- Personal Stories & Opinions>
- The Latin Americans Bringing Gringolandia to Latin America
Over the years living in Latin America, you notice a certain disdain that some gringos have regarding the arrival of new gringos to their specific part of Latin America.
I've written about the topic several times in articles like this one here.
In short, these gringos don't like the extra gringos for various reasons. Some of them include the following:
1. They feel the extra gringos make it harder to get pussy down here (it does make us less exotic but I feel the concern is overblown as I wrote here).
2. They feel that the extra gringos raises the cost of living down here (they do in select parts).
3. A few just hate any reminder of their home country for complex reasons and the simple sight of another gringo reminds them of their home.
4. Others feel the extra gringos makes their corner Latin America "less authentic."
So on and so on!
But all of those points have already been mentioned elsewhere on my blog.
However, there is a certain nuance to it though that a lot of these gringos perhaps don't always realize that I haven't discussed yet on my blog.
Let me show you what I mean with a few examples before we dive into the point.
A House Party in Pachuca de Soto
I've written about this story before a few times so I'll keep it brief.
Over two years ago, I was at a house party in a Mexican city called Pachuca.
At the house party, the guy who lived there was a white Mexican that obviously came from a wealthy family given how nice the house was and it being in a gated community where we had to go through two check points to get in.
At the moment, I don't remember the guy's name well but I think it was Bryan or Kevin (one of those stereotypical names of a white rich Mexican).
The guy was overall VERY friendly with me.
So friendly you would wonder if you could've fucked his girlfriend in front of him and he'd go "do you need any snacks or water after you're done?"
He was VERY friendly!
And he began going on and on with me about "how much he loves the Cubs" when I told him I'm from Chicago.
Which, to be fair, I'm not from Chicago but it's close enough to my small town in Iowa and I sometimes say Chicago because most Latin Americans don't know what Iowa is and understand better "the general idea" of where you are from if you pick the closest nearby large city (though Mexicans are usually more knowledgeable than most Latin Americans).
But, in hindsight, I probably could've told him Iowa based on how much this dude wanted to connect with me by relating to things he likes about America.
Starting with his professed love for "the Cubs" and it spiraled from there.
Where he'd discuss his love for various bands from the US, how he loves taking trips to the US, etc.
And, though we spoke in Spanish primarily, he knew English very well!
In short, he seemingly loved American culture, knew English very well and had taken many trips up there with family in the US also.
Of course, he was a very rich guy and so perhaps isn't representative of all Latin Americans, is he?
Let's move on.
The Deported, Poor Latin American at a Starbucks
You would think it would only be Americans who would support businesses like Starbucks or McDonalds in Latin America, right?
Well, as I wrote here, the vast majority of people you see at the Burger King in Mexico City are Mexican.
In fact, I can't remember the last time I saw another foreigner in a fast food spot from the US (though I'm sure it happens).
Anyway, as I wrote in this article here, I once met a Mexican guy at a Starbucks who was illegal in the US and got deported.
He was one of those Latin Americans bewildered by the fact that I live in Mexico.
Probably because he dedicated so much to live in the US and just finds it weird someone from that country that he so badly wanted to live in chooses his country to live in.
Anyway, beyond his bewilderment, we made small talk for a short bit while I was waiting for a girlfriend of mine to show up.
He ended up also talking about things he likes about the US.
As you can guess, Starbucks was one of them!
......Did he miss Taco Bell too?
I didn't ask that!
Given he's Mexican, I'd have my doubts.
But he missed various things about the US: certain franchises mostly, the amount of money he could make, etc.
And was happy for the money he did earn that he was able to send back to the family.
Reminds me of this other deported Mexican I met here who told me about the financial benefits of saving those precious US Dollars and how his kids have it much better because of that.
Angie Likes The Killers
I'll keep this story very simple as I've written about it before.
In my first year in Mexico, I met a Mexican woman named Angie from Tinder.
We went to my apartment in Roma Norte of Mexico City.
She seemed nervous at first.
Handed her a beer.
She sat on my bed and I sat on a chair (it was a closet sized room).
Asked her what music she liked.
She said "the Killers."
I played this song here specifically (and another one, I think).
The Killers -- Somebody Told Me
We made small talk and ultimately fucked.
In the years I have known her since (it's been some time now), I learned how much she likes other music from the US or Europe.
Like EDM music for example.
Recently, she just got herself a Dutch boyfriend and visited him in the Netherlands.
She speaks English very well.
Is a very competent person.
Shows up on time (usually but not always) when we ever met up.
And, despite never having been to the US, did I mention how much she likes foreign music?
Not much Cumbia!
More like The Killers!
Jimmy the Computer Programmer!
I wrote about this character in this article here.
Jimmy is a Mexican whose real name isn't even Jimmy but he prefers to call himself Jimmy.
He was a roommate of mine.
Brown dude who isn't rich and hasn't been to the US.
Lives in a poorer neighborhood known as Pedregal de Santo Domingo.
Always played foreign music blasting from his room in our apartment (whatever band of the day from the US).
Also, he had a remote job working for an American company.
That American company perhaps expected more of him in terms of standards a bit higher than if he worked for a Mexican company.
Or at least that's what he told me -- higher pay but higher standards. Less bullshit accepted.
