2008 Update to 'Blacks in Buenos Aires' Post
We wanted to let everyone know about a great discussion that is going on in the comments of a 2005 blog post about Blacks in Buenos Aires. Initially the comments were focused on Black History in Argentina, but lately the comments have been a discussion on how receptive Argentina is to a Black person today.
People from all over the world, including several African Americans, have added great comments lately and I wanted to share some of those with the group. After that I want to ask some questions to the readers of this blog, especially the Argentine nationals. Let's keep the discussion going, this topic is important for some people who are thinking about either visiting or relocating in Argentina.
An Anonymous Reader contributed the following which seems to sum up many of the comments on the Black experience in Argentina.
"...I'm a black woman from London. I have desires to visit lots of countries in the world where it is perceived black people aren't welcomed. This didn't stop me because I have a right to travel, educate myself to people's customs, and let them see a very proud black woman. Even better if they get to speak to me and find out that their stereotypes don't exist in me. Anyway, the fact is since being here two days, I am the walking attraction and haven't had anyone say anything to me negative or positive."
Blacks in Argentina seem to notice that they are being noticed quite a bit more than normal. But most report that they feel they are curious glances, and not loaded with bad intent.
Another reader cited this National Geographic article, Skin Deep, by Elliot Neal Hester in the comments. I read this article and think it's great, and exactly on point with the issues raised in our blog post and comments so worth sharing with anyone interested in the topic. Hester's experience in BA included lots of being noticed. But when he had a rare interaction with one of the Argentines staring at him, it turned out sweet and innocent.
Argentina is such a great place to see that I hope no one feels so unwelcome that they cannot experience it for themselves. I think the comments in our earlier blog post and Hester's article generally support the notion that Argentina is a welcome place for Black skinned people, but also very inexperienced with seeing Black people which explains why many Argentines will stare.
For those of you who are expats in Argentina, or those who are Argentine nationals, what do you think about this? Do you think Argentina welcomes Black tourists, Students, and Expats? Do you agree the stares that many Blacks report getting in Argentina are based in curiosity of something rare, and not based on negative stereotypes?