Describing their friendship as “rocky,” Carolyn Smith, Kelly Thompson, and Nicole Brooks told reporters that the decision to add Maria Lopez to their group as the token “Mexican Friend” was a terrible mistake.
“We’re very protective of who we bring into our circle,” said Smith, who recruited Lopez after meeting her in a spin class at the local YMCA six months ago. “She was wearing a Chivas Guadalajara fútbol t-shirt and sang along to all of the banda music. I guess I jumped to conclusions.”
When the close-knit trio of friends was looking to add some diversity to the group, Lopez appeared to be the perfect fit. Unfortunately, the women soon discovered that, “Maria was not as in touch with her culture as we had hoped.”
The three Sacramento women passed on bids from local minority candidates, Tracy Wong and Aparna Srivastava, as the group was more excited about “authentic Mexican cuisine and salsa dancing.” Pointing to her natural tan and a comprehensive knowledge of tropical locales, the friends quickly decided to extend Lopez an invitation to their weekly outings.
The fun-loving friends didn’t notice anything unusual, until it became apparent that Lopez wasn’t fluent in Spanish.
“We were at La Casitas Grill for Margarita Night and we asked her to order for us in Spanish. She couldn’t even pronounce the words on the menu.” Brooks reported, aghast. “And then she ordered a glass of Chardonnay!”
It was ultimately Lopez’s lack of interest in “most Mexican things” that broke the already fragile friendship. Asked if there was a confrontation at any point, Smith responded that she was never able to engage in a heated conversation with Lopez. “She was so easygoing and subdued and didn’t have any of that fiery Latin temper we had hoped for.”
Lopez was unfazed by the claims, but suggested she would no longer be saving a bike for Smith in spin class.