‘MEMIN PINGUIN’: RACIST OR JUST A HARMLESS LITTLE COMIC BOOK STORY?

 
 
UPDATES – 2/9/2008:
 
“MEXICAN COMIC-BOOK CHARACTER CALLED RACIST”:   http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/07/09/mexican.comic/index.html
 
“WAL-MART REMOVING ‘RACIST’ MEXICAN COMIC BOOK FROM STORES”:  http://www.khou.com/topstories/stories/khou080709_tnt_memin.3aba042f.html
Personally, I am offended that Wal-Mart took the cowardly way out and removed these comic books from their shelves. I had planned to go to Wal-Mart to purchase a few of these comic books, but, had heard that Wal-Mart removed them from their shelves. I am against censorship of printed matter, be that books, newspapers, or comic books, and that is what this was. Yes, the comic books play into the worst kinds of stereotypes against blacks, but, why run from the fact of stereotypes? Yes, they are wrong, but, running from their existence will not make them go away. Seeing, discussing and challenging stereotypes is the only way to attempt to eradicate them.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
MEXICAN COMIC BOOK CHARACTER CALLED RACIST
From Ed Lavandera
CNN Correspondent

HOUSTON, Texas (CNN) — A comic-book character popular in Mexico for generations has run into a cultural barrier at the border, where Americans see him as a racist caricature.

Comic book character Memin Pinguin is "a disgrace," an African-American activist says.

Comic book character Memin Pinguin is “a disgrace,” an African-American activist says.

For more than 60 years Mexicans have followed the adventures of “Memin Pinguin.” But the dark-skinned Memin’s exaggerated features in “Memin for President” came as a shock to Houston, Texas, Wal-Mart shopper Shawnedria McGinty.

“I was like, OK, is that a monkey or a boy?” McGinty said. “To me it was an insult.”

She’d never heard of “Memin Pinguin.” She bought a Spanish-English dictionary and tried translating but still didn’t like what she saw.

“So I asked my boyfriend, does that look like a monkey to you?” she said. “And we went back and forth and he was like, no, that’s a black woman,” referring to the character’s Aunt Jemima-like mother.

McGinty and Houston community activist Quannel X want the comic books removed from the stores.

“This is absolutely insensitive toward race, in particular the African-American culture, and also people of color,” Quannel X said. “This is poking fun at the physical features of an entire people.”

But Mexican readers who grew up following the shenanigans of Memin say critics need to look beyond the cover and understand the stories.

“They will bring a smile to their face because we’re so fond of that character,” said Javier Salas, a Spanish-language talk show host on Chicago radio station WRTO. “We respect him, we love him. And that’s why it’s so absurd for us to hear complaints from people who don’t know, don’t understand Memin.”

Memin is a poor Cuban-Mexican kid with bug eyes, thick lips and protruding ears. The mischievous and caring boy helps his mother by selling newspapers and shining shoes.

“We grew up reading, learning and educating ourselves with a lot of the topics they always touched on, which was honesty, justice, tolerance. He was a very unique character,” Salas said.

Wal-Mart spokesman Lorenzo Lopez said the retailer has instructed stores to remove the books from shelves and discontinue sales.

“We received the customer complaint regarding the book, which we knew was based on a popular cartoon character in Mexico. We looked into it further, and we decided to no longer distribute the book and are in the process of removing the books from the stores.”

The store has received no other complaints about Memin, Lopez said.

“We have a wide array of products that we provide to Hispanic customers, but when we looked at this more carefully and given the sensitivity of the topic, we thought it was best to no longer carry the book in our stores,” he said.

He did not know how many copies of Memin books the chain had or how long it would take to remove them from displays.

Memin is no stranger to controversy. Three years ago, a series of Mexican stamps honoring Memin ignited an international uproar. The stamps were discontinued because of protests from African-American leaders.

“This is saying we respect and regard the African-American community by making them look like Sambos on a stamp?” the Rev. Al Sharpton said at the time. “This goes over the line.”

Quannel X called the comic book “a disgrace.”

“Look how they portray his mother, with huge ethnic lips, dark skin, making her look like the big gorilla and him like the little monkey.”

But fans of Memin say the valuable lessons of a beloved comic book character tackling real-life problems have been lost in translation.

