Nine months sober, I’ve learned that I’m a status-obsessed individual. In hindsight, moving to Latin America, the most stratified region in the world, wasn’t good for my hang ups.
This article is about trying to marry into the elite upper class of a Latin American country. The best look into that world is “A World for Julius” by Alfredo Bryce, published in 1970 (!), a mainstay on the Expat Chronicles Reading List. If you haven’t read that, buy it now. Devour it. Immerse yourself in Julius’s world, a captivating semi-autobiography, and emerge seeing Latin America in a new way. For the worse if you’re status-obsessed like me.
This tweet below came across my desk, stirred some of those old thoughts from my single days. I am now married and emasculated, casado y capado pues, so I don’t want to go into too much detail about what I did as a single man. But I did do a little business in the upper echelons, and I’ll share my take alongside this “BowTiedPassport” tweeter.
While the thread makes an interesting point I’ll dig into later, the three tiers are not informative, to the point of misleading, about Latin America’s pyramid-shaped societies. Latin American governments define their social classes with strict socioeconomic levels, and both of his top tiers would be merged into one for the upper decile.
Under his middle class, for example, the girls can’t cook. In Latin America when a girl can’t fry an egg, that means the family has fulltime servants. That is upper class. Upper decile at least, upper quintile in the capital alone. Middle-class girls know how to fry an egg. In another strange point, he says the middle class girl went to private school. Only the poorest families send their children to free public schools. The question is, what kind of private school? I think what this guy’s talking about is a good private school but not elite. In Lima, a school with annual tuition of $5,000 is low upper class for gringos who think in percentages (top quintile in Lima, top decile nationally).
I’m tempted to say “upper middle,” as Latin governments have separate tiers for the difference between the upper and upper-middle (A and B in Peru, or estratos 6 and 5 in Colombia), but that’s in a five- or even six-tier system. With only three, you’re grouping up to 80% into one tier and less than 1% into the top tier.
I’d argue for a lot more differentiation among barrio girls because there’s a lot of real estate between those born to teen mothers at home (as opposed to in a hospital) on an unpaved street and a barrio girl whose home existed 100 years ago, formally-employed dad drives a $10,000 car and the family visited Florida for the first time last year. But this limited system makes clear what the mission is, which is not to understand Latin America’s pyramid-shaped societies, but to marry into Julius’s world. Nobody else matters, and don’t be fooled by these top-10-percent posers.
I’ve seen that before, usually from upper decile Latins, creating a distinction between upper decile and Julius’s world. As an American it makes no sense because it’s such a small population to begin with. It’d be like differentiating between Americans who live in houses valued in single-digit millions and those who live in houses worth eight figures or more. The difference between the upper class in your city and the family from Succession. What’s the point?
Anyway, here’s what the bow-tied bro says about them.
These girls are of prime Latina stock, highly educated and feminine. She likely speak english, but won’t put major effort into speaking it with you until she’s comfortable.
Why? Why would she?
She has the attention of high status locals.
It would be an L for her to hang around the typical gringo.
In order to break into the high level of Mexican chicks. You’ll need to build a network, learn some Spanish, leave the expat enclave.link to original Tweet
You won’t be able to dress in shorts and flip-flops and approach these girls.
Among the upper classes of Latin America, bringing around a broke English teacher is an inferior good, like Busch beer. Or I guess “an L,” as the kids would say. That is the excellent point in this thread that warrants mention on this blog. However there is a lot of nuance to dig into.
“Feminine” is a curious choice of word to describe them. I wouldn’t disagree per se, but I’d keep in mind this guy is selling something, and what’s feminine vs. masculine varies among cultures, so this is subjective. But whatever you love or hate about dependent, possessive, warm, passionate Latin women vs. independent, secure, cold, capable gringas, the women of the Julius’s world are more like gringas. Dating one of them is like dating a gringa in Spanish. In all ways.
I’d go so far as to say that if a Latin woman has many characteristics of what Latinas are known for, she is not from Julius’s world. Unless she’s new money. The women of Julius’s world are basically gringas in Spanish. They even look like them (skin, hair, clothes). I wouldn’t say they’re not feminine. They’re just as feminine as gringas. Of course there is always nuance, but that’s the score.
I’ve wondered, in my politically incorrect way, what makes them less Latin. Is it the early and often exposure to the developed world, internalizing the contrast between the rich world and seeing their own country, and the inevitable attraction to progress and away from what’s backwards? Or were their bloodlines always more like gringos and that is precisely why they’re rich in the first place, because gringos are more productive, logical, etc.? You had a trigger warning. Cry me a river.
There are staunch upper-class girls (and guys) who only hang around gringos, but those ones simply emigrate. If you have the option, why limit yourself to the small world of weirdo expats who refuse to grow up by moving to a shithole country? They are elites in their country, they’d like to at least try for an elite in Gringolandia. And if you’re a gringo in LatAm, you’re not an elite back home.
So it can be an “L” (as the kids say) for the ones who stick around to hang around if you’re a typical gringo (like I was). You’re an English teacher, solopreneur, whatever you’re doing is not making the most money you could be. You’re on an adventure. You’re refusing to grow up. Peter Pan, I was, a little bit.
The men and women of Julius’s world have wealth that brings rich experience. They done too much, way too young. Florida, New York, California, Spain, France wherever, maybe before they knew what countries were. They don’t gape with their jaws open at the big capitals of rich countries. They don’t even look out the window anymore.
So for them, a gringo isn’t novel. They may become friends or date one, but there is no star factor on first glance. They’re as interested in you as a woman in your country will be. I’ve written that the wave of expats going down for stints in the region is rendering gringos less interesting for all Latins, not just the rich. But the rich were always desensitized. “A World for Julius” was published in 1970.
And given you’re in their shithole country, there is an assumption about you. Whether it’s for cheap drugs, easy sex or an immature refusal to get serious in your life and career, Latin America is going the wrong way for you. You’re going down, not up. Red flag. There’s something wrong. That’s what you’ll have to overcome.
The gringos as inferior goods isn’t limited to Julius’s world. I’d say it’s seeped out into the entire upper class as defined by economists, the upper decile if not quintile. Latin America has enough money now and travel is so common, they know about white trash. And since widespread adoption of the internet, a whole generation of Latins has grown up with an ever-present community of unserious gringos running amok in their countries.
But again, nuance needed here. If you had access to the surnames of the local students (not foreigners) at the elite high schools, you see a lot of gringo last names. It could be as high as a double-digit percentage. Or visit your city’s fancy cemetery where the big shots of 100 years ago eternalized their status with gaudy tombstones. You’ll see English, Irish, Scottish and German surnames, in addition to the French and Italian. “A World for Julius” didn’t translate the main character’s name from Julio. It’s Julius in the Spanish version, “Un mundo para Julius.” The author’s paternal surname is Bryce.
From the 19th century when the independent nations opened up until now, gringos and gringas have been marrying or rising into the elite. Every country has among its elite the descendants of gringo immigrant forebears. Many have the surnames still, some don’t. But even those who don’t are aware of their partial gringo lineage, and in my experience those ones are open to having gringos around. I’ve seen Julius world elites with century-old gringo surnames marry gringos themselves. History repeating itself.
