June 30, 2005

Mexico? Exactly how...

... do you make a mistake like this?
"Memín Pinguín is a character like Speedy González, created in the 1940's," the spokesman, Rafael Laveaga, said in a statement. "Just as Speedy González 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."


Joaquin said...

We are an easily offended society with individuals that are constantly striving to see who can be the most outraged. I guess that the open expression of outrage gives that person an artificial self-proclaimed moral highground.
Go to most countries outside of the US and you'll see lots of insignificant cartoons and caricatures that would be considered "mucho" offensive in the US.

Dan said...

Not content to dictate their own brand of self-righteousness here at home, the aggrieved PC police have now started to reach across international borders?

Honestly, who appointed them as arbiters of taste all over the globe? Don’t they already find enough offended groups and individuals within the confines of their own country?

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

I think these stamps are so plainly offensive that it's just ridiculous of Mexico not to have anticipated the outcry. Are they not to have any sensitivity toward the feelings of Americans?

Ann Althouse said...

If Notre Dame were adopting that image today, it would be unbelievably obtuse of them. The issue of mascots involves removing something old that people have gotten used to and attached too. I really think that's different.

goesh said...

I wonder what the status is of that case involving mascots? Hargrove, an Indian, brought the suit to bear as I recall. I believe it is in appeal in New York.I'm off subject again. These stamps make LBJ's gaffe of picking his Beagle dog up by the ears pale in comparision. This is something the taliban would do. Good grief!

Joaquin said...

And the winner of the "Sprint to Mucho Mas Sensitivity" is...................Ann!
OK seriously Ann. Anyone that has spent a lot of time abroad or lived abroad knows that folks aren't as easily "offended" as most Americans. How have we gotten this way? Are we that guilt riddled that we have to artificially ooze sensitivity and compasion? Are we the moral arbiters of the world? Says whom?
So Mexico prints a stamp depicting a known "negro" cartoon character that's been around since the 40's and we get all in a tizzy. Let MTV show videos 24-7 about blacks shooting other blacks, calling women Hoes, abusing women, bragging about having kids out of wedlock, and glorifying drugs and gangs and we call that freedom of expression.

ploopusgirl said...

Not children out of wedlock!

Anyways, the fact that Mexico has decided to print these stamps, which are indeed obviously offensive (PC or not), a month after its president was quoted as saying, "Mexican migrants take jobs in the United States that not even blacks want," is in extremely poor taste. Yes, much poorer taste than having children out of wedlock.

Honestly, I also dislike most rap and most of what rap stands for. It's misogynist, violent, and crude most of the time, but those are "artists" performing their "art." What Mexico has done is an act of the government. Those of you defending it don't come off as conservatives who are simply against political corectness, you come off, as conservatives most often do, as uncaring bigots.

John Thacker said...

"Mexican migrants take jobs in the United States that not even blacks want," was a gaffe in the sense that it broadly states an unpleasant truth, but overgeneralizes excessively and paints all members of a group with the same negative brush. He was expressing the following syllogism.

1) People who are poorer and have less education are more likely to be willing to take jobs which are less prestigious and accept less money for them.
2) Sadly, blacks in this country are, on average, poorer than most other racial groups.
3) However, recent Mexican migrants are even poorer.
4) For this reason, Mexican immigrants push down the wages of unskilled jobs/prevent unskilled jobs from being outsourced/keep jobs where the value produced by the labor is very low from going away.

Racial issues are not unknown in Mexico, either; skin tone roughly correlates with wealth. The higher the amount of African or American Indian ancestry someone has, the more likely one is to be poor in Mexico. A greater amount of Spanish ancestry is correlated with being wealthy.

A shorthand statement which (wrongly) implies that all blacks in the US are poor is sometimes acceptable when made by someone who is trying to agitate for political measures to help blacks; it is uniformly offensive in other circumstances, though.

goesh said...

Poopusgirl, I try not to wrangle too much with lawyers - they like to win and are pretty good at it. We must keep in mind that the artist who drew these caricatures has a family to feed too, and think of all the little, ragged street urchins that earn food by delivering the comics books that depict this cartoon character. Look on the bright side! Slavery reparation litigants can add Mexico to the list.

