Photos: ‘Sleeping Mexican’ garden statues? What’s racist about that?

by EDUARDO BURRO on April 12, 2012 in Cultura, Las Fotos

Arizona sure loves its Mexicans!

Taos-based author John Hamilton Farr went to Tucson on family business and was stunned by the “Sleeping Mexican” statues all around his mom’s old hood. He photographed these guys “within a two or three block radius of my mother’s old place…less than 10 minutes!”

He brought the statuary to the attention of official neighborhood Arizonians. Their reply? “What’s racist about that?”

People are asking the same question in San Antonio and Tucscon.

Nine big versions of Farr’s photos are below.
And can you answer the trick question: What’s racist about that?

Sleeping Mexican statues? What’s racist about that? Answer in COMMENTS below!



Stephen Blackmoore April 12, 2012 at 7:59 AM

The real question is why Arizona didn’t have the statues deported.

ISABEL April 12, 2012 at 11:51 AM

you are soooo right!

Gabacho Borracho April 12, 2012 at 8:13 AM

Pocho ocho reasons why Arizona didn’t have the statues deported:
8 – Handcuffs wouldn’t fit
7 – ? anyone?

DeDe Johnson April 12, 2012 at 8:27 AM

7. Arpaio needs more chain gang laborers.

ISABEL April 12, 2012 at 12:08 PM

7.- can’t track them all down…they’re sneaky!
6.- too expensive to transport all the way to the border (even by UPS)
5.-Arizonans won’t have the sense of “home” anymore in their front yards
4.-Arizona doesn’t want to be portrayed as a “racist State”
3.-besides the “Don’t tread on me” flag, this is how you know you’re in Az.
2.-have to dress’em up in pink first!
1.-need to find the way to blame Obama for this too!

Liz Casillas-Stergiou April 12, 2012 at 9:51 AM

It’s racist because I have NEVER EVER seen a Mexican sleeping under a cactus nor leaning on one…Mexicans are hard workers and this statue reinforces the stereotype of a lazy Mexican taking a “siesta”. Siestas are cultural and they take them in Europe as well, but I have never seen a statue of a Frenchman taking a siesta leaning on the Eiffel Tower or sleeping on the Seine…

Alejandro Sins April 12, 2012 at 12:15 PM

What annoys me the most is the few Mexicans trying to defend the statue. Claiming that the statue was completely misconstrue as a over-exhausted Mexican that dreams of a better future. Well, that not what what the general consensus believe and perceive it to be. This ridiculous stereotype further perpetuals negative imagines of Mexicans. It’s time to open your eyes and realize that we must fight against these portrayals.

Sanchezalize April 23, 2012 at 2:47 AM

Lo triste es que probablemente hayan sido producidas en Mexico :(

lynn guillen May 12, 2012 at 7:03 PM

yo miraba esos adornos adorables! mi papa es mexicano y enserio nunca vi a esos adornos como un insulto! los gringos son haters kisieran estar tomando una siesta como nosotros! no tienen vida para vivir y no dejan vivir! we need a break once in a while! el mundo da vuelta no solo jira para ellos! so viva mexico y los mexicanos!

Jose Guillen October 27, 2013 at 3:02 AM

Mira Lynn para empezar no tienen nada de adorables esas estatuas porque nos proyectan como unas personas flojas que nos la pasamos durmiendo debajo de los pitallos y nopales.
Dime cuando has visto a tu abuelo o papa dormirse asi. Esas estatuas o caricaturas denigran a los mexicanos.

JAIME CARDENAS. May 12, 2012 at 7:05 PM


Kerry May 14, 2012 at 4:48 AM

The moral equivalent of lawn jockeys? Gee, how could anyone be confused? Imagine my amazement when this story hit the papers…at least there’s a (sorta) happy ending.