I first set foot in South America in 2007, social class the furthest thing from a naive gringo mind. It’s not long before you realize that almost everybody you know is upper class (upper quintile). Sometimes dudes seemed to use me as arm candy, showing their gringo friend off as a status symbol. Even rich people did this. This was the 2000s. I don’t know if this still happens, the region has been inundated. But again it’s a fine line between being an L (as the kids say) and some kind of status symbol.
If targeting the women of Julius’s world, you will have stiff competition in the men of that world, who the bow-tied bro refers to as “high status locals.” These guys often combine the best of both definitions of masculinity: Latin seduction and instinct for status combined with the gringo’s strong and silent, “actions speak louder than words” type.
But it’s important to not fall into Latin elites’ trap. They sit atop the world’s most stratified societies, where status is everything and they’re exert real energy to present the best image possible. Latins are also adept at deception, so it’s easy to see how even a seasoned gringo falls for the illusion. But I’ll tell you their secret: they don’t make much money.
Gringos are shocked at how little the poor in Latin America make. You’ll also be just as shocked at how little the rich make. Colombia’s entire GDP is the size of Missouri’s, but that money is spread out among nine times the population (Peru’s equals Iowa with 10 times the population). Missouri has more billionaires than Colombia (although Peru has more than Iowa).
As noted before, Latin American governments define socioeconomic class. You can verify both the salary range of the defined upper class, and how many people make up that upper class. Across the board, just $5,000 per month puts you in the upper class (not upper middle). And it depends on the city, but chances are that if you make $10,000 per month, you are in the top 1%.
My Tips for the Gringo Social Climber
Agree 100% with the bow-tied bro that the only way to get into especially Julius’s world but even the upper class is to dig into the community. Build a network of friends and meet potential mates that way. You’re not going to fail with your PUA day-bang cold-approach or whatever you do just because you’re a gringo. They would be equally hostile to a local trying to sweet talk them out in public. You’re going to fail because people in the elite bubbles of highly stratified societies don’t make random friends on the street. That’s why it’s called a bubble. It’s all about mutual friends in nearby social networks.
Figure out what you’re going for. You may see that, wow, I make enough money to get into Julius’s world (or have a combination of looks and good-enough money, whatever). But be aware that Julius’s world of Latins who would be upper class even on American standards is a very small world. As a percentage, not a rational number, the closest integer would round to 0%.
Don’t believe me? Look up your local elite private high schools that charge $20,000+ per year. There may be just one in a small city, or a handful in the capital. Divide total enrollment K-12 by two because half of them are the gringo children from embassies and multinationals. Now what size town in the States has a public school that size? Crunching the numbers in Lima, a city of 11 million, I’d guess Julius’s world is no larger than 5,000 people, all ages and genders. How many of those are single women in your target age group not working or studying abroad? Probably 500 in a city of 11 million. You could waste a lot of time getting nowhere.
Figure out early if you want to go for the 0% in Julius’s world or if you want to expand the market a little. In Lima:
- top 1% = population 110,000
- top decile = population 1.1 million
- top quintile = population 2.2 million
Bullfighting or Basketball?
When out in the wild, I’d try to qualify your prospects by categorizing them as bullfighting or basketball. Inspired by the Cook Political Report’s novel method of using Whole Foods Market vs. Cracker Barrel to predict someone’s politics. If you live closer to Whole Foods you probably go Democrat, if you’re closer to Cracker Barrel you’re
There are a few dynamics in play, but the most important is valuing progress and being forward-looking or valuing tradition and revering the past. When most people talk about the elite, in particular the ones who would see a gringo boyfriend as an “L” (as the kids say), these are people more likely to have been to a bullfight than a professional basketball game. And when I say bullfight, I mean any hacienda culture entertainment. Peruvian paso horses and equestrian shows, etc. The elite who lean toward bullfights will have a deep reverence for Hispanic tradition and see last names that don’t end in vowels as diluting that.
Basketball is the opposite. Born in Canada, grew up in the United States. Height is an advantage. Unless they’re a nut for all sports, a Latino being a fan of basketball almost implies a rejection of soccer, which in a way is a rejection of Latin masculinity. Like cheering for Team Germany in 2014, over the Brazilians falling down and screaming in agony, appealing to the refs for a call.
Obviously many of the women in Julius’s world may not have been to either. But you can get a sense of which way they lean, what would they rather do? I wouldn’t waste my time with the ones in the bullfight camp. As much as I love bullfights and all. You’re like a black man trying to marry a southern belle whose parents held her a debutante ball, who went to ‘Bama and whose dad still insists the Civil War was fought for states’ rights. Why waste your time, black man, when there is a Kardashian out there?
For all the complaining that gringo expats do about Latin America’s upper class, most of that rancor is directed toward the bullfight-leaning elites. But for every one of those haughty, arrogant, pretentious pitucos (who clears $70K a year), there is anoter upper-class Latin who loves the promise of United States and northern Europe, abhors status, votes for the liberals (if not progressives) and wants to surround themself with diverse people, just like rich kids around the world.
I may be biased in thinking it’s equally split not only because obviously as a gringo I’d be more exposed with those leaning toward basketball (I also briefly played in Peru’s semi-pro league). Every time the expats start to complain about the obnoxious, privileged bullfighters, I try to push back and remember that, of the whole country, the ones who see what’s wrong and are trying to change it generally hail from the upper classes. And there’s a wide range from bullfighting to basketball.
Go Hard at the Mobile
Latin America is stratified but not as stratified as it was in the 19th century. Their economies have opened a little and there is mobility, both up and down. There are “new money” families who did not grow up with the pretensions of the old hacienda jockeys who share last names with former presidents and government ministers.
And there are “old money” families whose descendants can’t keep up. Whether less fortunate or less able, great-great-grandchildren of the hacendados with famous last names can and do go broke. Or relegated to NSE B or C, estrato 5 or 4. It happens. They may be culturally inclined toward bullfights and maintaining a pure Creole bloodline, but if the fortune is dwindling then financial realities could put priorities into perspective.
If I were to embark on this, I’d go hard at both upwardly and downwardly mobile.
And the easy pickings, who I’ll call the aging mobile (just to keep with the mobility theme), will be those whose child-rearing age is nearing its end. Maybe a long-term relationship with a local boyfriend broke down and she’s been single and feeling hopeless at 35 years old. She may start thinking a Latin guy’s not for her, especially if she’s from Julius’s world. Pueblo pequeño, infierno grande. Maybe a gringo offers a clean escape.
Where Will You Compromise?
Status can come in different forms, and money is only one. Think about your priorities. Is money as important as beauty? How much can you compromise on beauty? On brains? On chemistry? Do you want a drop-dead gorgeous wife from Julius’s world who earns $10,000 per month? Good luck with that. Better to compromise somewhere.
Most of the dynamics in this post go both ways, for gringos and gringas (except aging). Gringa women looking to join Julius’s world face the same playing field. Many Latin men opt for gringa women for the same reasons Latin women opt for gringos, on the opposite side of gringos and gringas opt for Latinas and Latinos. Opposites attract.
