Special on Sambo, Aisle Dos!

Last month, the Mexican government provoked outrage when it issued postage stamps commemorating Memn Pingun, 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 Memn "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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