Special on Sambo, Aisle Dos!

Picking apart racist caricatures at Orange County Latino grocery stores

Last month, the Mexican government provoked outrage when it issued postage stamps commemorating Memín Pinguín, a popular Afro-Mexican comic-book character who makes Amos 'n' Andy look like Jackie Robinson. This follows a May 13 speech in which Mexican President Vicente Fox told a group of businessmen, "There's no doubt that the Mexican men and women—full of dignity, willpower and a capacity for work—are doing the work that not even blacks want to do in the United States."

In both cases, Mexican officials expressed genuine bewilderment at the furor provoked by the racially insensitive images and words: Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez called the criticism regarding Memín "a total lack of respect for our culture." We agree. Racist caricatures are a beloved tradition in Latin America—and where the hell do Americans get the gumption to attack our stereotyping of Japs, chinks, Injuns and niggers? We love 'em—so much, we use them to hawk everything from flour to peanuts. Consider the following products, all purchased at local Latino grocery stores.


Cacahuates Estilo Japones
(Japanese-Style Peanuts)
Mexico


Mi Cholito (My Little Indian)
Barley Drink
Peru


Blancaflor Gnocchi Flour
Argentina


Ina Chao Mein
Guatemala


Nestle Bananita Dolca
Argentina


Yus de Toki Guanabana
Fruit Punch Drink
Guatemala


La Morena (The Dark Lady)
Chipotle Sauce
Mexico


Negrita (Little Black Lady)
Apricot Jell-O Powder
Peru


GARELLANO@OCWEEKLY.COM

 
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