Mexico's President Vicente Fox is having a tough year.
During the much-publicized Minuteman Project in Arizona last March, Fox's arrogant comments and dismissive attitude didn't win him too many fans north of the border. Then in May, while making yet another speech about how America couldn't function without illegal immigrants from Mexico, Fox managed to insult African Americans in the process. He claimed that illegals do the work that "not even black people want to do," implying that African Americans make up the lowest rungs of society.
About a month later came the unveiling of Mexico's latest series of postage stamps, featuring none other than a black character like something out of a minstrel show. Needless to say, Fox found himself on the defensive yet again -- with good reason.
It turns out that racism in Mexico, both against blacks and dark-skinned indigenous Indians, has a long history. Mexico's colonial past has left its mark on modern-day society. Prejudice toward "pureblood" Indians from those who are "mixed-blood" (Spanish and Indian) is rife. Almost uniformly, people who are darker-skinned and of Indian descent make up the peasantry and working classes, while lighter-skinned, Spanish-descent Mexicans are in the ruling elite. Fox himself comes from that background, as his appearance makes evident.