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lisa lou



Hi, I can't notice the things you want us to notice, but I can notice that you found Nena's comment as an offense to your "incredible" work in Ecuador. I can't believe that you have the time to criticize a big chain logo. I think the explanation may be very simple; first, people in Ecuador do not have any problem with calling black people “negros” because it is not as offensive as other words in your country. Second, there is not any problem about making a caricature about a black man, who’s supposed to own the place, don’t you think that if there is some black person who finds it as an aggression, he or she had work to take it out of the public space? Believe it or not, there are some black organizations in Ecuador that have a very important participation in the country issues. Third, as an extra explanation of the name of the place, menestras is considered typical black food, we can say it is their ancestral recipe.
Now, how can you criticize some logo in my country, having a globalized logo in yours, I really can find Aunt Jemima’s logo very offensive, not just because it shows a real 1920’s black slave, that works at some land keeper’s home, but because it shows an actual black servant.
As you said, Menestra’s logo is the representation of a black man, maybe from the pre-colonial period, when Africa and other black territories have their freedom and savagism.
Answering your doubts about Nena, I can tell you that her English skills came from the education of most of the particular schools of the city, and also because she lives in the States. About the history of Menestras del Negro chain, it is true, and if you are a very beloved blogger, you can try to get some real information about your debates instead of trying to make people comments seem illogical and unreal.
I don’t know why people continue answering your posts and supporting them, knowing that there is not real support about them.
Just for fun, tell me that you find the old logo (the one with the green font) offensive to people because you think the M that was designed as a banana hand, has a phallic connotation for you……..

lisa lou


I find the "menestras del negro" logo extremely offensive as well. Simply to depict an Afro-Ecuadorian as "savage," even if it was drawn by said Afro-Ecuadorian himself, is wrong. I´m not justifying my country´s behavior, or even making a comparison between the U.S. and Ecuador. Neither is Risa. I agree, the Aunt Jemima logo is just as offensive as the Menestras del Negro one. I would like to see that one changed as well. I support risa´s ideas because they are true. Just because we are Americans living in Ecuador, this does not mean we are not allowed an opinion on our surroundings. Unless, that is what you are implying?

And just because menestra is an "ancestral recipe," does not mean you need a caracature of a black man resembling a monkey to demonstrate this. Come on.


Soy Ecuatoriana y escribo en espanol. El logo es ofensivo! y claro que todo el mundo tiene derecho a decir lo que piensa. Que intolerancia tan tenaz decir lo contrario.


I can't believe your comment. I don’t think we can say it is offensive, why it is not offensive the Colonel in the KFC logo? They are using a white old man to sell chicken. But you don’t think it is offensive because you grew up learning that racism is against black people, and that they are less than you. And is Risa’s opinion about the black faces in parades, and Mama Negra. They are not making jokes about the black people, this parades show the introduction of black people in the active society, after their slavery period. For example, Mama Negra is the representation of a black powerful woman, and if you don’t know, as Risa’s don’t, Mama Negra is not just a man from Latacunga, they select this man from the wealthy people of this place, and I can tell that they continue doing it because it shows that black people are free, and are as equal as other people. The same thing with Ashangas in this parade, thay have their face painted in black, and they are carring on their backs a big baked pig with lots of food and bottles, and it does not show that the black people are the ones who have to carry the things, it shows the abundance of food and I repeat, the freedom of black people. But you have some gringo issues, and you can’t understand this kind of typical parades.

Ahora, si “gandrad” encuentra el logo ofensivo, deberia dar una razon, ya que no puedo decir que es ofensivo, y no demostrar un punto de vista debatable. Para mi no es ofensivo, mas si el de Aunt Jemima, ya que representa una realidad que hasta el dia de hoy existe, y de la que no se puede estar orgulloso, mientras que el aborigen de las menestras, no existe como tal, no ofende por tanto a nadie, y creo que aquellas epocas son de las que deberiamos estar orgullosos, ya que esas personas eran libres, al igual que los grupos natives de America. Y por tanto, poner una estatua de Atahualpa en la avenida Atahualpa en el sur de quito, no es ofensivo, menos aun, sabiendo que la mayoria de gente del campo que migro a la cuidad de quito se acento en esa zona. O es ofensivo hacer referencia de un indigena, de los que no existen, en esa zona?

Sorry, about what you said of making comments of the things you see here, I don’t have any problem, you can comment about my country, and I can comment about yours, but I can’t comment if I don’t make a little research of the theme.
I now that I am mixing all the blogs, but you can’t decide if a black painted face is racist or not, just because of your point of view. You can read something about the parade, and the real meaning of it.


