I hadn't yet learned that giving others the benefit of the doubt was an important part of finding love, both from others and within myself.I was ignorant that appearances could be both deceiving and alienating — that my racialization of romance kept me at arm's length from deeper intimacy. I have proof: a letter I wrote to "my future daughter" when I was 11 years old.
From talking to my family in California, I knew that my younger female cousins were repeating the same pattern: They wanted so badly to emulate the roles played by Jennifer Lopez in films like — young Latinas who marry wealthy white men.
Eventually, those fights tore their marriage apart.
To avoid my mother's fate and to live a prosperous life, I knew what to do: not marry a man like my dad.
He was well-acquainted with interracial relationships — two of his sisters had babies with men of color — and was generally less concerned with appearances than I was. " he once pointed out after I'd tried — and failed — to get a tan while on vacation. But as much as I treasured those memories I felt only a Mexican family could create, my parents — especially my dad — told me that, for my own good, I should look outside of our culture for love.
One day when I was 8 years old, I tagged along with my dad to his job as a janitor at the city airport. Although he had worked there for three years, many people didn't know his name.
I blushed as he recalled my teenage persona: a New Wave girl who "only hung out with the skinny white boys." I didn't remember him, but now, 25 years later, I was drawn to his lean build and intense eyes.