Thursday, June 30, 2005

Hapless but lovable???

If I didn't see all the news coverage of this, I'd have trouble believing it. A blackface-like caricature, an old comic character, being "celebrated" on a series of stamps. From the Mexican government. For real. The last time I saw anything like this was Amos and Andy reruns from the '50s.

How on earth could any official in Mexico have allowed this to happen, much less the whole string of them it must actually have taken? It seems easier to believe that this was driven, top-down, over the objections of a slew cover-your-butt bureaucrats. Or could it actually be an accurate reflection of the state of Mexican culture and sensitivities? Anyway you look at it, I just can hardly believe it...

La Shawn Barber is not happy about this:

Dark-skinned people of African descent are subjected to this in Mexico? They have a big Negro problem down there, do they?
To see it in 2005 coming from any country or anyone raises my blood pressure.

The "hapless but lovable" phrase is lifted right from the CNN story's text:

The series of five stamps released for general use Wednesday depicts a child character from a comic book started in the 1940s that is still published in Mexico.

The boy, hapless but lovable, is drawn with exaggerated features, thick lips and wide-open eyes. His appearance, speech and mannerisms are the subject of kidding by white characters in the comic book….Activists said the stamp was offensive, though officials denied it.

To which La Shawn replies:

Hapless but lovable? Who wrote this garbage? Probably some white, American, liberal journalist. Before my whole day is ruined, I need to stop writing.

I'm sure she's right, sadly. Which makes me wonder if some of might righteous indignation ought to be directed at institutions a little closer to home...

No comments:

Post a Comment