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home : opinions : editorials September 15, 2014


5/21/2010 10:00:00 PM
Editorial: Dora parody not fair to children

Mommy, why is Dora the Explorer on the news all beat up?

Well ...

That may be the most awkward question Arizona parents will get from their kids this week.

The popular Nickelodeon cartoon character is the punch line for a doctored photo spreading across the Internet like wildfire. In the picture, Dora - who has brown hair, brown skin and occasionally speaks Spanish - finds herself in a police booking photo with a black eye, bloodied lip, bloody nose and a sign that reads, "Illegal Border Crossing, Resisting Arrest."

Conclusions on the photo are varied. Is this debate going too far off the deep end for rational analysis? Is it an innocent example of comic relief, lightening up a socially stressed topic? Or is the point right on target?

When cartoon characters and Photoshop collide, the satirical aim is usually to instigate and sensationalize with no regard for education or sincerity. The very fact that we're examining it puts us in whichever camp you choose.

The problem now is we're bringing children into the discussion, and a skewed discussion at that. The image threatens to suck kids into a manipulated debate that has at its center, as kids relate on their level, an identifiable character with brown skin who speaks Spanish. Then the parents will have to navigate those social waters or risk turning pop culture conclusions into lasting impressions on their kids.

"(Dora)'s always been ambiguously constructed," Angharad Valdivia, who teaches media studies at the University of Illinois and has explored the issue, told The Associated Press. "In the U.S., the way we understand race is about putting people in categories, and we're uncomfortable with people we can't put into categories."

In the grand scheme of things, the Dora photo is probably small potatoes in the illegal immigration debate. The issues and the real people affected have their appropriate place in topical discussions. Adults understand a joke.

But when kids see Dora looking beat up and in jail and they start asking their parents clarifying questions, the joke runs the risk of being dangerously unfunny.


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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Article comment by: Jenny P

First, Mexicans aren't indigenous, they are Hispanic, their ancestors committed genocide against the native peoples, and very few are actually left, what's more, Mexico is very racist, including their so called, "brown" people, against indigenous and blacks.

The people who lived in the US southwest were real indigenous peoples, like the Navajo, the Utes and Apaches, when Mexico sought to expand into those lands, they attempted to do what they had done to the Mayans and other peoples. They enslaved them, maimed, raped and killed them, but they weren't successful. Mexico and it's criminal illegals have no claim to those lands, so quit perpetuating what is a racist lie


Posted: Monday, May 24, 2010
Article comment by: hold on

To J. J. -
Americans trying to take back THEIR country? Whoa - Americans took Arizona, New Mexico, Texas from the indigenous people who lived there. The Mexicans are trying to take back THEIR country actually.


Posted: Sunday, May 23, 2010
Article comment by: Get Real

This is the most ridiculous way for the leftists to damage children that I have seen yet.

Posted: Saturday, May 22, 2010
Article comment by: Steven Ayres

The editor doesn't specifically argue that the Dora image was created to criticize Arizona's new law, but the implication is strong and should be addressed. The image is about six months old, built well before AZ got in the national news, for a Photoshop contest site called freakingnews.com. If you look there you'll see that there are several satirical Dora images there, and if you've paid attention at all you'd know that the overmarketing of Dora goods has made the character a popular target for all sorts of satire for years.

If you're really worried about your children, get them away from the TV.

As for the editor's hysterical response, perhaps he's just bored between battles in the war on Christmas.


Posted: Saturday, May 22, 2010
Article comment by: John The Explorer

This is from the left? Love the children and all of that. Seems pretty mean to me.

Posted: Saturday, May 22, 2010
Article comment by: Christine D

Oh noes!! Now parents have to actually sit down and talk to their kids and explain something!!!

Posted: Saturday, May 22, 2010
Article comment by: J. J. Wade

Oh! Come on! Let's stop making the children the victims in everything. Who said that Dora is a Mexican national? Americans are only trying to take back their country. If Mexican nationals want to enjoy our freedom, then they need to take steps to be a LEGAL American. If you want it so bad, work for it. Go through the steps and you will be accepted with all the benefits, including paying taxes, paying into the system and working your a** off like the rest of us. Signed by an American who has worked and paid my dues.

Posted: Saturday, May 22, 2010
Article comment by: Old Gringo

I'd give it maybe six months after the bill becomes law, and you'll see real booking photos of kids, which wont be any funnier than this cartoon.

Posted: Saturday, May 22, 2010
Article comment by: slow news day

Get a life. Using children? What do you think the supporters of Prop 100 did?



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