in the family for having children with ojos claros y pelo rubio — Call. It. In. 

When your “friends” make jokes about your relationship, tell them to back off and let them know their behavior is problematic.

When your partner’s family says your brown skin or family heritage “messed up their family”, gently let them know that what they said was hurtful and that they should re-examine their thought process behind what they said. 

It’s always hard to have these conversations with the people we love the most, but in order to protect our sanity and our relationship, we must put our foot down.

But I also want to acknowledge how tiring it is to constantly defend our romantic relationships, and we shouldn’t have to do that in the first place. So if cutting off certain people in your life is what you need to do instead, then do it.

Only you know what’s best for your health and sanity. Just know that whatever you decide to do, you absolutely are in the right.

But despite all the challenges of being Latina and being in an interracial relationship, I’ve found it to be the most beautiful and wonderful thing I’m lucky to have experienced.

I met the love of my life back in 2005 when we were both attending a middle school in the Bronx.

We participated in an after-school program where we became very close friends. 

After 4 years of being best friends, we decided to take the risk and became more than best friends. Ten years later, here we are, happily married and living together with our puppy in our cozy apartment here in NYC. 

But the journey here wasn’t easy. You see, as an interracial couple, we’re always at the forefront of a lot of racially charged comments.

With me being a Latina and my husband being a Black man, people always gave us weird looks and questioned what we were doing together.

But we didn’t allow people’s opinions of us to get in the way of our relationship, and we still don’t. And we also didn’t allow people to overstep our boundaries. That was the key to navigating our relationship. 

I want Latinas to be free to embrace their beautiful blend of an identity while also loving someone who brings them joy, regardless if they are outside of the Latinx community. 

So whether you are considered “not Latina enough” because you are dating someone outside of the community, or whether you are made fun of, you deserve all the love and respect in the world.

When we find the person who understands us best and accepts us for who we are, complexities and all, we deserve to hold on to it. 

Being a Latina in an interracial relationship is hard, but I promise you the good days will outweigh the bad.

RELATED: Loving Day: The Love Story That Legalized Interracial Marriage

Angelique Beluso is a sex educator and writer who covers feminism, pop culture and relationship topics. Follow her on Twitter @AngeliqueBeluso.