Thursday, December 21, 2006

Shock

That people everywhere are racist we knew already. But I was shocked to learn about some of the manifestations of racism here. Those of us born in Latin America feel we have some sort of connection to Spain because of the language and culture. We feel we have something in common with the Spanish and recognize many of its traits as our own. Not so the other way around. Apparently there is really nasty racism towards Latin American immigrants in Spain (the Chinese, Korean, African and North African join the list as well. The Eastern Europeans, being white have it a little less bad but not by much).
I've heard stories about a Latin American high school girl being bullied and taunted with death threats, a boy getting a bad beating, only because they hailed from South America. People I know who you could not physically distinguish from any other Spaniard, were unable to rent an apartment when they arrived because people would hear their accent and refuse to rent it to them. There is a term here used to describe people from Latin America and it is considered as derogatory as the n word: "sudaca", as from the south. This just confirms to me that the racism here is deeply ingrained. There is no respect for anything that is not local, not even those people who are a result of Spanish conquests centuries ago. For years Spain was a mostly homogeneous country and now you see more and more people of color. You see south Americans busing tables, Koreans behind the counters of delis, Chinese selling trinkets in stores and on the streets. Working class Spanish neighborhoods are now predominantly inhabited by immigrants. In terms of people, Madrid looks more like NY than it ever has. But they have a long way to go to become a more multicultural society.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous6:21 PM

    ola GE,
    Your trip sounds fantastic and as always you are an astute observer of things social and culinary.
    The NY xmas-commercialism has begun and is more boring than ever... as are the mid-town crowds. Not fun.

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  2. GE
    Where have you been? I miss your words.
    Were you shocked into wordlessness or just taking time off? We are off next week to East Africa. Perhaps we can talk before we leave.
    HNY from A&J.
    J.

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  3. Sleeping Giant6:01 PM

    GE,

    Adopt me and take me with you!! I am so broke and travel starved these days... your blog entries are sustaining me through this drought. Can't wait for the pictures!

    ReplyDelete