Latino Photosop "dreams"
Not too long ago, I dropped my most popular piece to date, the 7 deadly sins holding Latinos back (Link: http://bit.ly/7latino) In that post, I discussed the different traps I see many of my Latino friends (and myself at times in the past.) fall into.
The first issue I mentioned involved the financial struggles stemming from poor money management, an issue that haunts Latinos in our home countries and abroad. Today, I want to take a deeper dive into it. In the last article I IDENTIFIED the problem, today I want to talk about the deeper IMPLICATIONS of how this came to be.
Those of us who come from Latin America, carry a different perspective about the world. Latin America has a lot of culturally rich areas, food to die for, poetry inspiring nature, among many other beautiful things. However, below a lot of the beauty many tourists witnesses, there are a lot of challenges and problems MANY people face daily.
(Even with everything you think is wrong with America, I guarantee you many struggling Latinos would do anything to trade spots with you.)
Poverty is typically at the center of it. It's no secret that compared to other developed nations, the resources, guidance, and support available to escape poverty are SIGNIFICANTLY limited. Don't get me wrong, you can escape, but you won't have as much hand-holding as you would in the US.
This has created a set of problems (from both a cultural and economic perspective.) which keep many fellow Latinos financially CHAINED.
The Photoshop "dream"
If you follow Latin America media, you will notice a love-hate relationship around wealth in the Latino culture:
-Many Latinos will talk trash about "gueros fresas"(White-skinned preps.) but will be the first to watch Telenovelas about wealthy heirs, powerful drug lords, etc.
-We preach about how "appearances are not important", but take out 48-month payment plans to get a new iPhone when we sweat at the thought of our paycheck getting delayed.
I would argue that covert elitism is 10X what we may see in America. Think about it, in America, there will be a difference between the rich guy in the Ferrari and the average American. However, in Mexico, the difference between the poor and the rich is INSANELY wide, making wealth seem scarce. Amplifying the social and economic appeal of "making it".
In other words, we see wealth as a "forbidden" dream. A fantasy when we look at the poverty surrounding us.
The dream reflected in Daddy Yankee videos when he rolls up in a convertible with models, when we see Canelo popping bottles in Miami, or when we see anyone doing something that seems "out of reach".
The problem materializes when people start making a bit more money. Rather than focusing on getting out of the hole and achieving freedom, we opt for the instant gratification. We want "a taste" of the dream and end up sinking.
As mentioned before, the appeal of the elusive rich lifestyle is just "too tempting". The women, parties, trips, etc.
Not surprisingly, they end up falling RIGHT BACK in the hole they just escaped:
Their income increased
Their debt caught up
The glass shatters
Obviously, this cycle can't last forever. Eventually, SOMETHING happens:
The dream shatters, as people are forced to resign back to square one. The way down is as painful as you can imagine.
This was observed HEAVILY around 2008-2012 in Mexico as a whole. Between the cartel wars heating up, the housing crisis in the US (the ripple effects were brutal in Mexico.) and overall corruption, many people lost EVERYTHING. To be fair, many people were already in extreme poverty (no clothes, food, etc.) and had NO WAY to prepare.
The most mindboggling was the fall the upper middle class suffered. I grew up around a pretty economically well-off circle through school. They SEEMED to be thriving (nice cars, luxury homes, expensive vacations.), especially when you consider the standard of living of the average Mexican.
Ironically, THEY SEEMED TO HAVE TAKEN THE MOST VISIBLE FALL.
The ultra-wealthy just shifted things around and did well
The poor had very little to lose
That "almost rich" class, however, did a 180, as they were forced to drop the act.
Country club memberships were canceled
Luxury house upgrades put on hold
Luxury vacations became scarce
Nature took its course. It doesn't matter who you are, shit will go down. The storm will eventually hit and unless you are prepared, you will get flooded. The problem is that keeping up with the Joneses can only go so far. I don't care who you are.
MC Hammer was worth $30 million+ and he went bankrupt, what makes you think you are untouchable with your $150K/year salary?
Unfortunately, those habits have become ENGRAINED in our culture. We have become so caught up trying to fake our way into higher status, rather than building ourselves up organically. If we are to break that barrier down as a group, it starts with ignoring the noise and focusing on finding TRUE freedom, rather than settling for a life of "comfortable" mental slavery.