On the other hand, the reason we’re having this discussion is (in some circles) attributed to the notion that SOME people didn’t think the Mission Drive In and all of THOSE people going to the movies just didn’t seem right next to the “Queen of the Missions.” ::sigh::

siesta August 26, 2012 at 6:26 AM

We had a painted house number plate in the 1960′s with a sleeping mexican against a cactus. It represents the mexican “siesta”. What’s wrong with that?

siesta August 26, 2012 at 6:32 AM

Wonderful retro art by the way. Appreciate it for what it is. Chill out :)

R Ramirez March 19, 2013 at 12:58 AM

Shades of El Frito Bandito!

Tecpaocelotl March 20, 2013 at 4:21 PM

When I was a kid, I thought he was trying to keep cool from the hot sun, not really being lazy.

My only issue with it is when it leans on a cactus. People are going to think we have indestructible backs.

Luciano March 21, 2013 at 7:30 AM

I have over 500 of these little guys in my collection. Many made in occupied Japan. I started collecting them when I read Phillip Herrera’s book “The Sleeping Mexican Phenomenon” that he wrote as a masters thesis. Phillip lived in Whittier, California and you should have seen his collection. This book give you a good idea of how this stereotype got started. When I started collecting them in the early 80′s I could find them everywhere in the swap meets but no more. I know a lady in Tucson that has over 2000 in her collection. These collectible can classified as “reprehensible collectibles” same as the black, mammies memorabilia that are now collected by many major African-American movie stars. Many of these are worth a lot of money.

conchitadelaconchata June 10, 2013 at 11:51 PM

is it bad that mi esuegrecita santa had matching cactus esaltshaker & esleepy dude peppershaker?

Mr.Reason August 15, 2013 at 1:02 PM

What makes these statue “Mexicans”??
After the “you can not have that in a free society” thugs get done,what will be acceptable?
And who the hell is ANYONE to say what is racist,and what is not?
More dumbass foolishness.

Chale Knickerbocker August 15, 2013 at 1:10 PM

You sound nice.

Brian September 3, 2013 at 12:24 AM

All I see is a man taking a nap. What’s racist about that?

Michael October 3, 2013 at 12:17 AM

Racist? What silliness. Anybody who haunts antique stores will notice that during the 1930s, ’40s and early ’50s, Hillbilly figurines (yeah, hick whitey-white, white-white-white, very white people — did I say mention they were white…) were quite popular. Very often they looked like a cross between Rip Van Winkle and a Lil’ Abner. Sometimes they were in front of an outhouse with a half-moon on the door, sometimes they were holding a Lil’ Brown Jug o’ moonshine. Stereotypical or what? And what about all the dwarfs, sprites fairies and gnomes – all white, white, white, white. The word “racist,” and the people who use it more often than not, know very little about anything, and certainly not pop culture or the past.

Randy Koufax October 3, 2013 at 1:10 AM

Hey there, whitey. You are white, right?

It’s not up to you to tell Mexican-Americans what’s racist or not.

Your job is to STFU, listen and learn.

And check your historical perspective and white privilege at the door.

Mateo December 31, 2013 at 8:37 PM

Raaaandy. They ain’t racist. It could be a n%gger under the porcelain for all I care.

Laura February 26, 2014 at 10:07 AM

It’s considered racist cause we all make it that way. If everyone just stopped giving it attention and lived their own lives without judging others, the world would be a better place. America is the land of opportunity and freedom. Leave it be. So it’s a statue. To some people, it means something so let them express themselves. Why do we care so much? We all have our own lives to live, so live it.

Greg G March 12, 2014 at 11:12 AM

In cartoons the sleeping Mexican wasn’t on siesta, or at least the empty bottle of tequila next to him connoted he wasn’t.

candy woods April 1, 2014 at 6:28 PM

i would like to order some of the mexican concrete yard men, cactus, donkey things to put in myyard. i dont know how to use the email can u call me,XXX-332-61XX. thank you. Candy

Note: POCHO removed some digits from Candy’s phone number to protect her from harassment.

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