Back in my first year in Mexico City….
I was living in my first place I had down here in the neighborhood Roma Norte.
Which is a bit more touristy than most parts of Mexico City anyway.
Well, it wasn’t uncommon for me to visit this nearby Starbucks often enough to get a sandwich they had that was good and some black iced tea.
One time in particular, I go to this Starbucks that was only like a 5 minute walk away from where I was….
And spent some time there…
Before walking out some time later with a few large cups of black iced tea to enjoy later in the day.
So my hands were full obviously.
Anyway, as you walk out of this building, it wasn’t uncommon for homeless people to be outside the building begging for money from anyone walking out.
They weren’t allowed in – which is surprising that Starbucks could keep them out since so many establishments fail to stop homeless people from coming in to harass people.
But for whatever reason, there were always a few homeless people outside who determined this was a good spot to beg for money from anyone walking out.
There was an older woman who couldn’t be older than 500 who was always there for example.
The occasional guitar player who would play whatever random song he thinks gringos like.
Funny enough, one time that dude was playing “Maybe Baby” by Buddy Holly.
I’m not quite sure any of the gringos (who most were maybe in their 20s or 30s) by the Starbucks would have known that song though so it was funny seeing him play it.
And definitely most of the young Mexicans there wouldn’t know it either most likely.
Here’s that song here below anyway.
Well, one day out of the blue, I walked out of this Starbucks as I said before with my hands entirely full with several large cups of black iced tea to take home.
And this young skinny kid who I hadn’t seen there before was doing a typical begging tactic you see down here in some parts of Mexico City.
What is the tactic?
Basically you have these young guys who are either very effeminate or they act like it
With a brown paper bag in one hand and they try to be very friendly with you by starting out “Holaaaaaaaaaaa, can I have a hug?!?”
And, like I said, they do their best job at trying to act gay or maybe they are.
Anyway, the idea is that you hug them or shake their hand and they try to have a friendly conversation with you for a minute or two…
Before switching the conversation to “so hey, I got some chocolate in my bag. Want to be a friend and buy it?”
Well, I’ve seen this act enough and I wasn’t interested.
Nor could I buy anything since I spent most of my money at Starbucks and my hands were full with black iced tea.
So I simply shake my head right away and go “no, no, no, gracias”
And as I kept walking…
This dude then yells at me from a distance behind me going “why, is it because I’m not white like you?!?” in a very angry, not-stereotypically-gay-sounding-anymore voice.
So maybe some of them do put on the act to sound gay for some reason though I never get why.
Do they think having an obviously fake gay voice is going to make people more inclined to buy their chocolate?
Anyway, I turned my head around for a brief second as he yelled it in Spanish as I found it funny that a Mexican was playing the race card on me to guilt me into buying his chocolate.
He must have encountered enough foreigners who feel guilty for being white to think that can work as a last minute strategy to make a sell.
Or maybe he’s just angry he isn’t white and thinks all white people look down on him.
I don’t know.
But it wasn’t the first time someone tried playing the race card on me down here.
I remember a year or so ago when I was on a date with a Mexican chick named Mar in a park in Pachuca.
Anyway, to keep this story short, some young kid came up to us and begged for money.
I immediately said no before he could get a word out and that pissed him off and he mumbles to us “why, is it because I’m black?”
Now the kid himself didn’t look black at all but who knows – maybe he’s 10% black or something.
But I didn’t say anything as I was just looking at him thinking two things….
“Did he really play the race card?” because it’s not common for Mexicans to say this when begging.
But also I was looking at the guy going “wait, he isn’t black though….???”
Anyway, the kid just looks at us for some odd seconds before pissing off.
But both stories above illustrate something broader that I want to mention.
Which is that, in my opinion, if you go from a part of the world where you are in the majority racially speaking…
Such as Iowa where I am from where it’s a bit whiter than a good deal of the country.
And move from there to a country where you are in the racial minority.
You become, to a degree, much more conscious of your race and how you relate to others in terms of race.