For those gringa women, if money is important, what kind of money? Would you rather marry a deadbeat who grew up in a $1 million house on Julius’s street, or a go-getter making $20,000 per month who grew up in a $100,000 house?
To aspirational gringa women, I’d offer the same advice as I’d offer men. Don’t try to out-Latin the Latins. Be yourself, standing tall, independent, secure, emotions under control, athletic, etc. And one more thing, this is important, Daddy needs you to be a big girl. NO CRYING!
(That last point goes for gringo men as well, to differentiate yourself from the hot-blooded, but un gringo que se respeta doesn’t need to be told.)
At the end of the day, I opted for a barrio girl, as the bow-tied bro defines it. The bottom 80%. If you have mommy issues, or daddy issues, and you weren’t indulged emotionally by a doting spoiling mother/father, you need that over-the-top affection … and with that, you needy bitch, you need the drama that comes with it, the explosions, the fighting, the accusations. You need the full Latin treatment. Not somebody from Julius’s world.
That’s my case anyway. Something I wouldn’t compromise on, being a product of divorce who vowed never to divorce myself, was chemistry. So I did something very un-0% … I married for love. A great bonus came in not having touched a dish or done laundry for 10 years.
Honestly one of your best articles in years. You offer a lot more nuance than what a Twitter thread could (blog style helps) and offer a more clear idea of what some of the class differences look like.
I’ll add in my 2 cents below from a Mexico City perspective and probably more of a barrio perspective to be honest as I’ve done more real barrio living than upper class living.
The first thing I want to say right away is that I honestly feel most gringos are full of shit when they say that they hang out with “the upper class.”
Someone making 5,000 to 10,000 USD a month might be put in that category and there are also technical definitions from the government of what income is needed to be put in “the upper class.”
But I’d say those definitions are not usually as helpful for defining what is REALLY upper class.
“I’ve seen that before, usually from upper decile Latins, creating a distinction between upper decile and Julius’s world. As an American it makes no sense because it’s such a small population to begin with.”
I think I understand what you mean but I would create a distinction between the different groups that are technically — according to the government definition — in the “upper class” because different people in those groups have very different lives.
Take for example the topic of gentrification in Mexico CIty.
A lot of gringos say that it’s just the upper class bitching because they feel replaced by even richer people than them in such a classist society.
And maybe that’s some talk by only a few gringos to convince themselves that they are “the new elite” and to downplay the role they have in such neighborhoods.
Most people bitching are poor people who aren’t impacted by the rising rent in Condesa because they don’t live anywhere near there and just hate seeing others having an easy life and because it’s the hype of the day they repeat from the media.
But NO real upper class local would bitch about it. Some might even own properties in Condesa making money from gringos renting there. Why would they bitch?
But the local making 5,000 a month? He could still afford Condesa at 5,000 but his rent has gone up and now makes a bigger percentage of his income. If he’s making even less — say 3,000 — he could still afford it but he now is contemplating a life outside of Condesa. THANKS GRINGOS (or higher upper class locals owning the property he lives in wanting to turn it into an airbnb)!
There’s a big difference between the guy who makes 5,000 a year and the one who owns multiple properties in Condesa, has a German last name, has a EU passport, has traveled, etc.
I know because I’ve both types of characters.
The latter would of course meet plenty of gringos because he lives in Condesa and might even talk to them being their landlord. But doesn’t typically hang out with gringos who are new to town.
Instead, he hangs out with other German descended Mexicans. Which is one thing to mention: sometimes those in the very high up end of society hang out a lot more with other Mexicans of similar European heritage (especially if their ancestors were also well off).
But even then that type of character one might argue isn’t as high up as other Mexicans and there might be other distinctions there too between that type of character and someone who makes way more.
And the distinction is in everything — the name, how exactly brown or white they really are, how they live, who they eat with, etc.
Going back to the point though, the average gringo — when he says has met or hangs with “the elite” of Latin America — is, from what I’ve seen, usually referring to some Mexican making that 5,000 dollars a month (and maybe with not even a single property to his name).
That’s not the elite. No, the average gringo isn’t hanging out with those that run multi million dollar companies, parties with a drug lord of a major cartel in Sinaloa or occasionally is seen in the same dining room as the President.
And is not hanging out either with a local that is still much wealthier than 5,000 a month but not as high up as being the CEO of a major company.
Part of the reason for that though is because plenty of gringos are broke and wouldn’t have anyway to really break into that social circle. No Spanish either. No connections.
But, for those gringos more successful by all that criteria, again they probably are referring to the dude making 5,000 a month than a real elite.
“Sometimes dudes seemed to use me as arm candy, showing their gringo friend off as a status symbol. Even rich people did this. This was the 2000s. I don’t know if this still happens, the region has been inundated. But again it’s a fine line between being an L (as the kids say) and some kind of status symbol.”
As of 2017, that happens in Mexico City. Or it did at least once for me. Some dude who had money (not an elite but was a richer young kid) invited me to his birthday party in a high end club in Polanco. We didn’t know each other at all but were neighbors. I didn’t even know his name. Ended up emphasizing to everyone he introduced to as “he’s from AMERICA, he speaks ENGLISH.” Even covered my entrance to the club and paid for a shot and a beer lol.
Could that happen again in 2023? Eh, maybe.
But I again feel that there’s probably a difference in if a local who was a real elite and the one making his 5,000. The former I have my doubts about (unless we were talking about the that local in a place fewer gringos go to like Paraguay but even then …) and the latter probably still would if he was interested in all things US.
I remember being in a house party one time in a Mexican city called Pachuca in 2020 (a city that basically gets no gringos). It was in a gated community where you had to pass two security check points. Got in due to knowing someone else and was invited. Not to be a gringo arm candy though but the people there treated me very nicely.
I’d say the people living there were making WAY more than 5,000 a month due to the quality of their houses. Really nice homes. Much better than anything I saw in the US.
Which probably goes to show that — in terms of how much special treatment or attention you get in that specific city or country from the “upper class” locals — it matters how many gringos currently live there. How unique are we?
Most of Latin America I would argue would find us “unique” but most of Latin America includes working class neighborhoods in the capital and cities and towns in the middle of nowhere that gringos don’t go to because there’s little to do and Lonely Planet or your favorite Youtube vlogger hasn’t said much about it (yet).
Though you make a fair point that those types (the ones really rich) would also be less amazed by foreigners from the US or Europe because they’ve done their fair share of traveling (among other things). But, if you are the only gringo they have seen in their city, it’s not hard to generate real interest from them (assuming you get invited into their social circle because, as you put it nicely, you’re not bumping shoulders with them in the street — especially as because they might be riding around in a nice car instead of walking).
“For all the complaining that gringo expats do about Latin America’s upper class, most of that rancor is directed toward the bullfight-leaning elites. But for every one of those haughty, arrogant, pretentious pitucos (who clears $70K a year),”
Part of me wonders though how much complaining the average gringo does about Latin America’s upper class (be it the 5,000 dollar dudes or the real ones …)
Because I honestly think the average gringo coming here has such a superficial and limited experience to Latin America that they don’t know any real elites to be making complaints about in the first place.
