April 2014
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Stamp Out Racism

“The character on the stamp is drawn with exaggerated features, thick lips and wide-open eyes. His appearance, speech and mannerisms are the subject of kidding by white characters in the comic book.”

A recent edition of Mexican stamps depict a caricature of black people:

“MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) — U.S. activists called on the Mexican government to withdraw a postage stamp depicting an exaggerated black cartoon character known as Memin Pinguin, saying the offense was worse than recent remarks about blacks made by President Vicente Fox.

Mexico defended the series of five stamps released Wednesday, which depicts a child character from a comic book started in the 1940s that is still published in Mexico.

But the Rev. Jesse Jackson said President Bush should pressure Mexico to withdraw the stamps from the market, saying they “insult people around the world…”

Click the link to see the stamps.

How does the Mexican government defend this stamp? By noting the American love affair with Speedy Gonzales:

“Just as Speedy Gonzalez has never been interpreted in a racial manner by the people in Mexico, because he is a cartoon character, I am certain that this commemorative postage stamp is not intended to be interpreted on a racial basis in Mexico or anywhere else,” said Rafael Laveaga, the spokesman for the Mexican Embassy in Washington.

If the U.S. put Speedy on a stamp, then we should, indeed, apologize. I don’t think we did.

8 comments to Stamp Out Racism

  • Guest

    Have you ever read the comic book?

    If not…then don’t say a thing, the comic book shows
    a CUBAN kid(yes,there are black people in Cuba), he’s just an older version of Bart Simpson, a brat that always gets in trouble with a very lovely mother, all he’s friends are from different social stratuss.

    Get some information before you write a thing…..

  • I’m sure it isn’t any more racist than, say, the Little Black Sambo books of yore.

    Do you hate Jews too, or just blacks?

  • Joshua

    Black caricatures are black caricatures. It doesn’t matter if they are black cubans or west indian blacks or african blacks. The drawings are are so similar to racist American fiction (see link to Stamp Out Racism, Part II) that the parallels cannot be denied.

    By the way, “Get some information before you write a thing…..” is not only poor english, it should serve as a reminder that (a) you have a demonstrated inability to spell even simple words such as “status” and (b) you don’t recognize the social significance of physiognomic traits in that black cubans can be caricatured as much as african ones. If you insist on ignorance, don’t bother coming back to the Waterglass.

  • except… that they are not racist american fiction…

    Negro is not a derogatory term in Mexico, the most popular mariachi song is “El son de la negra”.

    The autor, Yolanda Vargas, was very sensitive on the isue of racism. The comic books was readed by people of all ages, and the content was very mature compared with american comics of the age.

    The main characters were poor people, and the stories sometimes involved poverty, parental abandonment, death and alcoholism. The comic book was an oportunity to discuss those isues within the families.

    I remember a story, when Memin shows his friend Ernestillo, a pampered white boy (blond) from a rich family, the hardships of make a living as a show shine boy. Ernestillo learns to respect his friend, and the value of work, which his father was trying to teach. Memin, like his poor friend had to work.


  • Joshua

    Is it possible to have these valuable life lessons without a black caricature? For example, in the U.S., if we had a Mexican character with a sombrero, long black moustache, and broken english who went on all the adventures of Memin… would Mexico be offended, even if he was a beloved character of American fiction? Even if he filled children’s heads with cherished values? Do we have to have caricatures or can we do this without having Memin look like the “Little Sambo” of old?

  • Ricardo Tuca Ferreti

    [racist comment deleted by administrator]

  • Ricardo Tuca Ferreti

    [comment deleted by administrator]

  • Ricardo Tuca Ferreti

    [Further comments deleted. Any other comments on this website by this individual will result in abuse reports filed to his Internet Service Provider.]