About Secret History

Commentary on Latin America.
Mostly about Mexico - but not always.
Designed to encourage readers to learn about
the apparently "secret history" of 500 million people
spread across two continents
- but not always.
You can always count on a little snark.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Top Smear: Part Deux

The Mexico Section of the Latin American Studies Association has lodged the following protests against the BBC for their portrayal of Mexico in the press.
Statement by the Mexico Section
of the Latin American Studies Association
The Mexico Section of the international Latin American Studies Association condemns in the strongest possible terms the derogatory and racist remarks made about the people of Mexico by television presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May in the 30 January 2011 ‘Top Gear’ programme segment ostensibly dedicated to an assessment of the Mastretta MXT sports car. Denigrating an entire people by assigning them presumed innate characteristics from a position of asserted superiority is conduct unbecoming any responsible media outlet, and it is entirely unacceptable for a public service broadcaster.

We call upon the BBC to acknowledge unambiguously its error in this matter and to issue a full, unreserved and public apology. Furthermore, we urge the BBC to reflect on the wisdom and effectiveness of basing humour on tired and false stereotypes of ‘national character,’ and to strengthen its programme guidelines so as to preclude any recurrence of distasteful episodes of this kind.

This statement was approved by a majority vote of the Mexico Section’s executive council. This is not an official policy statement of the Latin American Studies Association, which neither endorses nor rejects the views expressed.

Professor Sandra Kuntz-Ficker Professor, El Colegio de México

Kevin J. Middlebrook University of London
To be fair, the debate in the section seemed to split the group, many of whom made the valid point that with all the problems facing Mexico in the present day, a little racist language from racist little pasty Englishmen would make no difference. Some make the point that the attack on Mexico hurts the nations "brand" (my words) and does irreparable damage to the nation when it needs service dollar $$$ the most.

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