SOURCE  http://edition.cnn.com/2008/US/07/09/mexican.comic/index.html

MEXICAN COMIC BOOK SOLD AT WAL-MART CALLED ‘RACIST’ BY SOME
M12:53 PM CDT on Tuesday, July 8, 2008
By Jeremy Desel / 11 News
HOUSTON — A popular Mexican comic book being sold at Wal-Marts in the U.S. is causing outrage.
Shawnedria McGinty was not sure what to think when she found a copy of “Memin Pinguin” on the shelves of the children’s book section at a Houston Wal-Mart. After flipping through the pages, however, one word came to mind – racist.
“OK, is it a monkey or a boy? I mean everybody’s curious, so I was, like, OK, so I opened the book up,” she said. “This is rude.
Head south of the border though, and you get a different reaction to “Memin Pinguin.”
Historically, the character has been hugely popular on newsstands in Mexico and Latin American nations, with sales in the millions.
Is “Memin Pinguin” racist?
What do you think about Memin Pinguin? Related story
It’s racist. Wal-Mart should pull it from the shelves
It’s a part of the Mexican culture. Let it be
It was originally published in the 1960s, but has recently been re-issued and available on the shelves in Wal-Marts north of the border.
“They are calling him names. They call him an animal in one section. His mom is spanking his butt and it looks like they are drowning him,” said McGinty, who went so far as to buy a Spanish to English dictionary to better understand what was being said in the serial.
She found one passage particularly offensive. In the frame, Memin Pinguin is being kicked by a light-skinned man and is called “a black troublemaker.”
“To me it was an insult. Then I saw the cover of this one and thought, (was it) against (presidential contender Barack) Obama or what?”
That comic book cover featured a picture of Memin Penguin running for political office.
Houston activist Quanell X said the problem with the book is more than just words.
“This is poking fun at the physical features of an entire people. Making them look buffoonish (and) portraying the young (black) kid as stupid,” said Quanell. “Whenever they are beating him, they are referring to him as Negro. Even here when he is being punched, slapped (he is called) Negro.
“This is a disgrace.”
The Memin character is intended to be Cuban, but no doubt plays to dark-skinned stereotypes once thought to be reserved for white supremacists or the racially insensitive in this country.
Calls to Wal-Mart’s corporate offices for comment as to why the retailer carries the comic were never returned.
This is not the first time Memin Pinguin has stirred up controversy.
The character spurred debate in 2005 when the Mexican government issued a stamp commemorating Memin. At the time, many U.S. activists and political figures called the character racist.
The Mexican government protested the characterizations, asserting that Americans simply do not understand Memin’s cultural significance in Mexico.
That debate spurred the publisher to re-issue the old comics in a collector’s series that are available for purchase in the United States as, well as Mexico.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
 
I have been familiar for over 20 years with the character “Memin Pinguin”, a negrito hero of the comic books started in the 1940s, featuring a Sambo-like character with exaggerated lips and eyes (comic strips which first appeared in 1947).
 
Memin pinguin comic.jpg
 
 
The comic book became so popular in Mexico that they were later exported throughout Latin America, to Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands, and to the Phillipines. Many people, black, white, etc., upon learning of this character’s existence are very offended by its racist and demeaning characterization of black people. And I would agree with them. It is racist, no matter how cute and cuddly the creators and maintainors of this degrading image try to defend it.
 
 
 
 
 
So, readers, what are your opinions of Memin Pinguin? Is this the first time you have ever heard of him? Do you think the Mexican people are racist who say that Memin is a beloved character and that he is not degrading in any way towards blacks, even black people, Afro-Mexicans, who live in Mexico? Should something that is of someone else’s culture that offends outsiders be considered wrong by outsider’s perceptions? Should Mexicans and the publishers of Memin Pinguin be given a pass on this character because they are from Mexico, and are not Americans?
 
A few years ago, Memin Pinguin, was put on stamps by the Mexican government, and this also caused an uproar in America. Many Americans felt that the Mexican government putting Memin on a stamp was an act of giving official government sanctioning of a racist character. The Mexican government angrily denied that Memin was an insult to blacks of any kind:  Afro-Mexicans or Black Americans. How many of you knew of the stamp’s issuance? How many of you realized there were black people, Afro-Mexicans, who lived in Mexico?
 
Here is a link to the article on the stamp: 
 
“Mexico’s Racist Postage Stamp: Afro-Mexican Scholar Calls “Memin Pinguin” An Insult”
 
 
How would you, dear readers, respond if you went to a Wal-Mart and saw this book on the shelf, and how would you let Wal-Mart, as well as the book’s publishers, know how you feel about such an image of black people, even if the book has its origins in Mexico?

