Conquering old family values

Laura Chavarria and Patrick Stockton met while working at Barnes & Noble Booksellers. Chavarria, who is a junior, describes herself as a “pureblooded Mexican,” and Patrick, who is a senior, describes himself as a “big mutt of German, Irish, Scottish, British, and probably Polish descent. Just throw it into a blender and mix it up and here I am.”

Chavarria is a fourth-generation American, but since she was a young girl, she had the belief instilled in her that white people were the superior race.

“The first time it happened was with my grandmother, and it was totally unsolicited. I just said, ‘Grandma, you have really pretty handwriting,’ and she said, ‘You have to in school. You have to be the best in school, and I had to have the best handwriting because I was Mexican.’ I was like nine or ten and that’s when it started.”

Stockton admits that he wanted to date Chavarria right away: she said she had never dated an anglo before and had never considered it either. Chavarria reminisces about what she told Stockton in the beginning. “You’re white and you’re goofy, and I just don’t want to date you.”

Chavarria pauses as she collects her thoughts: “It’s a culture thing, it’s a religious thing and they don’t see their family the same way.”

Although they stopped dating, they continued to be best friends while dating other people. When their other relationships ended, they tried dating once again, and they have been together for nearly a year now. But Chavarria is always aware of their culture differences, especially when she is around his family.

“I’m very on edge when I’m around them, so I’m like, ‘I have to be at my best; I can’t say anything stupid, I have to represent.’ I always feel like that when I’m around his family. I’m like, ‘They don’t think I belong here, so I just need to behave.”

Stockton says that his family has never brought up Chavarria’s ethnicity, because they know not to cross that boundary. “If my family doesn’t like who I’m dating, they can go to hell,” Stockton says without hesitation.

“This is about me; it’s not about my family. To me, it’s never about my family; it’s been about finding my happiness and what’s making me happy.”

Chavarria laughs when hearing Stockton.

“I would get smacked in the face if I said that,” Chavarria says.

But Chavarria’s family does bring up Stockton’s ethnicity, even if they’re just joking. “Everyone’s like, ‘Oh, you’re dating a white guy! He’s going to get you out of here!'”

When faced with the possibility that their relationship could one day end, Chavarria and Stockton agree that ethnicity would not be the factor that pulls them apart. Because when Laura gets upset over the difference in their ethnicity, Patrick just tells her to deal with it, and she does. One thing is for sure, though; if they were to break up, Laura would never date another white person, which Patrick playfully says would be another notch in his belt.