I embarrassed myself by calling Latin food "Spanish". I didn't know how to dance to Spanish music one time. Back then he said he understood because I wasn't around it like he was growing up. I didn't know who Cesar Chavez and not a lot about S. American culture. Yesterday he said he doesn't understand why I didn't know those things when I have Latino nephews. I told him I wasn't exposed to the culture much, I hardly see my nephews, heard other people call Latin food Spanish, etc. He said all he's hearing is excuses and that I'm only looking outward with no introspection on why *I* haven't considered it and he thinks that's really entitled and privilaged. He got angry that I used the US and America interchangably. He said" I think you call it that for the same reason that you said "Spanish food" & it's insulting that you don't own up to it." That I don't have a good grasp on privilege and entitlement. I told him I thought he was pointing out my Latino nephews because of a belief that it should have given me more opportunies to gain knowledgeable about the culture and that's why I explained the lack of exposure. He said "You really need to stop, you're digging youself a hole. I like you, but the more you talk, with no introspection or knowledge about entitlement, privilege, microaggressions and oppression, the more I want to stop talking to you. It makes me not like you very much and not like who I am becoming and how I'm responding to you."I asked if he wanted to break up then. He said his view of me is very skewed at the moment and not very positive. But it would be good to talk face to face. I agreed. Then he said he was on the way home. He said, "I'm home safe. Well, goodnight" when he got in. Nothing since. He has a tendency to stop initiating contact for 2-3 days after arguments. I reached out the last few times. What do you guys think and should I wait for him to come to me?
Most Helpful Girl
Cross-cultural relationships can be difficult, and certainly there can be issues such as someone not recognizing their privilege, or being ignorant about the other person's culture, or even being racist without realizing they're being racist.
The most important things, I think, is that you should be willing to listen, learn, empathize, and having respect for the other person and their culture.
That said, I think your boyfriend is being unreasonable.
Yes, you are ignorant about things in his culture. That said, I'm sure if he got into a relationship with, say, a Chinese woman, he would be ignorant about Chinese culture, history, etc. too.
If you called Latin food "Spanish", his response should be, "Actually, it's called Latin food, not Spanish", and your response should be, "Oh, I didn't realize." (and since now you know it's called Latin food, you call it Latin food from there on). It shouldn't be any bigger deal of that.
As a Canadian, I think getting upset that that you used US and America interchangeably is silly. Technically, I'm an "American" (since I'm a North American), but we use America to describe the US too, and if you called a Canadian "American", we would definitely correct you and say, "No, I'm a Canadian". I mean, I can sort of understand the sentiment that, "Hey, all of us in North and South America are "Americans", so why does the US get dibs on the term?" But to get upset with you for using those terms interchangeably?
If he's saying that something bothers him, and you're saying, "You shouldn't be bothered by that", then that's being dismissive of his feelings and experiences, and that's a problem... but it seems like in your relationship, it's more than he's upset because of your ignorance, and I think he's being unfair to you.
Also, giving someone the silent treatment for 2-3 days is really immature. Adults in healthy relationships deal with issues through communication.1