 

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36 Comments

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36 responses to “‘MEMIN PINGUIN’: RACIST OR JUST A HARMLESS LITTLE COMIC BOOK STORY?

  1. Regarding the structural violence of the image, please see my video at:

    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=J1stcT45QPs

  2. Luis

    i am from mexico , and i belive all the people who say is racist needs to learn spanish and our culture to understand that is just the story of a poor boy in mexico, and that it has good moral teachings, the problem is that here in mexico we dont have racism like the one in the u.s. , we dont have hate groups like the kkk and things like that , to us is just a comic book character, we dont make fun of him for the fact that he is black , we also have characters with stereotypes of mexicans and we dont find it offensive.

    its like the “afroamerican” thing, in here we can call someone “negro” (black) or “negrito” and its not offensive, it can be only if you say it angry or something like that, we can call someone “moreno” (brown) in an affective way also.

    i hope that people who says its racist investigates more to understand and stop making such a big deal of memin.

  3. scott

    Let’s take a step back and take a look at the BIG picture. Have you heard about the plan for San Diego? http://www.vdare.com/Sailer/060129_sandiego.htm
    Or how about La Raza? http://www.nclr.org/
    Guess who’s supporting these programs? International BANKERS. Here’s the plan-get ethnic people to fight between themselves so they’re diverted from their true enemies. When you’re money’s debased, you’re without a job and fighting for some food you’ll be looking at your neighbor rather than the system.
    Watch “The Money Masters” to understand why these comics are on the shelves at Wal-Mart (don’t you think Wal-Mart is part of the problem?).

  4. Victor

    I remember reading Memin as a boy, and I can tell you is a family oriented comic book, with strong friendship values.
    You are right, the character is exagereted like in 1900 comic strips. The thing is that here in Mexico we don’t have such a strong opinion toward the racism issue.
    Here at work I have a friend that everybody calls Negro or Negrito, and by no means we want to offend him; is just that is not a bad word as is in USA. Almost all the black people I know in Mexico are called “negro” as a nickname, is like calling someone skinny or fricles or red or blondie… nothing bad about that, just a nickname.
    I don’t live in USA, so I can only guess (and hope not to offend anyone): I think TV series like South Park are profiting from this USA paranoia (everything is offensive, everything is sexual harrasment, everything is child abuse, everything is a conspiracy, everything is racist).
    What do I think of Memin Penguin in Wal Mart? its just a reprint of a 50 years old comic book that is looking for nostalgic latino buyers. Nothing less, nothing more.

  5. Kit Foster

    According to the pictures I see there are various colors, black, white (which both look normal) and the main characters Memin and his mom who are distinguished in looks. I doubt if this has been out for so long and is loved and the character favored in Mexico that the features are meant as racist… what bothers me is that a totally non English comic was found in an American Walmart. Why? You have Ethiopian, French, Indian and other cultures in America but we’re not getting comics and magazines that are incapable of being translated by the masses showing up in our stores from these cultures.

    I cannot blame anybody who picked this up to be insulted, just looking at it I had to try and look at it objectively and if I’d had seen it in Mexico then I may have not understood the insult, but to see it in America not in English gives a person no way of knowing whether the content is meant to be insulting.

  6. Arnie Bermudez

    I think you are musunderstanding this as a Spanish speaking Mexican American who grew up in a poor neighborhood with African -American friends I think this book actually teaches people about tolerance and accpetance and social equility. Its a very comical book but also deals with a lot of real issues such as discrimination and prejudice. it also comments on child abandonment, poverty and social justice. Unfortunately, most of these messages will be lost if you are not familiar with the Mexican culture.

  7. Vic V.

    This is crazy. Black people cry racism on everything. You look at them the wrong way and your labels a racist. Next thing you know, if Obama looses the presidency, they’ll cry racism.

    This was about a fictional, “Not Real”, boy character for a comic book from Mexico.

  8. Ann

    Dr. Cuevas, thank you for visiting my blog.

    “Endophobia”.

    I like that term. The *inner fears* (?) that occur between two groups of people that can lead to mistruths and disinformation that in the end harms BOTH groups. The rejection of that which is similar, the denying of rights and the humanity of those who are your fellow citizens; the hatred and contempt for anyone who is not white/European.

