Racial Ideology of Mestizaje and its Whitening Discourse in Memín Pinguín

In this essay I will analyze how the comic strip Memín Pinguín, applying Vasconcelos’ The Cosmic Race framework of mestizaje, presents an apparent harmonious yet deceitful image of racial democracy which ultimately reveals a whitening discourse. Though different races are given a space in this comic...

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Main Author: Fernández Sánchez, Paloma
Format: Artículo
Language: Inglés
Español
Published: Escuela de Lenguas Modernas, Universidad de Costa Rica 2015
Subjects:
Online Access: http://revistas.ucr.ac.cr/index.php/rlm/article/view/22205
http://hdl.handle.net/10669/23883
Summary: In this essay I will analyze how the comic strip Memín Pinguín, applying Vasconcelos’ The Cosmic Race framework of mestizaje, presents an apparent harmonious yet deceitful image of racial democracy which ultimately reveals a whitening discourse. Though different races are given a space in this comic strip, their representation is far from even and the white character(s) are clearly privileged. The black characters—exclusively represented by Memín and his mother Eufrosina—are portrayed as physically and intellectually inferior and with no agency. Their actions are measured and directed by authority figures—which are racially white. Those authority figures judge Memín and his mother ́s actions as mostly illogical or incorrect. All in all, these opinions reduce blackness to a minimal presence which has no reper- cussion on the others’ lives, in addition to presenting blackness as a recessive trait that will eventually disappear. The (mis)representation of the black presence and contribution to the Mexican society in the comic strip follows the same standards which are applied on a daily basis in Mexico. While the visual elements of the comic strip provide the reader with an apparent in- clusive image parallel to the one proclaimed by mestizaje, the discourse and character interactions incorporate other less all-encompassing dynamics.