La Shawn Barber has created quite the international stir by reporting on the new Mexican stamps commemorating Memín Pinguin, a comic book character with exaggerated black features (and I’m putting that nicely). The comic book is still popular in Mexico and it’s unbelievable to actually see one. Did I say see one? Yep, you can actually find them in the little stores that dot the heavily Hispanic areas of Dallas, and probably elsewhere, too. The picture at the end of this post shows a larger image of Memín and his mother, who looks disturbingly like Aunt Jemimah.
“Americans have bought the lie that the world was a lovely place until we came along.”
Are the stamps a really, really bad idea? Of course they are. However, one of the interesting twists I find to this story is that America is shocked in discovering that another country is racist. Americans have bought the lie that the world was a lovely place until we came along. Actually, we are one of the least racially polarized countries in the world. Mexicans and Peruvians still treat their indigenous peoples very badly. Vicente Fox speaks ill of African-Americans. The Anglos and the Quebecois openly despise one another in nice, liberal Canada. And Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are rife with racism. Sometimes it deals with skin color, other times it deals with culture.
We still have a long ways to go in ending racism in this country, but the evidence speaks for itself that people of different cultures get along better here than virtually any place in the world. Take that, Mexico!
For more of my thoughts on this subject, see my earlier post on Racism and Christianity.