Some odd weeks ago, I was meeting up with a friend of mine named Angie.
Who is a Mexican chick from Veracruz area.
Anyway, we met up.
We met near Metro Portales where she lives by in Mexico City.
I saw her in the distance in the middle of the night waiting for her.
She waved at me.
I walked on over.
From there, with a backpack that had some whiskey, we went to buy some coca cola.
I bring the whiskey and she buys the coca cola.
From there, we get some food.
A place across from her apartment that had some gorditas and other Mexican food to offer.
Gorditas like what you can see here below.
Anyway, she made a funny comment.
As she does every time I see her now.
“Your accent is still the same!!! You still speak like a gringo!”
And, being honest, she is right.
With about 6 years now in Latin America, I’ve never bothered tried changing my accent.
I know some folks do.
When I lived in Colombia, a friend of mine named Andres told me about a foreign chick he met who he confused for being a Colombian chick.
In large part because she took private classes to change her accent.
And sound more like a local in Colombia.
I’ve thought of doing the same.
But I don’t care enough to do so.
Proud of Being American
I own up to being American.
But with every year that passes with my time down here….
I identify even more strongly with where I was born.
There’s this article I really like about foreign folks in Latin America who try their best to “go full Latino.”
On a website called My Latin Life.
Where essentially you have some folks who try their best to be like the locals.
I got to be honest.
The older I get, the more to the opposite of that I become.
I simply identify more and more with my country of birth.
More proud of where I came from.
I wonder how much of that comes with moving abroad at such a young age….
Would someone in their 60s who moved abroad a few years ago feel the same?
I don’t know.
But I’ve felt an impulse inside of me to double down on it.
To feel even more proud of where I came from.
I don’t get the whole “try to be like the locals” thing.
For one, they will never see you as such.
Second, do you really hate where you came from so much that you don’t want to have any identifying marks that show where you came form?
That you feel such a strong desire to put on a Oscar winning performance to act like the locals?
I don’t get it.
Even if I lived in Mexico for 90 years…
I’ll never see myself as Mexican.
And proud of it.
Proud of my accent also.
It’s how I speak.
What you want?
Got a problem with how I speak?
Tell me then faggot.
I’ll hear you.
Then tell you full of shit.
My accent is just fine.
And Angie is fine too.
She just joking.
This ain’t a statement against her.
Nor against nobody because nobody gives me real shit about it.
But I’m cool with it.
Anyway, you get the point.
The older I get, the more I identify with where I came from.
I don’t get why.
But I just do.
But it’s not just nationality.
Being White in Latin America
Growing up in Iowa…
The small town that I grew up in was mostly white.
With some black folks who came from Chicago area to live there also.
We had a few Latinos and Asians also.
But it was mostly white with some black.
Anyway, I never thought of my race as an identity.
Perhaps because it wasn’t necessary.
When you grow up in a population where you are in the majority quite easily….
It’s less necessary.
And you are less incentivized to think that way.
It wasn’t until I moved to Latin America where I started to think more as a white person.
To put it simply.
There is an effect that comes with being in the minority both racially and in terms of nationality.
Where you simply are a foreigner.
That’s all it is.
You subsequently are more conscious of what group you are part in.
In the same way that foreigners will sometimes complain about feeling like an “outsider” in countries down here.
Hell, even I have complaints.
But it comes with the territory.
But, as a result, you recognize better what you are.
In my case…
A white American.
Though I think that is more controversial to say.
In large part because some white folks are self-hating and have a knee-jerk reaction to anyone identifying as white.
As well you got some expats who moved down here for only financial reasons (read: retirees) and they don’t always think of the bigger topics.
Plus you got some folks who just feel uncomfortable talking about white people identifying with other white people.
Perhaps because out of a fear of being cancelled.
Or whatever the reason might be.
Anyway, this isn’t a white supremacy point.
I ain’t arguing for that.
I’m just saying that you do connect more with your roots when you are away from them for a while.
In a land where they don’t exist.
And where you are a minority.
As a result, you find commonality with that.
In the same way that an Asian in the US might join some local Asian-American club.
And whatever else you can imagine with other groups.
Living in a country where I am in the minority has had the biggest impact on making my think where I fall group wise.
Both in nationality and race.
Which again some folks might have a knee jerk reaction to…
Again, it’s not white supremacy.
It’s simply moving to a location and spending years there where you no longer fit in with the larger majority group by race and nationality.
That will consequently make you more aware of where you came from, how you are grouped relative to other groups and your roots.
That’s all I’m saying.
It’s a funny situation.
When you see another American.
Of whatever race.
Bend over backwards trying to do a dance for the locals.
Trying to be like them.
Sometimes it’s with good humor.
Other times it’s with a degree of self-hatred.
Like when I was at a party a month or two ago…
And some American guy there named Alex at the party…
Was apologizing for how we Americans use the term “football” for a different sport than other parts of the world.
So where’s the British bro that apologizes for having a queen despite most of the world moving beyond royalty?
You get the point.
He’s a good guy either way.
But it was funny to see.
As I said…
The older I get, the more I identify with my roots.
Of being a white American.
And the more conscious I am of my roots each year.
Maybe that is compounded by the fact I live abroad.
I don’t know.
But it’s part of my reality.
I know who I am.
Don’t like it?
But let’s get a beer after.
Anyway, thanks for reading.
And follow my Twitter here.