They might still complain about “the locals” but I doubt “the locals” has a socioeconomic image to it beyond “they’re poorer than me” (which may or not be the case depending on how broke the gringo is).
Because so many gringos truly never leave Condesa or Roma, never speak Spanish well, hang out with mostly gringos outside of the occasional gringa hunter he finds at Spanish language events in some bar or cafe, etc,
That said gringo very well though — while going to a club popular for gringos — meet a local who is technically upper class but technically means again 5,000 dollars a month.
But let’s go to the barrio girls for a second.
“I’d argue for a lot more differentiation among barrio girls because there’s a lot of real estate between those born at home (as opposed to in a hospital) on an unpaved street and one whose home existed 100 years ago, dad drives a $10,000 car and the family visited Florida for the first time last year.”
This is a great comment on the difference between “barrio girls.”
When most gringos use this phrase, I don’t think they truly know what “barrio girl” really looks like. And, while I like what Bow Tied posted, I don’t know how much experience he has with them or what he refers to as a “barrio girl.”
All I know is how other gringos talk about “the barrio girl” when they use the term.
I do agree though with him on saying that there’s no shortage of gringos who brag about getting hot women but the hot woman is a literal barrio girl (maybe a single mother, abused growing up, lives in a ghetto like Ecatepec, etc).
And that, if a gringo is literally getting only barrio girls and nothing else, then he probably was a loser with women back home because — most of the time — what this gringo is doing is either 1) getting a chick who will drug him (more of a Colombian thing though than Mexican) or 2) getting a single mother.
I once knew about another gringo just like that. His name was Matt also. From New Mexico. Always showed the latest girl he was getting in the photos he shared online. They were always single mothers, often fat. Looked a little more “indigenous” than the white upper class girls you find in nice areas like Polanco.
Also complained about how “so many Mexican women are single mothers.”
Which I found odd. Most women I have met here were not single mothers. Very few. Where is he finding these women?
But then I thought about it — dude claimed to be making 500 bucks a month as a Youtuber, was fat himself, was the type to cry “the west is dead” (which, when a gringo is like that, usually means he felt rejected at home socially, financially and dating wise) and seemed socially awkward.
For more classic examples of gringos going only for “the barrio girls,” check out 90 Day Fiancé on Youtube. So many classic clips of broke ass gringos getting broke ass women from Latin America. Women who imagine “the American dream” and then get stuck in a trailer park in Georgia. LOL
But, on that note, I don’t hate much either the gringo who goes for “the barrio chick” as we’re putting it. If he finds he gets more sex or love abroad, then good for him. And, having lived in real barrio (or even favela) areas, I can say some of these chicks do look damn good. Others? Not so much. But you got some real good looking gals in those parts.
But what do I mean by “those parts”? That’s going back to the topic of “what is a barrio girl?”
I’ll admit I’ve sometimes been too lazy too on using that word as all encompassing for any chick who isn’t living in the nicest hoods like Condesa or Roma Norte.
But it’s misleading to put the chick that lives in la Federal (a more working class neighborhood perhaps but not dangerous or ghetto) and a chick who lives in literally the ghetto together in the same group.
The former probably isn’t a single mother, has some career aspirations even if humble (no doctor), is less naco or having low class mannerisms, didn’t have an ex boyfriend selling drugs that robs people with his motorcycle, actually lives in a building that isn’t high up invading a mountain in some favela hood, her building also actually has a proper roof, might actually speak passable English (especially if Mexican because I think those in working class areas of most other LATAM countries are less likely to), etc.
The latter is much more likely to be all of that.
It’s weird when gringos refer to the former as “barrio girl” when her neighborhood isn’t what I’d call “the barrio” (if we’re using that term to basically just mean a ghetto).
The average gringo also — though there are plenty that do — is a lot less likely to actually go on a date with said barrio girl.
Unless he orders her an Uber from her house to his but how many of the “loser” gringos who also don’t make much money are actually spending 10 to 20 bucks a ride (depending on how far her ghetto really is be it from Iztapalapa or as far as Ecatepec). A dude making 500 bucks a month as a broke English teacher is really doing that? I doubt it.
So if he’s not Ubering (which he could if he has the cash), then I doubt she’s making a visit.
Because she doesn’t even think about gringos. They don’t exist in her world because they don’t go to her ghetto. And also it’d be a literal 2 to 3 hour ride in public transportation (multiple routes) just to get to where the gringo is. She’s not doing no 4 to 6 hour roundtrip ride just to suck his dick or “go get tacos.”
The only way she will show up is if she is commuting (and many do) to an area close to where the gringo lives and is willing to take a small side trip to his place after she’s done with work.
But how many have the energy to do that after 2 to 3 hours of commute (and 2 to 3 more coming up) and after 8 to 10 hours of working in some low wage job that might’ve been more physically demanding too in terms of walking.
Her feet hurt and the gringo’s dick ain’t on top of her mind.
Instead, the gringo — when getting his so called barrio girl — probably is referring to the one that actually lives in a working class neighborhood that is not as far from where he lives (maybe 30 to 40 minutes by the metro) and who would still see gringos as not “an L” because she still makes only 400 bucks a month and most of the local dudes she could get are not very successful and she’s interested in a man who is more financially stable.
And maybe she has a white or black guy fetish too.
Or maybe she’s has a really bad experience with local men who cheated on her, beated her, maybe no dad at home, etc. That’s another reason why some Latinas — not quite often the types to be “upper class” — go for gringos. They just had a really bad experience with them.
But that’s another topic too. Why do some Latinas prefer us gringos?
Most people say it’s because they want the green card but I don’t find that to be the case usually. The reasons (without distinguishing them along socioeconomic lines) are usually as follows from what I’ve seen:
1. She’s a single mother or a woman who wants to settle down and have kids and who wants a stable man who makes a decent income (to which most gringos — even broke ones — can usually compete with locals on this point assuming he’s not competing for a local upper class woman who isn’t a single mother but wants kids).
2. Maybe she does want the green card (rare from what I’ve seen, most people don’t want to move to another country — as often as gringos like to jerk themselves off to the idea that everyone wants to be American, most people (even barrio girls) don’t aspire to that for various reasons even if plenty of others do).
3. Like I said, some have had such a bad experience with local men that they go for the gringo.
4. Some fetishize a different skin color that isn’t as common in their local city (white, black, Asian, etc). In the same way some gringos fetishize Latinas. It’s different and all that.
5. Some Latinas — but this is more true of those who say make 3,000 bucks a month — prefer gringo men because she isn’t likely to get a real “upper class elite” who owns millions and there’s way more poor locals earning 400 a month than 3,000 or more (though the latter isn’t super rare either). So she prefers gringos because she might find it easier to find a gringo making her income than a local.
6. Take the last group and talk about height. Some Latinas in certain parts of Latin America are simply taller than most of the locals. This is especially true in areas with a heavy indigenous influence on the local demographics. So a chick who is 5’10 — even though there’s obviously 5’10 local men — might prefer gringos because it’s easier to find among them a 5’10 dude than a local man that she’d like to date.
7. Those who just want to practice English.
8. Those who may or may not be fucking the gringo but like posting pics of herself with them on social media for validation.