That isn’t to say that you are not racially conscious in the US as most Americans seem quite obsessed with race compared to other nationalities in my opinion.
And there is definitely a lot of talk on race in the mainstream media as well.
But it’s a bit hard to put it in better words than simply you become more “racially conscious” among other effects on you from living in a part of the world where you are now a racial minority.
And it all comes to how people treat you mostly.
Let’s discuss in more detail.
One Side of the Coin
As shown in the examples above, there’s one negative being white in a non-majority white country.
Which is racist hostility you are more likely to be exposed to for being in the minority.
Though, to be fair, it’s not often for some begger to play the race card.
But there are a lot more Mexicans for example who have an issue with white people in general and foreigners
You have some who are insecure about white folks dating chicks down here and “taking our women.”
The types who don’t usually get pussy and feel challenged in a way by foreigners fucking “their women.”
As if we are taking all of them and leaving them with nothing and that is why they don’t get laid.
As if being a retarded fat incel dude who makes 100 pesos a day working in the clothing section of Walmart has nothing to do with not getting pussy for some of these types…
And, to be fair, you have those types in every race and nationality.
Next, for being the white foreigner, you are also more likely to get harassed for money, gringo taxed on things you buy, robbed, extorted by the police, etc.
All of this together and being in the racial minority also has the effect of making you feel like an outsider and the negative mental effect of that.
Granted, while it can be annoying for me…
I don’t have as much of an issue with being “the outsider” and embrace it as I am proud of where I come from.
I would never want to be “Mexican” so to speak.
Not saying being Mexican is bad but I just don’t identify culturally with being Mexican as I wasn’t born here obviously.
As well the locals will never accept you as one of them either.
It just won’t happen.
You do have some gringos who trip over themselves trying to be accepted as “one of them” and they look ridiculous and get made fun of by the locals.
It looks inauthentic.
You could live in Mexico for 50 years, have a Mexican wife with Mexican children in a Mexican house you own and speak Spanish perfectly without an accent and so on and so on…
Still ain’t Mexican, gringo!
Either way, to summarize this aspect of being white in non-white majority countries…
You get the occasional racist in the street to being harassed, robbed, extorted, the feeling of being an outsider and much more because of your skin color in part.
But, to be fair, there’s another side of the coin.
The Other Side of the Coin
On the other hand, there are positives as well to being the white guy in town.
For one, you can easily pull in the local women who have a preference for white guys since you are one of the statistical few in the area who can satisfy that fetish for white dick that some women have down here.
Second, you are more likely to be assumed to being well educated and with lots of money.
Such as, for example, when one time I was leaving a store near Cuatro Caminos mall with an ex girlfriend of mine and didn’t get profiled for possibly stealing something…
But they were profiling one of the folks there who was a bit darker looking in skin color.
Though, as I said, being assumed to have money can be a negative when it comes to those harassing you, extorting you, robbing you and all.
But if you know how to play it, it can be a benefit.
For example, one thing I used to do is get free shots and drinks at bars for being the white foreigner.
How did I do that?
The trick is simple – you get a local Mexican, Colombian or whatever nationality depending on what country you are in….
And you have that local explain that their friend or boyfriend (you) is celebrating their birthday.
And ask the people at the entrance to the bar if they have any promotions for birthdays.
Sometimes they will ask for ID to prove it is your birthday but you can say you don’t have a local ID card obviously.
Tell them “you didn’t feel safe carrying it with you outside.”
Some of them won’t work with you while others will.
One time I took an ex girlfriend to a bar doing this and we actually got like 4 free shots!
Mostly because the bar promoter who gave us the first two shots as we walked in didn’t tell the waiter about the free shots we got.
So we told the waiter also and somehow we got another 2 free shots!
We tried milking it even more by asking the waiter to put my name on the screen above with something like “Feliz Cumple Matt”
But I think at this point they were thinking “ok, gringo, it’s your birthday but you can’t have free shit forever. That service will cost 50 pesos.”
Anyway, we didn’t go for that service obviously.