    I viewed your video, and it was very informative. The image of Memin is very similar to the racist stereotypical images that white supremacists have created to degrade and disparage Black Americans for centuries. Even though this is a book written in Spanish for Mexico, Central America, and the Spanish-speaking parts of the Caribbean, its exaggerated caricatured Sambo-type images of a black male cannot help but offend and insult Americans.

    Once again, thanks again for stopping by, and thank you for the video link.

  9. Ann

    @Luis.

    “the problem is that here in mexico we dont have racism like the one in the u.s. , we dont have hate groups like the kkk and things like that , to us is just a comic book character, we dont make fun of him for the fact that he is black .”

    You do not have to have the KKK, Knights of the White Camelia, or Aryan Nation in Mexico for racism to exist. Racism is as endemic in Latin America as it is in the United States.

    If racism is not so prevalent in countries like Mexico, Bolivia, Equador, Argentina, etc.—-then why are there so few black Latino/Latinas on TV, on news shows, in the movies, Telemundo? (Yes, I do watch Spanish-language programs.) Many people living in America are surprised to find out that there are black Latinos living in the aforementioned countries.

    Why are so many Latino nations so quick to present the *lightened* face of Latin America to the world, but on the other hand, are so quick to hide the African face, and thereby hide the African influence on all of Latin America?

    The middle image of the news article shows a white man with a balled up fist bashing little Memin on the cheek. Memin’s facial features are grossly drawn to indicate inept, slow-witted behaviour. I can in no way see how beating and slapping, a child can be taken as *inoffensive*, harmless, all good clean fun.

    Oh, and the black people I see daily in life do not in any way LOOK like little Memin.

    I have YET to see black people who have such features.

    “we also have characters with stereotypes of mexicans and we dont find it offensive.”

    Well, you should.

    ALL stereotypes are wrong, no matter who the stereotype is directed against.

    And I would consider those stereotypical characters of Mexicans just as offensive.

    Even though he is long gone from the airwaves and from children’s Saturday morning cartoons, to this day, I still consider Warner Brothers “Speedy Gonzales” a racist stereotype against Latinos, as I also did of the “Frito Bandito”.

    A racist caricature is a racist caricature——no matter what country it hails from.

    • Dinah

      I prefer you say USA because to me when you say America I’m like “What r u talking about”.

      Because in Latin America light skin represents power and wealth and there is a strict association between whiteness and wealth according to their cultures. The reason they hide the African part of the population is because being black was and is today see as a sign of stigma that one should be ashamed of. There was a racial hierarchy that puts dark skin on the bottom and light skin on the top. So light skin is a domination in all cultures. Being dark was seen as inferior as well.

  10. Ann

    @Scott.

    “Here’s the plan-get ethnic people to fight between themselves so they’re diverted from their true enemies. When you’re money’s debased, you’re without a job and fighting for some food you’ll be looking at your neighbor rather than the system.

    Yes—-the old *divide-and-conquer*.

    Knowing about “Memin Pinguin” does not lessen many people’s keeping their priorities in line where structuralized white supremacy reigns.

    It is possible to take offense at a caricatured stereotype and still fight the powers that be.

  11. Ann

    @Victor.

    The thing is that here in Mexico we don’t have such a strong opinion toward the racism issue.”

    Why not?

    Is that because racism is so often swept under the rug all across Mexico, Central America, and South America?

    Or is it because Mexico, unlike America, treats her Afro-Mexicans like full citizens without any racist behaviour whatsoever towards them?

  12. Ann

    @Kit Foster.

    “I doubt if this has been out for so long and is loved and the character favored in Mexico that the features are meant as racist… what bothers me is that a totally non English comic was found in an American Walmart. Why? You have Ethiopian, French, Indian and other cultures in America but we’re not getting comics and magazines that are incapable of being translated by the masses showing up in our stores from these cultures.”

    I question that as well.

    Why was the book at a store that is frequented by many racial/ethnic groups?

    With the exception of a few Americans, many people in this country have never heard of Memin Pinguin, until a few days ago.

  13. Ann

    @Arnie Bermudez.

    “Its a very comical book but also deals with a lot of real issues such as discrimination and prejudice. it also comments on child abandonment, poverty and social justice. Unfortunately, most of these messages will be lost if you are not familiar with the Mexican culture.”

    That’s all well may be, but, do the authors of this book have to use blatant denigrating images to get their point across?