9. Those who have a strong interest in basically all things “anglo” culture. You ask her about her favorite TVs, movies and bands and they all come from the US, UK, Canada, etc. No real interest in her own local culture. Does date or fuck other white dudes though if they aren’t from “anglo” places (like Germany, Netherlands, etc) but has no real interest in the culture of those places. Usually has a race fetish thing going on though.
10. The ugly chick. This chick — could even make 5,000 a month in a nice local job — just might be so damn fat and ugly. But she has noticed — however she did — that it’s easier to get a OK looking gringo to date her than some fat, brown local with strong indigenous features and who looks like he’d be the one making tacos al pastor in Oaxaca. She’s simply playing on the Latina fetish a gringo has that didn’t get many women back home and finds her personality to be nicer than how gringas treated him. And she gets a man who isn’t butt fucking ugly either.
But, regardless of her motivations, a “gringo hunter” is not necessarily a “barrio girl” or living in the ghetto. Some gringos think that because, as I said, they think every area outside of Condesa or Roma is “the barrio” or that any girl who makes herself easy for gringos is from “the barrio.”
But that’s also because most gringos — even if they don’t have a superficial experience to Latin America — can easily make observations that are not RIGHT on the mark because they aren’t from the culture and miss little details that a local would notice.
Just like a foreigner to any culture would.
And that goes right back into identifying even something as simple as identifying the women among different socioeconomic classes.
For example, let’s go back to that Tweet you referenced.
He’s showing an image of a woman that most locals would probably not right away identify as a real “upper class” woman among this so called “elite.”
She’s too brown.
Not brown brown like she came from a rural village in Chiapas.
Is likely comfortable and going to decent parts of the city.
But just slightly a little too brown with certain features that would make you assume right away that she isn’t necessarily partying with the elites in some mansion.
But, to the average gringo, and you pointed this out nicely, would any of this matter?
The average gringo doesn’t give a fuck about marrying a woman whose dad is a CEO of a multi million dollar company.
And, quite frankly, so many gringos are not the type to be dating that girl.
Call them what you want — losers or whatever.
But let’s go back to WHY the gringo is down here to begin with.
Reasons vary by the person but one of the largest influences is because “it’s cheap.”
One has to assume said gringo wasn’t an elite back home if he’s moving to “the third world” because it’s cheap.
If he did have millions of dollars to his name and could impress the girl of a millionaire father, he probably wouldn’t be coming to Latin America (though some do to be fair — especially if retired and looking for a beach home to buy or maybe sent for work reasons or whatever).
Instead, he’d probably go somewhere nicer but more expensive.
It’s just the truth.
How many gringos — if they could afford the lifestyle they enjoy in Latin America — instead prefer a nice life in Paris, NYC, Miami, somewhere nice in the Caribbean, etc.
And that’s not to say every gringo coming down because “it’s cheap” is doing so because he’s literally broke earning 500 a month.
More nowadays work remotely and make 2000 to 5000 a month. Enough for that one low upper class woman making 5000 a month.
But not enough for the woman who is REALLY part of the elite. The average gringo will never meet her. Never go to the same parties as her. Never even see her face.
And she would probably then isn’t going to date him.
Could the gringo though have more drive and determination to just hustle harder and make more money and be successful enough to eventually be on a similar level to her? Maybe.
But, going back to him wanting to live here because “it’s cheap,” I doubt he ever will.
Unless he is earning only 1000 a month and gets old enough to realize that earning just 1000 a month is a bad idea when you’re 40 with kids. But again that type of gringo isn’t getting the real upper class anyway (and definitely not low upper class). He’s getting a barrio chick or at least a middle class one.
Though, as you put it nicely, that’s not exactly the worst thing in the world.
Because, as we go back to why gringos come to Latin America, one of the other major reasons is the women and how “feminine” they are.
Though, when using the word “feminine,” that’s just a code word for not gringa. Something “exotic” as the gringo would say. So Latina.
And a stereotypical Latina with all the stereotypical Latina characteristics that gringos love? You don’t find those as much, as you put it, among the real upper class.
Though I would caution the average gringo for actually marrying a REAL “barrio chick” that lives up there in the favelas or a real raging ass ghetto.
There’s going to be issues with that type of chick. Too naco (low class), more likely to be a single mother (though not always), more likely to just want you for money or scam you, has parents or an alcoholic uncle that always has a sob story for you for why he needs money, I wouldn’t trust her to not drink heavily during any pregnancy she has with me, etc.
I honestly think that — in any relationship where the financial situation between the two is too extreme — then it’s less likely to work out as a relationship.
So if the gringo isn’t likely to get the real upper class and maybe some naco chick in the ghetto isn’t the best idea, what should he think about?
Well, if he just wants sex, then the naco chick is fine as long as he is careful to not get drugged or scammed. They can be fun too. Less likely to ask for condoms and the sex is usually great!
But for marriage? Well, if the gringo isn’t a literal broke gringo making 1,000 a month and instead earns 5,000, then I’d say maybe the lower upper class.
Though someone from a more solid middle class background — who is educated enough, not too naco, more likely to have some of the Latina stereotypical characteristics — isn’t a bad idea.
I’d also keep in mind what city she comes from (regardless of her socioeconomic situation).
I’d trust someone from a smaller city like Pachuca than someone from Mexico City (though you do have low class and cheating or easy women in those cities too).
And, for the average gringo who doesn’t aspire to make more than 5,000 a month while wanting to enjoy his dream of “cheap LATAM” and not work too hard and who isn’t likely to ever marry a real upper class woman, I honestly think that is his best bet for marriage.
The middle class woman who comes from a humble family in a smaller city. Even lower middle class could be OK perhaps.
And I’d like to say too that obviously everything said here is just what I’ve observed as an outsider over the years. Like I said, we gringos — including myself — can be prone to having certain details on the culture go over our heads and, more importantly, one would probably find differences on this topic when comparing different Latin American countries to each other (Mexico to Peru to Colombia and even between cities and towns in each country).
One example of that may or may not be your comment on how much private schools cost in Peru versus Mexico. I’ve never sent a kid (or even have one) to a private school anywhere. But I remember having a pregnancy scare one time with an old girlfriend of mine years ago and I asked her “how much are private schools?”
She went to one but came from a small town in Hidalgo (a Mexican fly over state). But her dad did own two homes. Mom didn’t work, no servants in the homes though but dad did something to earn good money. His house wasn’t bad but not a mansion. I remember her saying that it’d probably be maybe 500 a month or so for a decent one.
And we were living in Mexico City.
Of course, who knows if she was right. She’s never sent a kid to a private school either but went to one growing up (in Hidalgo). But I’m not sure I’d call her or her family “upper class.” She definitely didn’t come across as such. Definitely not REAL upper class. Knew how to cook too.
So, even when it comes to what certain characteristics you find in upper class people (be it real or low upper class), you know it all varies so much by what country and also even where in said country they come from (small town, big city, etc).
Apologies for the long ramble. There are other things to say but you hit the nail on the head pretty well with those other points.
But that’s all I got for now.