Joe Giles said...

Frida and cute lil' ninos aside--as a country, Mexico is a trash heap.

Only decent thing about illegal immigration is that is allows a lot of decent people to escape that wretchedness.

Joaquin said...

ploopusgirl - Who is "defending" the stamps? Accepting them for what they are is a tad different than "defending" them. Therefore your "uncaring bigot" characterization doesn't apply to anyone here.

ploopusgirl said...

dax: If you simply accepted the stamps for what they are, you would have said nothing in response. If you agree that they are offensive, but say nothing against them because "they are what they are," doesn't that seem a trifle neglectful to you? You posted, not against the offensive stamps, but against the liberals who do speak out against the stamps; thus, you do come off as if you're defending the stamps along with dan and sippicancottage (my everlasting utopia).

P_J said...

Oh. My. God. I cannot understand how any country could even imagine it would be okay to print these as official postage.

I am as fed up with PC nonsense as anyone, but count me as a conservative who finds these stamps incredibly offensive. They reinforce the worst kind of degrading racial stereotypes that should have died long ago.

Would those who say "Get over it" feel differently if Saudi Arabia printed stamps with thick-lipped, greedy Jews?

Pp Martinez said...

hello, i'm mexican... come on, it's just a picture, there are worse things at USA about racism... here in México we use to say "A person thinks that everyone else could act as that person would do" It means that If you do something to somebody, you think that everyone else could do that to you too... So if you think that we made things about racism, Why it could be?maybe because you think in that way, what do you think?

Joaquin said...

ploopusgirl - My focus was on the reaction of what I consider to be the "super sensitive" The "lets get outraged at the drop of a hat" crowd.
My comments never said anything about Liberals (is Ann a Liberal?) nor did I "defend" the stupid stamps.
Was is stupid for the Mexican government to print them? Maybe! It's amazing how some will close their eyes to blatant anti-American actions by the Mexican government and at the same time get worked into a froth over a freakin stamp.

ploopusgirl said...

I woulnd't consider government issued stamps depicting black people pretty much as apes as "the drop of a hat." Continue digging your hole there. It's quite entertaining.

Also entertaining? The fact that you whine about the libe.. or "super sensitive" contingent complaining about racially offensive material because you'd much rather us whine about Mexico's anti-America propaganda. Unfortunately, that's Mexico along with much of the rest of the world, and much of it is deserved. "Blatant" anti-American actions based on the ACTIONS of Americans is far different from blatant racism, based on nothing more than skin color.

leeontheroad said...

Pp, you wrote on your blog:

"Una vez más aquí se aplica el dicho mexicano de que "EL LEÓN CREE QUE TODOS SON DE SU CONDICIÓN"

My reply here is:

No soy mexicano, sino que sé que hay racismo en México. ¿Por ejemplo, por qué la gente dice "pelo malo"?

bos0x said...

Wow! Everyone is so wise and worldly here :) I would think that the stamps are offensive... but that would be ignorant and PC, so instead I'll hope for the day when the United States can be as accepting and open-minded as Mexico!!! I can't wait!

John Thacker: It's not nearly as simple as that and often has absolutely nothing to do with what blacks want. Employers that hire illegal immigrants from Mexico often do so exclusively because they can pay them wages much lower than minimum wage. They turn away blacks - and you know, everyone else - even if they are willing to work for $2 an hour, as that would be more difficult to get away with. Mexicans don't take shitty jobs because of any saintly ability to work really hard - greedy business owners give them the jobs to avoid paying workers minimum wage.

Also, I have no idea what you mean by Mexicans preventing unskilled jobs from being outsourced... what do you imagine outsourcing looks like? Driving to the carwash and having your car teleported to India for the washing? Illegal Mexicans aren't spending their money in the United States - they're sending it back to Mexico!

Stephen said...

