Porque Mal?

 

gente bien

gente bien

 

This blog was an exploration and reflection on my experiences in DF, and my relationships with gente bien, gente mal, and everything in between.  It has since evolved into an arts and travel blog based on wherever I happen to be living in the world.  At the moment, you can find me in the city of brotherly love, head in the clouds and feet firmly in the gritty streets of Philly.

Gente Bien, or “good people,” is a widely circulated magazine which is distributed throughout Mexico. The newspaper supplement covers the lives of the creme de la creme of Mexican society, featuring photo montages from their latest social events.  The obsession with the lives of the rich and famous is a common phenomenon in any society, yet in Mexico it is especially dramatic and traumatic.

If rich people are gente bien, then what are poor people (or, for that matter, middle class people)?  We are only left to assume that they are gente mal, or “bad people.”  Mexico has some of the most extreme poverty in the world, yet it is also home to one of the richest men in the world, Carlos Slim.  The disparity between the rich and poor is most evident in Mexico City, home to 19.2 million people, or almost 1/4 of Mexico’s entire population.  Mexico City itself has a GDP of $315 billion, which makes it the eighth-richest urban agglomeration in the world.  Yet this number is skewed by the small number of extremely rich households that shift the mean income upwards.  According to a recent study by the UN, more than 25% of the people in Mexico City constitute was is called a “floating population,” living in squatter settlements or inner-city slums.

As an American girl who could easily pass for gente bien, but whose bank account and background make me associate much more with the gente mal, I constantly found myself living in two worlds in Mexico City.  In the metro and the public buses on my long commute to school, I was just another chilango fighting my way through the crowds.  At my school, which is one of the most expensive schools in Mexico, I was just another blond haired blue-eyed fresa strolling about the perfectly manicured campus.  Yet most of my fellow students had never set foot in the metro (or would even dare of doing so), and most of the people on the metro will never set foot on a campus like mine (or even dream of going to college).

 

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4 Responses to “Porque Mal?”

  1. Bonnie August 7, 2008 at 8:50 pm #

    I am looking forward to seeing Mexico through your eyes, Laura. The details you give make your experiences come alive as I read your entries.

  2. Rodrigo November 10, 2008 at 7:53 am #

    It’s great to imagine Mexico City the way you see it, it make’s me realize some things I wouldn’t pay attention to if it wasn’t for your writting (I hope you understand what I’m writting here), it’s sad bud most of the people who live’s in this city don’t stop to take a look at our environment, we certainly can learn a lot from you and the way you look at the same things (good and bad) we just don’t pay attention to, congratulations, you’re doing a great job, bienvenida a “Chilangolandia” , I’ll keep checking your fab entries, take care!!

  3. Oscar Mel November 10, 2008 at 7:47 pm #

    I’m a chilango living in Irving near Texas Stadium, I was reading your Blog and you have vivid experiences in Chilagotitlan city, it might be shocking at first sight but my hometown is the best experience you ever had, I’ll be reading your blog on a regular basis.

    Thanks for share your experience from a Gringa’s point of view.

    Regards from Tejano Land

    Melkiades

    PS: I have an audio podcast ranked #1 on Itunes in comedy on spanish

  4. juan pablo July 9, 2009 at 4:36 pm #

    I totally agree with you and in Chile even priests call rich people gente bien and I always really wondered why…..

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