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July 14, 2008

Memin Pinguin – A Racist Comic Book Character?

So there is this comic book character that has been popular in Mexico for many generations. He has a rather ethnic look to him, I will admit but come on folks. Some comic book character named Memin Pinguin should not spark controversy. Who gives a care about a comic book character? With all of the issues that go on in the world these days, is his really an issue?

Apparently, it is an issue. A woman that saw the comic books character in a Wal-Mart thought the Memin Pinguin, who is reportedly Cuban-Mexican boy was a black youth. Others say that this comic book character is racist and an insult to blacks. This comic book character that has been popular for over 60 years in Mexico is not welcomed in the United States.

Memin Pinguin has big eyes, thick lips and protruding ears. He shines shoes and sells newspapers. He is supposed to be a good kid that helps his mother out a lot. As I look at the stupid looking cartoon, I chuckle and move on. Form what I’ve seen, this comic book looks pretty stupid. If it is some great famous deal in Mexico, who cares. If they want to sell the stupid thing in the States, who cares. It is a dumb comic book. Yes, it could be seen as a racist work but what is racist and what is not is all about perspective. That is why this is such a hard case to call.

I am not offended by this comic character because I feel like it does not apply to me. I am black and I don’t feel like this drawing looks anything like me. I also won’t care if it did. There are a million and one things in life that are more important than whether or not some Mexican comic book character presents a racist picture. Surely the energy that I am spending writing about this, and that other people are spending getting mad about it can be spent more wisely on something else.

Another point to recall is that many Cubans and Mexican are rather dark. Half the time I don’t know if people are Cuban, Mexican or black. So if the comic is racist against blacks, it is not far from being racist against some Cubans and Mexicans. I guess that the battle cry is coming for the political correct groups that have agreed to adhere to the increasingly difficult endeavor of searching for self definition. African-American groups are outraged. African-American, in my eyes refers to people that were born in African and immigrated to the Untied States. Those of us that make up these elusive category of people spawn from African slavers, Native Americans and a multitude of European mixtures really need to get a grip. Let’s stop pointing the finger at every instance in the world that may or may not be racist and live life to the fullest. Let’s concentrate on finishing college and not shooting one another and not playing the victim anymore.

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