Latino Man, Black Woman: Braving the Stares and Negative Comments
For quite some time, Blacks and Latinos have intermingled and shared deep friendships, finding common ground in their similar struggles and celebrating each other’s differences. In the United States of America, Blacks and Latinos hanging out together and even dating is a common sight, but where I’m from, it’s not so common.
For those of you that are unaware, I am Trinidadian, and I currently still reside in Trinidad and Tobago, and if you think that colorism and racism exists only in the United States, I’m here to tell you that it’s just as present on my twin island, except that here, it is often swept under a figurative rug, and talked about in hushed whispers; I suppose because no one wants to face the ugly truth…but I digress.
I hesitated to write this piece, because one of the individuals who must unavoidably be mentioned is a very private individual, and I wasn’t so sure sharing my experiences publicly was a good idea, considering that, to share my story, I must share his. To that individual, your identity is protected; I promise.
I’ve had this Latino guy friend for quite some time now, and over the past year or so, we began getting much closer. Actually, the correct term for his ethnic makeup is “Cocoa Panyol,” but, had I put that term in the article heading, many persons would not have known what I was talking about. Just some brief background information on who the Cocoa Panyols are: Cocoa Panyol people are people of Trinidad and Tobago birth who have Venezuelan, Native American Indian, and African bloodlines flowing through their veins. Since the Venezuelan bloodlines are more prominent than that of the others in these persons, they are often referred to as Hispanic.
Back to my story.
This guy and I began getting much closer over the past year; hanging out more, and naturally, being seen more together in public.
Caught up in the bliss of our growing closeness, we barely stopped to think about the effect seeing us together had on some of the people around us; that is, until we couldn’t help but notice that effect.
We’d be doing something as simple and innocent as waiting in line at the movie theatre, and people would stare; some in disbelief, some with curiosity, and others with downright disgust and hatred. They didn’t have to say a word; we saw it in their eyes. Many of the seemingly accusing and condemning eyes were aimed at me, quite possibly because I’m the darker-hued of the two of us. The eyes bore into me, taunting, asking, “What are you doing with him?”