Skip to comments.Stamps renew racial tensions with Mexico (Day 2)
Posted on 06/30/2005 9:49:46 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
MEXICO CITY (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."
"The impact of this is worse than what the president said," Jackson noted, referring to Fox's May 13 comment that Mexican migrants take jobs in the United States that "not even blacks" want. Fox later met with Jackson and expressed regret but insisted his comments had been misinterpreted.
The character on the stamp, hapless but lovable, 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.
Mexico said that like Speedy Gonzalez - a cartoon mouse with a Mexican accent that debuted in the United States in 1953 - the Memin Pinguin character shouldn't be interpreted as a racial slur.
"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.
But NAACP Interim President Dennis Courtland Hayes countered that "laughing at the expense of hard-working African Americans or African Mexicans is no joke and it should end at once."
The NAACP - the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People - called the stamps "injurious to black people who live in the United States and Mexico."
Jackson also said Mexico should "issue a complete and full apology."
Activists in Mexico said the stamp was offensive but not unexpected.
"One would hope the Mexican government would be a little more careful and avoid continually opening wounds," said Sergio Penalosa, an activist in Mexico's small black community on the southern Pacific coast.
"But we've learned to expect anything from this government, just anything," Penalosa said.
Carlos Caballero, assistant marketing director for the Mexican Postal Service, said the stamps are not offensive, nor were they intended to be.
"This is a traditional character that reflects part of Mexico's culture," Caballero said. "His mischievous nature is part of that character."
However, Penalosa said many Mexicans still assume all blacks are foreigners, despite the fact that at one point early in the Spanish colonial era, Africans outnumbered Spanish in Mexico.
"At this point in time, it was probably pretty insensitive" to issue the stamp, said Elisa Velazquez, an anthropologist who studies Mexico's black communities for the National Institute of Anthropology and History.
"This character is a classic, but it's from another era," Velazquez said. "It's a stereotype and you don't want to encourage ignorance or prejudices."
Laveaga, the embassy spokesman, countered that "if you look closely at many of the cartoon characters in U.S. pop culture, those who try will be able to find something offensive."
But, he noted, "the vast majority will see a cartoon character, which is what Memin Pinguin is."
The 6.50-peso (60 cent) stamps - depicting the character in five poses - was issued with the domestic market in mind, but Caballero noted it could be used in international postage as well.
A total of 750,000 of the stamps will be issued.
Ben Vinson, a black professor of Latin American history at Penn State University, said he has been called "Memin Pinguin" by some people in Mexico. He also noted that the character's mother is drawn to look like an old version of the U.S. advertising character Aunt Jemima.
The stamps are part of a series that pays tribute to Mexican comic books. Memin Pinguin, the second in the series, was apparently chosen for this year's release because it is the 50th anniversary of the company that publishes the comic.
Publisher Manelick De la Parra told the government news agency Notimex that the character would be sort of a good-will ambassador on Mexican letters and postcards.
"It seems nice if Memin can travel all over the world, spreading good news," de la Parra said, calling him "so charming, so affectionate, so wonderful, generous and friendly."
Mexico Issues Stamps of Black Cartoon Character Weeks After Racial Flap ^
A series of five stamps was released for general use on Wenesday June 29, 2005 issued by the Mexican government depicting an exaggerated black cartoon character known as Memin Pinguin, a child character from a comic book started in the 1940s that is still published in Mexico. The release comes just weeks after Mexican president Vicente Fox riled many by saying that Mexican migrants take jobs in the United States that 'not even blacks' want. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
Do they still have Sambo's restaurants in Mexico?
Like the Frito Bandito?
Vincente is going to get another visit from $harpton and Je$$e Jack$on...he better open up the checkbook again.
When I was a kid we used to say "Einnie Meenie Minie Moe".... That seems like a very long time ago. I would have thought that Mexico would have a little more respect for those of color? Oh well, in the end it would seem that Chicanos and Blacks are in for a little struggle. I think the Blacks will win.
No way. The blacks will be too busy killing each other.
Looks more like a Mexican Curious George than a black character.
The black community must realize that their sense of entitlement has no value beyond our borders.
When I was young we watched reruns of the Amos and Andy Show. This was hillarious. I understand political correctness put a lot of very good black actors and actresses out of work. What a shame.
Apparently he already has...
But the Rev. Jesse Jackson said President Bush should ...
Jackson is disgusting beyond belief with this statement. Notice how he has turned this from a problem for Fox into a problem for Bush. The man is just disgusting.
This has made my day.
I haven't laughed so hard in weeks.
I find it particularly hilarious that Jesse (R.I.C.O. statute) Jackson's response is to run up and try to sic the man from the "big house" on 'em. Like it's just gotta be George Bush's fault. I guess they've gotten bored with extorting American corporations and ripping off their own followers.
I suspect they'll find their scam a bit more difficult to pull off south of the border. There're only about 100 million people there who would trade places with them in a heartbeat, and wouldn't complain about anything. I hope the Mexicanos tell Jesse and Al to go F*** themselves. Really now, what are they going to do, stop sending their kids to spring break in Cabo?
Actually, if you squint, and hold your head at the right angle, the one in the blue suit does look kinda like Deion Sanders when he gets all gussied up.
Don't bet the farm on that proposition. Black Americans have a lower birth rate than Hispanics and are not supplemented by massive foreign immigration, legal or not. Blacks presently have more effective leadership, whatever our misgivings are about Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, et. al. Liberals, being non-Christian or CINO, have two sacraments: votes and money. Hispanics will be able to provide more votes than blacks, if not now, then 20 years hence. With Hispanic gangs muscling blacks and Italians out of the more lucrative portions of the drug trade, they have, or will have, more money.
The Hispanics are a safer long term bet.
"Oh well, in the end it would seem that Chicanos and Blacks are in for a little struggle. I think the Blacks will win".
"No way. The blacks will be too busy killing each other".
Yep, while the Mexicans are on their way to work.
Like Speedy Gonzales!
Not if they are headed South. I think the pendulum has made it's zenith and is headed the other way. If not we are a society headed for ruination. I speak from first hand information. I live near the front range of Colorado. We have been over-run by the Mesican invasion. When the employers in this are are held accountable. Things will change. If not..... they may change anyhow. People are getting pretty damn pissed around here.
Amigo, this kind of thing may have been somewhat amusing about 1940. Even then it was not entirely in good taste, even if innocent and juvenile. It was, and is EXTREMELY racist.
Looks just like Sharpton to me, LOL.
So, the Rev. Jackson is beginning a shakedown across the border.
It's a welcome relief that we're finally able to export something to Mexico.
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