Despite Mexico’s larger economy, proximity to the U.S. etc., it’s about in line with Peru. When we visited CDMX in 2016 it was palpably cheaper to party in luxury than Lima. But that was a low-point for oil, Trump had just been nominated at GOP convention (promising a wall and such) and Peru hadn’t started its revolving door of presidential chaos.
A cursory glance at Mexico data (INEGI) seems like they used to use a letter scheme, in which they technically had an A and B, but they often refer to them as “AB,” grouping upper and upper-middle together (because there are so few I imagine). Now they use “low,” “lower middle,” “upper middle” and “upper.” The average monthly income of the upper class, which makes up 6.5% of the population, is 78,000 pesos ($4330). That’s worse than the picture I painted here. Don’t fall for their illusion!
I tried to think of reasons to differentiate the 0.1% from the upper class and came up with an idea I ultimately left out of this piece: in LatAm that world is more accessible than its counterpart in the U.S. That’s not to say the average gringo has a good chance of getting in, but the fact that I’ve been in their presence (and their homes!) in two countries is more than I can say in the United States. You could spend your whole life in midtown Manhattan and never party with Kendall, Roman and Shiv (Succession again) or anybody who travels by helicopter. The closest I ever got was a handshake and brief exchange with August Busch IV (St. Louis royalty). It was on the streets of Houston the morning of the 2004 Super Bowl. I was working for AB, wearing branded gear and finishing off a month of preparing the city for maximum brand awareness, so it was more of a general giving a pat on the back to the infantryman than any real interaction. That was the closest I’ve gotten to the American elite (to my knowledge).
I’ll grant your point that, if truly status obsessed, you never stop with the distinctions. Like baseball, there can never be a tie.
Re: how much complaining the average gringo does about Latin America’s upper class … my gringo scene is much more “immigrant” with resident visas than “expats” on tourist visas. Mostly married by now. Not many “digital nomads” in town for a short stint.
At some point of the original twitter thread the OP says middle class girls (upper middle in reality) surround themselves with foreigners. I’ve seen women and men from all social classes do that … except one. Ironically, it’s the poorest. Like you say, they don’t have bus fare to get to the gringo district or the time to take off from supporting their subsistence lifestyle, even if they speak English. Which they don’t.
At 6’2 220 lb (when single, I’m heavier now), I definitely saw the height/size factor motivate well-heeled women to go gringo.
Agree on the model in the tweet. That’s not Julius’s world. Maybe a servant.
I think that definition of 78k pesos for upper class by the government is an example of how the government definitions don’t do the best job at distinguishing the reality of those in the top (more in terms of putting that number in a CDMX context but I’ll get to that in a second). I agree with you however that someone could go all day distinguishing between different people above 78k.
And that distinction might be much more relevant if the topic was on something more serious (like who really controls certain industries or has connections to the President). But, in terms of talking about dating women, there comes a point in terms of salary well past 78k where I don’t think it’s necessary to bring up anymore distinctions (say above a million pesos monthly or whatever number we prefer).
The average gringo obviously isn’t meeting the daughter of billionaire Carlos Slim (assuming he has one) or anyone THAT far up.
But I’d also say there’s a wider group of “upper class” people than just billionaires that a typical gringo isn’t meeting on an active basis for many of the reasons mentioned in the first comment.
Not saying it’s impossible but the average gringo just isn’t swinging it. As to how influential or rich the upper class local has to be for it to be unlikely is up to debate but not one really worth getting into because, as I mentioned, I don’t think the average gringo even cares to hit that far up anyhow in terms of the socioeconomic class of the women he wishes to date.
Which is, if I think about it, where I draw tension from the word “elite.” I don’t think it’s as much your word though as the one in the tweet. Elite should probably be scrubbed from the conversation as it relates to dating Latinas in the upper class because it’s a word that sounds like those who really call the shots in their own field (culturally, politically, economically). Definitely most gringos aren’t shooting that high.
But also another issue I take with that 78k monthly standard for being “the upper class” is that, while it’s very possible to live a very comfortable life in Mexico City, I definitely wouldn’t call any local I’ve met or am friends with right now earning a salary around that number to be an “elite.”
Even the words “upper class” sounds odd to me for someone making 78k monthly in Mexico City. Right now for example, renting an apartment in Condesa might cost them what? A few articles I just checked online say that the average cost to rent an apartment is 35k pesos there.
I imagine similar costs for other very desirable areas. Of course, with 78k, someone could live comfortably in a middle class or working class neighborhood but then what’s the point of being upper class if you got to live with the peasants? Gross. Live with the nacos? Guacala!
And, with 43k left, while that is a decent sum in Mexico City, I don’t think it’d be really upper class if we have to spend on a lifestyle more associated with an upper class person.
Do they have a car? How nice is it? The phone? How often they going out? Not eating street food, right? Only nicer restaurants or getting high quality groceries? Have a servant right? So on and so on.
But, if there were technical government numbers saying that 78k was upper class for Mexico City specifically (though I think your number was for all of Mexico together?), I’d go with it. I just have my doubts and I’d probably beef that number up. To what?
Well shit, I’m not sure. Maybe 100k? 150k? Can’t imagine it’d be more than 150k.
Cost of living is higher here. Outside of Mexico City however, that 78k is a little more believable. You can rent a house for 3000 MXN in plenty of areas. Just 150 bucks! For a whole house (in a normal neighborhood). Or at least you could a few years ago from what I remember. Prices might be slightly higher now but probably not by much.
In Mexico City? 3000 MXN gets you a small room in a working class or poor neighborhood.
But, if we were sticking to that definition of 78k, I think it’s absolutely possible for a typical gringo to meet with a woman in that salary range (though he better not be a poor gringo himself making just 500 a month or she’s probably ditching his ass when she wants to get serious). Because those people — at 78k — are not that inaccessible. They’re normal people who just are educated and have a good career.
One gal I’ve been banging for years named Angie makes close to that as a computer programmer. Definitely not an elite. She’s just a computer programmer. Doesn’t live in Condesa or live a upper class lifestyle.
She lives by Metro Portales (which isn’t a bad, poor or working class area but isn’t upper class either).
And she definitely — like other Mexicans in that salary range like her — are not hard to make yourself accessible to.
Because what would be the gringo making 78k pesos but in dollars and living in the US look like? I mean, for him to be upper class but on a similar level of comfortability, would you have to make his income? 100k? 200k? Probably depends, since we are taking into consideration how comfortable he is, by what part of the US he lives in.
Let’s just say 200k. Who cares. Someone can adjust that for me. The idea is similar. Is someone making 200k in the US inaccessible or relatively hard to reach?
Well, if they are a US Congressman (salary being 174k apparently from Google), then yeah. Might be hard to party with Rand Paul in a nightclub in Miami with hot Latinas.
But just some random local who isn’t famous and makes 174k or 200k? I wouldn’t think it’d be excessively hard to meet them under the right circumstances. Doesn’t sound very impressive either. Meeting a random dude who makes 200k? OK.
But there’s definitely a world above — for the US or Mexico — that which is very different than someone like Angie or the hypothetical gringo on 200k — and where access for the gringo will be much more limited and naturally would be harder and harder the high you climb the social latter.
