Adalisa Zárate comments on the Memin Pinguin controversy I blogged about yesterday, where Wal-Mart stopped selling a Spanish-language comic due to customer complaints about it offensively portraying Black people.
Zárate, a Mexican comic artist, writer and editor, says that most of the problems Americans have with Memin are due to “cultural differences”:
First point in fact: There’s not that much racism in México against PoC. We have our own problems against the indigenous habitants, but not against PoC, and that makes us have troubles to relate to the situation north our border. What we have is a huge problem of class discrimination. Upper class looks down on Middle Class, who looks down on the poor. You could have green skin and purple hair but as long as you don’t stray away from your own economical class, no one would bat an eye at you. If pressed, I’d say we have a huge discrimination trouble against Spainards in a very intricate level, mostly because a little over 600 years after our Independence from them, we still haven’t forgiven them for Hernan Cortes.
Second point: No one in this huge complains against Memin has ever tried to actually read the whole story. I know it’s daunting, as last I checked it ran around the 200 issues, but they could ask about it to people who had read it. Because when you get Memin in context, the story is quite different from what you might guess at the covers, or at a single issue.