Back when I was living in Xela, Guatemala…
I happened to go to the downtown area where they have this little hall place that has a bunch of restaurants and bars inside.
On this particular day, they happened to have a lot of people around watching a soccer game.
I forgot what it was exactly but I think the World Cup?
Where it was Germany against Argentina from what I remember.
Anyway, there were some other folks there that I met up with.
Including some European guy from some small country that I think was the Czech Republic.
Who basically traveled the world being an independent photographer.
Which, to be honest, sounds like a pretty cool job if he makes it work financially.
Anyway, we were all watching the game as you can see in this photo here of the place.
And I felt like maybe I should support Argentina?
Honestly, I’m not that big into soccer so I didn’t give a fuck who’d win.
And I don’t have any real loyalty to either Argentina or Germany.
So who gives a fuck?
Because of that, I figured I might as well root for Argentina since Argentina is a Latin country and we are in Guatemala.
After all, we all support Argentina.
Would be like going to a Hawkeyes game in Iowa and supporting the Hawkeyes!
You aren’t going to support the opposing team on their land, are you?
Especially if you don’t give a fuck about the outcome.
Well, might as well stick with the crowd.
However, I was wrong about the crowd!
It came to my attention that a majority of people in the crowd supported Germany.
It was hard at first for me to know which team is winning since I never watch soccer that much.
Especially in those days when I was new to Latin America.
So I didn’t know which team is which.
But I figured it out quickly enough.
And when Germany would get a goal or Argentina would fail to get one...
People would celebrate!
The whole crowd would!
So it became clear to me that I was supporting the wrong side.
Granted, maybe I should’ve made it fun.
Get wasted on beer.
Then become an annoying soccer fan yelling….
VIVA ARGENTINA VIVA ARGENTINA NO LLORES POR MI ALEMANIA PORQUE ARGENTINA ES MEJOR!!!!
PERON ¡!! PERON!!!!
EVITA ES AMOR!!!
Thankfully, my better judgement ruled against being a smartass that day.
Or else I might’ve ended up getting into a soccer fight like these gringos I wrote about here in Colombia.
So I suppose it was a good thing I also didn’t buy any Argentine soccer t-shirts for this event either ahead of time.
Either way, I changed my support to Germany.
But was curious as to why the locals didn’t support Argentina.
From what I learned, it’s because of this perception that is out there regarding Argentines that they are a bunch of “arrogant, snobby people who think they are better than everyone else."
And, to be fair, every soccer game I’ve seen where Argentina was in it, I’ve seen more often than not the locals supporting the opposing team.
Like when I was in Colombia years ago in Bogota with a girlfriend of mine named Marcela.
And there was a game between Argentina and Chile.
If I remember right, I think Chile won?
As you had a ton of people out in the streets after the game was over yelling shit like VIVA CHILE or whatever really.
And I’ve heard anyhow this perception of Argentina from others as well.
In college, I had a professor who had a deep interest in the “Southern Cone” but agreed that Argentines can be like that.
And, in my personal experience living in Argentina, I found this idea about them being arrogant to have some truth to it.
But there’s a certain element to all of this also.
The Racial Component
Of course, this video here of a few Argentines saying racist shit in Mexico City doesn’t help the stereotype either.
That video is kinda funny to me actually.
The Argentine Princess
She Never Rests
Thinking She is the Best
Sees the non-white Latinos as pests
Thinking of them as “indios,” she has confessed
Above are the lyrics to my latest mixtape.
Joking aside, to be fair, not every Argentine is like that.
Though, on the other hand, I’ve never heard a single non-white person enjoy their time in Argentina.
Among the various non-white people I know who have been to Argentina, they’ve all had nasty shit to say about how racist the locals were to them.
Still, I’ve met plenty of cool Argentines also who were not arrogant, snobby, racist or anything like that.
But, as I said, it’s been a stereotype I’ve heard for as long as I have had exposure to Latin America.
From my memory, the first time I ever heard this was from a Mexican chick named Maria who runs a Mexican restaurant in my small town in Iowa.
I remember her telling me how she tends to see Argentines like that or at least that, in her experience, they can be a little more arrogant than other Latinos.
A large part of it stems from race though.
Where you essentially have Argentines who don’t consider themselves to be Latinos.
But instead European.
And this broader idea that “Argentina isn’t like the rest of Latin America. We are better! We have European heritage!”
The classic example of this would be Argentine President Fernandez saying that "Argentines came by the boats" and Brazilians "came from the jungle."
Of course, it's my opinion that this idea also stemmed historically from efforts by previous Argentine governments (and Brazilian) to whiten up their populations by encouraging immigration from European countries over a century ago.