Any point in talking about those types? Like I said — if we’re sticking to the topic of dating as it relates to this — then there does come a point where it’s not necessary because the typical gringo will likely only get so far up (and I say average again and that it’s not impossible).
I do agree with your point quite strongly anyhow about how the average gringo has easier access to those higher up and how he probably wouldn’t have had as much access to them back home unless he worked harder in the right fields and made the connections.
You have to make those connections down here too for those who are “upper class,” as I said, it’s relatively easier to make that connection.
Why would that be?
You know, I don’t always know all the reasons.
Why did a random upper class kid randomly invite me to his birthday party? To be his gringo arm candy? I guess so.
But also — with plenty of more gringos now making 4k to 7k a month remotely with decent jobs, I imagine that could help get easier access to certain upper class types.
For example, when I got invited to that birthday party in Polanco, it was because I had enough money to be the neighbor of a guy who has money and likes gringos. But most Mexicans — in 2017 too — didn’t have the money to be his neighbor.
And what was the grand amount I had to spend per month to be his neighbor? Well, it was in a building renting out small rooms so the monthly amount was just 200 bucks a month (or 4000).
To rent a room in one of the most desired neighborhoods of the capital for just 4000 pesos? For a Mexican that, on average, earns something like 350 to 400 bucks a month, that might be tricky. For a gringo? Basically free. Just 200 bucks.
And I imagine that, with the lower cost of living outside of Mexico City, the standards for what you need to bring to the table to be neighbors to someone with money are even lower.
For example, when I was moving to Pachuca years ago, I remember looking at places to rent and saw a really nice house — nicer than anywhere I lived in the US — being rented at 700 bucks a month (14k pesos) in a gated community.
First off, no house like that is being rented for 700 in the US. You should’ve seen it. I’m not exaggerating how nice it looked.
So an average gringo, making USD online but not necessarily a millionaire, can have easier access to those neighborhoods.
Even in Mexico City, that’d be true as we are still working with pesos here like anywhere in Mexico but the exact number for a house like that is going to be noticeably higher than 700. Still probably cheaper than back home if I had to guess (and that is just a guess).
But that’s a great comment anyway you put out on the easier access we have compared to back home. I didn’t think about it like that in terms of comparing that to the US but it’s right. The access is easier and our ability to hit higher on the social circle is easier too (though within reason for I’ll still stand that plenty of gringos exaggerate just how elite or high up in the upper class the locals they hang with really are on a usual basis are).
That data is MX nationwide, not CDMX. Makes a big difference. If Mexican data follows same pattern as PE, at least 13% CDMX would be in that estrato alto and their average would be good bit higher too.
Capitals are strange animals. In pre-pandemic Lima for example, the social classes weren’t pyramid shaped. The middle classes were widest (although lower were much wider than upper).
Sweet mother of mercy, where to start with a reply to your latest musing? First, I had to google “A World For Julius” just to keep the references straight. Thanks a lot. You’re famous for making your readers work. I continued to read this piece because I know that you are talking from a place of experience and I am always curious to see which path you will take to justify your opinion, (sometimes new opinion) and by all means you are entitled to your opinion and conclusions derived from your first hand experience. Still, I would have passed on a reply had I not attended a nouveau riche birthday party last night. The birthday girl is a Costa Rican who just turned 52. She was working for the government when she met her white guy husband, who from the get go had serious economic potential. She retired from the government at 43 when she discovered she was pregnant and something of a shotgun wedding ensued. With a government pension for life, a baby and a white guy husband, this catholic girl from the barrio was set. The white guy husband recently sold his thousand employee Costa Rican company for millions to a multinational. Bingo. The Barrio girl did good. White guy husband does what white guys do: Make money. Now he’s a gentleman farmer. We talked a little about the virtues of Ostrich breeding in Costa Rica. The birthday girl’s 5 sisters, all widowed or otherwise single, were at the party. They are not so lucky. Also present was one of our friends, a Costa Rican contractor, in his early 50’s and his second wife, a white woman from an affluent gringa family. She too, amazingly got pregnant in her early 40’s and now has a small child. In addition, there was the ginger haired brother-in-law of the birthday girl whose official Wall St work title is “Vice President of Excellence”. All the men at this rather lavish house party were millionaires by 50. lavish but intimate, I commented to the birthday girl that I didn’t notice the presence of the maid. She replied that she had told the maid that if she stayed late to clean up, she could have a ribeye, some lobster tail and grilled salmon, but no overtime. Unfortunately, the maid did not take her up on the offer. “Do you believe it?” she said to me in english. This is typical of new money in Ticolandia. As for me, the biomedical, regenerative medicine shipping consultant and confirmed bachelor who choses to rent rather than own, I am called in to these events for comic relief. Out of respect for the married women present I don’t bring rentals to our dinner parties. We’ve been doing this for 20 years. So, social climbing? Latinas and gringos both looking for a social advantage? This is a group of people who each spend $10K a month playing. As Aretha Franklin said, “Who’s zooming who?” Would we have the same lifestyle in Florida or Saint Louis? Maybe not. Would I be able to work one day a month and spend the rest of my time riding my bicycle, working out and having $100 home delivery? Don’t think so. For some of us, a third world shit hole country is exactly the right place to be.
Fun anecdotes. You and I have been in touch long enough for me to know that, while you’ve made some good money down there, you don’t go for the status obsession. That’s a virtue. Like not enjoying the feeling of fentanyl, a blessing in disguise. It’s also refreshing to be around people who don’t care, and I believe you’d agree that the nouveau riche parties are infinitely more fun than the landed gentry’s.
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Indeed, Colin I do agree. It’s a function of being comfortable in one’s own skin. We can slip back and forth between language and culture, but when you get to the point when you can accept that you (as in my case) are a rogue, albeit with means, the cocktail parties are more fun.
Interesting piece. I some of the substack of the guy who prompted it, the bow tie guy. At least he’s not one of the whoring/drinking/living on the cheap gringos, but he still seems a bit shallow. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with whoring, drinking, or living on the cheap per se, but for a lot of these guys it’s basically their vocation along with some Amazon reseller side biz or whatever. It’s pretty dismal and I’m sure it’s giving us gringos a bad name in general. Obviously, there are tons of dudes in Latin America who do something similar (or at least on the occasional night out wit the boys) otherwise the industries wouldn’t exist, referring mostly to prostitution, although drug use is now really widespread all over Latin America, not just exported. The bow tie guy wrote a piece about the “gringo gentrification” of CDMX that is very spot on.
I really would prefer that you could leave out your continued indulgences about US politics, especially when off topic. The “confederate” thing is just another cheap shot in what has been a constant theme of this blog since your return to the US. It’s not completely out of place in this piece would you have handled it in another fashion, eg the growing “elite” thing in this country which the progressives clearly lust after along with an authoritarian lust that isn’t just “fascist” name calling, but actually evidenced by things like the tight coordination between government agencies and especially social media behemoths, just as one example.
We have our own aspirational elite in them now, and while basically all of them have long admired Cuba and the more recent “Bolivarian Revolution” of the chavistas in Venezuela, they obviously don’t long for actual socialism where it’s a hell of lot harder to afford lattes and globe trotting vacations, but something closer to China. It’s kind of the mass popularization of Thomas Friedman’s myriad “China is so fabulous, look at those trains and how quickly they lay the tracks!” column after column from, I dunno, 1995 through 2005.
