Outside the employment office at Pratt one morning, I noticed a poster with visual depictions. It showed a hand with a circle made of the index finger and the thumb, while the other three digits pointed to the sky. In some cultures, this sign meant fantastic or delicious, in some other cultures it said you're useless, and in some spanish-speaking countries, it was a strong suggestion to go screw yourself. I decided to retire this sign during my time at university because there were just too many cultures around to explain this to.
Now there's this. Mexico releases some stamps featuring Memin Pinguin, a character loved by Mexicans for no reason other than the fact that he's damn cute, and the US expresses displeasure because its a racist icon in the states. Black and Hispanic leaders weren't too happy about the stamps, and asked the president of the US to express how mad everyone was about this.
Whatever happened to context? The possibility that an action could mean one thing in one culture and something different in another? Why the uproar and the offence? To me, at least, it had nothing to do with racism. It was an adorable cartoon. Why apply standards of one culture to another?
Which reminds me. I don't quite like the way New Yorkers sit far away from me on an empty train. I'm a Bombayite used to having people press up against me on empty trains. Which head of state should I complain to?