  14. scott

    “We must realize that our party’s most powerful weapon is racial tension. By propounding into the consciousness of the dark races that for centuries they have been oppressed by the whites, we can mould them to the program of the Communist Party. In America we will aim for subtle victory. While inflaming the Negro minority against the whites, we will endeavor to install in the whites a guilt complex for their exploitation of the Negroes. We will aid the Negroes to rise in prominence in every walk of life, in the professions and in the world of sports and entertainment. With this prestige, the Negro will be able to intermarry with the whites and begin a process which will deliver America to our cause.”
    Israel Cohen, A Racial Program For The 20th Century (1912)
    quoted by Congressman Abernathy, Congressional Record (1957), p. 8559

  15. scott

    I doubt your belief “white supremacy” is the problem. It isn’t the problem, just like “black radicalism” is the problem or “La Raza Racism” is the problem or being “Jewish”.

    The problem is two things:
    1) Looking at groups of other people rather then the financial backers of those groups (did you know the women’s movement was run by the CIA? Sounds crazy, until you know Gloria Steinem was paid by the CIA. How about the SIERRA club-supposedly an environmental group but its paid for by Rockerfeller money-OIL MONEY, then there’s the Black Panthers hijacked by the CIA to carry out violent attacks along with the Weatherman)

    2) weak minded people buying into the notion there are ethnic divides. No matter what ethnicity we’re all God’s children.

    Don’t believe what’s on TV. Its all smoke and mirrors. I’m white, you’re black we all need to work for freedom.

  16. Charles Nickalopoulos

    I can see where some people would find this comic racist, but I have been stereotyped as anyone looking at my name should know.

  17. Arnie Bermudez

    Well the design and look of the character is actually based on an American character from the comic book series the Spirit. The character’s name is Ebony White. So in actuality it’s America that started using the “blatant denigrating images.” Mexico never did the seperate but equal thing and has pretty much always seen the black person as a human being so when Sixto Valencia Burgos was brought on 60 years ago to redesign the character to give it more life and a broader appeal he looked at the best selling comics of his time, that featured black protagonists, one of them being the Spirit. The unfortunate thing is this (please understand that I am not making an attack on you) you probably don’t speak any Spanish, have not read the comics or maybe both, so it’s very hard for you to not be offended and get past the cover. I wish they translated these books in English, they actually taught me that prejudice and racism were bad and this is when I was in kindergarten. Please if you know anyone that is a fluent speaker of Spanish or speak it yourself take the time read one of these stories you won’t regret it they are very heartfelt. Thank you for your time.

  18. Arnie Bermudez

    Well the design and look of the character is actually based on an American character from the comic book series the Spirit. The character’s name is Ebony White. So in actuality it’s America that started using the “blatant denigrating images.” Mexico never did the seperate but equal thing and has pretty much always seen the black person as a human being, (unlike in America) so when Sixto Valencia Burgos was brought on 60 years ago to redesign the character to give it more life and a broader appeal he looked at the best selling comics of his time, that featured black protagonists, one of them being the Spirit. The unfortunate thing is this (please understand that I am not making an attack on you) you probably don’t speak any Spanish, have not read the comics or maybe both, so it’s very hard for you to not be offended and get past the cover. I wish they translated these books in English, they actually taught me that prejudice and racism were bad and this is when I was in kindergarten. Please if you know anyone that is a fluent speaker of Spanish or speak it yourself take the time read one of these stories you won’t regret it they are very heartfelt. Thank you for your time.

  19. Juan Molina

    These african-americans are a complete shame to themselves. They bitch and moan and know nothing about other cultures.
    As hispanic born in Honduras; I grew up reading Memin and enjoyed the reading because of the lessons in the comics. Every story in those episodes of Memin brought a lot of sense and had nothing to deal with racism. Many stories in Memin comics taught me to be a more responsible individual.
    These african americans should work more. Lots of people complain of their ways of getting free money.
    It is sad to say it but it is a reality in this country. Nobody likes these african americans even the real africans. Ask the africans and they will tell you what they really think about these so called african americans.

    Shawnidria and Quanell X are just a bunch of ignorant people that should go back to school and learn to blend and socialize with other cultures.

    I deal with african americans on a daily basis and treat them with respect and care. I mean it from the bottom of my heart but wont tolerate stupid people like these two morons.

