The Problem with Racist Pastries in Buenos Aires

There aren’t a whole lot of black people in Buenos Aires. In fact, if you see a black person walking the porteño streets, chances are they’re from Brazil and they arrived only recently. Debunking my shockingly uninformed theories as to why this is, Cristian offers:

“We killed them all indiscriminately! First on our Independence War as cannon fodder, then again in the civil wars (same role too) and latter in the bloody genocides called the Guerra del Paraguay and Conquista del Desierto. The average rank and file of our ‘glorious and conquering’ armies were, in fact, mainly of african stock. By the dawn of the 20th century, hardly 1% of our population was afroargentine, most of them having died either in the wars of of epidemics.”

Regardless, racial sensitivity just isn’t nearly as ingrained in Argentine culture as it is in other countries, particularly the US. Blackface, to them, is lighthearted and cartoonish fare; absent of the hatred, pain and struggle associated with the concept elsewhere.

The result of this is that the presentation of the following delicious cream-filled pastry is completely acceptable in bakeries all over the city:

And my friends– my intelligent, cultured, worldly young Argentine friends, couldn’t figure out what I was laughing so hard about, or why I was snapping pictures of the absolutely delectable, completely racist treats before me.

I ended up actually trying one of these, and you know what? It was pretty damn good. Tasty racism. Who knew?

20 thoughts on “The Problem with Racist Pastries in Buenos Aires

  1. Every country has its paradigm, its way of seeing and doing things; I do find the word “ridiculous” as, well, ridiculous (ahh, that typical, american, approach to things foreign to them… laughable!) for this particular context. Noughtwithstanding that, there actually were a LOT of afroargentines in colonial times here.
    See, in those days (up to, mmhhh 1776 or so) the Río de la Plata was the backyard of the Viceroyalty of Perú, and was sparsely populated altogether; but when we were granted a viceroyalty of our own, population kinda skyrocketed, and lots of african slaves were brought here, they were settled on the neighbourhoods of Monstserrat and San Telmo mainly. So, why are there virtually no afroargentines now? That’s easy! We killed them all indiscriminately!
    First on our Independence War as cannon fodder, then again in the civil wars (same role too) and latter in the bloody genocides called the Guerra del Paraguay and Conquista del Desierto. The average rank and file of our “glorious and conquering” armies were, in fact, mainly of african stock.
    By the dawn of the 20th century, hardly 1% of our population was afroargentine, most of them having died either in the wars of of epidemics.

    Hope not to have bored you with a small history lesson!
    I enjoy your blog very much, Jorge, keep it up!

    p.s.: Just in case, I am totally not racist.

    1. Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Cristian. Not bored whatsoever. That’s actually very interesting. As you can probably tell, my knowledge of the racial history of Argentina is pretty limited, even after six years in the country. Thanks for the insight.

    2. I hope you did find it laughable, as it was a mere friendly laugh at the culture that I myself chose to immerse myself in for well over a year now. If you think I wouldn’t call my own country’s culture ridiculous as well, you’d be sadly mistaken.

      I could just as easily be offended that you are using the term “typical American” in a negative light, portraying us all as dim-witted and close-minded. However, I’m not nearly as sensitive nor pretentious as you.

      You’re commenting on a blog, not correcting a history novel. Learn to laugh.

  2. I am glad you were not offended, it was not my intention. Just for the record, I myself haven’t been offended by your comment. And no, it was not trolling either; it is hard to explain, but every single american I have met has this… particular approach to the way they see life, sometimes it gets the worst of me (thanks God it is extremely rare and I do keep my emotions in check).
    Still, I appreciate you having taken five valuable minutes of your time to answer my comment, and, with your permission, I apologise for any troubles.
    Thank you.

  3. Only an American or European would call something like this racist in my opinion. I hope that mentality never gets imported here.

  4. I was more shocked at the 9 pesos sign! WTF! Sorry, I grew up there, so I wasn’t shocked by the post. When people ask, I give them the same answer you quoted.
    But 9 pesos!?!?! That’s like at least 2 dollars! Ah, I miss the good old days when a dozen facturas cost only 2 pesos/dollars 😦

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