How racist was the Speedy Gonzales character?

Speedy Gonzales cartoons have disappeared, I suspect because he was seen as a negative stereotype. And yet, as a Mexican character said in Overboard (2018), ‘I love Speedy. He’s fast, he’s charming. He’s Mexican. He outsmarts the pussycat and brings delicious cheese to his people.’

This has been my take. I see Speedy Gonzales as a positive stereotype. He’s the Good Guy. He always comes out on top. Yes, he wore a sombrero; and yes, he had an accent. But I see him as a Winner.

[NB: I am not Hispanic.]

Speedy is sort of a backhanded racism. I suspect the creators thought, “Hey! Wouldn’t it be funny if we had a Mexican character that was quick and energetic instead of (the usual) slow and lazy?”

I barely remember those cartoons, but weren’t his friends the worst kind of racist stereotypes?

That’s what I was going to say. Maybe Speedy himself wasn’t portrayed as lazy, but as I recall pretty much all of Speedy’s friends embodied the “Mexicans are lazy” stereotype.

That never even crossed my mind. As a child, I just saw him as the Good Guy and the Winner.

No recollection at all.

Is that the joke/reference? I had no idea. As a kid, I thought he was just a fast mouse.

I have no memory of any of his enemies, though. Does anyone have a link that shows his lazy Mexican enemies? Or whatever it was?

His enemies were American cats and ducks. His pals were usually very stereotypical Mexicans - slow, often drunk, and in the case of his cousin Slowpoke Rodriguez packing a pistola.

A whirlwind tour through the list of Speedy Gonzalez cartoons on the Looney Tunes Wiki tells me that Speedy’s common enemies were Sylvester and Daffy Duck, but there were also a few appearances by a couple of cats/crows called Jose and Manuel who are described as " lazy and not very intelligent."

I was going to mention Slowpoke Rodriguez

That’s just Heckle and Jeckle going south for the Winter.

It’s a pain in the butt being politically correct.

“I know Speedy Gonzales. He goes steady with my sister”.
“Speedy Gonzales, he goes steady with everybody’s sister!”

The Pat Boone song “Speedy Gonzales” is pretty negative: he goes out drinking and cheating on his wife while his house and family falls apart.

“Hey, Rosita - come quick, down at the cantina they giving green stamps with tequila!!”

There was another rapidly-moving "positive’ Mexican stereotype in cartoons – The Dick Tracy show

The same comments apply here. He’s “funny” because he’s fast instead of slow-moving, the usual stereotype, but the joke means that knowledge of the usual stereotype is implied and carried along. I like that you’ve got the positive image of the lawman of latinx ancestry, but you have to ask if it’s worth the 'cost".

The same goes for another of Tracy’s deputies in the show:

I don’t think the cartoon creators were actively looking to come up with insulting stereotypes – they were simply looking for interesting characters with significant features they could use to differentiate their features. That this often lead to the use of offensive stereotypes is the topic of a big long discussion I’d rather not go into right now.

I can only speak anecdotaly, but growing up my hispanic friends loved Speedy.

Speedy shirts, speedy bedsheets, etc…

Speedy himself wasn’t racist, he was just a fast Mexican mouse. I doubt many kids watching the cartoons took away any negative concepts.

But the negative aspects were there in the depiction of other Mexicans, and in the way these cartoons fit in among others with more clearly negative stereotypes of people, and the further problem of any Mexican or other Hispanic person getting called “Speedy Gonzalez” or “Frito Bandito” as if their actual names didn’t matter.

I didn’t like Speedy Gonzales cartoons, I thought the accent was terrible and the rest full of bad stereo types.

When I saw the title I thought it was going to be about the upcoming movie I just read about. May be interesting to see what kind of a take they put on the character.

He might be in the upcoming Space Jam movie with LeBron James.

A lot of cartoons embody negative stereotypes. Foghorn Leghorn is arguably not a positive portrayal of Southeners and Pepe LePew is odiferous and has an antiquated view of consent issues - do they still show these?

Speedy Gonzales wears a sombrero (few modern Mexicans do), has a bad accent and IIRC a catchy or annoying song. “I’m here, I’m there, I’m everywhere. So beware.” The speed is in contrast to his slower friends and thus also is a stereotype. But at least he is usually the hero, though not to cats. There are probably more offensive things. Yo estoy hasta la madre / Que me pongan en sombrero…

But I am unqualified to determine how much a Mexican was, is, or should be offended by this, if at all. That’s not how it works. The Latino networks do show him. I do know lots of Indian friends who loved Apu and quoted him endlessly. But I can also see why some find him problematic (even though I think he is much more positive than not. Many disagree.)

The Mexicans I know adored the movie Coco. A more positive and realistic portrayal.