Racism Towards People From The States?

Girino

Registered
I am not from the US, but Argentines often mistake me as such, and I have noticed they have sort of bitter feelings, if not plain racism, against people from there. I have never been said something offensive in the real sense, it's more what they don't dare to say something or some subtle commentary they make with references to the US ("this is not the US..."). Once I tell them that I am not from the States... they seem kind of relieved, some unleash their anti-US feelings making comments about politics and lifestyle in the US (also those who have never been there).

Recently, I read a post of an American lady who has been living here for 4 years who was basically treated as a child because of her accent when speaking Spanish, and I have been thinking about this for a while now (and after the countless "this is not the US..." I was said).

What's your thought about this?
 

sleslie23

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People rarely assume that I am from the US. It's obvious when I speak Spanish that I am not Argentine, but I usually get confused for being French, Italian, or Brazilian.

Most people definitely have assumptions (both good and bad) that aren't really true about the US. The weird thing is that most Argentines who mention that they have been to the US have only been to Orlando - a place you could not pay me to visit.

I've had very few people make comments to me about the US. Maybe being a 6'5" male discourages them from saying anything. But, at the same time, I don't really compare Argentina and the US or complain about Argentina in general unless someone asks.

In most casual conversations I have, people are curious which part of the US I am from, if I like Argentina, what I like about Argentina, etc. If a conversation goes beyond superficialities, I generally point out cultural differences or misconceptions. However, I don't complain about the government and stopped even mentioning inflation. Of course, people often bring these subjects up by themselves.

EDIT: All of the above is on the streets. I do complain and compare on BAExpats, of course.
 

nkotb

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Some portenos talk my ear off about how amazing Miami is, others harangue me about vulture funds, like I owned one. It's been about 50:50. I wouldn't call this racism, maybe just too much TV.
 

ajoknoblauch

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People rarely assume that I am from the US. It's obvious when I speak Spanish that I am not Argentine, but I usually get confused for being French, Italian, or Brazilian.

Most people definitely have assumptions (both good and bad) that aren't really true about the US. The weird thing is that most Argentines who mention that they have been to the US have only been to Orlando - a place you could not pay me to visit.
Most Spanish-speakers have great difficulty guessing my accent. At times, I can feign being a Porteño, but never for very long. I've learned the language in several countries, and still use a lot of chilenismos and mexicanismos, but also lot of Lunfardo. I sometimes tell them I'm Bulgarian or Ukrainian but, if I'm feeling particularly flippant, I might say Vietnamese.
 

ElQueso

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I've had a variety of reactions from various Argentines related to my being an estadounidense, but I don't know that I would classify it as racism. How I'm treated, even by people who don't like estadounidenses, doesn't compare, for example, how I've seen my Paraguayan family members treated at times.

I get three basic different reactions when I answer an Argentine's inquiry as to where I come from.. 1) Oh, how nice, i.e., general pleasantness and good conversation (which I love, because I really don't like conflict and like talking to people), 2) An obvious feeling of either envy or anger, not necessarily directed at me personally (at which point I try to extricate myself from contact as quickly as I can without being rude) and 3) Telling me how good the US is and how bad Argentina is (not a common reaction, but probably more common than #2 - and I don't feel all that comfortable with #3's reaction). #3 usually includes things like "why on Earth are you living here??"

I've had one single encounter in the 9 years I've lived here that was verbally violent and nearly physically so, in the vein of #2. I was in Café Iberia a few years ago with some expat friends. We'd stopped in there for coffee after a dinner at Plaza Asturias. We were up on the second floor of the place, sitting in the couches near the railing, having a calm chat. A guy at a table across the aisle, against the back wall, who was seated with his girlfriend, kept looking over at us. He was a big, burly guy (rugby player I found out during the better parts of our later "conversation"). He started throwing some comments our way, which didn't seem at all provocative at the beginning, asked us where we were from, what we were doing here, etc. Then he started talking about the greatness of "la patria Argentina" in a rather forceful manner, as if we were arguing with him. Since I was the only one of our group of four who spoke decent Spanish at the time, I was doing most of the conversing on our part and was very careful not to give any attitude. Had nothing to do with the dude's size, but rather I was very cognizant that I was in a foreign country and didn't want any trouble, though I felt trouble coming when he got up from the table and started conversing with us from his vantage point of standing over us while we were seated. I could see that something was bothering him.

