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Classism and racism

Time November 7th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Chile | No Comments by

Even though I’ve been on many adventures in Chile, my adventure in Buenos Aires, Argentina was definitely one to remember. While I was accustomed to certain social injustices in Santiago, I wasn’t (or maybe I was?) expecting the distinct effects history of immigration has on a population’s socialization. On Friday night, one of my friends activated a group going-out app to meet other groups of jóvenes who were going out. Among ridiculous conversations about a random assortment of things, we stumbled upon a group of Argentinian jóvenes who wanted to show us a little bit of porteño culture. One guy sent us a song to listen to and another promptly responded, describing the song as “n*gger music”

My friend and I showed each other the messages simultaneously, in disbelief that, despite the porteños having such a radically different context and conceptualization of race, they would feel inclined to use that word so freely and around someone of color. The group unmatched but I thought about that comment all night and decided to later ask a porteño friend what that word meant for them, or him at least.

He explained to me, or at least tried (I wasn’t really having it) that the word “n*gger” had nothing to do with the color of someone’s skin but was rather a synonym of “poor, fleite, commoner” and was more to do with socioeconomic status.

For me, I was more accustomed to the classism I had been experiencing in Santiago more than anything else so to encounter this ignorant response to a word blatantly dipped and soaked in racist history and thought left me amused and puzzled. I’m actually still processing this event so I’m going to stop writing here but maybe when I’ve accurately gathered my thoughts I’ll write another blog post!