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U.S. Speaks Up on Mexico Stamp Controversy

June 30, 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The White House on Thursday objected to a postage stamp issued by the Mexican government, saying that ``racial stereotypes are offensive no matter what their origin.″

The stamp depicts a black comic book character known as Memin Pinguin, drawn with exaggerated features, thick lips and wide-open eyes. His appearance, speech and mannerisms are the subject of kidding by white characters in the comic book.

U.S. activists have urged the Mexican government to withdraw the stamp.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said it was ``an internal issue for Mexico and the postal authorities that issued the stamp. With that said, I would like to make a couple of points. Racial stereotypes are offensive no matter what their origin. The Mexican government needs to take this into account. Images like these have no place in today’s world.″

Mexico said that like Speedy Gonzalez _ a cartoon mouse with a Mexican accent that debuted in the United States in 1953 _ the Memin Pinguin character shouldn’t be interpreted as a racial slur.

National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley also commented, saying, ``There’s no place for this kind of thing. It’s wholly inappropriate, and we’ve made it clear.″

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