AOC/etc clearly love Che and Fidel, but they aspire to the part technocratic/part “send the payment to this account” Gucci communism of China, not the drab shoveling shit socialism of Cuba, etc. That’s passé and only dumbasses like Maduro and the Cuban CP keep going for it. The vast majority of the nation’s wealthiest counties are blue, many deep blue sky blue, and those are also the places that have come to resemble Latin America with incredible wealth stratification. We’re slowly becoming Latin America in that sense just as places like Mexico, Peru, Chile, Brazil, and Colombia (not far behind) are starting to be more like us with much broader middle classes and much more economy and wealth in the last 20+ years especially. Gradually, that will wear down some of the classism down south, although they can’t seem to resist the ever present hard on for hardcore leftism given recent elections. That’s always a great way to kill an economic boom, although AMLO hasn’t gone hog wild or anything.
Part of the sneering at conservatives is simple classism now that progressives have completely abandoned their prior old school fixation on the working class and now sneer “MAGA” as though they’re sneering at at nacos or something. You did that here (and I just went grocery shopping at Whole Foods so…), but it’s really not terribly accurate when one looks at actual data with how wealth and education correspond to parties, it’s just that Lenin’s long ago goal to capture the worldwide educational, media, and arts elite was incredibly successful, so now one can’t even breath anything against rigid progressive orthodoxy in everything from corporate HR to, obviously, higher ed. Why someone like you doesn’t see that for how obvious it all is (with a very clear historical record as well, it’s just that very few actually do any digging even into things as simple to figure out as Cuban economic history or whatever – just one example). It’s just “Yay, communists! Yay Che!” (the architect of the Cuban police state that was exported to Venezuela 25 years ago). You definitely aren’t on the Yay Che train, but I’m not sure why you don’t see how much the left elite of DC, just as one example (and actually the most leftwing city in the US – look it up), clearly still is.
Part of that avoidance on your part may be your own professed status obsession, because progressive politics is now basically all about status, like the tons of non black people who participated in BLM marches while actual black people in black communities almost all thought that decreasing police was basically insane. For some reason, that wasn’t covered, but I was living in one at the time, and I’m just repeating what my then neighbors said. Of course, they were right. It’s very possible (and very popular amongst the US rightwing) to both lament George Floyd’s death while not turning that into “defund the police!” All of the above is our own cheaper new form of clout and status obsession. Obviously, the BLM marches weren’t for black people, but for mostly white progressives to look in the mirror and say, “I’m such a good person” and decry their POLICY opponents as racists, etc., basically evil and low class, a great way to avoid ever having to discuss (and learn about), uh, policy. Class-based sneering even when not accurate is much, much easier as a marketing tool.
All communist, all of it.
At least in Latin America, class is actually based on, well, social class. Here in the US, it’s mostly a way to organize people politically by sneering at others as “confederate” or pick the term du jour.
I wouldn’t call the confederate jab a cheap shot given we’ve seen a sitting GOP congresswoman call for breaking up the Union. You can say it doesn’t describe all Republicans, which is why it’s stricken through. So on balance an accurate turn of phrase!
Why does my critical tone skew that way? I would say it’s because (A) I see the right wing as more dangerous threat and (B) I live in a red state. As a decade-plus student of Latin American history and why those countries fell behind, the rise of Trump set off alarm bells. It’s banana republic stuff. I wouldn’t have predicted it, but in hindsight January 6 was always baked into the cake. We can no longer boast centuries of peaceful transition of power.
I’d love to become a cranky old reactionary complaining about progressives, and I’ve recently written some far-right rants (went out in the email newsletter). There is kooky stuff on the left I don’t like, but it’s not the greater threat at this time in history.
Fortunately I think we’re out of the woods. I’m returning to a content detachment from the day-to-day. Trump has a 0% chance of winning a general. Given the extreme policies enacted recently (abortion bans, permitless carry) I don’t think any other GOP contenders have a good chance either, given generational change of the electorate. I’m not too worried about those other contenders anyway. I don’t get too worked up about policy, just the secret sauce (democracy). And I don’t see any of the contenders leading a mob to sack the capitol.
The sooner the right can purge the crazy, the sooner I’ll be a reactionary crank. But it doesn’t seem to be happening quickly. Slow learners, that crowd!
Do you realize how little support the few hundred people that actually went into the Capitol actually have on the right? I’ll answer it for you: none, and on the subject of banana republics, by support I don’t mean people reporting on the totally banana republic treatment of those tried, which is what it has been, people sitting in solitary for months on end, dozens of lives ruined, people charged with “parading” after all is said and done. I don’t support their cause, but I really, really support an actual fair and functioning judicial system and we don’t have one in the US capital anymore. Tons of conservatives think the election was stolen, but that doesn’t mean they think anyone should have gone into the Capitol. Very, very few people think that was a good or noble idea.
Let’s contrast that with the broad-based lack of condemnation for months of rioting from the left that caused approximately $2 billion in damage as well as the vast majority of those violent simply walking free, including protesters in Portland who tried setting its federal building on fire repeatedly and also attempted to blind officers with lasers. Any trials? Naw, all good, left gets to walk. Not only did the media lie about all of that and call it “peaceful” or “mostly peaceful,” but they continue to do so. Even Biden continues to lie about deaths on Jan 6th. It’s basically a propaganda tool at this point, and people like you are all in.
Was Jan 6th misguided and ill-advised? Can’t agree with you more, but I’d really like to stop being smeared with it. Do many on the right think that election was stolen? Yes. Do I? No. Do many on the left, including Hilary Clinton, think the 2016 election was stolen? Yes. Do many on the left continue to think Trump is a Russian stooge despite the long Mueller investigation which found nothing, zip, nada? Yes.
Likewise, I’m not responsible for everything that comes out of the freshman congresswoman from northern Georgia’s mouth, either. Do you want to be held accountable for the things that Maxine Waters says or Schiff lying (and continuing to do so) in Congress and in the media for the last six years? Probably not, right? There was a left chorus of secession after Trump was elected especially on the west coast, but, conveniently, you’re not aware of that. That’s been a thing in US politics for literally hundreds of years, nothing new.
Our national equilibrium and commitment to justice is completely out of balance, and no, the right didn’t start it. Trump was just a response.
What I dislike about your political indulgences about US politics is not that I disagree with you, which I don’t care about, it’s that it’s so shallow compared to the nuance, intelligence, and experience with which you write about Latin America, specifically Peru, but also Colombia. People on the right in the US are constantly hounded and hectored in workplaces and in the media, constantly lied to and forced to comply (things like getting fired for not wanting to be vaccinated – that sort of thing), and it’s all enforced with shallow and vacuous platitudes. Why add to the massive chorus? Massive not in number, but in power and reach. Still vacuous and mendacious. It’s not even the point of your work here. We already get the same thing from 90% of the rest of the media, including being maligned in tv show after tv show, movie after movie. But we’re the problem. Uh ah.