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Stamping out preconceived images
June 29, 2005 2:36 PM   Subscribe

Postage stamps with a side of race baiting. The Mexican postal service released a series of five stamps today featuring a 1940's era cartoon of a fat lipped jug eared negro child, known for his hapless adventures, and his Aunt Jemima (classic edition, not modern sassy Jemima) mother.
posted by jonson (28 comments total)

 
Ask Presidente Fox how these are sold: Are they the peel-off kind with the adhesive already on them or wet back?
posted by hal9k at 2:47 PM on June 29, 2005


"This is a traditional character that reflects part of Mexico's culture," Caballero said. "His mischievous nature is part of that character."

Hard to argue with that. Blacks are way mischievous.
posted by billysumday at 2:51 PM on June 29, 2005


Relevant: Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia. This is a supremely stupid move by the Mexican government, a move that just reinforces the perception that Fox's ridiculously insulting remarks from last May really did indicate lingering racist sentiment against black folks. What a fucking idiot he must be to have let this slip by.
posted by mediareport at 2:52 PM on June 29, 2005


I want one.
posted by swift at 3:04 PM on June 29, 2005


"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."

Plus, if you rub his head it brings you good luck.
posted by gigawhat? at 3:04 PM on June 29, 2005


I want a black person, that is.
posted by swift at 3:05 PM on June 29, 2005


I seem to recall an excellent piece on NPR about the sorry state of race relations in Mexico. I can't seem to find it, but it's definitely worth a listen.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 3:08 PM on June 29, 2005


I think they're making fun of the black kid because he appears to be headed off to school with a textbook. You know, that kind of behavior will get you shot in some parts of Mehico.
posted by nervousfritz at 3:13 PM on June 29, 2005


"Aye, aye aye...no es bueno! Que lastima!" - Bumblebee Guy
posted by davidmsc at 3:41 PM on June 29, 2005


Publisher Manelick De la Parra told the government news agency Notimex that the character would be sort of a goodwill ambassador on Mexican letters and postcards.
Yeah that's gonna work out well. Hopefully you can get your old job back Memin, or then again maybe it's just time to retire.
posted by scheptech at 4:15 PM on June 29, 2005


What in hell is this? What's going on in old Mexico anyway?

Maybe we should make a stamp with the fat siesta taking sombrero guy ala Speedy Gonzalez.
posted by snsranch at 4:20 PM on June 29, 2005


I wonder if it's going to be popular for racist white college kids* who are down in Mexico on spring break to send their friends postcards with these stamps.

*Not all white college kids are racist, obviously.
posted by davejay at 5:10 PM on June 29, 2005


This reminds me of something that I saw on one of those "Extreme TV" tapes. The tape was basically a collage of bizarre video footage from around the world. One segment had a report about racist TV shows somewhere in S. America (may have been Mexico). Anyway, these TV shows center around "black" people (really just Hispanics with blackface on and things glued to their lips to make them look grotesquely large) stealing stuff, bumbling around, and basically playing out the minstrel-era stereotype. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I can't imagine how they must treat African Americans (or Africans, for that matter) in S. America.
posted by afroblanca at 5:11 PM on June 29, 2005


(I don't want to imply that everywhere in S. America is racist. Just the places where this crap comes from)
posted by afroblanca at 5:13 PM on June 29, 2005


does speedy gonzalas have a stamp? how about peppi le pieu?
posted by es_de_bah at 5:16 PM on June 29, 2005


Speedy Gonzalez is not fat. Plus, he can travel at near-lightspeed and not lose his hat,.
posted by jfuller at 5:24 PM on June 29, 2005


correction: "peppy le pew"

i'm so very sorry...
posted by es_de_bah at 5:29 PM on June 29, 2005


afroblanca writes "I don't want to imply that everywhere in S. America is racist."

Especially since Mexico is in North America.
posted by clevershark at 6:04 PM on June 29, 2005


It's always nice to hear that there are countries as messed up as we are ("we" being the U.S., in this case).
posted by slimslowslider at 6:33 PM on June 29, 2005


"This is a traditional character that reflects part of Mexico's culture," Caballero said. "His mischievous nature is part of that character."

