Because my ability to tan has nothing to do with my Latina identity, got it? Here are 8 things all light skinned Latinas are tired of hearing:
1. Pale: Real Latina
"You're not a real Latina."
Um, who made you the identity police?
I hate to break it to you, but there’s no such thing as a real Latina -- you either identify as Latina or you don’t. Many of us pale Latinas happen to be very proud of our heritage, thank-you-very-much.
2. Pale: Tan
"Can you even tan?"
Does it matter?
Is my ability to tan somehow essential to my Latina identity? Stop perpetuating stereotypes that all Latinas are brown. Yes, some are, and that’s awesome. Others aren’t. All are Latina.
3. Pale: Adopted
"Are you sure you're not adopted?"
Um, about as sure as you are…? I don’t even know how to answer this question, especially when it follows this exchange:
"Oh, you have blue eyes! What color are your parents' eyes?"
"And what color is your neighbors'/milkman/[insert any other male figure here]?"
Umm... this one is not only rude, it's just plain weird! Just don't go there. (P.S. who even has a milkman anymore?! Is that a thing?)
4. Pale: Blue Eyes
"You are so lucky you have blue eyes and light skin!"
This one may not seem offensive at face value, but this compliment is laced with subtle racism. Basically, you're implying that I'm lucky because I don't look "Latina."
Thanks -- but no, thanks. I love my body and my appearance (and yes, my blue eyes), but I don’t ever consider myself “lucky." I’m just me. Beautiful Latinas come in all shapes, sizes, and colors -- and we’re all lucky to look exactly the way we do.
5. Pale: Understand
"You don't understand what it means to be Latina."
Because you're the expert on what I know and how I feel, right?
Some people think that not looking stereotypically Latina means that you're not connected to your community. Let's get this straight: my hair color, eye color, and skin color have nothing to do with how I feel about my community or how much I care about Latino issues. Period.
6. Pale: Gringa
"You're such a gringa/güera/pocha!"
Ok, I am güera. That one's fair.
But pocha and gringa? Rude, uncalled for, and simply untrue.
7. Pale: Bother
"Does it bother you that you don't look more Latina?"
Does it bother you that you're so stupid?
And no, not really. As far as I’m concerned, I look 100% Latina.
8. Latina: Look More
"You would definitely look more Latina if you _____.”
Raise your hand if you’ve heard any of the following:
“Wore more red."
"Grew your hair out."
“Dyed your hair darker."
“Wore more lipstick."
"Wore hoop earrings.”
Good God. As if “looking” or "being" Latina has anything to do with the color of our hair or choice of accessories. Please, just accept the fact that Latinas can be black, brown, white and every shade in between. We're curvy, petite, short, and tall. Some have big booties; others are flat as a pancake. Within one united group, there's so much diversity and variation. We're all different and beautiful -- and that's part of what makes being a Latina so amazing!