Not saying every Mexican company employs jackoffs but I remember asking him about his experience working for an American company (something in computer programming) and that's what he said: higher standards, better work practices though, less toxic work culture, etc.
Oddly enough, in my interactions with Jimmy to meet up or whatever, he'd usually show up on time.
And all of this is similar to a react interaction I just had.
The Americanized Mexican
Not too long ago, I went to some social gathering for expats in Mexico City.
I actually haven't been going to too many as of lately. Used to go to them more. In fact, I actually never really started going to them again until maybe starting last year?
Still, while my attendance can be erratic in terms of how often I go or not, sometimes I try to break out of the "Latin bubble" I am in and actually meet other gringos.
Though, in this case, there happened to be a Mexican guy a few years younger than me.
His name was Rafael.
About my height, medium brown skin, short black hair.
......So like any other Mexican, huh?
Anyway, we both had one thing in common: we both showed up on time to when this event was going to start.
And, given it was for gringos, you'd think everyone else would too, no?
Slowly and surely, other people made their way to this little gathering at some random bar in Roma Norte area.
Mostly other gringos and seemingly a few other Mexicans.
Some couples here and there.
And it was nothing more than a standard "drink and practice English or Spanish" event.
Which, as I wrote here, often involves less language practicing and more drinking and maybe finding someone to hookup with.
Regardless, Rafael and I both showed up on time.
At around 8:30 PM more or less.
Which, given this is Mexico, being "on time" actually means being early.
.....Even if the participants are gringos?
Even then I'm afraid!
Though you wouldn't think they would be the ones to show up late and Rafael (the Mexican) to be on time, such was the case!
At any rate, Rafael made a comment about "it was supposed to be at 8, right?"
And we got talking from there.
Which our conversation was actually in English right away.
Rafael asked that initial question about the time of the event in English and his English actually seemed quite good.
Without THAT much of an accent either!
So we got talking and he revealed to me that his parents are mixed.
The dad is American and the mom is Mexican.
And, to keep the life story short, he ended up spending some odd years living in the US and some odd years living in Mexico.
Why did they switch it up like that?
I have no idea.
But he spoke pretty damn well (almost like a native but with a slight bit of an accent).
Not Marco Rubio level of fluency but pretty damn up there.
And, when I find a Latin American who speaks English THAT well (which is VERY rare in my experience), I have no problem switching to English (or staying in English in the case with Rafael) because the conversation is more fluid.
Despite my Spanish skills, they aren't "almost native sounding."
I only learned it starting in high school. This dude? I have no idea but it was pretty good.
So we both showed up on time.
We both spoke English very well.
And, similar to the rich white Mexican of the house party, he also seemed Americanized in many ways.
We made simple small talk about music, what I'm doing in Mexico, how he liked the US, etc.
And it came clear to me that he quite liked a lot of things from the US also (music, food, etc).
Which brings us to the final point.
The Latinos Bringing Gringo Culture to Your Corner of Latin America
Ultimately, it's a certain irony in my opinion.
The gringo who bitches about new gringos in his area doesn't usually bitch about the "gringoized" Latinos in his area.
Why is that?
Personally, I think it's not ALWAYS about the perceived consequences from the arriving gringos but more of their simple existence that pisses some folks off.
And while they stay pissed off, you have plenty of Latin Americans who slowly become "gringoized" themselves.
Of course, they won't become 100% gringo.
But they carry with them aspects that one couldn't argue is "authentically Mexican."
Like the local who gives himself an English sounding name, perhaps speaks in English, maybe enjoys a band like The Killers, etc.
One could argue that the effect these Latin Americans -- and they are not all rich -- is similar in some respect to the arrival of new gringos.
It's not the same but it's similar.
After all, is it authentic to Mexican culture for the Mexican to be blasting out The Killers, Tool, Pink Floyd or any other band?
Is it authentic for Mexicans to be keeping businesses like Burger King alive in their neighborhoods?
Is English authentic to Mexico and would said gringo find it troublesome for said Mexican to speak in English?
Or does he only get annoyed and sit on a high horse at the sight of a gringo speaking in English?
When it comes to dating, what about the Latin American women who travel abroad like Angie?
Do we become "less exotic" then to these specific women anyhow?
Now, to be fair, many of these types are not rising rent cost at least except for the richer Mexicans who have the money to do so and live in places like Roma Norte.
Maybe the guy at the bar gathering is like that.
Either way, the point is that it's not just gringos who bring "gringo culture" to Mexico or any part of Latin America.
But actually plenty of Latin Americans do the same by learning and speaking English, playing foreign sounding bands, supporting foreign businesses like Starbucks, maybe even changing their name to a foreign sounding name, working for a foreign business that doesn't excuse Mañana Time and said Latino shows up on time to other things in life, etc.
Granted, I think this effect is MUCH stronger is Mexico City and other areas of Latin America.
But it is something you see across the region.
That being SOME Latin Americans -- through whatever way -- becoming "more gringoized" for various reasons.
Perhaps due to their travels and coming back home, working for a foreign business, using the internet to enjoy music from the US, etc.
Reminds me of this video here I saw of deported folks changing Mexico themselves.
Anyway, that's all I got to say.
Follow my Twitter here.
Thanks for reading.