Oh, come on, you overly-sensitive types. He sounds a lot like Bazooka Joe. Only, you know, black with big lips.
posted by yhbc at 6:43 PM on June 29, 2005


clevershark - Ok, you totally got me. My geography was off. And to think, all of that Risk playing in college was for naught.
posted by afroblanca at 9:32 PM on June 29, 2005


Wow, That's truly amazing. Perhaps their next stamp should be a burning US flag. The mexicans really need to get cracking if they want to piss off all segments of the US population.

Seriously, don't these people at least realize this is like pooring gasoline on the fires of Lou Dobbs and the Minutemen are trying to start?
posted by delmoi at 10:49 PM on June 29, 2005


This is an excellent example of why single-link CNN posts suck.

There is absolutely no context for this. In this case, this cartoon character is ubiquitous. You can find these comics on most Mexican newstands. This is a 50-yr old comic.

You could argue that Mexicans are more racist or... you could argue that much of Mexican culture has yet to undergo the "PC Cleansing" that the US has done in only the last 20 or 30 years (How recently was Aunt Jemima "redesigned"?)

In any case, "race relations" when discussed in Mexico is not usually about blacks vs. whites - thats a narrow U.S.-centric way of seeing things. The major racial conflicts are between whites (spaniards) and indians (natives) Books and essays could be written about this particular history and conflict - it lies at the heart of what Mexican culture *is*.

The comics are unfortunately still full of stereotypical portrayals of not only Africans but also Asians and (native) Indians. I gather that those dont make CNN because they don't touch a nerve for us like the negative portrayals of Blacks?
posted by vacapinta at 10:51 PM on June 29, 2005


vacapinta wins the non-knee-jerk-reaction award for this post! **go vacapinta!**
posted by Boydrop at 11:53 PM on June 29, 2005


The "Japanese" cartoon figures on billboards for sushi places freaked me out in Mexico. They look like they're made from WWII propaganda from the States. Have they put those other characters on stamps, too (Asians and native Indians)?

Just because people north of the border are particularly sensitive to this character doesn't make it any less offensive. Neither does the ubiquitousness of it make it less offensive.

Vacapinta, are you saying that just because Mexicans with African ancestry are a minority they aren't important? Or that because WhiteU.S.A. doesn't care about other groups as much, this is a non-issue?
posted by MightyNez at 2:43 AM on June 30, 2005


Mexico should be harshly condemned for releasing these stamps, especially by the Americans who safeguard worldwide liberty & freedom. Hell, if they can get away with outright insults like this, before you know it they'll be persecuting their black population in more serious ways, like locking away large percentages of them in jail.
posted by lastobelus at 4:20 PM on June 30, 2005


I guess this is simply a pre-emptive strike for the day you chaps elect Kinky Friedman governor of Texas on the basis of his jolly japes about Mexican Generals
posted by TimothyMason at 12:11 AM on July 1, 2005


The funny thing is people started buying the stamps because they were going for as much as $200 on ebay. They cost about $0.60 here.

mediareport: This is a supremely stupid move by the Mexican government, a move that just reinforces the perception that Fox's ridiculously insulting remarks from last May really did indicate lingering racist sentiment against black folks. What a fucking idiot he must be to have let this slip by.

Unfortunately, he is an idiot, but I don't think there's a racist sentiment against black folks in Mexico.

nervousfritz: I think they're making fun of the black kid because he appears to be headed off to school with a textbook. You know, that kind of behavior will get you shot in some parts of Mehico.

snsranch: Maybe we should make a stamp with the fat siesta taking sombrero guy ala Speedy Gonzalez.

While the stamps were not intended to be offensive, both your comments were. Nice to see those double standards.

es_de_bah: does speedy gonzalas have a stamp? how about peppi le pieu?

I'm not sure what you're trying to say, but neither of those characters was created in Mexico.

delmoi: Wow, That's truly amazing. Perhaps their next stamp should be a burning US flag. The mexicans really need to get cracking if they want to piss off all segments of the US population.

Stop being so egocentric. Not everything that happens in the world has to be about the US.

I'm not trying to defend the Government, but it was a non-issue here until the American media started spinning it as racism.
posted by Penks at 4:00 AM on July 2, 2005


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