Culture

In My Own, I’ve Learned That Interracial Relationships Won’t Work If You Run From The Hard Stuff

In a sea of olive skin and dark eyes, there’s a tuft of blonde hair with baby blues. That guy with blue eyes is my person. At every christening, wedding, or birthday party, where there’s me, there’s my boyfriend. We go together without thinking, and I feel fortunate that I’m at a point in my life where bringing my boyfriend to family events is a given.

Throughout my dating life I’ve been asked “What you don’t like Latinos?” and “Will you ever date someone who isn’t white?” by friends and family alike.

Wandy Felicita Ortiz

For those asking: I do, and I have, but not with the frequency that the people asking those questions would like.

My grandparents came to the mainland in the 1950s and my great-grandfather, though born in Puerto Rico, was still considered a citizen of Spain. In comparison, his family lineage in the U.S. goes so far back that you can trace it to the Mayflower.

Often, I get called an “Oreo,” too white-minded to be Latina, and too dark-skinned to be white. I’m conscious of our differences, but I don’t date my boyfriend to be a living educational exhibit. I refuse to be fetishized or exoticized. I am who I am.

Even so, I have a lot to learn in terms of how I project some old cultural customs, be they sexist or racist, onto people I love.

Wandy Felicita Ortiz

My boyfriend and I aren’t afraid to talk about it as a couple or as friends.

The upbringing I have had, as traditional as it is, has led me to be judgmental, private, and less open. Meanwhile, he is open to my family and my culture. Where he jumps head-first, I’m hesitant to do the same because I’m afraid to lose sight of who I am.

Comments on my being one half of an interracial couple have always made me feel like my romantic relationships aren’t my own, and that to be in one, it had to please the people around me.

Yes, I do believe that your friends and family ultimately want the best for you. And yes, Latino families are sometimes so on our cases we don’t know where we end and they begin. It’s the positive danger of coming from a culture that’s close-knit, regardless of whether or not you want it to be. But, you learn to work with and around it.

I’m sure that when my loved ones ask me these questions, they do so less out of malice, and more of concern. Maybe to them, by being with someone who doesn’t share my cultural upbringing, I’m missing out on the best parts of my heritage.

In this relationship, I do see color.

Wandy Felicita Ortiz

We are two completely different people. Racially, and in turn socioeconomically. These two things play a key role in our relationship. Our interactions consist in “we don’t do that” or “you can’t say that,” and “when you say that, you sound like,” fill in the blank.

I call him out when he says something culturally insensitive or racially charged. I tell him when his privilege is showing. He lets me know when my upbringing doesn’t allow me to express thoughts and ideas I have due to fear or being shut out by others in my Latino community.

My boyfriend was never a dance partner at a quinceanera, he has never seen a quenepa up-close, and bendiciones to the elders was a foreign concept that he’s continually being introduced to. But although he’s new to all of those things, he embraces them.

When I say that, I don’t mean that he works to be or act Latino.

I do mean that he works to see the value in these things that are foreign to him, but non-negotiable as part of my life, and in turn, our partnership.

He seeks out this understanding. He asks questions about what he can’t relate to through personal experience and admits that there’s more to the Latino community than he realizes.

Together, we are on a journey to unlearn the bad and embrace the good in both of us. It’s hard, it’s messy, and there are fights. But this is the future, one of color-conscious love that, as a result, allows the best of us to shine through.

A Video Of A Woman Singing ‘Fallaste Corazón’ To Her Abuelo With Dementia Is Going Viral After He Remembered The Lyrics

Things That Matter

A Video Of A Woman Singing ‘Fallaste Corazón’ To Her Abuelo With Dementia Is Going Viral After He Remembered The Lyrics

We all know that growing old is inevitable in this life and that our days on Earth are numbered. Regardless of that truth, it’s human nature to either feel afraid of growing old or to feel melancholy when it comes to thinking of growing old. What can be even more painful is seeing our parents, our aunts and uncles, or our grandparents growing old and imagining a life without them in it. 

Last week, one woman on Twitter shared a video of her grandfather who has dementia singing along with her to “Fallaste Corazón” by Pedro Infante in a fleeting moment of lucidness. 

In the video, you can see the woman singing with such passion to her grandfather who is attentively watching her sing and who later begins to sing along to the lyrics as well.

 Dayis, on Twitter, shared that her “tata” doesn’t remember a lot of things due to his dementia but in an effort to help him with his dementia, she sings to him every day. 

“Today he remembered the song fallaste corazón and I swear I was trying so hard not to cry,” she writes. “This many is my life.”

According to Alzheimers.net, there are many reasons as to why music boosts brain activity.

According to the site, “musical aptitude and appreciation” are two of the last remaining abilities in dementia patients, music can bring emotional and physical closeness, music can shift moods and stimulate positive interactions, and it evokes emotions that bring back memories.

Since musical aptitude and appreciation are the last remaining abilities in patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia, “music is an excellent way to reach beyond the disease and reach the person.” In later stages of dementia, patients are also prone to losing the ability to share emotions with their caregivers or family members but through music, they can still reach that emotional and physical closeness they once had. Further, singing to and with dementia patients is engaging and it leads to patients “exercising more mind power than usual.” 

People who saw the touching video on social media were not only quick to share their reactions after watching it but they also shared their own personal experiences with family members and loved ones who had dementia. 

One Twitter user replied to @Dayannagmusic03 and shared that they couldn’t stop watching the video. 

The Twitter user went on to say that their grandfather also has dementia but notices sometimes that “something around him has triggered a memory” and to see that, they said, is the best feeling in the world. 

The woman who initially posted the video shared that her “tata” is currently on “stage 6” of dementia and although it’s been a long and rough battle, “he always seems to remember certain songs.”

