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It's easy to get so caught up in the misogyny of this story that you miss the point, but How to Date a Brown Girl is not just what it seems on the surface.
It's not just a teenage playboy giving advice on how to get in the pants of a black girl, brown girl, white girl, or halfie. He shows us the protagonist's vulnerability through the boy's own attempts at seeming macho.
Malcom X claimed some African American males are so ashamed of who they are they will actually resort to dating white women.
I don’t believe this is what Diaz is striving for but he makes the point clear that one is always attempting to hide perceived negatives about one’s self, in the case of this short story that would be ethnicity and to a lesser extent poverty.
Funny, incredibly sharp writenned, a subtle portrait of an entire culture, that of the latin inmigrants in the states. Funny, incredibly sharp writenned, a subtle portrait of an entire culture, that of the latin inmigrants in the states. The first time that I encountered with this short story was through The Newyorker's podcasts. The rest of Diaz's works are on my reading list but before reading them I need to break the spell of this brilliant piece of literature.
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People of color (often unknowingly) spend a lot of time "apologizing" for their culture, skin color, hair type, vernacular, socio-economic status; the way we walk, talk and exist in the world. A teen who comes off as a self-absorbed, chauvinistic asshole when he's really just another damaged brown boy trying to wear a mask for the world.
If the protagonist were self-aware, he might label his instructions, "How to Not be Yourself So That Others Deem You Worthy." Kinda funny. I ran across a podcast of the author reading it as a part of a radio series broadcast back in 1995 by The Newyorker and decided to give it a listen.
This is a sentiment which is relatable to all aspects of life even when race is not a factor.
Often times a person will act much different around their friends compared to when they are in a professional setting this is not a profoundly new thought but Diaz’s story is able to capture this is an interesting socially critical way.