I come from the most Hispanic family of all Hispanic families: We only speak in Spanish at home, we only watch Univision and we definitely don't care about the wonderful array of television series available on HBO. That's what novelas are for... duh.
We fight and make up faster than you can say "Bendito!" We dance often and party often.
We clean the house on Saturdays. We attend church regularly, and we eat lots of spicy, salty, fried, carby things.
I hate to list such stereotypical things, but it's the truth. My family is super Hispanic, so being a first-generation American made having such an ethnic family difficult at times.
Keeping the balance between both Latino and American cultures can be a little tricky. When the two overlap, it can be tough to handle.
Things like dating, for example, are often a little troublesome. There's a lot of "educating" one must do when one's boyfriend is white, and honestly, all that explaining can be so taxing.
These are some things your Latino family needs to understand about the white boy you're dating, despite what a hassle they can be to clarify:
1. He isn't rich.
I have no clue where this idea comes from, but most old-school Hispanics still think all white people are rich. They suppose white guys are all heirs to multinational companies, and get excited thinking their daughter might marry into a rich family.
It's so hard to explain to your family that your very white boyfriend also had to worry about getting a student loan. It's also challenging for them to fathom the idea he might not have a six-figure salary.
White people struggle, too. We might all know this, but try explaining that to an older generation Hispanic.
When a hard moment in life hits, we're all susceptible. The bottom line is, not all white people are rich.
2. It's not OK to call him “gringo.”
Hispanics tend to give each other nicknames. It's cultural, and sometimes, it can come across as rude if you're not used to it.
For example, if you're thin, someone will probably dub you “flaca,” which means skinny. If you're tall, maybe they'll name you “grandota,” which means big girl.
If your boyfriend is white, chances are, he will get called “gringo” at some point. Although your family does it out of love, it's not OK to call someone "gringo."
It's derogatory, no matter how nicely you say it.
3. It's OK if he's not Catholic.
Ah, religion: It seems like the biggest fights sprout because of this topic. Your parents will freak out if your boyfriend is Jewish and doesn't believe Jesus is the son of God. Or if he's an atheist, get ready for your mom to bust out the holy water.
But religion – or lack thereof – isn't something that can make or break a relationship.
Tons of Catholics get divorced every year, and tons of people who don't share the same beliefs stay married their entire lives. Mami and Papi need to understand that.
But of course, they will unquestionably have trouble understanding how you could date or marry someone who doesn't believe in the same things you were taught to.
4. He is white, but he's not racist... and neither is his family.
You parents will worry that because he's white, he'll have racist tendencies. They think your white beau is just trying to fulfill a Latina fetish.
This is crazy: Why can't we just put the fact that he's white to bed?
Your parents will worry his family won't accept you because you're different, and will therefore not accept them as well. They'll worry about you getting rejected.
Although that can sometimes happen, who cares? Their job is to solely accept the guy who's made his way into your heart, regardless of his skin color.
5. He can definitely fit in perfectly with your family.
He can't handle spicy food, he doesn't speak a word of Spanish, he doesn't understand futbol and he's drunk out of his mind after that second shot of tequila.
He's never been south of the border, and he doesn't know you have to finish everything you were served on your plate.
Your parents will worry about all of this.
The truth is, your white boy may not know any of these things. He may not understand the culture... but he'll learn.
If he loves you, he'll be willing to understand the culture and language. Know this isn't a problem: Humans are good at evolving. We've been doing it for quite some time.
If anything, teaching him all these things will be an adventure, and your family can partake in it.