A version of this piece was originally published on Vivala.
To my white novio,
I am going to need to speak to you frankly about what it means to date a brown girl from ChicoPelon Managua, Nicaragua. Because since I arrived to the USA, you white boys have been attempting to recolonize my already mestiza (read: colonized) body, and I have generally avoided truly falling in love with someone who cannot accept all this brown sugar for one obvious reason: I am a white boy’s nightmare.
The dishes are dirty? Reparations.
I will not teach you Spanish. People get paid for that type of labor, lots of money.
And I want to understand, though you will never really understand, what it feels like to be an outsider. I want you to see and feel, even if just for a minute, what my Spanish speaking mami and papi experience in this country. I want you to have to watch shows like Plaza Sésamo to begin to gain entrance into these spaces that will be foreign to you.
I will not tell my friends to take it easy on you. Because you see, my family will embrace you with open arms and "like" you almost too immediately. There are reasons for that, deep colonized-folk reasons, so my friends will vet you. I want them to ask you if you have a “thing” for Latinas, and now matter what you say they will give you a non-descriptive, "hmm." I want them to ask you how much of your attraction is a fetish for my cultura, and what you think about capitalism as a white male. I want to watch you squirm and see your true colors seep out through your pores, because I am going to need your support when I meet your friends I want to know how much heat you can take. Your friends will call me “caliente” and ask me if I love spicy food, as if ALL LATINX CUISINE IS SPICY! And even venture to request I speak some Spanish to them. All this will be a product of your context, and I will not sink. But I expect you to swim just as furiously when my friends come for your head, figuratively, because your friends, whether intentionally or not, will come for my heart and I will handle it.
I will expect you to say my name, in my accent. I was born, Priscila Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez. One "L" because two makes a "Y" sound in my country, "Priscilla" me one day, I dare you. Not only that but your name will be said properly in all your spaces, and even my own spaces, so I expect you to at least hold my name, my entire name, with love and intention.
People in my community are going to love the color of your eyes, your baby blue eyes. It might even inflate your ego, check that at the door. My communities have been told our entire lives that white features are superior to our own darker ones, wider noses, flatter faces, etc. Your whiteness is coveted, but that comes at my subjugation and the subjugation of my people.
I may jokingly call you an “honorary” Nicaraguan, it is a joke. It is my simplified way of acknowledging that you as a white man dating a Pinolera born woman will have access to things about my culture that you cannot get while visiting on a mission trip or vacationing in my country. Please do not repeat this to your friends, nor to any other Latinx you encounter, because the struggle of being Nica is unique and needs to be lived. Being Nicaraguense is my birthright, much like having the ability to never fear being stopped by a cop on a simple traffic citation is yours.
My brownness is special, and I will talk about my brownness and my food and my cultura with pride. Understand that this is counter-cultural in a society that wants me to assimilate. My pride is political here...
And these are just a few things that you will encounter and live-through if you insist on dating a brown girl from ChicoPelon Managua, Nicaragua.