By Victoria Leyva

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As a Chicana I never thought I would end up in a long-term relationship with a prejudiced man. When I first met him I was fascinated by his naturally white blonde hair, light green eyes and fair complexion. I had grown up surrounded by an array of brown hair and tanned skin, and I found him exciting. As my “like” for him turned into love, I would sweetly call him “Ghost Boy.” It was a pet name he cherished until the day our relationship ended.
As we began dating I noticed small comments about my ethnicity that I brushed off.
Comments persisted as the holidays approached. After unknowingly being kept a secret from his family for months, he invited me to Christmas dinner. Seated across from his beloved English grandmother, she asked about my kin and while explaining my large family she commented between bites of a biscuit, “Oh, that’s right. It’s because of all of the inbreeding.” I suddenly felt ashamed. Between laughs he later called me his “brown incest baby.” The origin of the prejudiced comments began to make sense as I spent more time around his friends and family.
Later in our relationship, following my birthday dinner, we went to hangout with his friends. As one friend complained about the nearby Filipino teenagers being “disgusting” my Ghost Boy joked, “Are they even more worthless than Mexicans?”
I froze. As he heartily laughed it felt like he sucked all the air out of the room. I was sitting inches away from him, but never felt so low. While I choked back tears in privacy he accused me of being sensitive and not understanding humor that transcended race. He did not understand that as a Mexican-American woman, I would never have the choice to transcend something I am.
Nor would I want to.

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