Respectful Cultural Questions for Latin Americans from a Spanish American.

Discussion in 'Race Relations/Racism' started by RunningPatriot, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. RunningPatriot
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    RunningPatriot Rookie

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    OK, I'm one of the few Spanish Americans in the United States. I mean really, in all my life I have only met a few others like myself living in the United States. I grew up in an upper-class predominately White neighborhood and I did not have any real contact with Latin Americans until I went to college.

    Since college, I have never--no matter how hard I've tried--been able to get along with Latin Americans. It has been the case where even if I'm polite, I'm still received with at best boorishness or worst contempt. After dealing with this for a while, I just decided to keep my interaction with Latin Americans at a minimum.

    I recently dated a Latin American girl who I met through friends. After a while I told her about my experiences with other Latin Americans. She indicated she would have to see it to understand the situation. I felt that was a very understanding and diplomatic answer.

    We went on a trip together for vacation. Along the way we stopped at a fast food restaurant. The guy behind the counter was Latin American. As usual I was polite. I handed the guy my credit card and he saw the last name. Then, as usual, he began with the boorishness. I don't mind conflict but still I prefer not to make a scene. Also, the other patrons could tell the guy was making a fool of himself. I got my order and left.

    While driving, I asked the girl I was dating if after seeing it she understood what I meant. She indicated she did see what occurred. However, she indicated two things were at work: one there was cultural miscommunication and two I did behave differently with Latin Americans than I behave with other Americans. I asked her to explain.

    This is the part I would hope Latin American members of this forum can verify and maybe even elaborate upon:

    1. According to her, the cultural miscommunication occurred because while I was polite I was essentially aloof. The polite part means nothing. The aloof part is what stands out. For most Latin Americans it is custom to deal with other Latin Americans--even if they are complete strangers--with a sense of familiarity. My aloofness is interpreted by Latin Americans as somewhat of an insult, in a sense keeping them at arms length. Also, it is construed as if I am suggesting I believe myself to better than them. That is to what Latin Americans are responding. Again even though I'm not Latin American, my last name suggests I am.

    2. She indicated I did behave more aloof than usual when dealing Latin Americans. The example she used to compare this situation was one in which we went to a local office supply store in our town. The guy behind the counter was a younger White American and when I gave him my supplies, I made a comment regarding the jump in the price of paper and pens in the recent year. He agreed and tied it to oil prices. I studied Economics so we got into a little bit of a conversation regarding inflation. Not a big conversation just something to talk about while he was doing his work. At the end, I indicated it was a good conversation, thanked him and left.

    She pointed all this out, in terms of how I dealt differently with people.

    She is probably completely correct. We are no longer dating.

    Can anyone add additional information to elaborate on the above or clarify the above or validate the above? Is there something else I'm missing?

    Thanks to anyone who replies.
     
  2. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    i think she was nicely telling you that you look down on latin americans.

    german jews did that to eastern european jews when they got here.

    eastern european jews did it to sephardics.

    sephardics did it to eastern european jews.

    light skinned blacks do it to dark skinned blacks.
     
  3. Lonestar_logic
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    Lonestar_logic Republic of Texas

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    So you're saying that Running patriot is looking down on "latin americans". Basically you're saying he's a bigot.
     
  4. RunningPatriot
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    RunningPatriot Rookie

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    You see that is the part that really, really kills me. I'm being completely polite and respectful. Yet, I'm treated with boorishness or contempt. On top of that, I'm the bad guy. What? This makes absolutely no sense to me.

    If there is cultural miscommunication, I can accept that to a certain extent. Granted, I'm not going to change my behavior but at least I will understand why a complete stranger would respond to politeness with contempt.

    In regards to the Jewish analogy, I don't really think it applies to me. Spain is a helk of a lot different than most Latin American countries. Spain is Europe, Latin American is largely not.

    To a certain extent it is an inappropriate racial judgment to include me as Latin American simply because I come from a Spanish speaking country. That's like saying every American is British because we all speak English; that is a leap of bad logic.
     
  5. Midnight Marauder
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    Midnight Marauder BANNED

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    I think we see a hell of alot more Spaniards in my area of the country than anywhere. I've lived all over, and for some reason seeing or interacting with Spaniards is pretty rare most other places.
     

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