Buenos Aires - Post Report Question and Answers
Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?
It's not too hard to make friends with local staff. However, in my experience, the country is very classist and racist still. They are not very progressive in terms of race yet and get a bit defensive when discussing it. It came up at work more than once and some folks were willing to talk and learn but many (the younger ones?) were adamant that it was just their sense of humor and we didn't understand. Imagine this: when the Indian Prime Minister was visiting, a local ridiculous tv station showed footage of him getting off of his airplane next to a split screen of Apu from the Simpsons. And this was playing on TVs in the consular section! This is a prime example of generalized racism but be clear that black USDH will face the worst of it. There used to be quite a large population of Afro-Argentines, actually, but this was over 100 years ago and they were almost wiped out due to different wars, diseases and oppressive government policies (notably President Sarmiento in the 1870s). In present day Buenos Aires most Porteños assume black people must be recent immigrants from Africa with little to no Spanish knowledge and living precarious lives and treat them as outsiders if interacting with them at all. This carries over to black officers and EFMs and more than one person told me they wished they knew this before coming. - Jul 2020
Super easy to make friends with locals here. But it helps to know Spanish. - Jul 2019