"There's democratization in the political arena, participation, and citizenship rights ... [and] moderate economic development. So in this context, citizens start feeling they have the right to be seen as what they are – citizens," says Florencia Torche, a sociology professor at New York University and Catholic University in Santiago, Chile.
An apology is offered
The parking attendant controversy, which went viral on YouTube and drew a public apology by perpetrator Miguel Sacal, wasn't an isolated event. Last summer, Mexicans were outraged after two upper-middle-class women in a rich district of Mexico City were caught on video calling a police officer a "crappy wage slave." The daughter of the leading presidential candidate caused an uproar in December after retweeting a message calling her father's opponents "a bunch of idiots who are part of the prole," a reference to the proletariat, or poor people.
"There is less tolerance for discrimination by society," says Raúl Villamil Uriarte, an anthropologist at the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City. In the case of the parking attendant who brought attention to his own case, he adds, the classic "victim" devictimized himself.
Changes in the maid's quarters
Nowhere is more change taking place than in the domestic sphere. While in the United States only the wealthy can afford live-in nannies and daily housecleaning, in Latin America, maid's quarters are ubiquitous, even in the homes of the middle class.