Conflict Over Mexican Comic Book Character

By Jonathan Adams Jul 10, 2008

Do you remember the racist Mexican stamp? Well, the character is back. This time the famous Mexican comic book caricature Memin Penguin was being stocked on Wal-Mart shelves. One argument for the loved figure is that Memin represents to Mexico what Speedy Gonzales ( I say, get rid of this one, too.) means to culture in the United States. Javier Salas, a Spanish-language talk show host on Chicago radio station WRTO, argues those offended are just lost in translation:

They will bring a smile to their face because we’re so fond of that character. 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.

After reading a description of this character as, "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," I don’t think I am lost on this one. Trying to argue for the cultural significance of Sambo and Mammy doesn’t make sense in English or in Spanish.