As you can read here.
"Latin Americans first saw evolution as a reason to 'whiten' their societies, then as a reason to take pride in their mixed lineage, says Jürgen Buchenau in the last of four pieces on Darwin's global influence."
There were other reasons for the immigration patterns to Argentina over the years but that was one influence.
Without surprise, you do have some Argentines nowadays who consider themselves to be better because of their whiter skin color.
And, as I said, some of them don’t see themselves as Latino!
As I wrote here, I met and dated briefly an Argentine chick like that whose name was Tami.
Who insisted that she was not Latino but European!
And how Argentina “is not like the rest of Latin America. We have a different heritage. We are different. Also, we’re not as poor.”
Though when asked if she was born in Europe, she'd tell you no.
So she is “European” and not “Latina” but yet nobody in her immediate family has been born in Europe for quite some time.
Remind me of this video from Russell Peters here about “Irish Americans.”
But, if we are being honest, you do have some people in Latin America who feel very insecure about their skin color.
And might project their insecurities onto others (like Argentines) by just naturally assuming that all Argentines are racists or arrogant.
When that’s not true!
Not all are like that.
Because, if we are being honest, Argentina DID have a strong European contribution to its demographics.
If Argentine President Fernandez had left out that comments about Brazilians and Mexicans and just said "we Argentines have strong European heritage," he'd technically be right but still pissed other Latin Americans off.
So sometimes it isn’t necessarily the Argentine acting in a bad way like those you saw in the video above.
But instead it could be an insecure local who thinks those who look white must all be racists and arrogant!
And that can then be projected onto Argentines (even though, to be fair, not every Argentine is white either).
The Buenos Aires Factor
And so, as I said, not every Argentine is like this and, in my experience, some parts of Argentina have more arrogant or racist folks than others.
I'll summarize what is my experience below here.
- Folks from the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires tend to have more of that arrogant, snobby and "distant" feel to them.
- Folks from the capital of Buenos Aires also tend to be less racist compared to folks in less urban parts of the country in my opinion.
But those two statements above aren't very unique.
You see similar trends in other countries in the same way you see older folks in most countries usually being "less PC" than younger folks like you'd see in Argentina also.
That’s how I’ve always seen it anyway.
Like how I went to England one time and felt some of the locals were quite rude…
Then thought “well, maybe it’s just a London thing. Who knows?”
Same thing with Paris.
Then an American chick I know who has spent years in France assured me that “no, it’s just Paris. Outside of Paris, people are quite nice.”
In Buenos Aires?
In my experience, the closer you get to Buenos Aires, the worse traits of arrogance, snobby behavior and being closed off tend to be more noticeable in the locals.
But step away from Buenos Aires and go to Misiones and Corrientes for example.
You’ll find the locals tend to be much nicer in my experience but perhaps "less PC."
I know a guy from Corrientes actually.
We haven’t seen each other in a while but we were last hanging out in Spain.
And I remember having a great time with the guy!
Not arrogant or snobby at all.
Not closed off at all.
We finished a night of heavy drinking at some bar in Barcelona yelling “VIVA EL DIABLO!”
Arguably a bit drunk we were…
With his Spanish wife having a “oh dios mio” look on her face.
A look that says “what has Matt done? He’s made my husband a Satanist!”
VIVA EL DIABLO!
But, before we got to that bar after already having some drinks at a nearby restaurant, I remember him making some "less PC" remark about people who are in jail in Spain.
Where he said something along the lines of "they're all Middle Eastern, North Africans, Pakistanis."
Not necessarily the most PC guy he was...
Beyond him though and similar people I met in Misiones, you'll see the same thing in folks from other parts of Argentina outside of Buenos Aires.
Like in El Chalten or Ushuaia.
Found the locals to be relatively friendly also!
Met an Argentine backpacker in some hostel over in El Chalten that was quite nice.
Was he not so PC?
Honestly, I don't know. For what it's worth, I never heard him say anything that'd send your stereotypical Antifa activist of Portland, Oregon into a "foaming at the mouth, autistic rage."
Still, if we are being honest, I don't see other Latin Americans as being as innocent when it comes to the topic of "being racist" or "being closed off."
Similarities in Other Latin Countries
As I said before, you got this similar attitude of "we're not Latinos. We're Europeans!" among a few other white Latin Americans.
As I wrote here, I once met a Brazilian guy who was exactly like that!
And, when it comes to other Latin American countries, I will reiterate that I do think that Buenos Aires has, on a per capita basis, more arrogant, snobby and closed off people than other Latin cities.
