The Mexican comic book character Memin Pinguin has been around for more than 60 years, but when his book, Memin for President, appeared in a Houston Texas Wal-Mart, at least one patron thought the drawings of the little Cuban boy were a racist caricature and complained to the store. She also enlisted the help of an area community activist Quannel X to rid the character from the store.
Quoted from CNN, she said:
“I was like, OK, is that a monkey or a boy?” McGinty said. “To me it was an insult.”
She’d never heard of “Memin Pinguin.” She bought a Spanish-English dictionary and tried translating but still didn’t like what she saw.
“So I asked my boyfriend, does that look like a monkey to you?” she said. “And we went back and forth and he was like, no, that’s a black woman,” referring to the character’s Aunt Jemima-like mother.
Mexican readers and commentators are perplexed by the reaction.
“They will bring a smile to their face because we’re so fond of that character,” said Javier Salas, a Spanish-language talk show host on Chicago radio station WRTO. “We respect him, we love him. And that’s why it’s so absurd for us to hear complaints from people who don’t know, don’t understand Memin.”
Wal-Mart has since pulled the books from their stores.