Universal Studios likes Mexicans, or at least their names

migramouse.jpg In the 1994 statewide election, Disney donated to the re-elect Pete Wilson campaign. That made a lot of Chicano and Latino activists very upset considering Pete Wilson’s ardent support for Proposition 187, a measure that denied undocumented immigrants access to health care and education. As a result of the support Disney offered to Wilson, activists decided to boycott Disney. I didn’t know much about the boycott until I got to college and found old Migra Mouse posters. I don’t think the boycott ever caught on. You may be able to make Mexicans stop buying grapes, but stop buying Disney products? Nope. Mexicans love Disneyland (and they say we don’t assimilate).

Did other theme parks jump on the anti-immigrant bandwagon? I’m not sure. However, 13 years later amidst talks of 700-mile border walls and comprehensive immigration reform it seems as if another LA-area theme park has got it right.

[More on Universal Studios’ efforts to accomodate Spanish speaking visitors and their dollars after the jump.]

Universal Studios, or at least their marketing department, knows better than to alienate immigrants and visitors from Latin American. Check out these Spongebob and Spiderman mugs at Universal Studios. I’m not surprised to see Juan and Jos√© mugs, since those are common names. But Josefina? And Jorge? Or what about Cuca (nickname for Refugio)?

mugs1.jpg mugs1.jpg

I wonder what Gustavo Arellano would say about this in light of his recent ¬°Ask A Mexican! column on Mexican nicknames.

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17 Replies to “Universal Studios likes Mexicans, or at least their names”

  1. They still don’t carry my name :( Anywhere. I’ve learned to overcome the disappointment – yet I still check all keychains and trinkets in hope . . . .

  2. I haven’t been there since it opened in 1999, but Legoland sold a Jesus mug. I bought it, of course, though I talk about it in non-Latino terms.

  3. You know, I could have sworn I overheard some Latinas talking about boycotting Disney the other day on the bus. I thought to myself, “Is that still going on?”
    Does hating Disnyeland count as boycotting? Because that place gives me the creeps.

  4. And on a rather unrelated note, my friend went to one of those mall kiosks that make customized California license plate keychains, and had them put “BORT” on it. The guy working at the kiosk didn’t get the joke. So sad.

  5. Also – regarding the donations to Wilson’s campaign – I’m betting Disney made donations to both candidates that year, but, in the tradition of pretty much every major corporate and interest donor in the history of political giving, gave more to the person who looked like the likely winner.

    Disney – and the rest – care less about the details than about having friends in high places. It’s just sound business sense for them given the direct effect of policymaking on their ability to run a profitable business. And that goes for other corps and even interest groups many more liberal types (I’m one of them ) would tend to agree with on most matters.

    I’m not excusing Wilson’s immigration views – just laying out more context for political giving – in the 90s or today.

  6. Whenever I think of Pete Wilson I’m always reminded of that Brujeria song where Pete is talking about Prop 187 and the band members cock their rifles, shout “Mata Pete Wilson” and start shooting. Good stuff. My Dad even liked that song.

  7. Chavo,
    I think the weirdest name I ever heard was when I was typing a list for my mom. One of the men on the list was named Pomposo.

    CD,
    I think your name might be too long for one those mugs. The letters would be tiny!

    re: Wilson, I didn’t realize that he didn’t jump on to the anti-immigrant bandwagon until his approval ratings were really low and he needed something to help him win the 94 election or that he was kinda moderate as San Diego mayor. Eh, that doesn’t make me dislike him any less.

    Gerald,
    My mom used pendejo as a term of endearment for my brothers. Seriously.

    MrHooks,
    I’d expect Jesus, since it’s a common name. I don’t get the BORT joke. I guess I’m not as cool as I thought I was.

    Eastside story,
    Maybe there’s some new Disney movie based on something historical where they get it all wrong (see: Pocahontas).

    Eecue,
    I don’t think I know that song. I blame it on my youth and relative degrees of shelteredness in the early 90s.

    Tim,
    I was trying to find more information on Walt Disney’s reportedly xenophobic views, but all I could recall was something from a class on LA history.

    Gustavo,
    I’ve gotten mixed views on this, and it was too late to call my mom when I was writing this. Oh well. Most b.la readers don’t know.

  8. My poor aunts. I fear not a one of them will ever find their name. Anyone seen Rosalba, Heriberta, Hortencia, Magdalena, or Luz? Ohhh the sadness my poor viejita tias will feel knowing they’ll never have a personalized mug from Los Estudios Universales.

  9. My (Latina, not that it matters) g/f has been trying to find a good Latin nickname for me – something better than “yo, guero” or “gringo” or “that fuckin’ white guy” (that’s her ex’s personal fave, and believe me, the sentiments are mutual) but there just doesn’t seem to be a fit for a good ol’ English name like Ken. B’sides, I’m not even English!

    Like she says, “it’s a Latin thing”… so I asked her why she’s with me and she said “it’s MY Latin thing”. Oh, fuhgeddaboudit. I give up. I guess I won’t ever have one of those cool nicknames. (awwww)…

  10. Yeah, Bort is from The Simpsons – the Itchy and Scratchy Land episode. Bart is looking for a mini license plate with his name, and the closest he could find was Bort. When he incredulously asked who’s named Bort, a woman calls out for her son Bort. Then a man standing nearby asks if she was calling for him, and she replies, “My son is ALSO named Bort!”

    Later on, someone in one of the park’s control rooms announces into a mic, “The gift shop is out of Bort license plates.”

  11. Ken, can’t she come up with a nickname based on your looks? Or run with the “K” theme and have her call you Kiki…I forget what proper name that goes with. Oh yeah, Enrique.
    My favorite drunk-in-a-bar game is to give my friends gang names like La Snoopy, La Chinita, Lil’ Toons, Scrappy etc. Most of my friends are not happy with my choices.

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