  20. What about the situation of all the Mayan people, the Totonacs, the Nahuatl? Where are they. Wehere are the great Mixtec, the Zapotecs: where are all the great First Nations’ people. Are they equal to all Mexicans or do you truly believe that Mexico is a “racial paradise”? What characteristics do you accept as fine> What is your idea of “honest”. Have you heard of “the prejudice of not having prejudice.” Are Mexicans “white”? Why would “mestizos” discriminate “indios” (First nations) or those who are “not as white”?

  21. Victor

    @Ann

    “Or is it because Mexico, unlike America, treats her Afro-Mexicans like full citizens without any racist behaviour whatsoever towards them?”

    Here in Mexico we don’t have a culture blend like US; Mexico history is different: spanish mixed with americans and created a new race, not 2 opposing ones; also, migration hasn’t been as radicial here as US; we have a lot of people from different countries, but they don’t account for even 10% of the total population. So racism is not an issue; they are not a economic force so most people don’t notice them; I think that when another race group threathens your way of life, your job, etc, at your home (country) that’s when you stop seeing them as fellow human beings and the racism start.

  22. Ann

    Here in Mexico we don’t have a culture blend like “US; Mexico history is different: spanish mixed with americans and created a new race, not 2 opposing ones; ”

    Are you stating that Spanish Conquistadors mixed with (mostly through sexual violence, than kindness and humanity) with native First Nations peoples (americans”)? During the times of Cortez, Pizarro, etc., there were no “Americans” at that time, only native peoples whose first contact with Europe foreboded doom and destruction all across this hemisphere.

    The same thing happened to black Americans during American slavery (ANY white male had access to enslaved black women and girls), hence the dilution of African blood in today’s black Americans.

    “So racism is not an issue; they are not a economic force so most people don’t notice them; I think that when another race group threathens your way of life, your job, etc, at your home (country) that’s when you stop seeing them as fellow human beings and the racism start.”

    Black Americans can certainly speak to experiencing a history of many people”attacking” black Americans way of life. When for centuries white-run America has pitted many racial/ethnic groups (Italians, Irish, Asians, etc.) against black Americans to create a wedge against black Americans for exercising their civil rights, then YOU as a native (especially as a black native) lose much. And black Americans have lost much due to white America using non-blacks against black Americans at the expense of black Americans.

    If any one group in America can speak of . . . .”another race group threathens your way of life, your job, etc, at your home (country) that’s when you stop seeing them as fellow human beings and the racism start”, when white people choose non-blacks over blacks (even the most un-educated non-black over a highly educated black), and when black Americans see many other groups come to this country and lord it over black people and can so conveniently forget that it was those same black people whose blood, sweat, tears and sacrifices paved the way for those same immigrant groups, then you can understand why black Americans have more rights to fear whites and non-blacks.

    No one has black Americans/Afro-Mexicans/Afro-Bolivians/AFRO-LATINOS interests in mind but black Americans/Afro-Latinos. Very few non-blacks speak up for or give a damn about black Americans/Afro-Latinos.

    Malcolm X said it better.

    He was waiting at an airport with a black friend. The friend noticed some Eastern Europeans who had just disembarked from a plane. The friend commented on how wonderful they must feel to have arrived in America.

    Malcolm turned and looked at his friend and stated:

    “Yes, they are new here to this country. And the first word they will learn will be “Nigger”.

    I do not think Mexico has much to fear from masses of immigrants moving to Mexico to change many Mexicans way of life.

    But, black Americans have suffered much from many immigrants coming to this country only to walk across OUR BACKS into the arms of millions of racist white Americans.

    WE have been suffering the brunt of the loss of jobs, dignity, respect, and acknowledgement of our humanity, from millions of non-blacks who perceive themselves better than us, just because the white man said so.

    What millions of immigrants need to face up to is that it was black Americans (and a few whites and others) who made this country a more civilized nation FOR ALL.

    It was black Americans who strove to make this country live up to its ideals.

    Many non-blacks need to never forget that.

  23. Ann

    “What about the situation of all the Mayan people, the Totonacs, the Nahuatl? ”

    What about them? Have not the light-bright-damn-near-white “Mexicans” sought to eradicate them from Mexico?

