Guadalajara, Mexico: Regarding the clownish performance apparently ongoing in the US over Mexico’s issuance of the now-famous stamps of Memin Penguin, a negrito hero of the comic books of decades back, a few thoughts.
Let’s see. How many of those throwing fits had ever heard of Memin Penguin before this week? How many of them have seen a Memin Penguin comic book? How many read Spanish? How many read English? Have been to Mexico? Have the foggiest idea what they are talking about? How many are not spoiled, puerile, self-admiring twits?
Blacks are not making themselves friends in this part of the world. (More correctly, American blacks are not. Hispanic blacks behave normally, speak Spanish instead of Hisbonics, and seem to be pretty good people.) The Mexican reaction, certainly as I find it among people I know, and in the media, is one of annoyance, or something stronger than annoyance. “What business do American blacks have telling us what stamps we can issue? Who the hell do they think they are?”
This may, or may not, be fair. I don’t know what proportion of American blacks are part of this absurd holding of breath and turning blue. Yet Mexicans do not stop to think, “Maybe not all blacks….” They just know what they see. Jesse Jackson is making faces and throwing food from his high chair and, from here, he seems to represent all blacks in the US. Maybe he doesn’t. I don’t know.
Remember that a while back, Vicente Fox, president of Mexico, ignited another international incident when he spoke of Mexican immigrants to the US being willing to “take jobs that not even Negroes would do.” This is of course exactly true. Go the parking lot of the Seven-Eleven, or wherever Mexican illegals gather at five a.m. to take any job at all, and see how many black laborers are there. From here it looks as if the United States is trying to force an apology on Fox for having stated the obvious.
Mexicans do not react well to seeing their country forced to knuckle under to silly gringo demands. Jesse may not know this, or care. Yet there are reasons. Remember that Latin America has a long history of being invaded or politically controlled by America: Panama, Chile, Colombia, United Fruit, Cuba, Haiti, and so on. Mexicans remember that Texas and California were taken from their country by force of arms. A main avenue in Guadalajara is Niños Heroes, Heroic Children, who fought the Americans in 1847. How many Americans have even heard of that war?
Whatever the rights and wrongs, or possible historic inevitabilities, the result is that locals resent interference, but do not greatly upset themselves over the plight of blacks who, after all, live in America. From their point of view, American blacks have all the privileges and opportunities of gringos. What are they sniveling about?
In re the stamps again: Radio Mujer (“Woman’s Radio”) in Guadalajara would in the US be called a liberal station, being very clearly opposed to discrimination against racial minorities, homosexuals, and such. A medical commentator I listened to for an hour on the station or so was scathing in his criticism of American blacks because of the Memin Penguin business. He was funny about it, but angry. He pointed out that Speedy Gonzales is a rat and a caricature Mexican, but nobody gets upset.
Mexicans, Jesse, don’t buy into this crap. As you will soon find out in the Southwest.
I asked my lady, Violeta, to go to the post office to buy me several sets of the stamps. She came back to report that the post office had told her that the stamp had been repealed. She looked not too happy. Once again, the gringos had gotten their way. Later I told her that I’d found several news stories saying that Vicente Fox wasn’t going to back down, and her eyes lit up like stars. Wow! For once her country had not licked the feet of Bush, who was licking the feet of Jesse.
“By Friday afternoon, people were bidding more than $125 on the Internet auction site eBay for the complete set of five stamps — each of which has a face value of 60 cents. Hundreds lined up at the capital’s main post office to buy the stamps, and Mexicans snapped them up at such a rate that all 750,000 sold out.” (The Guardian, July 1, 2005) Friends emailed me, saying, “Fred! I gotta have a set of those things!”
Why do Americans want them? Because, methinks, whites (and Asians) are seriously fed up with the special privilege, the affirmative action, the blisterish sensitivity and racial hucksterism of…Who? I hesitate to say “of blacks” because I don’t know how many blacks support it. But the blacks one hears of do. Anytime anyone says or does anything that displeases — again, do I mean “blacks” or “Jesse”? — it becomes a national or international incident, whites cringe and cower and apologize desperately in hopes of keeping their jobs or offices. And so they delight when someone actually stands up, however briefly, to the hucksters.
This brings me to my belief that the intense racial discord that quietly underlies American life is largely the product of the policies of special privilege and lack of responsibility. As I’ve said before, when I was twenty I believed that policy should be determined without regard to race, creed, color, sex, or national origin. I was called the merest liberal and perhaps a dangerous communist. Now, forty years later, I believe that policy should be determined without regard to race, creed, color, sex, or national origin. This makes me a racist, a racist being one who does not believe that blacks should automatically get everything they want.
How smart is this?
We have trained blacks, or a great many blacks, to believe that they should get anything — jobs, promotions, acceptance into college, and immunity from criticism — just by being black. A comic book upsets them? The world should stand on its head in apology. A Latin American president states a truth that they would prefer not to have stated? Why, it’s an international incident. Should we send the Marines?
And of course they are trained from birth as best I can tell to regard anything they do not like as racism. It isn’t true, but what has truth got to do with anything?
I’m sick of it. I don’t see the world as having been created to pamper me. Why do they? If blacks want to advance on their merits, I’m for them. But this self-absorbed diaperism is more than I can handle. Viva Vicente Fox!
Reed is author of Nekkid
in Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down a Well.