- Personal Stories & Opinions>
- When Gringos Generalize Latin America
Let’s see you are looking around on the internet about information regarding Colombia.
Or any Latin American country to be honest.
And you come across some article that looks interesting.
With a title of something like “10 Reasons to Date Colombian women”
Or maybe something else like “Colombian food sucks.”
In either article, you are reading both of them and get angry!
Perhaps you are Colombian yourself.
Or some gringo who feels the need to be a knight defending the honor of Colombia for some odd reason.
So you write a comment in those articles…
“OMG I can’t believe the sexism and misogyny here! Objectifying the women of my country! Not all women from Colombia are easy! How dare you….HOW DARE YOU GRINGO DEVIL for writing this….I hope the ghost of Pablo Escobar car bombs your house!!!!1!1!1!!1!!!”
“Not all Colombian food sucks man. You have to try this specific dish from my mom’s restaurant on Calle 15 from Pasto, Colombia. Only an ignorant gringo would say such a thing.”
In either example, said person might also note in subsequent comments about how either claim that “Colombian women are easy” or “Colombian food sucks” is generalizing.
And, to be fair, the criticism is valid.
Such claims are generalizing.
Obviously not all Colombian food sucks necessarily….
OK, the only thing from Colombia that I ever liked was an arepa.
The rest of Colombian food actually does suck major dick from what I’ve seen.
And Colombian women being easy?
Well, they’re not exactly Catholic nuns from the more rural villages of the Amazonia….
In fact, if you read this article here, apparently Colombian women are the most unfaithful women of Latin America.
And, in my experience, Colombian women are definitely easier than most Latin nationalities.
Of course, I’m sure any Colombian guy reading this will respond with a…
“No way gringo! My sister Alejandra Martinez Rodriguez Sanchez de las Flores is a respectful woman who is still a virgin at the young age of 97!!!”
And sure, there’s definitely some Colombian women who literally never fuck ever.
There’s probably some chick right now in the city of Valledupar who runs an empanada stand and who requires every man who wants to date her to take her out on 50 dates before she’ll even hesitantly give him a handjob.
But the truth is that there is smoke behind the fire of those two generalized statements.
Colombian food does generally suck – at least compared to most cuisines around the world.
And, as a Venezuelan friend of mine named Zahira once said, Colombia is kinda like “the whorehouse of Latin America.”
There’s some truth to both statements.
But going beyond pissing all over Colombian food and women…
The broader question here is if it is OK to generalize ever about Latin America.
About any specific Latin American country also.
So let’s break down the argument I heard anyway regarding this.
“Latin America is So Culturally Similar”
Last night, I was talking with another guy who has spent a lot of time in Latin America also.
And we were just talking about whatever really when it comes to Latin America.
One particular thing I remember talking about was the topic of generalizing.
Which is why I’m writing this as I figured it’s an interesting topic given the heat some bloggers get for their generalized statements about Latin America.
His take on it was that it is perfectly fine to generalize essentially.
With the belief that Latin America is so “culturally similar” across the board from country to country.
At least when you compare other regions like Europe when comparing a country like maybe Romania to Scotland.
On top of that, there is the belief that you should generalize because most people are not looking to get into the nitty bitty specific details of everything.
For example, if you are reading a blog on if Colombian women are easy, the person reading is not necessarily interested in comparing how easy women are from region to region.
Like if Colombian women are easier in Valledupar vs Cali.
Or whatever else the topic might be.
That essentially most people just want clear cut statements.
Which can also help avoid confusion for folks with no to limited experience in Latin America.
Now, let’s break down those two statements.
First, I do not believe in the statement that Latin America is culturally similar across the board.
Granted, I can’t comment on comparing it to other regions like Europe because I have very limited experience in Europe.
Some experience but I don’t feel comfortable comparing it to Europe given my limited time there.
And I haven’t been to Afirca, Asia or the Middle East.
Well, I have been to Turkey but that’s that.
Anyway, I would simply disagree with the belief that Latin America is culturally similar across the board.
I see immense cultural differences not only between each country…
Like Brazil to Guatemala for example.
Or Cuba to Uruguay.
Paraguay to the Dominican Republic.
Panama to Mexico.
Costa Rica to Venezuela.
So on and so on…
And even in those individual countries, especially the much bigger ones, you can see large cultural differences between regions.
The Amazonian region of Brazil to the southern coast area.
Or the northern coast area to the southern coast area.
Or Mexico City to Chiapas.
Or northern Chile to Southern Chile.
So on and so on…
In fact, given the large cultural differences between certain Latin countries, I’ve always found it funny and odd how Latin America tends to see itself as one collective region.
I get its largely due to the colonization from the Iberian countries of Spain and Portugal.
Either way, I will concede that there are some obvious similarities like speaking Spanish…
Even though you have plenty of rural areas where indigenous languages far separate from each other are spoken instead.
And also ignoring that Brazil is Portuguese speaking.
Which makes up a huge chunk of Latin America obviously.
And ignoring the case with Brazil being in the region….
You do have obviously similar musical tastes to a degree across the countries.
With music like reggaeton or salsa being popular in quite a few countries.
Or certain types of foods like empanadas being found in quite a few countries.