    “Are they equal to all Mexicans or do you truly believe that Mexico is a “racial paradise”? ”

    I do not consider Mexico a racial paradise. To me it is no better than America (a savage country that has sought for centuries the destruction of BOTH Native Americans AND black Americans.) I consider Mexico on par with white-run America in its belligerent and atrocious mistreatment of the Zapotecs, Afro-Mexicans, and others. Mexico, a country striving to wipe off the face of the earth all that is Indigenous AND African in its history—-and in its racial makeup.

    I am sure you are familiar with Vasconcelos’s myth of the “Cosmic Race”? He was/is not the only one in Latin America who wishes to see a whiter Mexico, Central America and South America.

    “Are Mexicans “white”? ”

    Do Mexicans consider themselves as white BEFORE they arrive in America? Do they not classify themselves as white when seeking entrance to America? Do they not come to this country with hated racist preconceived prejudices against black Americans, prejudices already formed from their own treatment of the Afro-Mexicans in Mexico?

    “Why would “mestizos” discriminate “indios” (First nations) or those who are “not as white”?”

    Because the slavish worship of whiteness is rampant all across this hemisphere. The sick desire to become white, whiter, whitest, is deeply entrenched in Mexico, Central America and South America. Many “mestizos” love and worship the white blood, and to a little extent, the indigenous blood, but, run like hell from the African blood——the blood and achievements of a people who have contributed so much to Mexico and all of Latin America.

    Why would mestizos discriminate against those who are non-white? Because the despisement of blackness/exalting of whiteness has been taught to millions of people in this world, and Mexico and very much of Latin America is no different from the United States in its racist hatred of black peoples.

    “What is your idea of “honest”.

    Honesty is accepting that YOUR country (Mexico, America, etc.) will go down in flames if you (spoken in a general sense) do not accept that racist, zenophobic hatred only tears a country apart from within. Honesty is facing the fact that you (a country) had better straighten up and fly right—that a country had better treat all of its citizens equally and humanely—or face annihilation from within.

    “Have you heard of “the prejudice of not having prejudice.”

    ALL humans have prejudice. Lies that you (spoken in the general sense) do not have prejudice is to lie to yourself. What matters is how you harness and stamp out those prejudices that curtail and control your perceptions of people different from you.

    What matters in the end is if humans will allow greed, hate, and racist projections to win the day or if they will accept the fact that they, and all in their country, in this world, are in this together.

    Learn to work together and strengthen, OR continue to fight amongst yourselves, and therefore weaken and fall from within.

    “What characteristics do you accept as fine>”

    Integrity, loyalty, respect, kindness, solidarity—–these are just a few of the characteristics that I accept as “fine”.

    Treating another human being the way you would wish to be treated. Treating another human being as a fellow equal, instead of as some lesser being, with no rights that ANYONE is bound to respect.

  24. Pingback: Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Memín Pinguín

  25. hypocrisy fan

    All the hispanic people who support memin pinguin need to agree then, that speedy gonzales is a character that is part of american history and deserves to be shown on tv whenever possible and i want to see all the walmart shirts come back with him on it.

    watch the hispanics form protests talking about how evil we americans are yet when you compare our immigration laws TODAY (as in arizonas new laws today) with mexicos immigration laws you find a HUGE difference. all i can say is, any mexican who says that america is racist obviously has never looked into their precious motherlands laws before, and naturally so! the laws in mexico FORBID citizens from being involved with national affairs as well! lol so i say go back to mexico if we are so damn racist, maybe then you short-termed memory f**ks will remember the bigotry you swimmed in everyday down there.

  26. Ramiro Torres

    MODERATOR: This comment was blocked due to the commentor’s use of profanity, racist pejorative terms, and self-hatred.

    My comment policy does address how comments should be submitted, as stated here: http://kathmanduk2.wordpress.com/comment-moderation-policy/

    .

  27. Xavier Wright

    “All the hispanic people who support memin pinguin need to agree then, that speedy gonzales is a character that is part of american history and deserves to be shown on tv whenever possible and i want to see all the walmart shirts come back with him on it.”

    1) I haven’t seen speedy gonzales being tooken down from any store, PERIOD
    2) Same thing goes for television, they still show episodes of him on “Boomerang”, sister network of Cartoon network

    I see very few ignorant people on this discussion and to you all I applaud, but what I think few of you fail to understand, is that racism has been around almost since the seperation of man into the different cultures around the world.

    You’re all focusing on the stereotypes that are being publicized throughout the “Americas” in its entirety. Yet, it’s human nature to have prejudice against any demographic whether it be racial, lifestyle, etc. That exists all over the world, and no matter the efforts of the late and great Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Sojourner Truth, etc. it does and always will exist.

