Someone suggested that when I go to any Jewish function, I should just give everyone a two-minute bio about myself so that people will stop staring and acting totally bizarre if they think I don’t “look Jewish.”
But often when I tell Jews that my family is from the Dominican Republic (and I was born in New York, though this last part goes unheard because two seconds later, they ask what it was like growing up in the Dominican Republic), they go into a rant about how much they LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE the Dominican Republic or how much they want to visit and that’s when it gets pretty AWKWARD.
(Most notably, the least awkward conversation I had with a Jew about the Dominican Republic was with an Italian Jewish woman I met at the Chabad in Florence, Italy who told me she had lived Santo Domingo for over 20 years and raised her son there. She knew more about the Dominican Republic than me and her Spanish was faultless. If I remember correctly, we spoke in Spanish because I didn’t speak Italian and she didn’t speak English.)
Guatemalan Maya Escobar made a video about the awkwardness that ensues when you tell someone Jewish (or just white) about your “native” country called “Gringa Loves Guatemalan,” even down to the bad Spanish they use to effusively discuss how much they LOVE LOVE LOVE Guatemala. It showcases beautifully how people in the Jewish community respond when I tell them I’m first-generation Dominican-American….
So remember, folks, I am not a Dominican travel agent, I don’t want to know about your vacation there, I don’t want to you to practice your broken Spanish with me and I have no idea how you can prevent getting malaria in the Dominican Republic…I was born in New York for G-d’s sake!
Related: Maya pretends to be a college student who thinks it’s awesome that Maya, THE LATINA, is at their school.