I’m American but I just moved to Mexico for work. I live in a city and I walk everywhere, so men in cars and on bikes constantly whistle, honk, catcall, and make kiss noises at me. I don’t want to make a big deal because I’m in a different country/culture, and I don’t want to draw more attention to myself.

One of my friends here is African American. She’s also Latina, but people here (usually men) can’t seem to see past her skin color, and they treat her very oddly because of that. When we go out together, people always address me first, and sometimes they ignore her. Once at the mall, a security guard asked me (in Spanish) if my friend spoke Spanish. She and I both replied, “¡Sí!” The guy seemed kinda embarrassed to see that she’d understood and said, “Oh, es que ella es muy guapa.” (“It’s just that she’s very pretty.”) Like…wtf?

My friend told me about another time when she went to the grocery store alone and an employee kept following her around the produce section, trying to chat her up. First he asked her if she had everything she needed, then he started asking her things like, “How tall are you?” She’s very tall and slender and gorgeous like a model. It seems that this, combined with the fact that she’s Black, means people either treat her like a non-Latinx foreigner, act intimidated/wary of her and ignore her, or treat her like she’s an exotic beauty.