Dissecting the Cultural Politics of Memin Pinguin

memin pinguin


Date:      Thursday, September 15, 2005
Time:       7:00 PM
Location: Stern Room, 14th Floor,
              Commerce Club Building
              34 Broad Street, NW Atlanta

Description of Event

The Mexican government has issued a series of stamps depicting the image of an adored Mexican comic book character, Memin Pinguin. Many in the United States have called Memin’s image “Sambo-like” and have charged that he is a racist caricature that insults black people. Several weeks prior to the release of the stamp, Mexico’s president, Vicente Fox, said Mexican immigrant workers in the U.S. took jobs that “not even” American blacks would take.  Taken together, these two events in Mexico have led many, including Jesse Jackson and the White House, to repudiate the Mexican government for its supposed racism. However, many others feel that Memin Pinguin is not being considered fairly in its Mexican context.

The purpose of this panel is to bring a more sophisticated level of debate to the Memin Pinguin stamp controversy in particular and the task of understanding exactly what are “racist” communicative practices. It will also promote intelligent debate on social discourse on “race” in the specific transnational context of Mexico and the United States.

Additional Event Notes

Professor Sagrario Cruz Carretero is a member of a transnational research team on anti-racist discourse, headed by Georgia State University’s Mark Alleyne, Associate Professor, Department of Communication. The project is funded by the Tokyo-based Toda Institute for Global Peace. She gained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Social Anthropology at the Universidad de Las Américas-Puebla, and her Ph.D. in History and Regional Studies from the Universidad Veracruzana.

She teaches “Ethnic studies” and “Traditional medicine in Mexico” in the Faculty of Anthropology at the Universidad Veracruzana. She is curator of an exhibition about the Black presence in Mexico with the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum of Chicago, supported by the Ford Foundation, Kraft Foods and other sponsors. She coordinated the congress “New paradigms of Afromestizos in Mexico” organized by the Universidad Veracruzana and the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB).

This event is free and open to the public.
For more information: (404) 651-4326
Sponsors: GSU Departments of Communication and African-American Studies.