His girlfriend ended up walking over and throwing out rude comments about where we were from, then leaving and going back to her table to sit down, then coming back again, etc. She seemed to act as some kind of a macho-catalyst and the guy got to the point where he actually told me he was tired of hearing our filthy language, polluting "his" space in his country, amongst many other direct insults. He ended up demanding that we leave Iberia immediately. I'd finally had enough of this guy's crap, so I stood up in front of him and asked him if he had a problem that he would like to go outside and resolve so we didn't continue to ruin the rest of the night for everyone else. He looked at me for a moment, had a few last-gasp insults to throw out and went to sit down again with his girlfriend and we didn't have any more trouble.

Like I say, that's the only direct real issue I've had in 9 years here. Not a bad track record. I don't think it's racism when people come out as anti-American as much as it is a mixture of envy, anger based on mostly bad propaganda and a feeling of inferiority related to wanting to feel that Argentina should be better than it is.
 

Noesdeayer

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The word is not racism but anti-USism some of which is politically motivated and could have been justified especially during the 70s but not that much lately.I have been here since 1979 and have seen this anti-yankee attitude go thru several phases.Argentines are born complainers and blamers anyway.They blame the U.S.,England Spain,Chile almost anyone but themselves. even though most of their problems are self-inflicted If they spent more time on constructive self-criticism and less on looking for someone to blame,they could have straightened their country out decades ago.I strove to speak fluent unaccented Argentine Spanish for exactly that reason.I have not gotten into unnecessary conversations with strangers here for decades in order to avoid what Serafina mentions.Every day banter O.K. "un poco de chichoneo" and that's it.
 

mikic007

Registered
This is not really Argentinian thing, is all world. When you are so important, you get pros and cons, even if it's obvious, that most Americans have nothing to do with that. Part is frustration, part is blaming, part something else. But what people from USA have to understand is, that their country is affecting whole world and is visible behind most what is happening around, so attitude towards them goes in both directions.

Still, hating American way, politics, wars and some general stereotypes are not yet racism, especially because for that you need first different race...

Edit:spelling
 

camberiu

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The word is not racism but anti-USism some of which is politically motivated and could have been justified especially during the 70s but not that much lately.
Not even in the 70s. Did the US endorse the military coup? Sure! But it was the Argentine military, with the support of a huge chunk of the national middle class and many important politicians that actually executed the take over. Yeah, once the military that they helped put into power turned on the entire nation, and the middle class realized that the pandora's box that they helped open in the first place could not be easily closed, then the "let's blame the Gringos" festival began.
 

Girino

Registered
I would like to point out that the term "racism" is nowadays associated to any discriminatory behaviour toward a certain group. What defines a group is a whole another story: could be the tone of the skin, the geographical provenience, the religious belief or other various traits that exists between people.

For example, in Italy I was always mistook for a foreigner. In good times, I was mistook for a German (Germans are highly regarded and envied by Italians), when Chernobyl happened, some thought I was a poor Russian taking part into a health-program (they sent Russian children for months to detox from radiations).
Then a lot of immigration from Eastern Europe countries arrived, and the association blonde-easter-woman = exploiter of defenseless Italian men or of Italian welfare system to dig in. By my 20's, the latter was such a common misconception that once I took a bus and an elder lady decided to push hard me to move toward the door because she thought I wasn't able to understand Italian. Another time I went to a health office and I was yelled at by the clerk saying I was "one of those who come here to exploit the free healthcare and the system" and that she didn't she give a damn about by ID showing I was born there and that I spoke with the local Italian accent.

Anyway, I wasn't talking about any discrimination in the real sense, nobody ever refused to sell me something or to let me in somewhere because they thought I was form the US. I was simply referring to a sort of subtle attitude I am given now and then.

Then, of course, jerks know no race, age and have no nationality.
 
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