Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Mexican racist stamp-collecting, cont'd

Enrique Krauze, one of Mexico's most prominent intellectuals, defends the subject of the odd controversy over racist philately that has recently dominated U.S.-Mexican relations:

If Memin Pinguin were a person of flesh and blood, I believe he could win the coming presidential election.

Actually, Krauze's points are substantive: Historically, Mexico's attitude toward race relations is significantly more tolerant than that of the United States. The vast majority of Mexicans are of mixed-race descent, and the descendants of African slaves had it better there than their counterparts in the north. The Memin Pinguin character doesn't carry the same cultural baggage that similar images do in the United States.

Still, you have to wonder if Mexico's defensive embrace of the character in the face of U.S. criticism amounts to protesting too much.