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  • I Feel Guilty for Dating My White Boyfriend

    | Photo: Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez

Published 16 June 2016
I feel guilty as a proud brown immigrant Nicaraguan woman when I tell someone the undeniable truth: I am in love with a white man.

I am very intentional about my friendships. I have a very tight circle of friends, that do not intentional exclude anyone based on race and/or gender, but very intentionally includes women of color and queers.

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I am in love with my friends.

I have grown and become a new person because of the people I have chosen to allow into my personal life. I call them whenever I need advise, I tell them about my work, they call me to share great news, sad news, and even for no news. We are very connected but also very much independent people with our own thoughts, and we are all doing and moving through the world with a lot of fight in our step. I consider my intentional friendships my lifeline, and pride myself in who I am surrounded by.

However, I am also dating a white cis man, and I find myself feeling a lot of guilt around that particular reality. And I also find that I am not alone in feeling this guilty, a lot of WOC (women of color) who find ourselves in committed relationships with white cis men oftentimes have to defend that reality so much that we do not have much time to really sit with ourselves and deconstruct our own analysis around this particular relationship.

But yes, I experience a lot of guilt around dating a white cis man. And as I was figuring out how I was going to write this, I kept thinking I did not want to write a post about the reasons that make him exceptional for me and I did not want to write any of this love is blind bullshit either, because this piece is not about him nor his white cis male body —conversations revolve around those topics too long and too often already. Instead I want this piece to be about the guilt that I feel guilty as a proud brown immigrant Nicaraguan woman when I tell someone the undeniable truth: I am in love with a white man.

If you know anything about the history of colonization, in simple terms it meant that lighter skinned men came and raped their way into our lands. If you know anything about colonialism you know that white men claimed our women like they claimed our lands, not by asking for consent but taking things forcefully with all the entitlement that being male and being white presents you with since the moment you’re born. So as a decolonizing Latina, I find myself guilty for willingly accepting yet another white man to claim this body that has taken hundreds of years for me to reclaim from the shackles of colonial mentality. As a decolonizing Latina I find it troubling that a white man, who has all the advantages that come from being born with the “right” skin tone and of the “right” gender, can come into my body and taint it yet again.

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I am proud of being brown but it has taken me a lot of years to love all of me. It had taken my 30 FULL years to love all of me, and I also love my uncles and my papi and cousins and abuelo, and I find their brownness BEAUTIFUL. So it is difficult to justify why I suddenly found myself in love with a white man. I feel like people are going to assume that I do not love my herencia that is on my skin, I feel like people are going to assume I do not love my brownness. But that cannot be any more wrong, and I love the skin I was blessed with.

I feel guilt because every one, including myself, thinks: it is not for a lack of options that I am with a white man, so the assumption can only be that I must have sought out the romantic company of a white man intentionally. And if that is the case, then why was a Latino not good enough? And I have nothing to say to that, because love is not blind and love does see in color, so where do I go from here?

If you understand colorism in our countries, you know that chances are that my parents will love my white boyfriend's whiteness and I feel guilty because the comfort he will experience when meeting my parents is unique to his race and I am oftentimes feeling guilt about that … it is not fair and it is not easy to swallow and I just want to figure out how to be open about my own hesitations without bringing my partner down.

I think that’s the beginning of something beautiful, to be so honest and so transparent about my hesitations as a person who has all the trappings of marginalization within a U.S. narrative, with a partner who has all the trappings of privilege. Guilt is unavoidable, when you’re brown and woke and female AND also dating someone who will never understand the guilt…

Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez is the founder of Latina Rebels.

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