I receieved this in an email. Since I'm a black American who is interested in studying spanish in Buenos Aires I thought it was very interesting. Looking for natives take on the subject.
I read an article about a black American who went on vacation to Buenos Aires and these women wanted to take a pic with him because seeing a person of color there was very rare. I wish one day we move beyond skin color but I would hate to go there and people start gawking at me lol. I get enough of that in Chicago when I venture out....
Derico From Argentina, joined Dec 1999, 4258 posts, RR: 12 Reply 1, posted (6 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 1142 times:
This topic is very complex and you may here many different versions of the same idea because even historians do not agree. It is one of the few things in recent history that historians, all over the world, are so passionately divided about.
If I can say on the positive side, you may actually face less blatant discrimination, as a black person than say an immigrant from another Latin American country, simply because of the current mindset in Argentina.
With over 1 million Bolivians alone, not counting Paraguayans, Peruvians and quite a few others, illegal immigration is becoming a sensitive subject in the country because many people think the illegals are driving the country's social services bankrupt. On the other hand, without the immigrants (illegals or not), there would be literally no one to pick the crops in many places which would rot in the fields, or enough construction workers to keep wages somewhat in line in the current housing boom, or maids and nanny's for your middle class Argentine mother. So right now the focus of racist groups or individuals is the South American immigrant.
Last year a fire killed four bolivians working in almost slave-like conditions making clothes. It sent tens of thousands of immigrants to the streets in nationwide protests demanding legalization. With the large number of people from neighboring countries, the actual cases of real or extreme discrimination (physical threats or abuse), are not as high as they could be or once were. General discrimination though does yet exist, if you look mestizo with bronze skin, there are those that will call that person with racial slurs, of which there are many for different groups, religions, or nationalities.
Blacks are few in Argentina, yes, but not as rare as some claim. Specially these days in the largers cities there are more Jamaicans, Dominicans (specially women that were brought over with promises of work, but they were brought over for 'other' realities), and actual people from African nations, many refugees that come in on stowaway ships. There are also black Brazilians of course, and black Colombians (you will see several playing football/soccer in the Argentine League, or US blacks playing in the Argentine Basketball League). So it's not like you won't see another black person, but if you come from the USA or Brazil, it may seem that way!
The population of true black Argentines is not well known, the census does not count 'race' as a category in this country as it is against the constitution. One million is deffinately too much (the source of that figure being a pro-African group), but 10,000 might be too little. It also depends what is defined as 'black'. There actually could be quite a few Argentines that are 'octagoons' and the like, but the mix has been so diluted by wave after wave of non-African DNA that today they may not look black at all. Just like one time I met an American girl, a redhead with freckles that could have been from Ireland, but she was supposedly 1/8 black.
Will people gawk at you? Not everyone, but some probably will. And more out of simple curiosity, not that it diminishes the disconfort zone that may create.
It ultimately depends on what kind of person you are. If you can't tolerate any kind of strange looks or find motives behind every action, then you may have a rough time. But if you are the kind of person that just looks most things like that over, unless they become really egregious, then you really might have a good time and make some friends.
My internet was not shut down, the internet has shut me down
AndesSMF From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 2, posted (6 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1112 times:
My family originates partly from a province in Ecuador where escaped black slaves set up and lived up to this day. There are several of these types of enclaves in South America.
But there should not be a problem, as South America is not quite racist as it is classist. That means that most people will respect you according to the social class you belong to, and you being an American will certainly help that. You might find the attention given to you in Argentina to be of a good kind.
Derico From Argentina, joined Dec 1999, 4258 posts, RR: 12 Reply 3, posted (6 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 1098 times:
Quoting AndesSMF (Reply 2): South America is not quite racist as it is classist. That means that most people will respect you according to the social class you belong to, and you being an American will certainly help that. You might find the attention given to you in Argentina to be of a good kind.
That is true, but in South America classism usually equates to race. Well, honestly, it does in North America too. The poorest groups tend to be the minorities anywhere you look at, and I have no doubts that is related to historical racism and discriminatory policies.
You do have a point in that if you seem a well to-do, local or foreigner of whatever race, then you are less likely to have problems. One American woman in Argentina said on Lonely Planet.com that she had a real bad time, but then two other Americans of african ancestry said they noticed nothing. It probably has to do with your attitude as much as anything too, if you have an attitude, for whatever reason, you will not do well.
Being from the United States or Europe will "get you less" in Argentina than in other countries in Latin America (you are not "all that" nearly as much, and many times have I read that tourists "complain" they are not treated like in Mexico, Colombia, or Peru), but it may actually give you preferential treatment, for example, in some hotels where they don't like to have Argentines to stay, usually because they(we) have a reputation around the world of being 'late nighters', which creates noise level problems with other guests. But that is a whole other topic
My internet was not shut down, the internet has shut me down