Shit White Parents Have Said to Me

While looking forward to and planning for A-Camp’s Queer Women of Color Panel – race, color, privilege, dating and all of the things in between – I realized my brain needed a little break from all those serious thoughts. Obviously a break equals thinking about chicks, which made me think of the chicks I’ve loved and dated, which naturally brought me to their parents. Meeting parents is ALWAYS awkward. Amiright? On top of it being awkward just because, the whole “me being Latina” thing often adds an extra special element of polite unintentional racism and often humorous discomfort when meeting White parents. I am honored to share the best nuggets with you.

Shit White Parents Have Said to Me

1. Wow, you’re so articulate.

2. Were you born here?

3. Can you dance Salsa? Cook Spanish food? Clean my house?

4. Are you related to Jennifer Lopez?

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5. Well, do you maybe just kind of know Jennifer Lopez? You know, like from the block?

6. Minority youths are really just more violent than white ones. Seriously, you can’t argue with the news.

7. My parents lived in the Bronx during the 1950s. Do the Jews still live there?

8. So tell me, you carry a knife right? Like a switchblade? Boxcutter? No? Really? Hmm. I guess I’ll take your word for it.

9. Not to be racist but…

10. Do you live in a tenement?

11. Not to be stereotypical but…

12. So it’s you and your brother, are you both from the same parents?

13. Oh, wow, so your parents are married. That’s refreshing.

14. God, I love your curly hair. You’re lucky. I have to pay hundreds of dollars for mine to look like that. It’s yours, right? Can I touch it?

15. What a nice little Puerto Rican girl you are…

16. Wish [insert name of girlfriend/friend] could be more like you.

17. So are you the first in your family to graduate college?

18. I don’t believe in affirmative action, you understand. Everyone needs to be able to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and succeed. There’s nothing holding back any Blacks or Hispanics in this day and age.

19. Check out my collection of Mexican Art. Don’t touch anything.

20. My mother knew a Salvadorian woman once…

21. Good morning. Please stop f*cking my daughter, put some clothes on and let’s get ready for church. Jesus Christ.

22. Want a beer, kid? I don’t have any Coronas though. Sam Adams ok?

23. I’ll drive you home. That neighborhood of yours is terrible. How have you even survived?

24. Do your parents speak English?

25. Don’t mind anything my asshole husband says, I think you’re great.

What weird and uncomfortable things have parents outside of your race/ethnicity/socioeconomic background said to you?


Special Note: Autostraddle’s “First Person” personal essays do not necessarily reflect the ideals of Autostraddle or its editors, nor do any First Person writers intend to speak on behalf of anyone other than themselves. First Person writers are simply speaking honestly from their own hearts.

Gabrielle Rivera is an awesomely queer Bronx bred, writer, spoken word artist and director. Her short stories and poems have been published in various anthologies such as the Lambda Award winning Portland Queer: Tales from the Rose City and The Best of Panic! En Vivo from the East Village. Her short film "Spanish Girls are Beautiful" follows a group of young Latina and Caucasian girls who like girls as they hook up, smoke up and try to figure sh*t out. She also freelances for Autostraddle.com while working in the film and television industry. Gabrielle is currently working on her first novel while bouncing around NYC performing spoken word and trying to stick it to the man.

gabby has written 102 articles for us.

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