Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Beijing Olympic Freestyle Champion: Henry Cejudo

Twenty-one year old Henry Cejudo won the gold medal in the 55-kilogram (121 lbs) weight class today against Japan's Tomohiro Matsunaga.

Congratulations, Henry!

The Petro Bandito

Yesterday, a reader of my blog gifted me the latest copy of The Milken Institute Review: A Journal of Economic Policy, not necessarily for the article (one of several) within it by Laurence Kerr titled, “Whither Mexico?” but to share with me yet another stereotype depicting Mexicans trapped in the early twentieth century. The cover of this issue of TMIR imagines a Mexican bandit (He could be a revolutionario. Who knows? They are the same to many) panoplied with bandoliers, a gruff countenance, PEMEX safety helmet substituting for a sombrero, and instead of holding a 30/30 carabina this oil vandal passively holds a gas nozzle, all the while sitting on top of a dreary looking caballo.

I realize that many publications, even serious ones like the TMIR, find it necessary to caricature subjects on their covers to catch the attention of readers but it is interesting how entrenched stereotypes are updated, and in the process reinforce popular views of groups. Instead of the Frito Bandito we have today in the TMIR’s cover the petro bandito. Past covers of the TMIR similarly fantasize stereotypical depictions of national symbols (like Uncle Sam being a jocular, elder Anglo Saxon), groups, and a number of eroticized women (http://www.milkeninstitute.org/publications/publications.taf?function=list&cat=mir ).

The problem with stereotypes, however, is that they drastically limit how we view reality, and ultimately how we act as a result. I wonder how many PEMEX executives, or company employees for that matter, of today actually ride around oil fields, calculate profits, or distribute gasoline atop of horses, complete with 30/30 ammo?

BTW: Kerr, a former minister-counselor for economic affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, writes a succinct, yet insightful, economic critique of the policies of Mexican presidential administrations since the 1930s. I am left to wonder what stereotypes of Kerr and his peer group floats within the minds of the people at TMIR?