Via La Shawn Barber, we get a look at what the Mexican government thinks of people of African descent:
Do people anywhere still think this way?
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It’s old imagery that has an aspect of nostalgia to Mexicans, but of course, by being reprinted now, does imply that they feel this exaggerated depiction is acceptable. Or, it’s so unconscious and ingrained that no one thought about it at all. Ugh.
This post has caused all kinds of internal conflict for me. My first reaction to the stamps was “That’s awful!” Then I asked myself “Do I really believe those stamps are awful, or have I been politically conditioned to respond that way to anything that’s racially sensitive?” Then I asked myself “If I don’t believe, deep down, that the posts are awful, does that mean I’m racist?” Finally, I had to go nap on the sofa until I felt better.
What you, Americans, have to understand is that this is not a ?¢??racial issue?¢??, this is not about ?¢??how racist?¢?? Mexico is, this is about sovereignty. Let us analyze this situation for a moment;
1) the Mexican Postal Service (not President Fox) issues some stamps showing a caricature of a black boy, Mem?É¬?n Pingu?É¬?n;
2) some American priest gets to see these stamps and feels outraged about it;
3) this same American priest demands that the stamps be withdrawn from market and also demands an apology from the Mexican President himself to the black community in America, which he ?¢??represents?¢??, because the stamps ?¢??are?¢?? racist and offend black people; 4) the Mexican government claims that the caricature is a very by-many-people beloved character from a Mexican comic book from 1940 and is not, and was never intended to offend black people, but to (Oh irony!) diminish racism and encourage family values (according to the creator of this comic book, who is a woman, Mem?É¬?n was created based on the charming Cuban kids whom she fell in love with when she made a trip to the island. The character is a mischievous boy who has a very peculiar way to see life and among his friends he always gets to be the most beloved one)
5) the priest gets reinforcements and even the spokesman from the White House says that the stamps are ?¢??offensive?¢?¬¶ The Mexican government needs to take this into account. Images such as these have no place in today’s world?¢??
And I think to myself?¢?¬¶?¢?¬¶ what a wonderful woooorrld?¢?¬¶..
How do you expect that the Mexican government will react when an American priest demands an apology from the Mexican President for these stamps (no apologies demanded from the Mexican Postal Service?) and even the White House claims that ?¢??The Mexican government needs to take this into account. Images such as these have no place in today’s world?¢???
Can you not see? This isn?¢??t about ?¢??how racist?¢?? Mexico is. This is about Americans messing with other country?¢??s affairs and sovereignty.
An American priest demanding apologies from the President of another nation because he found some stamps of his (the President?¢??s) country?¢??s Postal Service offensive?
The White House trying making judgments and trying to impose its moral to a sovereign nation?
This is just insolent. Americans are not the police of the world, they can not go trying to impose their moral and ?¢??values?¢?? to the rest of the world.
THE MEXICAN PRESIDENT?¢??S STATEMENTS
There are even some people who assure that in Mexico there?¢??s such a deal of racism by recalling the Mexican President?¢??s statements about the Mexicans in the United States taking jobs that ?¢??not even the blacks want?¢??.
Mmmhhh?¢?¬¶ I wonder?¢?¬¶ if the Mexican people should be judged by the President?¢??s statements?¢?¬¶. Should the American people be judged by President Bush?¢??s statements and actions?
I think not. I think that wouldn?¢??t do them any good.
Do I think the Mexican President is a racist? I don?¢??t know. Maybe only the people who really know him can get to know that. What I do think is that he is a very bad politician and he frequently screws it up.
Did he really mean it that way when he said that Mexicans take jobs that ?¢??not even blacks want?¢??? I have my doubts.
I think that he meant that even the minority which has suffered the most in the United States, even those who were discriminated so badly (and who are, unfortunately, still being discriminated), even the ones who were traded as slaves in the past and were, not long ago, still segregated, have had the chances to improve their life conditions and can now get better jobs, but, on the other hand, the Mexicans still get those terrible jobs that black people were forced (due to the lack of better opportunities) to take, but nowadays take not any longer. At least that?¢??s what I think he meant. Because even though he?¢??s a very bad politician and even if he were a very racist person (which you and I totally ignore) you would need to be a brainless snail in order to say that on a public speech and mean it as a racial slur. Give the man a little credit, probably he just screwed it up trying to say something else.
I can say this because I?¢??ve witnessed what he?¢??s said and done since even before he got elected for the presidency.
How many Americans can say that?
RACISM IN MEXICO
There is racism in Mexico, of course. There are people in Mexico. But, surprisingly
(or maybe not so), most of the racism is against native Mexicans.