But after we got the four shots, my girlfriend at the time looked at me with a grin and a laugh and said “this only works because you are a gringo.”
Guilty as charged.
And that is what I mean by “knowing how to play it.”
By knowing how the locals typically think and playing off their assumptions.
In this case, the bar assumed that being a gringo who is having his birthday (which it wasn’t my birthday)….
That I will just make it rain and spend a few hundred bucks.
We ended up buying nothing more than what a local would spend – like maybe 7 bucks at most in beer.
And I could go all day talking about how you can play on the benefits of being white down here because of the assumptions people will have of you.
Like believing that you will spend lots of money.
I wrote a little bit more on this topic in this article here a long time ago when it comes to how gringos can sometimes get more positive treatment here.
Anyway, to summarize, being white can have its benefits down here in terms of the pussy you get from chicks with a white guy fetish to the benefits you get playing on the assumptions by the locals.
So if you aren’t dumb, it can be beneficial also.
It’s almost impossible to not be conscious of your race in ways that are hard to explain when you live in a non-white majority country.
First, in my experience, it’s difficult to have that “white guilt” shame that people in the US sometimes have when you get treated like shit sometimes for being white down here.
I never had that though in the US but I find it hard how anyone could (though some do) have that white guilt shame when locals treat you like shit.
How does it not make you more racially conscious and to stand up for yourself when someone is racist against you for being white down here?
I don’t know but some of the very liberal expats are like that. The political brainwashing is strong with them.
But yeah, as I said, you become conscious of your place racially relative to others and also develop a stronger backbone to anyone being racist to you.
With no forgiveness or sympathy for those who are racist to you anyhow.
Though, on the other hand, you do grow more sympathy I think when you also learn about just how much greater racial inequality is down here.
Like how indigenous folks are treated in countries like Mexico.
Which I find odd in a way since it seems like most Mexicans give “lip service” to the struggles of indigenous people.
But don’t really give a fuck about them and often are racist towards them.
Like when an indigenous person walks into a Subway asking to use the bathroom because they live on the street in Mexico City…
And they clearly speak Spanish.
But the lady behind the counter is pretending to not understand them just to basically hope they piss off soon.
I’ve seen that.
It’s even funnier when Mexicans will get butt hurt when you argue there is racism in Mexico against them.
And they go “it’s not racist, it’s classist!
Well, both can work together and they often do, don’t they?
I guess nobody wants to acknowledge the negatives of their own society…
So let’s all be in denial about it, ok?
Either way, when talking again about being more racially conscious from living in a country like Mexico…
The greater amount of racial inequality you see down here and in other countries is quite staggering and you become aware of how you are perceived as a white person by the locals versus how they preceve and treat indigenous folks.
Or black folks in Argentina for example.
You being seen as the wealthier educated gringo.
They being looked down upon as filthy, dirty and uneducated.
Which is again ironic given how often some Mexicans will pay respect to indigenous civilizations of the past but then treat like shit or not give a fuck about the indigenous people in their country now.
So to summarize – while you do grow a greater backbone in defending yourself against racists against white people down here and also don’t have much of the “white guilt” when confronted with that often enough…
It does become more strongly apparent your perceived role in society versus people in racial or ethnic groups that are treated worse.
All the while being the white foreigner, as I said, has its effects of doubling that feeling of being the outsider in many ways.
For both good and bad as discussed above.
Just as I said, as long as you know how to play it, you can avoid some of the negatives and play off those who look at you like an ATM machine if you so care to do so.
The only other thing to say is that how people treat you for being white will depend heavily on what country you are in.
As this article has a large Mexico focus given that is where I live….
I just want to point that out quickly.
In Argentina, being white isn’t that novel or different.
In Mexico, it’s not uncommon for white locals to exist here but we are in the minority.
And depending on what region of the Latin country we are talking about, you could be treated for better or worse for being white.
Like how plenty of white folks exist in Bogota, Colombia versus Cali, Colombia.
Anyway, that’s most of what I have to say for now on this topic.
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