“L” is for Loony Latino Leitmotif

The Meows are on a road trip south today, to more tropical lands.  Since it’s a car trip and we got to cross the North Carolina-South Carolina border today, we were regaled with a million promises of "South of the Border" as we drove down "scenic" I-95.

South of the Border is a roadside stop and magnet for junk and useless purchases, which also happens to have a giant Mexican sombrero, a small amusement park, and a naughty-stuff store.

It also has a borderline-offensive mascot named Pedro, who greets motorists with his own signature sombrero and bandit mustache and is often quoted within the billboards in his own heavily-accented Spanglish, such as the kind that assaults you when you visit pedroland.com (the official home of South of the Border).

I realize that in our overly politically correct times, it’s often easy to jump the gun and be offended by absolutely everything, but I can’t help but cringe a little whenever I see Pedro’s kowtowing, brown, mustachioed, smiling face sprawled across both lanes of I-95. 

In a world where most people wouldn’t hesitate for one instant to point out that blackface is more than just a little offensive but a downright hurtful stereotype and something that reinforces the most narrow and obtuse of mindsets, it seems more than just a little ironic that Pedro is alive and well.

But maybe I have a problem.  Here are a few of the billboards I managed to photograph today.  You judge for yourself: I’m pretty pooped.

South of the Border collage (by Mme. Meow)

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This entry was published on April 12, 2008 at 8:47 pm and is filed under NaBloPoMo, Soapboxing. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on ““L” is for Loony Latino Leitmotif

  1. “South of the Border.” Definition of tourist trap, and strong contender for Tackiest Place on Earth. We used to drive that route a couple of times a year in the late ’80’s/early ’90’s, and Pedro was all wrong even back then; apparently he hasn’t changed.

  2. I feel like I’ve seen something similar even further South on I-95. Gotta love quirky billboards. Cause going from North Carolina into South Carolina, you’re practically in Mexico!

  3. anOCgirl on said:

    ugh. i’ve never been there, but from what i’ve heard and the link in your blog, i am pretty offended. but apparently latino ridicule is all the rage these days.

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