Sun 15 Jan, 2006 07:43 pm
Cultural Notes And Asides From Colombia
Machismo is alive and well. In most regions but especially amongst the costeños or people of the North (Atlantic) coast infidelity on the part of the men is so typical it is expected though usually only very grudgingly accepted by the women. Another likely effect of machismo, there is a general reluctance to use condoms through out the country and among the lower classes the rate of unwed motherhood is extremely high. My wife's niece for example became pregnant at seventeen. The cruel reality in this culture is that although she's good looking she now hasn't got a snowball's chance in hell of ever marrying since no self respecting Colombian man will take on a women with another man's child. Her only hope for marriage is meeting an American, Canadian or European through one of the local or international marriage agencies.
Colombia is an intensely class based society. My wife learned in middle school the names of the families (like Santo Domingo, San Clemente and Grajales among others) who were de clase de sangre. These are the "blue blood" families and until recently marrying outside the limited list of apellidos de sangre was unthinkable. Nowadays narcotrafico has changed things. My wife says "porque ahora a las chicas mas importa la plata que la sangre". politicos started showing up there.
Racism is also alive and well in Colombia. A friend of ours interviews potential employees for one of the big roast-chicken-on-a-spit chains here. Her boss gave her strict instructions to reject any and all black applicants, people who look very Indian and short people. Under existing laws here it is almost impossible for those applicants to file suit in protest.