My friends who have lived in Mexico for years report that there is a deep overt current of racism in the society, not so different from the American South a generation ago (and, in some Southern communities, today, when whites think that no outsider is listening). It runs from the "lighter" elite, not just against blacks, but perhaps even more strongly against campesinos and Indians. This stamp is thus an illustration of a pervasive, deep and deeply ugly phenomenon. Those who toss of the matter as one of "political correctness" are ignorant of the facts on the ground.

bos0x said...

dax, you're worried about rap music promoting having children out of wedlock? It's absolutely adorable to see that, for all of your radial foreign opinions on PC, you're still puritan at heart!! Oh, and can you point me toward the 24-7 MTV music video channel? My MTV just seems to play shitty reality shows all day long.

gs said...

Ann: I'm not convinced that the stamp is a 'mistake'. I grant it might be a mistake. It could be a deliberate insult to the US. It could be a Mexican attempt to influence American politics. It could be a machiavellian stratagem for domestic purposes. Or all of the above.

I don't understand the state of the US-Mexican relations. Bush and Fox being conservatives, I'd expect them to make like turtledoves, but the relationship seems cool. On the other hand, Bush's attitude toward illegal aliens disappoints both his conservative base and legal immigrants. Wheels within wheels...I suspect there are issues of realpolitik which don't fit into anybody's ideology and hence are not publicized.

PatCA said...

Hey, I come from an ND family, and we love our little guy. The mascot would only be offensive if he were portrayed with a whiskey in his hand and showed him stumbling home to his 10 kids and longsuffering wife.

The stamps exaggerate and insult--and I'm not a PC person at all. Even Gregory Rodriguez, an LAT race-baiting editorial writer, says Mexico is very racist.

Take away the word "racist" and it would still be ugly.

Freeman Hunt said...

People might not call me a libertarian conservative because they might rather call me an arch libertarian conservative. I think the stamps are outrageously offensive. However, unlike Ploopusgirl I wouldn't paint everyone who disagrees with me with the big broad bigot brush.

My friends from Mexico have said the same thing posted here by many others: racism is very prominent in Mexico.

greedy business owners give them the jobs to avoid paying workers minimum wage.

I live in a small town with a huge first-generation Hispanic immigrant population. What you describe is untrue here. In fact, immigrant or not, you would be hard-pressed in my town to find a job that paid wages even as low as minimum wage. Immigrants wisely flock here because there are tons of jobs and not enough people willing to do them. (I think our unemployment hovers around 2%.) Immigrants work hard not because they're saintly; they work hard because they are motivated by self-interest and opportunity, and they generally aren't from cultures that promote aggrandized feelings of entitlement.

Joaquin said...

bosOx - I didn't say that rap music promoted any of those things I said it glorified them. It's hard to further promote what is already deeply embeded and prevalent.
If wanting to see a decrease in out of wedlock children makes me a puritan, so be it. I'm fine with that.
Tee-up another one for me.

Pp Martinez said...

leeontheroad, Pelo Malo???, what are you talking about? where did you listen that?

Synova said...

In my experience the most oblivious racist remarks I've ever heard have been from minorities. I don't know why this is because it doesn't really make sense. You'd figure that ethnic and racial minorities would be sensitive to both ends of the issue, giving and recieving rather than just recieving.

It was a long time ago now, but there was an African American council woman (or whatever elected post she had) who pulled her eyes back to depict asians during a speech. San Jose? She was removed from her office but my impression through it all was that she was a good hearted person who was confused and bewildered by what had happened to her. There have been any number of small incidents that reinforced this idea for me.

I have friends and aquaintences who see racism if the cashier at McDonalds asks for payment before getting the food. How can someone percieve racism toward themselves but not be able to figure out that something they have done will be percieved as racist by others?

I really hate to put it this way but it seems to me that the US majority, whites, are taught from the cradle that we have to be sensitive and careful not to offend. We were the slave owners, not the slaves. We are the affluent, not the oppressed farm laborers. (I won't go into the ways those two statements aren't true just now, it's not important.) I honestly don't think minorities, in general, are taught that they might be guilty of racism and that they have to be on guard not to offend anyone or that they should feel guilty for other people's perceptions.

So how could Mexico be so dumb? Pretty easily, actually.

JB said...

It's offensive. I'm as wacky conservative as they come, and simply it's offensive. Of course, Mexico has less inhibitions about displaying its ahem insensitivity.

Aside, have you ever seen Spanish television, the stars are pretty much white. There is a pretty significant racial hierarchy in Mexico.