African-American life in BA


Oct 30, 2006
Hello: I am new to the forum and will soon be traveling to teach English in BA, I am wondering about the experiences of African American men in BA Argentina (me) Im seriously thinking of spending some time there 6 mos-1year and I want to have a good time. Any feedback would be a help.
Thanks, great forum
Is this your first trip to South America? Do you speak Spanish? If not, the language barrier may delay your integration socially. If you already have a job lined up, this will ease your introduction. Welcome and I hope you enjoy your stay!
Si, hablo espanol poquito Estaba en escuela por trese meses entonces no problemos, espero
Yes it is also my first time in South America but I have travelled to Latin America CR
I have just heard that there are not too many blacks in BA and do not want to have a difficult experience. Im have surrounded myself around a host of cultures all of my life and am comfortable and welcome others, its just that everyone else is not so open sometimes and since I will be in another country I was wondering about what my experiences might be.
BA is as different from San Jose, CR as is Alabama from CA! Blacks are a very, very small minority here. The Africans seem to come from Nigeria. They are visible because they sell goods at street fairs. There is also a sprinkle of Brazilians and Uruguayans. If you are asking if there is racial discrimination, I think so, but covertly. Most Argentinians will deny it vehemently. I am Argentinian but was raised in San Francisco, CA. Perhaps there are others on this forum who are better qualified to give an opinion on this subject. You may not be socially included everywhere but there is no palpable racial tension. The ability to speak Spanish , however poorly, is the key to integration.
You will be seen mostly as a rare and curious thing, since
it’s true what the other people in this forum told you, there are not many
African Americans here. We have black people around here, but they are from Africa, you’ll see them selling jewels in some squares
and the streets. They don’t seem to know much Spanish and that sets some sort
of a barrier between us. On a personal note, I don’t think you’ll have many
problems. I live in a city in the Greater BA, some 20 km from the federal
district. There are no blacks here. I grew up with an image of the blacks as
people who can sing, dance, play sports and music instruments extremely well,
that’s the sort of stereotype many of us have of black people. As for racial
discrimination, there are stupid people everywhere and there’s not much we can
do about it. But I think that you will be mainly seen as something curious and
your future students will be delighted to have you as a teacher. By the way, I’m
100% Argentinean, and I’ve never been out of my country. Hope you have a very
good time here!Nancy
My nephews are brown-skinned argentinians from the province. Once we were in an arcade on Lavalle and the security guard came up to them to throw them out, when i explained they were with ME, he turned his back to me and told them to "take him outside if they wanted to rob him". Even my nephews were stunned into silence. i made that story short.
another time, my brazilian journalist friend was dropping hundreds of dollars on clothes at Shopping Alcorta, when the little guys got hungry, he offered to take them up to the top floor to mcdonalds (they were going through a mcdonalds craze at that time, as being poor they never got to go there). the security guard met us at the excalator and said "they cant go up there". my friend calmly said, "yes they can". the guard repeated his stupidity and well, we went up.
Then there was the get the idea. (they have laws to protect people, but nothing works. back home they wouldnt keep a little black boy out if nothing for fear of a law suit. yes, there are stupid people everywhere, here they are in control, thats the difference.)
Thanks for your post! JG: yours especially because you cited clear examples and experiences to me, and yes there are stupid people everywhere but when they are in control it can make a hue difference in your overall experience.
Anymore experiences out there? No blue sky, just the truth.
I think you can have a very positive experience in Buenos Aires. If you experience any discrimination, or unusual treatment I don't believe it will be as much that you are a person of color, but that you are an American. When you are in public and you speak english people will look at the American, not the colored person. I think that when you meet other Americans while you are here you will discover that while we may come from a different town, observe different customs, or in fact may segregate ourselves from one another just because of our cultural background, in the end we are American, and that makes us very, very much the same. When you are in town look me up, and we'll have a coffee, and while everyone is staring at us they'll be thinking just one thing. What are those two gringos talking about?
I believe you will be treated well because you will be seen as an American. Although there is some "anti Americanism" among a few intellectuals and politicians, on the whole Argentines have quite a lot of respect for Americans (and Europeans). They have far less respect for people from the interior of Argentina or from other parts of Latin America. Dress, appearance and skin color are important factors here but primarily for people within the system. You will be an outisder who wll be judged by another yardstick.