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Sunday, January 07, 2007 

Mexico's racist comic and postage stamp

This is a subject that's two years old in discussion, but still warrants considerable attention. A very controversial subject it is, but if nothing is said, nothing will be done about it.

Two years ago, Mark in Mexico, among several other bloggers, directed attention to a comic book character published in Mexico for many years called "Memín Pinguín" (the latter pronounced as pin-geen in Spanish), a caricature of a Mexican of black African descent and his mother. If you have the stomach for the following, here is a two-panel part from one of the books:
If you've got the stomach for more, go and see the rest of the pictures over at Mark's, and also at Blog Alice and El foro de Kaliman, but be warned, that this is by far one of the sickest "products/publications" I have ever seen. The way the character is drawn makes him look like, well, a simian. It's not often that I see racist caricatures this bad. This really makes my blood boil, and as of this writing, I am ready to explode. There are a few European comics with embarrassing depictions of blacks (Tintin in Congo is a most notorious example), but few can compare with this monstrosity from Mexico.

Given how tasteless this is, I have to wonder, why is Lambiek daring to apologize for the offensiveness of these comic strips? Stuff like this only puts a stain upon the industry as a whole, and only by shunning it will it be possible to keep trash like this from littering up any comics medium.

In the United States and other places with more common sense, caricatures like this are rightfully viewed as racist. But in Mexico, they are not. That's the sad thing about Mexico, that a lot of society there is backwardly, militantly racist towards blacks and other minority groups. According to an English-language article published on El Universal, many black Mexicans face discrimination, and the government's done no more to help solve their own problems than any of the rest of the public in Mexico.

There was an uproar two years ago when Mexico's postal service issued stamps featuring this vicious caricature, and I certainly hope the protests raised made them withdraw the stamps from their postal services. But that doesn't excuse the fact that Memín Pinguín may still be considered par for the course in Mexico, and that the country's still not coming to terms with it's own problems with prejudice.

Only through proper education will it be possible to put an end to the whole matter of racism against blacks and other minority groups in Mexico, and any other Central/South American country that contains these problems.

For more on the case, read also at La Shawn Barber, Daily Pundit, American Digest, Waveflux.

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