Generalizations about people in Latin America

LaFoca's picture

In my experience living in Mexico, and from the experiences of my husband's many years in his own country of El Salvador, I think many ex-pats miss some very basic understandings of the people in Central American countries. Many move to rural areas and think that rural people are the definition of all Central Americans, when most large cities hold each country's largest population (for the most part). And to compare a person from the country with a person from the city is so general that I wonder if people really understand there is often a difference between these people, just as there is in the U.S.

I'll be the first to say that many rancheros turn me off. I won't apologize for that, because I find their coarse mannerisms to be vulgar and offensive for the most part. That doesn't mean there isn't a person here and there that proves me wrong, but generally speaking my husband and I have found most rancheros to be the type of people we really don't much for. Here are some of the reasons why:

1. Many grow up with a provincial idea about animals. They have little regard for the health or safety of animals, because they regard them as either food or protection devices, so they can be abusive towards animals. There is an almost shared lack of regard for many animals, since they have been minimized this way.

2. The ballads and music of any community of country folk (either in the U.S. or in Mexico and Central America), or ranchero style of music is often based on vulgar day to day events, drinking, shooting guns, and cheating...not exactly the stuff of good living. It is often twangy or accordian based, and lacks the range of notes more sophisticated music offers.

3. The cowboy thing is something that seems to go with every ranchero, from the U.S. to Latin America. Big gaudy belt buckles, cowboy hats, and ridiculous boots.

4. Rancheros are often more pushy people. They have to be to exist. They have to push the sale of their products, they have to force their way through an often unforgiving and harsh life to exist. So it is reasonable that they are this way.

5. Rancheros often quibble over the most minute amount of money and feel unless they have negotiated your prices down, they are being ripped off.

6. Most rancheros have limited education, so this explains the preferences above. This is not a moral judgment on these people, but the fact that lack of exposure in life often contributes to a set mold of what you become. This is why the rancheros have a high degree of joining drug cartels and criminal organizations. The money they see out shades the realities of imminent death these organizations offer.

The difference in city dwellers is huge:

1. Maybe its because to exist in a large city, there are more social rules one must follow. People are forced to be more considerate of others. So, a man is more likely to be a gentleman, won't leap in front of you as often and elbow you out of the way. He may hold the door open for you.

2. You will find less of the cowboy look, and many regard it as the clothing of the poor because it comes from rancheros.

3. Animals have greater acceptance as pets. People in the cities may or may not accept abuse of animals, depending on their upbringing. But there are many who value animals and demand kind, compassionate treatment of animals.

4. In the city there is an understanding that prices can be set and there is no quibbling to bring the price down. You pay what is posted.

5. The music and food and many things are varied in the city. There is exposure to things outiside of the country. So minds open up.

6. Education statistics are higher in the cities. People have access to universities and academia, which increases some level of sophistication. Prevailing social attitudes are questioned and addressed. There are more volunteer efforts.

Often, when people move to places in Central America, they move to remote areas where they form an opinion of Central Americans as being like the rancheros where they live, when they may or may not be representative of the country. I saw some of this in the post about protecting yourself and realized people were assuming that ranchero attitudes were the norm. Just as in the U.S. there are country people and city dwellers...each sharing a set of ideas and norms that differ, the same happens in Latin America. If you like the ranchero style of thinking, you may not like the city dwellers; and if you feel as my husband and I do...that rancheros are too coarse, then you will prefer the people in a large city. But never confuse the two different types for the same. They are not.

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You are quite welcome!

It is offensive to me that so many North Americans don't realize that people all over the world have these cultural divisions. But the ignorance of many people from my country irritates me to no end! For God's sakes...in the U.S. we have "country bumpkins, rednecks" and other assorted personalities, so why do we generalize people south of the border?

And I suppose I have generalized to make my point, but it demonstrates that there ARE sophisticated people south of the border, no matter what the xenophobes want to tell others.

Finally a person that KNOWS what she is talking about!!!

I thank for for noting a diffeernce and posting it, I have lived with this sterotyping almost all my life incountry but never anywhere else I have lived.
Thank you for bring it out in the light. Regards

JorgeGiraldez@yahoo.com
A developer, Contractor and friend living and working in my beloved Nicaragua

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