But going beyond the similarities across Latin America as a whole…
I’ve always thought it made more sense to break Latin America up into cultural regions.
Because the Andean region is not the same as Southern Patagonia or the Caribbean area.
So if I had to generalize Latin America based on cultural similarities…
And being a bit rough on it…
I made a map of Latin America of how I see it that you can see here below.
Basically each circle is its own cultural region.
Mexico broken up into Northern Mexico, Central Mexico and the southern part being more indigenous that I put Guatemala in with.
Then I put Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua in together and Panama and Costa Rica as their own group.
I put the Caribbean Spanish countries together with the northern coasts of Colombia and a part of Venezuela.
Then the rest of Colombia and Venezuela together.
Then half of Bolivia (before you’d get to Santa Cruz area) with Peru and Ecuador.
I tried to put Northern Chile in with North-West Argentina and Southern Bolivia but I fucked up the tiny bit for Northern Chile.
Central Chile being alone and Southern Chile mixed with Southern Argentina (Patagonia region).
Then almost the rest of Argentina with Uruguay.
Then the part of Argentina around Corrientes and Misiones with a good chunk of Paraguay.
I figured the Choco region of Paraguay is probably more in line with the border region of Bolivia but I have no idea. I put them together anyway.
Then Southern and Northern Coasts of Brazil separated.
And the Amazonian region of Brazil put in with the Amazonian areas of Colombia, Venezuela and Peru.
Of course, you could go double down on the severe autism this map clearly represents and criticize it for generalizing also.
Like how I accidently put the Bahamas in with the Caribbean group.
Or find issue with maybe how Nayarit is mixed in with Mexico City.
Or someone who is much more familiar with Central America than me and get angry about Nicaragua being lazily lumped in with El Salvador or Costa Rica with Panama.
Or perhaps how my drawing was so lazily done that I probably included regions into certain bubbles that I claim don’t represent those regions.
Or how I forgot to put the Amazonian region of Bolivia in with the indigenous region of Brazil.
Or go Full Level 9000 autism on me and get angry about how all the indigenous cultures in that broader region are very different from each other and shouldn’t be lumped in together.
Eh, fuck it.
If you don’t like my 5 minute put-together map, go make your own.
Drawing that map, I realize the guy’s point though about generalizing.
Perhaps more the second one though.
Because even though I really see very strong cultural differences between each of these regions….
His second point is even more obvious after spending 5 minutes quickly drawing up that map.
“Nobody Gives a Fuck About Your Map Bro”
Nobody reading this truly gives a fuck about the different indigenous cultures that are very different from each other.
In fact, I don’t even give a fuck.
They all seem the same to me.
But perhaps more importantly….
Is that it’s just a fucking blog post.
If you truly get angry at some blog because it doesn’t dissect Colombian cuisine to such an extreme level of picking out random ass dishes that most people never heard of…
And of which are from regions nobody goes to…
You probably should just take a walk outside.
Get some fresh air.
Maybe swipe on Tinder and try to get some random Colombian girl to give you a blowjob.
You’ll feel better about the generalization afterwards…
Either way, the point is the same and it is valid.
It’s a blog post.
Not a doctoral thesis.
So nobody expects someone to break down the exact differences.
And after drawing that map…
While I don’t agree at all that Latin America is so culturally similar across the board.
Especially when you mix Brazil in…
I get why someone would want to generalize it all together.
Especially when, again, we are just talking about a blog post and not a doctoral thesis.
Is it OK to generalize all of Latin America together?
I’d still disagree with this but it depends on the context of what is being said.
If someone said something like “Latin America spiralled into instability after independence due to the lack of a proper transition and a bunch of subsequent fighting between different powerful men.”
I’d read that, disagree slightly by thinking about Brazil or Chile but for the most part would get what the author meant.
Mostly agree with it but not entirely.
So I’d let that slide.
Especially again if it was said on a blog post.
But what about generalizing just a specific country in Latin America?
That would make more sense to me.
Even a large country like Argentina or Mexico.
Even though someone could just as easily make a statement that is factually incorrect, I feel it would be less likely that they would if it’s just a country.
And also when you are talking about things like dating for example…
Again, it’s not the most academic topic you’d look for in a doctoral thesis.
“Colombian women are easy.”
Get over yourself if that makes you angry.
It’s relatively true when you compare that to women from maybe Guatemala.
So when it comes to generalizing either Latin America or a specific Latin country….
My main points are:
- On a blog post, expectations are lower and generalized statements are obviously more appropriate than if you wrote it in a doctoral thesis.
- Most people are not reading for specific details anyway of that nature since most don’t give a fuck about differences between Nayarit and Mexico City.
- When the topic is as non-academic as “how easy are the women in x country,” or “how good is the food,” you shouldn’t really be expecting complicated analysis.
- Still, I tend to personally prefer to talk more about regions in Latin America than the region as a whole but I’m not immune to making generalized statements either. I’ve also said that all of Colombian food sucks major dick.
And that’s all I got to say on the matter.
I agree for the most part that generalized statements are cool.
Especially about non-academic topics on a blog.
If you have any comments – agree or disagree – drop them below.
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Thanks for reading.