Well, what can I say, If you love people's comments you got them. I do realize that you are trying to push my buttons though.
Listen, I would like to clarify that I did not take offense to your so called criticism, as a matter of fact, I was just trying to help you and other people with your same issue to let go of it! Please do yourself a favor, it is just a logo!!! if you would like, ask anybody in Ecuador about it. Please do so, ask black people themselves what they think of the logo and you will be very surprised to find out that the answer is very simple. It is just an icon!
In your defense, I believe you just experienced something that anthropologists call "culture shock". Are you familiar with the term?
Here is a definition I will casually quote from Wikipedia online:
"Culture shock is a term used to describe the anxiety and feelings (of surprise, disorientation, confusion, etc.) felt when people have to operate within an entirely different cultural or social environment, such as a foreign country. It grows out of the difficulties in assimilating the new culture, causing difficulty in knowing what is appropriate and what is not. This is often combined with strong disgust (moral or aesthetical) about certain aspects of the new or different culture".
About the Logo, do you really want an explanation? really? My brother designed it himself. He gave a lot of thought and attention to things beyond your understanding. Because every single detail in the Logo means something to him and to him only. The colors, the shapes, even that little bone, everything has a meaning, and to be honest with you I do not want to get into to it. So that being said, you can totally think whatever you decide to think, if it makes you feel better to think that we are all racists, and we are all trying to destroy you, well keep telling yourself that, bottom line we are not the ones stressing over a LOGO!!

But I must add, you should know that there is no such thing as bad publicity. So lets all keep talking about it, guess who is reaping the benefits???



Yikes - harsh.

I was just reading something in an advice column about knitting patterns for "Mammy Dolls" and this is the advice that was given:

"You cannot control how others act, but you can control how you react. While the thought of ‘calling out’ another person and giving them a history lesson might feel good, the ultimate end to that action would only be negative. However, instead of calling someone out, you could engage in a dialog with them. Maybe they really don’t understand the deeper significance of the Mammy dolls or what they represent to the people they were trying to keep down."

Risa, in reading your original post, it is clear that your were sharing an image of something that bothered you and instead of simply saying - Wow, look how racist is this, you included many, many caveats that showed a great deal of introspection.

You said yourself "I am now going to make a point to really think through why I think something is racist before I condemn it."

Obviously you can't control other people's reactions to your thoughts and opinions either.


I completely agree with Lisa Lou and really couldn't have said it any better.

For further reading on how simple things like logos and imagery can mean something much, much bigger, anyone interested might want to check out Tad Lawrence's article here:

Jose Andrade

I was also raised in Quito, Ecuador, and I also find the logo offensive.
I found it offensive when I used to live there, and even more now that I've traveled and lived in different places.
Don't worry Risa. I'm with you and I understand your point of view.


I have only lurked on your blog before Risa, and I'm not going to add anything more to this discussion. I just wanted to do this:



oh my goodness. i have read the comments above and i'm not sure what i can really add here, except that i thought we were definitely at a point where we could do some cultural analysis of an (offensive) logo without being dismissed with 'it's just a logo-- lighten up' or similar. so much for the intellectual debate you were hoping for, huh? :) the comments from nena and jac remind me of all the times women are told that imagery that is offensive to women is 'just advertising' and completely unimportant. i disagree. we need to have open and honest discussion about racist and sexist imagery, in different cultural contexts, because it IS important-- it is an indicator of attitudes towards race and gender overall. sorry you are getting all this mess here rather than some honest debate. xox


As an African-American, I find the Menestras de Negros logo extremely offensive, regardless of who created it. The "M" is supposed to depict bananas and the infant caricature has a mouth resembling that of an ape?!! Considering the poor quality of education in Equador, it is no surprise that the above citizen has suggested that the author of the original post simply "ignore" this blatent display of racism. Such racism is intolerable in the U.S. That is why, to those of you paying attention, Aunt Jemima recieved a drastic makeover a couple of years ago (due to vehement protest) and no longer represents a slave (she is now sans burlap or apron or what have you and has her hair combed and some makeup on). If the infant resembled an actual human being and not A WILD ANIMAL or a caricature off of the Flinestones, this logo would a lot less distasteful and disparaging.


Thank you, Jose Andrade, Amisha, Brandie and to Risa, the original poster.

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we need to have open and honest discussion about racist and sexist imagery, in different cultural contexts, because it IS important-- it is an indicator of attitudes towards race and gender overall. sorry you are getting all this mess here rather than some honest debate.

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