What's Spanish for schadenfreude? The squirming, role reversal and irony backstory all contained in the Mexican stamp imbroglio have been a delight to watch. Tone-deaf Mexican elites are still flopping around like trout in a boat, insisting that their Sambo-esque postage stamps (see the set here) are actually charming reflections of Mexican culture. You might have thought that Mexicans would make an effort not to insult black Americans after el Presidente Fox's bonehead remark a few weeks back that Mexicans do work not even blacks will do. Not a chance.
American blacks have responded in anger to the obnoxious stamps, which are based on a decades-old comic character, and the rainbow vision of black and brown people united to overpower whitey is looking increasingly gray.
But NAACP Interim President Dennis Courtland Hayes countered that "laughing at the expense of hardworking African Americans or African Mexicans is no joke and it should end at once." [...]
Ben Vinson, a black professor of Latin American history at Penn State University, said he has been called "Memin Pinguin" by some people in Mexico. He also noted that the character's mother is drawn to look like an old version of the U.S. advertising character Aunt Jemima. [ Mexico issues stamp of black cartoon character weeks after racial flap]
Jesse Jackson, however, appears to be angling for a job as the top token on the Hispanic gravy train, judging by his call for a Black-Hispanic coalition. Typically, when Mexicans have felt insulted they squawk loud and long. For example, Mario Obledo and other La Raza types had a tizzy a few years back over the Taco Bell chihuahua, calling it offensive and racist. (Will someone please explain how a dog can be racist?)
And before the Taco Bell chihuahua, there was the Frito Bandito, condemned by the Raza crowd as anti-Mexican. Another was the Warner Brothers cartoon character Speedy Gonzalez, yanked from the Cartoon Network in the service of political correctness, despite being a rather appealing rodent as rats go.
"Mexican society is fundamentally racist and classist," said Guadalupe Loaeza, a newspaper columnist. "The color of your skin is a key that either opens or shuts doors. The lighter your skin, the more doors open to you."
Racism extends to political preferences, she added. Many upper-middle-class Mexicans are expected to vote against front-running presidential candidate and Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party because he is partly indigenous and brown-skinned, Loaeza said. That group of voters might tend to support Santiago Creel of the National Action Party because he has light skin and blue eyes, she said.
Racism is one of the many forms of discrimination practiced in Mexico, according to a survey published last month by the federal secretary of social development. It said 80% of Mexicans, among them women, children, indigenous and disabled people and the elderly, suffered discrimination in some way.