Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bricheros and inter-racial dating

I'm in the Philippines this week. I've been here for a conference, and I've presented a paper on teaching technique. More than that, I've met some lovely people and had interesting conversation.

However, I find myself thinking of the intersection of relationships. Here there are tiny little women, beautiful and what we Americans would consider exotic. They are here with big, bulky (generally speaking) American men. It makes me wonder at what point I would be willing to give up my culture, my religion, my norms in order to be with someone.

In Peru there is a word for the native men who are involved with gringa women - they are called bricheros. It comes from the word for bridge - or at least that's what I tell myself. Maybe it doesn't. Actually, I think that word is porta or some such (like portable or porta-potty... ahhh yes, another reference to toilets in my blog!). Anyway, I look at the women here and I don't feel the connection with them that I would if I were in Peru, in a similar situation.

At what point does the positive from a partner outweigh the positive of history? When do we stop being a person of our land and just a person?

I remember a time that I loved a man from another country. I knew I truly loved him when I was willing to convert to Catholicism for him. There was no doubt in my mind. I loved him and wanted his happiness. That would have been the price of his happiness.

I wonder if that love is what these women feel for the men they are with here. Is it love? Is it the need to get out of a desperate situation? Is it just interesting and exotic for them? I don't know, I can't know. But as a lovely Irishman said to me recently, "The American green card isn't what it used to be."

I don't know. I just don't know. Ponderings. What I think of though in all this is where is the judgmental coming from? I'm finding myself somewhat judgmental in this situation, the same as Koreans do with white men and Korean women, the way Peruvians did about the bricheros and the gringas.

Why do we think it is important to be with "our own kind"? And at what point does the human race stop being "our own kind" in our biased world?

1 comment:

  1. There is a certain danger and excitement that comes from being with someone 'different'...who can deny the visual excitement of dark against light ? It enhances the whole experience for some of us. As for 'giving up' aspects of ourselves ? I thought of it as an addition to who and what I am- but then I was not making the relationship permanent...and how would I answer in that case ? Who knows ? It has come and gone - and left me with new appreciation of a different culture - I treasure my experiences.