- Personal Stories & Opinions>
- Issues Relating With Locals in Latin America
Some days ago, I wrote an article on thoughts I’ve had about why it can sometimes be difficult to relate to other gringos down here in Latin America.
I only got thinking about that topic because I happened to be walking around to some restaurant I go to often enough in Mexico City…
And I caught wind of some other gringo doing the whole “dO u SpEaK eNgLiSh?!!?!?” in a very exaggerated and condescending manner.
To be fair, I rarely if ever seen that.
Most gringos don’t seem too condescending whatsoever.
And many do seem hell bent on bending over backwards even for the locals from what I’ve seen.
But you do have some gringos that are kinda annoying.
Reminds me of this bit by comedian Doug Stanhope on “meeting another American” in Costa Rica that you can see here.
Either way, I guess you can say that I have equal distaste for plenty of Latinos also.
Not just the gringos…
But the Latinos also.
Equal hate for everyone!
Well, not hate – let’s not exaggerate.
But there are types of Latinos down here that can get annoying at times.
Which can make them harder to relate to or have a friendship with in general.
Let’s discuss by different groups I have noticed that can be harder to relate to in my experience.
You can separate Latinos by class like you can separate any group of people.
When it comes to class, it’s a bit predictable.
First, you have the very top end class folks.
Those who are very comfortable.
Who take their vacations to Miami, Los Angeles, New York or wherever.
Maybe Europe even!
But they tend to speak English quite well.
And have good opportunities in the future.
Nothing wrong with any of that.
But they tend to carry with them a certain predictable condescension and a “higher than thou” attitude.
Though, to be fair, they can also be more relatable to be with as it is not uncommon for them to have experience in the US.
Family in the US also.
Know the culture and life up there in general as well.
From that perspective, they can usually be more relatable and easy to get along with.
Assuming they are not the more condescending “upper than thou” crowd you get among some of them.
Then you have more middle class folks – granted, not as much of a middle class here as other parts of the world but some folks fall into it.
Not really much to say about this crowd in general so let’s move on.
Nothing notable or annoying.
Then you have the very poor class.
Folks who make poverty in countries like the US or Canada look relatively nice.
Nothing wrong with these folks in general.
But they can be more difficult to relate to.
Not sure why.
But we tend to carry with each other such a big difference in lifestyle that it can be hard to relate to each other.
Try walking around a sketchier neighborhood and you might notice one or two stare at you weirdly as you walk by.
Perhaps thinking “why are you here?”
Granted, if you get talking with some, they can be just as cool as anyone else.
I just feel that the differences between us in terms of life in general can make things a little bit harder to relate to.
But not impossible.
As I wrote here in more detail, there are certain nationalities I like more than others.
But there are friendly people in any country to be fair.
For example, in Bolivia, I can sometimes find the cultural differences to be a little bit bigger in general in that it can be harder for us to relate.
But really it’s not that much of a difference that it would be impossible to relate to each other.
You then have other nationalities like Mexican where American culture is much stronger here and can be easier to relate to people.
But since I wrote already on this subject, I’ll keep it at that.
You can check the other article for more thoughts on the manner.
Going along the topic of nationality from the last one…
One more related topic to bring up is xenophobia.
Which being that it isn’t too rare for me to find folks who have a general animosity towards foreigners in general.
I’d say most folks are not like that down here but it’s not rare either.
Just today actually as I’m writing this…
Some French chick posted in some Facebook group advertising her services to be a French tutor…
And some dude started ripping her a new one about how “she needs to go back home. We don’t need more foreigners giving us diseases.”
Something along those lines.
That mentality does exist among some of the folks down here.
Similar to xenophobia, you also have racists down here also like anywhere else in the world.
When it comes to being the white guy in town, I do come across the occasional Latino who seems to have an anti-white bias.
But you also obviously have racism against other groups as well.
Though I’m not black, I have heard about plenty of racism problems in areas like Argentina that tend to be more heavily white.
But you get the idea – it isn’t new.
Racism exists everywhere and you are bound to find folks like that anywhere.
Just keep that in mind.
Rural or Urban?
In any part of the world, you will notice that more rural folks can usually be more distrusting of outsiders in general.
Anyway, while I find rural folks to be friendlier in general and less condescending…
You do have that “outsider effect” that is stronger with them where you are seen as more different than how folks in cities like Mexico City or Buenos Aires see you.
When I was in Buenos Aires, I never noticed too many folks looking at me weirdly for being the outsider in the area.
But when I traveled around rural Misiones area of Argentina, I got some of that vibe from some of the folks.
Though, after warming up, I found some of them to be nicer than those in Buenos Aires.
You just have more of a barrier to break through to relate to people as that outsider effect is stronger but you will find people to be friendlier in general when past that.
Finally, another minor issue that comes up is something I have thought about before...
Where basically you find that some Latinos have a deeper motivation to want to know you.
Particularly if they just want money from you or for you to practice English with them.
Both of which I find annoying.
Because of that….
When I get a sense that is what is driving the motivation for someone to wanting to meet me…
Then I usually drop the interaction and move on since I find it annoying for different reasons.
Most folks down here won’t treat you like that but some do and so it is worth mentioning.
Aren’t all Latinos Catholic Jesus freaks?
I explored the topic more here.
Most don’t seem to be in my experience.
Even though that is a stereotype by folks back home in believing that everyone down here is a raging Catholic Jesus freak.
But you do find the occasional person like that.
Plenty can be nice though even if they are very religious.
Nothing wrong with being religious.
It’s just similar to the upper class folks in that some can carry with them an air of condescension and hostility towards those that are not in line with their beliefs.
Similar to some extreme religious folks elsewhere in the world.
Nothing new here but something that sometimes comes up.
Got anything else?
These are just some of the things that come to mind on top of my head.
I imagine other things could create divisions between people down here that I didn’t mention.
For example, from what I have heard, sometimes you have differences between US Latinos and Latinos in Latin America that can cause friction.
I have no personal experience with that since I’m not Latino.
Obviously all of this comes from the perspective of a white guy from the US.
So that will obviously shape how I’ve experienced this topic down here.
But if you have any of your own experiences with this topic, let me know in the comment section.
And follow my Twitter here.