Zubi Advertising, the creator of “GringoMask,” images of faces with the features of an American of white European descent meant to be printed out and worn, explains on Facebook: “The objective of this action is to dignify and support the Hispanic community, with the firm intention of taking it to the streets and confronting Arizona’s statute SB 1070. Proud of where we come from, and what we do and are for this country.”
The mask website now only features a lengthy statement responding to those who have accused the creators of using an “ethnic slur”:
Thanks to your involvement, the GringoMask has achieved its primary objective to raise awareness of the potential for racial profiling by enforcement of Arizona SB 1070. GringoMask was not a commercial product or intended to be a long term project, but a piece of satire to promote discussion and thought.
In addition to raising awareness, the mask was used to promote dialogue between people of different opinions in the hopes of arriving at better solutions than SB 1070, and to show solidarity with Americans of every race and color across the country that found this law unfair in its targeting of a specific ethnic group even if only implicitly. We chose this mask because of its light-hearted nature and tongue-in-cheek approach much in the same vein as Jeff Foxworthy’s shtick “You Might be a Redneck” or Carlos Mencia’s “beaner” jokes. However, we in no way meant to offend anyone.
We understand from your responses that some people might equate the word “Gringo” with an ethnic slur. We do not. It is simply a slang term used to describe Caucasians, and we don’t assign any negative connotations to it. In fact, the mask communicates that looking this way will keep you above suspicion of being an illegal immigrant in Arizona, a positive thing not a derogatory one. We hope everyone will view the mask the way we do…a comical tool to convey a message and raise awareness about an issue that is important to all Americans. If the campaign has been taken in a different light by some, we sincerely regret the misunderstanding.
Thanks for voicing your opinions and helping to get the dialogue going.
We look forward to a better solution to the illegal immigration problem.
[Pic via anorak.co.uk]