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Friday, July 11, 2008

Another Obama Reference? Check out The Latest Issue of Memin for the Answer! Wal-Mart Takes Racist Mexican Comic Off their Sheves!

My take in a few-but coincidently, the latest issue just so happens to be (as translated) Memin for President:

I'm back-more on my view of the Memin controversy. For the record, Westernized racism (in addition to matters of racial categorization and slavery) truly has a unique signature in comparison to other nation states. Although slavery in Africa was (and continues to be) no walk in the proverbial park, it bears very little resemblance to America's triangular trade version. Thankfully, society progresses-racist caricatures are no longer in vogue or accepted (for the most part....Flavor Flav, notwithstanding).

In comic book history, America has had their own Memins. Whether it was the 1940s Timely Comics' (pre-Marvel) Young Allies with their resident minstrel, Whitewash or The Spirit's Ebony White-American comics displayed all kinds of racially insensitive depictions of people of color. But in 2008, many of these characters have either disappeared into the annals of pulp history or updated to assuage White guilt (and conversely Black anger). It's time for Mexico to enter into this new millennium as well.

We have seen Mexico's former president, Vicente Fox make disparaging remarks against Black Americans in the past and now if we are to believe Wikipedia's transcripts regarding many indigenous Mexicans regarding Memin, they are offended that we are offended. Their excuse? You don't understand their culture.....well slavery and Jim Crow were cultural too-that had to go and so does a minstrel image like Memin. Depicting a Black person with inaccurate and exaggerated features just doesn't seem cultural to me. Perhaps Ms. Knowles said it best-it's time for an upgrade.

And for more on Mexico's history with racism (and what it means to be Afro-Mexican) click on the two links below:

Racism in Mexico?

Wikipedia's take on Afro-Mexicans

This just in, from Chron.com:

After Houston complaint, Wal-Mart pulls comic book
Store apologizes to blacks offended by main character

Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

The black comic book character Memín Pinguín — whose face resembles a monkey — is hugely popular in Mexico, but its stereotypical image has proven to be too offensive for some north of the border.

Wal-Mart announced Wednesday it will no longer sell the controversial comic book featuring Memín. The national chain recently made the comic book available in its stores as part of a series of Spanish-language titles. The books prompted outrage this week from community activist Quanell X, who demanded that Wal-Mart apologize for selling the racially charged books.

However, the decision by the nation's largest retailer to pull the books wasn't enough for Meyerland resident Shawnedria McGinty, 34, who originally brought the matter to Quanell X's attention. She said the statement released by Wal-Mart addressing the comic book was tantamount to "a slap in the face."

Wal-Mart said in a statement that it will no longer distribute the product in its stores and is removing existing copies from its shelves.

The retail giant apologized to those offended by the comic book, saying in its statement that "Wal-Mart carries a wide array of products that reflect the wants and needs of Hispanic customers. And we understand that Memín is a popular figure in Mexico. However, given the sensitivity to the negative image Memín can portray to some, we felt that it was best to no longer carry the item in our stores."

Wal-Mart spokesman Lorenzo Lopez confirmed that the new policy extends nationwide.

"The titles were available mostly in stores where there is a large Hispanic customer base," he said. "For the most part, in certain areas, there could be one copy or two or three. We review all the complaints that come back to us. When we looked at it, we made the evaluation that we should (discontinue sales)."

The comic book, which features a fictional black boy with exaggerated features, has been immensely popular in Mexico since its debut in the 1940s.

However, it has earned a decidedly different reception in the U.S., drawing fire from critics who charge that it reinforces racist stereotypes.

McGinty encountered the book in the Libros en Español section at Wal-Mart's South Post Oak location. After asking the manager to pull the books from the section, she contacted Quanell X when the books remained Monday.

McGinty said Wal-Mart's statement was insufficient despite the chain's decision to pull all copies of the books.

"They offended the African-American community, and they did not acknowledge that and apologize to African-Americans," she said. "It's not Mexico's fault. They can have the magazine if you go to Mexico."

Quanell X, who was not given a chance to meet with Wal-Mart officials as requested, said he would withhold comment until a scheduled news conference at noon today outside the South Post Oak Wal-Mart.

For Wiki's history of Memin, click below:

Wikipedia's take on Memin

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