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How to Date a Brown Girl


How to Date a Brown Girl

“How to Date a Brown Girl, Black girl, White girl, or Halfie” by Junot Diaz provides us with instruction on how to stay with brown girls, black girls and halfie and the best way of treating them when taking them dinner to include calling her house to check whether she is on her way and showing interest in things they love during dinner. Satire is one of the literary devices that has been extensively used in the story. This story tries to take a guise such that there is an instructional guide, contending to provide advice on how we should behave depending upon the originality that is the ethnicity and present social class that existed during the narrator's time. Themes to include the theme of Dominican ghetto culture, masculinity, and stereotypes, and promiscuity are very dominant in the story. This essay explores how the different themes have been used to offer literary support and to further the story, as well as help Diaz, tell his story in a way his audience can relate.

The theme of Dominican ghetto culture is very dominant in the story because the story intended audience is Dominican teenage males. The story is positioned around a youthful young boy, Yunior. He starts by showing some signs of “Dominican Ghetto culture”, and a good example is the “government cheese” (143).  The story has small gestures that show cultural attitudes when the narrator decided to hide the things that could reveal his origin the artifacts, he gets rid of are of Dominican culture. Also, being one of those people considered to be from a low-income family having their habitants in New Jersey, he starts by showing some signs of “Dominican ghetto culture”.  It is also important to consider that the Dominican ghetto culture theme is prevalent in the story because the author Diaz hails from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  

The theme of masculinity and stereotypes is widely used throughout the story. The act of stereotyping women begins with how Yunior classifies the girls and puts them into groups.  The stereotyping continues as he explains how he would treat these girls differently on dates. Diaz has shown how stereotypes have the ability to control the actions of men while out on a date. Masculinity is often associated with a sense of control, Yunior expresses his sense of wanting to be in control by the use of the “how-to” approach, his sense of control can be interpreted as Dominican Masculinity. Masculinity and stereotypes go hand in hand in advancing Diaz's ideas, Yunior masks his identity by creating stereotypes towards girls, this way he feels like he is empowering his masculinity. Also, the fact that the story is written in “the second person point of view,” it can be viewed as an instructional manual. According to the one journalist by the name Joe Fassler, by displaying his stylistic range, Diaz reminds us just how subjective Yunior’s brutishness is.” Diaz tells the reader, “intended for Dominican Males” how he can actually date a lady who hails from a different ethnicity.

Another theme is a theme of promiscuity, the narrator is indeed seen to be “full of himself” (143). His acts that are said to be acts of promiscuity takes the role of a mask that aids in hiding the background of the narrator.  This is seen from his words, “clear the government cheese from the refrigerator. If the girls from the terrace stack the boxes behind the milk. If she is from the park of society hill, hide the cheese in the cabinet above oven, way up to where she will never see” (143).  Whatever shows signs of poverty in his house, he attempts to make sure that it is hidden. For instance, he goes ahead and mentions while listing where he can hide cheese to ensure that its not seen but make sure to return it before his mother comes back. His acts of promiscuity depend on whether a girl lives outside his apartment or within the apartment.

Again, in this story, we see the theme of lack of ethnic diversity. Yunior struggles a lot in trying to recognize his real identity. He cannot even put himself in any ethnic group. As shown and expressed by Diaz, “Dominicans simultaneously struggles to integrate and to protect their distinctive cultural identities”. Here, the conflict is shown to the reader through his kind of a misguided trial of assuming to be attractive to young girls originating from all kinds of races and ethnicities. The lack of ethnic diversity leads to Yunior, allowing all the girls he is dating to classify or put him into a category. For example, “she will say, I like Spanish guys and even though you’ve never been to Spain say, I like you”(148). When he is referred to as a “Spanish” he assumes that there is no reason for him to correct her, his act of remaining silent can be said to be an act of showing total rejection of his “Dominican roots”. In the real sense, the act of the girls using the word Spanish shows that there is a big problem on matters concerning ethnic diversity.

“How to Date a Brown Girl, Black Girl, White Girl or Halfie” is a vast story that bears a lot of themes. The themes rotate within sexual and gender aspects where some things like ethnicity and social classes are common. Although the story is more centered on matters concerning sexual intimacy, it tries to demonstrate to readers how their expectations can actually result in the determination of their general behavior. Yunior’s struggle to identify himself translates into how he perceives the women he dates; this struggle allows him to come up with different behaviors around each girl due to preconceived ideas.

Conclusively, “How to Date a Brown girl, Black girl, White girl or Halfie” is a complex story by Junot Diaz told in the first-person narrative as an instructional manual on how to treat women. The action of the narrator throughout the story are seen to have relied on both the residencies of the women and also their ethnicity. Diaz utilizes the themes of Dominican ghetto culture, masculinity, and stereotypes, and promiscuity to further his story and to tell the story in a way his audience can relate.














Works Cited

Diaz, Junot. "How to Date a Brown Girl, Black Girl, White Girl, or Halfie." Drown. New York: Riverhead Books 49 (1996).


1078 Words  3 Pages
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