Junot Diaz’s “How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie” is a story that takes the form of an instructional manual on how to act and/or behave depending upon the ethnicity and social class of the person one is dating. The true purpose of dating is to achieve physical and emotional intimacy, maybe not today, but the idea of dating is to form a relationship. The advice he gives becomes biased because of this perspective. Diaz instructs the reader, assumed male, to completely alter his intuitive interactions, mask his history, social status, and racial characteristics in hopes of manipulating the intimacy. A person’s own expectations of another person being are determined by their generalizations about a person’s race or class, which is true in many cases, not just dating. Diaz demonstrates that we control the other’s perception of us, and our perceptions of others also control us.
He, right away, introduces the central theme of the story; the reader must act differently depending on the race and social class of the girl he is with.The story highlights common stereotypes and these stereotypes are based on ethnicity and social class. Stereotypes often influence a man’s decisions on how to treat girls based on preconceived ideas.He instructs the reader to hide his social class by hiding the government cheese. “If the girl’s from the Terrace stack the boxes behind the milk. If she’s from the Park or Society Hill hide the cheese in the cabinet above the oven, way up where she’ll never see” (Diaz). But where to hide it depends upon the girl’s social class. He then goes on to give further instruction to hide parts of his history and racial background. “Hide the pictures of yourself with an Afro,” “Take down any embarrassing photos of your family in the campo, especially the one with the half-naked kids dragging a goat on a rope leash”(Diaz). By following the advice given on may get closer to some sort of physical intimacy, maybe not sex but something of the sorts. “If she’s a whitegirl you know you’ll at least get a hand job”(Diaz). Not only should the girl’s race and class should determine the behavior of her date, It also determines the girl’s behavior or what the reader should expect. What is expected to be given out and whats expected to be given up. Throughout he makes comment eluding to this idea,“a local girl may have hips and a thick ass but she won’t be quick about letting you touch,” or “A whitegirl might just give it up right then” (Diaz).
The advice given is predicated upon his subjective experience of groups, rather than the consideration of each human being as an individuals. Seeming losing individuality. To associate another human being as and epitome of their race or social class rather than as an individual is just moving the stereotype around. He presents the reader with a lot of “if she is this, she will do this” types of scenarios, predicated on racial and social ideals. Diaz’s does include a girl whose actions aren’t stereotypical and provide some sense of individuality unlike the others. “She will cross her arms, say, I hate my tits. Stroke her hair but she will pull away. I don’t like anybody touching my hair, she will say. She will act like somebody you don’t know” (Diaz). She doesn’t fit into into a racial stereotype completely. She actually had individuality and has her only unique sense of self, and insecurities. This situation complete throws off the advice given since the advice is specifically aimed towards those who fit into this perfect chart of racial and social class stereotypes.
Diaz’s story is based on the stereotypes and beliefs that most naive men have concerning women. Diaz uses these preconceived beliefs from what are to be the social norms for women and men to draw conclusions about girls and give advice. He is seemingly trying to take advantage of knowledge needed for achieving the ultimate goal of having sexual relations with girls and pouring them onto others with backwards stereotypical ideas, which actually may be true to an extent. Only from a carefully manipulated Impression he creates for his date, rather than the more inherent and objective truths of who he truly is. He writes it in a very joking manner but people hiding themselves to make someone like them and/or to advance sexual relations isn’t too fat fetched.
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