We recently found this crazy coloring book called Mexicans Don't Always Eat Tacos at a used bookstore. It's supposed to teach kids about diversity, but it was published in 1979 and all the pictures are, well, problematic. The book, which proposes to deconstruct racial stereotypes by illustrating (in full ethnographic splendor) how people aren't circumscribed by their particular ethnicities in their choice of cuisine, falls into the honeypot of racial profiling. The authors seem to make a genuine effort to tear down racial boundaries, but there's only so far their good intentions can reach through the tangled masses of curly hair that they scribble on top of their illustrated "Jew." Our enlightened, 21st century eyes may easily see the errors of ignorance in this book, but we can't fault a genuine effort. Maybe a more unifying, universal title, something that emphasized the characteristics all people share and celebrated their differences rather than just highlighting those differences with crude squiggles would have been better. Something like, "Everybody eats...except for Ethiopia."
Check out the cover: A "guide that teaches children about stereotypes," as in, how to effectively employ them.
And so do their pet gila monsters.
Although because they're so used to eating tacos, when they try eat spaghetti and meatballs they make a mess.
"Eating spaghetti with meatballs" is, of course, an Italian epithet for snake charming.
The illustrators must have realized they needed some quintessential Italian characteristics and so drew them as Romans so children could more easily discriminate against different groups of people.
Here, some Chinese refugees are making the dangerous voyage through seas patrolled by prehistoric monsters in order to bring General Tso's chicken to America...
Where they'll be cheated into exchanging it for some gross ballpark hotdogs. Welcome to New York, bitches.
Why are the New York Frankies, clearly a team of tubular animal by-products, allowed to play in the same league as people? They should have their own special league...
Where they aggravate the Jewish deli owner to no end with their wild table dancing.
There's a joke here about Mel Brooks' Jews in Space trailer at the end of History of the World: Part I, but what I really want to know is: what happened to Pumpernickle I and is this going to turn into a Jewish Alien situation where the Pumpernickle II finds an abandoned loaf of bread in space, molding and infested with weevils?
I'm almost positive that the octopus' malevolent eyebrow raise and his creeping tentacles are not-so-subtle indications that he is getting ready to devour this Jewish deep-sea diver. The fish look like they're in on it too. Also, when did the Jews get the monopoly on exotic expeditions and how is steam rising for this guy's tea if he's UNDERWATER?
(Pages 21 and 22 have been censored. Perhaps for the best?)
(Since the corresponding pages before this spread have been colored in so wildly, we decided to skip the section on Japanese people even though now the plot's integrity has been compromised.)
The French also have crazy eyes.
Oddly enough, the weirdest thing about this picture isn't the lunatic Frenchman in his pajamas speeding around Paris in a wiener mobile but the nipple for a door handle.
Here again, the illustrators feel that Germans don't have enough identifying features because they're, you know, white, so they conveniently drew a little VW logo on this circus car.
…Foods they developed a taste for ever since immigrating to South and Central America in the '40s.
But they'd be wrong because the Minotaurs eat most of Mexico's tacos.
A tableaux of a typical U.N. meeting. We see the octopus, but no sign of the diver...