“When he does, it warms my heart with joy,” she continued to write on Twitter. 

It’s safe to say the video had a lot of people in their feels and rightfully so.

We love to see raw and touching moments like these. 

The 0:50 mark made us ugly cry too.

This is right when her grandfather starts to faintly sing along with her and man, she sings with so much emotion too. 

Other folks on Twitter sent their blessings to her family and her grandfather.

We hope her grandfather continues to have more moments like this. 

People on Twitter also compared the heartwarming video to the movie Coco.

Remember the scene toward the end of the film when Miguel sings to Mamá Coco and she begins to remember? I’m not crying, YOU’RE CRYING. 

Others said what we’re all thinking… just thinking about our parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents getting old hurts a little bit more as we keep getting older ourselves. 

We’d like to keep believing their invincible and will live forever. 

Another Twitter user @missmalindakat tweeted that she had never seen anyone sing with more “heart and passion” than in that video.

One Twitter user shared her own video of her grandfather in a similar situation who also seemed to remember the lyrics to “El Rey” by Vicente Fernández when her great aunt sang it to him.

It’s touching to see other folks sharing their similar experiences and videos in an effort to support one another. This video has also amassed over 47,000 views on Twitter. 

Listen to “Fallaste Corazón” in full on YouTube below:

An Ohio Cheerleader Is Only Going To Get Three Years Of Probation For Killing Her Newborn Daughter

Things That Matter

An Ohio Cheerleader Is Only Going To Get Three Years Of Probation For Killing Her Newborn Daughter

A young woman accused of killing her newborn baby and burying her in the backyard of her family’s Ohio home two years ago was found not guilty of murder, USA Today reports. On Thursday, 20-year-old Brooke Skylar Richardson was acquitted of aggravated murder and involuntary manslaughter for the May 2017 death of her daughter. The former cheerleader was instead found guilty of abuse of a corpse and sentenced to seven days in jail and three years probation. 

However, the judge said that Richardson, who was behind bars for most of her eight-day trial, was free to go home for time served.

The young woman, who said she had learned and grown over the past two years, was mostly silent throughout her trial, with the exception of her repeated apologies.

“I am forever sorry,” she said. Moments later, she turned to the late baby’s father’s family adding, “I’m sorry.”

In July 2017, when Richardson was a senior in high school, she was accused of killing and burying her newborn baby days after her prom. Prosecutors allege she did not want to be an 18-year-old single mom. They pointed to circumstances like Richardson not returning for an ultrasound, bloodwork or any other treatment weeks after learning of her pregnancy and ignoring calls from the doctor and assistants. She also told police that she looked into an abortion, but it was too late to have one. However, she has adamantly denied that she administered an abortion on herself.

Assistant prosecutor Steven Knippen said in court that days after the baby’s death Richardson sent two text messages bragging about her weight loss.

“Shortly, after murdering her daughter and placing her daughter in the dirt, and not even having the decency to cover it with a blanket, she sent two elated text messages: My belly is back, my belly is back,” Knippen said, as reported by NBC News. According to Richardson’s attorneys, the baby was stillborn, meaning she did not meet the legal criteria to be considered a child. They allege that the young woman, scared, buried her baby, who she named Annabelle, in her backyard.

The baby’s remains weren’t found until two months after the birth. During a news conference on Thursday, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said it’s still unclear how the newborn was killed because of decomposition.

“Brooke Richardson created the situation that prevented us from being able to conduct an autopsy on that baby girl,” he said. He added that he was “absolutely convinced she caused the death” of the child.

Richardson was up against charges of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment.

 After deliberating for four hours and 25 minutes, the jury found her guilty of only gross abuse of a corpse. Judge Donald Oda released Richardson but informed her that she had acted with “grotesque disregard for life.” 

“In all of this mess that we have in this, what often gets overlooked is how precious life is. It should be protected. It should be guarded,” Oda said, adding that the law restricted the sentence he could pass down. Oda also ruled the baby’s remains would be turned over to the Richardsons after the young woman’s father, Scott Richardson, promised to give the late infant a proper burial that would also be accessible to the family of the baby’s father, Trey Johnson.

The past couple of years have been emotional for the relatives involved as well. 

Before the sentencing, Johnson’s mother, Tracy Johnson, spoke in court. 

“Two years, four months and one week,” she said through tears. “That’s how old my granddaughter would be if she were here.” Tracy, who noted that the experience has made it difficult for her to hold babies anymore, also said that her son is a “totally different person” now. “I’ve watched my son become a different person,” Johnson said, according to PEOPLE. “I won’t disclose his medical diagnosis because she’s done enough to him.  I can personally tell you that I’ve personally been seen for depression, panic attacks, and I’m a shell of the person I was.”

She also said that while Richardson knew that Johnson, the young woman’s ex-boyfriend, was her baby’s father, that the Johnson family wasn’t aware until six months after her son took a DNA test.

“I would have taken her in with Trey without a question,” Tracy said. “Now, instead, every May 7, I don’t get to have a birthday party for my first grandchild. Instead, I send her balloons to heaven, to tell her how much her daddy loved her, and how much I loved her.”

Before the sentencing, Richardson’s father also addressed the court and discussed his daughter’s own mental health. 

“My daughter is suffering from an eating disorder and we are concerned about her health,” he said, asking for Richardson to be released. Richardson is currently free but on probation. If she violates her probation, she can spend up to a year in jail. When she completes her three-year sentence, she could be eligible to remove the charges from her criminal record.

Read: A 23-Year-Old Latina And Her Baby Died During Labor, Now Her Parents Are Suing Her OBGYN