Dimelo: "Why Does It Matter That He's Black?"

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Dear Pauline,

I'm 15 and I really like this guy who is a Junior. He is very sweet and very cute and he asked me to see a movie with him. I'm allowed to date now, since I had my quince, but I'm not sure what I should do.

The problem is that he is part African-American. It's not me that cares, obviously, but my dad told me if I date him not to tell my sisters because then everybody will find out and I'd never hear the end of it. I don't understand what the big deal is. So what if he is black? I'm Mexican and I have darker skin than he does! I think they've conveniently forgotten the times I've been pushed aside because the parents of other boys thought I was too dark for their sons.

Please help me, Pauline. I like this guy a lot, but I can't date him without permission. What do I do?

Sincerely,

Quince & Crushing

Dear Quince,

*Insert Big Dramatic Sigh Right Here*.

Totally been right where you are, M'ijita. I had a high school crush on a boy who was as kind and caring as he was guapisimo. But just like you, my parents warned me of potential family backlash for not only dating outside of our culture, but for going so far as to date a "black boy."

Before anyone assumes I was raised by close-minded racists, let me clarify a bit. My dad told me he was fine with whomever I dated as long as they treated me well. But, as is often the case in Latino families, it's not just mami and papi we answer to, now is it?

Because it was apparent I wouldn't be able to bring the boy I liked to any family dinners without having to worry about his feelings being hurt, I chose to step aside and I sincerely and truly wish I could go back and find the spine to put my own happiness before the collective familia opinion.

Understand that I'm not suggesting you disobey your parents by any means. You're only 15, and while you sound like a responsible girl with a good head on your shoulders, Mami y Papi still call the shots... even if those shots are a bit misguided.

Ask your parents if they wouldn't mind sitting down to talk. Be open and honest and remind them of how you all felt when your corazon was broken because closed-minded parents couldn't see past the color of your own skin. Tell them that you will respect their decision, but hope they choose to support you. We're talking about a movie here, not a marriage proposal.

If it's the rest of la familia that concerns your parents, suggest the unthinkable and keep Romeo off of the list of acceptable topics to discuss at Sunday dinner (at least for now.) Why rock the boat unnecessarily?

Whatever they decide, good luck and keep me posted. I love updates from Dimelo readers! -- Crossing my fingers for you, M'ija!

-- P                

Pauline Campos is Latina Magazine's #DIMELO advice columnist. Email her your questions at dimelo@latina.com. Connect with her on her blog, www.aspiringmama.com, sign up for her Tortilla Press newsletter, and follow her on twitter: @pauline_campos.

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