But when it comes to folks "not being very PC" or just straight up racist towards you, I don't see other Latin Americans as being innocent here.
What Argentina has is a largely white society with some non-white folks around to be fair.
But, in my experience, if you go to another part of Latin America where most of the people look a certain way, you'll notice similarly racist treatment among the locals towards outsiders.
Like if you're a person who isn't "indigenous looking" so to speak (be it white or black) in perhaps parts of Bolivia, Guatemala, Peru, etc.
Where you become a more easy target for gringo pricing, corrupt cops wanting a bribe, folks trying to mug you or take advantage of you in any other way simply for being an obvious outsider (both in terms of nationality or race).
And, beyond that, plenty of countries, like Mexico, try to promote this narrative of "we people of x Latin country are of a certain racial background."
It's not just Argentines saying "we came from the boats."
As I wrote here, you got Mexicans who say "in Mexico, we are mestizo" which objectively is wrong because you got plenty of non-mestizo Mexicans of black, white and Asian background.
In short, it's not just Argentina who tries to promote this "national narrative" of what a local looks like (which can have consequences for those who don't fit that narrative).
Consequences like people trying to take advantage of you, having stronger feelings of racism towards you, making you feel like an outsider in your own country and so on.
Take for example this article titled "los negros no son mexicanos" in which the author describes the experience being a black Mexican where she requested a passport but the Mexican authorities didn't believe she was Mexican due to her skin color and initially denied her request.
On top of all of that, there's another funny hypocrisy you notice among some Latin Americans outside of Argentina when it comes to anger about racism towards non-white people.
And that is how a non-white Latin American might give preference to a white person over a non-white person (colorism) but then bitch about the sight of an Argentine being racist towards someone and calling them "indio."
For example, when I was in Argentina, I knew a black American chick who was in my group that told me how she volunteered at a school teaching English in Nicaragua.
The teacher she was working with wasn't white.
But yet the teacher preferred having her doing "more basic work" like going out to buy school supplies and not doing as much teaching because, in her words literally, she said "you probably don't know English as well."
And the white American volunteer was given the more active role to help with the actual teaching.
I wonder if said Nicaraguan woman would bitch about Argentines acting superior for "being from the boats."
Regardless of if she would or not, that's something that I have noticed.
The Latin American who takes shots at Argentines for being racist against non-white folks but yet being racist themselves against non-white folks (or white folks as I said above).
So, in short, I do find at times that some Latin Americans can be hypocritical in bitching about Argentines being racist when, in my personal experience, they aren't always better themselves.
Still, let's wrap this up with one more point hitting at the other stereotype of them being "closed off."
The Argentine Who is Your Friend
Like I said, I again really feel that this stereotype is better fitted for those from Buenos Aires.
And even when you are dealing with the closed off behavior of an Argentine from Buenos Aires or anywhere else, there's one small detail I noticed.
Which is that I’ve always found that they tend to be extremely nice once they’ve warmed up and you two are on good terms.
Like one Argentine guy I met in Buenos Aires who covered my cover to get into some nightclub.
And was all around just a real cool dude to hang out with.
Among other Argentines I have met who, after they feel comfortable with you, are just really cool people usually.
In short, they might be more closed off initially but, after you've become friends, their friendliness can sometimes be stronger than what you notice with other nationalities.
Final Verdict: Racist & Arrogant?
So are Argentines more racist & arrogant?
Well, to summarize my thoughts above, I'll keep it short here.
- Because Argentina has more homogeneity in its population relative to most Latin American countries, I feel that contributes to people being "less PC" or "more racist" over there but you got similar issues in other Latin countries (like colorism for example).
- Do some Argentines ever act superior for being whiter on average? Without question. Like white Latin Americans in other countries doing the same. And, because you got more white people in Argentina than in almost any other Latin country, it'll be easier for other Latin Americans to notice this.
- Is it bad though for Argentines to talk about their European heritage without being snobby about it? Of course not. And for any Latin American to get bitchy about it is one that talks from racial insecurities.
- More closed off and arrogant? That's a feature much more common in Buenos Aires than with Argentines from elsewhere like Corrientes. Still, you notice the "closed off" characteristic more strongly with Argentines anyhow when compared to other Latin countries.
- Finally, when an Argentine does warm up to you, he tends to be pretty cool to hang with.
So, in short, I feel there is some smoke behind the fire regarding the stereotype of Argentines being "arrogant, snobby, closed off and racist."
I’m not calling it a forest fire though and some Latin Americans can be hypocritical in their bitching about it.
Anyway, that’s all I got to say.
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