  28. Pingback: . . . .AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: EL NEGRO MAMA AND LA PAISANA JACINTA | BEAUTIFUL, ALSO, ARE THE SOULS OF MY BLACK SISTERS

  29. jessica

    That has got to be the most racist comic I have ever seen. He doesn’t even look like a little boy. He looks like a monkey. Why couldn’t he look like a regular human being? So are you telling me you couldn’t learn a lesson from a cute little African boy. He has to look like a monkey and his mom has to look like a gorilla? I can’t believe you people. What if it was about a big fat Mexican woman with 10 kids and 10 different fathers and she was in America illegally and living on welfare. Oh yeah but the stories taught a nice moral lesson. You wouldn’t like that at all would you. That wouldn’t be a racist stereotype at all would it. I live in Los Angeles and I see it everyday. But I don’t see any comic books about it. I don’t have a problem with teaching moral lessons but I do have a problem with making Africans look like freaking monkeys.

  30. marve1

    It’s too bad that the Penguin comic strip hasn’t been updated to reflect our modern sensibilities. As a child, I grew up reading this comic strip and I just loved it! Now, when I see the pictures, I’m appalled at the imagery used to depict Memin and his mother: you don’t need to be African American to be offended by the images in the Memin comic strips. The depictions are the same as those one would see in U.S. films before the Civil Rights movement. However, the story lines are classic. Again, it’s too bad that the company hasn’t invested in updating Memin—I would love to have my children enjoy these stories, too.

  31. Dinah

    What’s the difference between Memin Pinguin and Speedy Gonzales when it comes to racial sensitivity? I watched several of Speedy Gonzales cartoons and some of the scenes offend me a bit cuz I’m a Latin Canadian myself, would’ve felt disrespected if were to be stereotyped and, lived in the US and how the cartoons portray Mexicans as lazy and hard drinking. Yet Speedy is one of the most beloved cartoon characters in the world. I embrace his smart aleck personality and his quick wit and he does not conform to the stereotypes presented in the earlier cartoons.

    With Memin I find it pretty racist since I was born in the West. I didn’t know there are Black people in Latin America. If there are, why had Latin Americans hidden the black faces when it comes to the media and the census? I think they dislike them as they see dark skin as a sign of stigma. Blacks have been hated for many years and that could equal self hatred. Even I and some other Latins never admitted our black blood. We only accept the European and the Indio blood. I would not want to read Memin comics because it’s racist and if I did it would force me to hate black people forever and hate the black blood I might have and hate myself if I were black. Thank god Canada never sold any Memin Pinguin comics because it would be racist. If there were Afro Mexicans, they would’ve been insulted.

    • Marian Benitez

      I think you are completely wrong.This magazine is nothing to do with racist.I read these magazines for years in Mexico and i learned a lot of these ones.I love Memin Pinguin and his mom because they are like any other family who has good and hard times.The translation from Spanish to English is horrible.They use the dictionary, and the magazine is with slang words that are not in the dictionary(like the same in English or any other idiom).We never in our minds tried to insult these characters.Do not follow whatever this man said in Texas.I think his name is McGinthy and he did the impossible to remove from the Walmart stores this magazine.He misunderstood this magazine,He saw Memin Pinguin like a monkey because he is a racist.I do not ever saw M,P. like a monkey!!!This magazine is education, with a lot of knowledge of life.Please, if you do not speak Spanish, look for somebody who speaks Spanish and that person can really tell you what it says in this magazine.Thanks in advance for the people who understand what i am explaying.

  32. vic

    It seems black people hate black people…would it be better to depict a character that, being black would resemblance “white” features? thin lips, clearer skin, straight hair, etc…as for me…I am Mexican and I do not care how I am drawn by a cartoonist. I know those are intentionally exaggerated characteristics I have (dark skin, short, fat with moustache, religious). The reality is that Mexicans read the stories of Memin without even thinking about how he looks…that’s just the “background” of the stories. And it’s the stories it tells what amuse people and make it popular. Mexicans do not open the magazine and say: “hey look at him, he’s black!”. Well, not until NOW that the African-american community started to make noise regarding this. Now everybody is interested in checking out “how he looks”…welcome to the First World and its “particularities”.

  33. Armando ponce

    I grew up loving these stories I don’t think they are racist I love the characters were can I buy them

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