W hat exactly does being a light-skinned Latina mean for me?
It means that all at once, I am just dark enough, too dark or not dark enough at all. In college, a white classmate once touched my arm and said that she loved my tan. In that moment, however, I stopped being me. I was just a nice tan.
I may as well have been a chemically constructed liquid, something she could purchase in a bottle or spray on herself at the beach. Colorism favors people with lighter skin tones and violently dismisses those with darker ones. If I dress a certain way — put on some boat shoes, a polo, maybe some pearl earrings — I could maybe even cross over into the land of whiteness.
I could get a seat in a cafe there. Listen to Tame Impala. I will be asked if I can spell or speak English.
And then, I can also be not dark enough — there are white people who brag about being able to get darker than me. To them, my identity is something so fluid they could drink it. Buy it over the counter. Take it like a vitamin.
A Girl in Pieces centers around a young, light-skinned Mexican-American girl. I explain my race and break it down into bite-sized pieces for white people, the same way I give directions to tourists to the train. I dissect it, minimize it, make an easy-to-digest travel brochure for my identity.
Growing up in a predominantly white town, my brownness was something my peers were always trying to conceptualize for me. I remember welcoming comparisons to caramel, spices, Eva Mendes. It gave me a place, a name. Helped me understand who and how I am and why I look this way.
Colonialism made sure that I would never understand my history. I am this color because of love and because of rage and the undefinable colors that exist between them. Order by newest oldest recommendations. Show 25 25 50 All. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Loading comments… Trouble loading? When you date a Latina, you date her entire family. it too easy for her cousins to convince you that "mamame" means "pardon me" in Spanish.
What exactly does being a light-skinned Latina mean for me?