Racism against black people is not so common in Mexico because there are just very few black people there. In fact, most of the ?¢??black?¢?? people in Mexico are not exactly what in America would be considered ?¢??African American?¢?? (African Mexican in the case of Mexico) but a mixture of Native Mexicans and Africans who, in most cases, acquired the local culture and adjusted themselves to their new home. There are some tribes, which never mixed with Native Mexicans and which live in the Sierras, that stayed ?¢??Africans?¢?? though.
I won?¢??t deny that there?¢??s racism in Mexico, that?¢??s for sure, there?¢??s racism almost everywhere (an unfortunate world-wide disease), however, I find it very hypocrit from some Americans to make such a big fuss about some stamps in Mexico, to say that in Mexico ?¢??there?¢??s such a big deal of racism?¢?? (well, in Mexico the seats in the bus and the restrooms were not separated by ?¢??colored?¢?? and ?¢??white?¢??), and to use this as a scapegoat for the real sh#t in the United States (and by some other very well known ones as a cheap political trick) when they have the major problem in their homeland.
I?¢??m not keen to the comic book so I wouldn?¢??t know if the whole Mem?É¬?n thing is something racist, I?¢??ve heard from many people who have read it that is nothing like that, though.
According to some people (most people, actually), the comic book is about encouraging family values and showing the adventures of this fellow, Mem?É¬?n.
What is a fact, is that in Mexico this comic book got once to be very popular among children and grown ups and used to sell thousands of numbers so, it is true that Mem?É¬?n (whether people like it or not) was and still is an important part of Mexico?¢??s literary history.
TO BLACK PEOPLE (NOT ONLY AFRICAN AMERICANS)
Whether you should be outraged by these stamps or you should just discard them as something irrelevant is up to you. I?¢??m not black so, my opinion about how ?¢??offensive?¢?? or how ?¢??irrelevant?¢?? these stamps are, would be just selfish. I think only black people can make a fair judgement (nevertheless, an individual one) about whether these stamps offends them or not.
I know that some people are more sensitive than others, and that some people are taught to be sensitive because of their historical background. For example, I?¢??m white and Mexican. I?¢??ve lived all my life in Mexico and since I?¢??m white I?¢??ve always been called ?¢??g?É¬ºero?¢??, which means ?¢??white one?¢?? (at first it actually meant ?¢??blonde one?¢??) and I?¢??ve never felt offended in any sense by the people who call me that way. However, there are some white Americans who would feel annoyed if they were called that way even if they knew what the word means. Of course, that is understandable; cultures are different from one another, the problem is that some people tend to think that because they grew up in a certain culture they have the ?¢??divine right?¢?? to judge any other culture as they please, as if their own were ?¢??the one?¢??, and they may even try to impose their ideas and moral to the other ones.
Perception of things changes from place to place and from culture to culture.
You, as well as any other people, have the right to express your ideas and feelings freely. You, guys, can say whatever you want about the Mexican President, about these stamps, about racism, about modern days, about moral, about values, etc.
That is one thing. Another very different thing is playing the police of the world, trying to impose your moral to a sovereign nation, having a American priest demanding apologies from the President of another country for some political cheap trick and even getting the support from the White House for such a stupid thing.
Understand this: THE AMERICAN MORAL STAYS IN THE UNITED STATES as well as the Mexican moral stays in Mexico.
This is a Mexican affair and the decision taken about it will be made by Mexican authorities.
No matter if your white or black, or how ?¢??offended?¢?? you feel, even if you feel you?¢??re blood is boiling, all you can do is express your ideas; other than that, if you?¢??re American understand this: THIS IS NONE OF YOUR BUSSINESS.
THE AMERICAN DEMANDS FOR APOLOGIES ARE TOTALLY IRRELEVANT TO MEXICAN GOVERNMENT.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
Is it so important for an American priest whether Mexico is a ?¢??racist?¢?? country or not?
Why isn?¢??t it more important whether his own country is a racist one?
Could you tell by the country?¢??s stamps?
Mmmmhhh or maybe it?¢??s just the comic book?
Are there in the United States no stereotypes?
Why the double moral?
I?¢??m starting to remember some other ?¢??outrageous?¢?? images?¢?¬¶. but this time, from the United States:
The Red Skins logo
The Chihuahua dog of Taco Bell
Speedy Gonzalez?¢?? cousins (Boy! Were those guys lazy)
Pepe le Pew
The Fighting Irish guy on a green suit (I don?¢??t know if he has a special name)
And let?¢??s not talk about Hollywood movies?¢?¬¶.
Forget it, guys, when it comes about stereotypes, compared to Mexicans, Americans are in the Major Leagues.
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