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That beer is for poor people! Mexico's hidden classism?

You may know that Mexico is a very divided society. There is a lot of money in the country but it's not evenly distributed at all. Most of the wealth is concentrated in the hands of a minority of the population, while a large portion of the country lives in poverty. With a Gini coefficient of 45, Mexico is among the most unequal countries in the world.

With this inequality, there is a lot of classism. Many people in Mexico are very concerned about their appearance and making sure not to look poor or classless. Maybe you know these two very important Mexican words:


This is a controversial and disrespectful term to talk about lower class people or people with little taste.


Literally, meaning "strawberry", this is how we refer to people of the upper class. It can either be a positive or a negative term, depending on the context.

The caguama incident

Las grutas de Tolantongo
Las grutas de Tolantongo

What got me thinking about this today is something that I overheard in the beautiful Grutas de Tolantongo in my home state of Hidalgo, Mexico.

In a restaurant, a man at another table ordered a beer. The waiter told him that they only had caguamas. A caguama is a 1.2l bottle of beer, which is the size of around 4 beers but normally much cheaper than buying them separately.

The mighy caguama
The mighy caguama

The man replied Ni que fuera albañil! This is a very disrespectful and classist way to respond, but it does contain a useful Spanish phrase that can be used in a lot of situations: Ni que fuera...

This doesn't have an exact translation in English but it's something like "It's not like I'm a...". Maybe you would say this in the following situations: Ni que fuera su mamá - If somebody expects you to cook and look after them as if you were their mother.

Ni que fuera superhéroe para no cansarme - If your boss asks you to do a lot of work. You're not a superhero who doesn't get tired.

Ni que fuera albañil - albañil is Spanish for "builder" and in Mexico it is usually used as an example of a poor person's job. The man in the restaurant was saying that he couldn't possibly drink a caguama because he's not a poor builder.

What do you think? Would you order a caguama in a restaurant or do you think that it's for lower class people? Do you consider yourself fresa or naco? Let me know in the comments below! Are you ready to take your Spanish language skills to the next level and immerse yourself in Mexican culture?

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03. Jan.

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