Stamps of Disapproval

Mexico's government sets off a racial controversy by issuing a series of postage stamps

Mexico rekindled a cross-border controversy last week with a new series of postage stamps of Memín Pinguín, a 1940s cartoon boy that resembles the Jim Crow-era caricatures of African Americans. The White House objected to the philatelic stereotyping, which follows President Vicente Fox's gaffe in May that Mexicans do jobs in the U.S. that "not even blacks want." The Rev. Jesse Jackson demanded a recall of the "Sambo-type" images. But a rep at the Mexican embassy insisted the stamps are misunderstood: "Speedy González has never been interpreted in a racial manner" in Mexico.

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