Boyfriend called me entitled and privileged because I came off as ignorant about his culture. Now he's not talking to me?

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?


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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.

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    • Personally, I'm not sure if I'd want to continue a relationship with someone like him, because I have a hard time imagining that thing will get better in this regard.

      (Disclaimer: Obviously your post here is one-sided, because it's just your point of view; perhaps there are bigger issues with the things you say/do, or how you respond to his concerns, that you might have left out or not realized).

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  • I didn't bother reading the whole just the question and first three sentences. Lightly skimmed

    But let me tell you a thing about cross cultural dating from the perspective of a minority whose been there. "Also have several cross cultural marriages in the family"

    First and foremost I'm on your side. If I were you I wouldn't be embarrassed actually I'd be upset. However, I can understand your boyfriends angle, I mean I know what he's trying to accomplish but he's going about it the wrong way.

    When I cross cultural date, I already have it set in my head that I'm going to learn his favorite traditional meals, music, clothing, language, religion, caste, dating/marriage struggle, civil struggles if need be. "Without having to be asked"
    I know it may sound objectifying to some but really it will help you understand the person you're dating on a whole new level, it'll make things less awkward not only for you both but when family comes in the picture too, I also think it can reduce clashes..

    It can also be a very fun experience learning about each other's culture. If you don't want it to be a library project, bring into your dating realm. Want to learn some Latin dances book a surprise date night at a dance studio. He wants you to learn his food have a Netflix date and you two can make it together. Go on vacation to his home town.. Etc

    On the opposing end, I think your boyfriend is being a bit of an A**. He came in with a lot of pre assumptions and expectations. Will everything I mentioned above help.. "Hell yes" do you have to do it "No", why "because there isn't a ring on your finger and assuming this isn't long term yet" so he's jumping the gun. And ready to defend his actions and culture as well.
    He should know that it's unrealistic to expect someone to know everything about their culture, he should be approaching this with a "let me teach you attitude" instead of "playing the political blame game"

    You two need to sit and have a talk about cultural expectations

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    • If not expect to have many clashes. You should be prepared though he seems a little defensive for no reason that I know of based on what you said.

      Make a list of concerns if needed, likewise I'd hope he have some type of way to express himself with going on a rampage.

      Taking about issues like these can already be awkward enough brining hostility into it will just turn it into a war zone

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    • Yes good mental notes to keep :) they also help with friendship..

      In other news..
      Does he expect you to chase him
      I've had far worse racial experiences when dating
      He seems like doesn't seem adept enough for a cross cultural relationship or a relationship at all if this is all it took for him to end it

      If it works out good
      If not you may have just dodged a bulet and in the future you'll have a more pleaseant experience with cross cultural dating

    • He expects me to chase since we have never reconciled unless I reached out to him first. I even waited as long as 4 days before. I think he just doesn't care too much or expects me to do all the lifting. And now looking for an excuse to end things. You're absolutely right that I dodged a bullet.

  • I'm assuming you're white? He's going through some issues and probably feels guilty for dating below his intellectual level.

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