The “Mexican” statue: Racist, Tacky or Funny?

I’m not a fan of lawn ornaments in general as they clutter the landscaping, but people around here seem to love yard decorations of all varieties. There’s one house we pass that keeps a melange of stone pigs on their front walk. They even go to the trouble of dressing them up for different holidays, which I have to admit, I find amusing.

Stone pigs aside, I usually don’t pay too much attention to people’s yard decorations, but last night we passed by one that was hard to ignore.

I made my husband go back and drive by again so I could get a photo. Luckily he’s used to such locuras and didn’t even question me. One summer it was my quest to photograph a cow that liked to wade into a little pond, but every time the cow was in there, I didn’t have my camera – and every time I had my camera, the cow was out in the field. One day my husband came home from work saying, “The cow’s in the water! Come on!” I grabbed my camera and we rushed over there and I got my photo.

Anyway, this was not a cow in a pond we stopped to photograph this time. As you can see, it is a man in a sombrero accompanied by a burro. The statues reminded me of the episode of George Lopez, when a neighbor put similar lawn decorations in his yard and they smashed them because they found them offensive.

¿Qué opinas tú?

Are the statues racist, tacky, or funny? Does the intent of the people who put up the statues matter? Does the race of the statue owners change your opinion? What if these statues were in front of a Mexican restaurant rather than in someone’s yard?


  1. An artist friend of mine (who is Chicano) used to collect these things and kept them on the back patio. He thought it was a hysterical parody and comment on society. I’ve seen these things on the yards of my relatives in Mexico. The sentiment has always been one of humor, especially towards the ones of the guy who is sleeping as he leans against a saguaro, better known as el pendejo que esta dormido. More self humor.

    I have to admit it’s a double standard, like a lot of cultural and racial things. I don’t like seeing these things in white suburban neighborhoods but I see them quite a bit in Mexican neighborhoods. And yes, we’re specifically Mexican here in AZ.

    I also know of another Chicano friend of mine who once bought a black lawn jockey statue and painted him white with freckles and even painted the hair red to look more like Howdy Doody. Damn, I wish I still had that picture!

    • @ Joe – Thanks for the comment. You always have such interesting things to say! LOL. Too bad my husband and I don’t live out west or we’d meet you for dinner some time. The conversation would be such fun!

  2. I think lawn statues are tacky. ALL of them. Though this is my preference for my lawn, not anyone else’s. My sister also thinks lawn statues are tacky, especially pink flamingos. That’s why I buy pink flamingos all year and when she is away on vacation I set them all around her yard.

    Really though, if a white person sets them in their yard, someone might consider it a derogatory statement. If a latino person sets them in their yard, no one gives it a second thought. Double standard, certainly.

  3. I think lawn ornaments are to decorate the yard, give it life. I can’t imagine any of my relatives being horribly offended by this.

  4. I think lawn ornaments speaks volumes about what kind of person lives in that house. I think the more creative and charming an ornament seems, the more creative and charming the owner. That being said, I have two little lighthouses in my flower beds. That’s it. And who is more creative and charming than me? LOL! Okay, my theory doesn’t wash…

    The ones I cannot stand are the plastic deer that people put on their lawns. Good lord, those are obnoxious!

    • @ Heartinhand – The deer bother me less than some of the other ones for some reason. My Mom used to have 2 plastic Canadian geese and we used to pose them crudely to mess with her. LOL.

  5. I think it’s hilarious and very kitsch! If this were in a hipster’s lawn in Los Angeles it would be considered an installation!
    Where can I get one??!!

    • @ Ana – LOL, I have no idea, but I imagine garden stores out on the west coast must have them in abundance?

  6. I see the majority of these little statues in Mexican Import stores around here. My mom always bought little piggy banks of this genre across the border. So, it’s a conspiracy by our Mexican relatives to sell kitsch to Chicanos and Gavachos and see who gets offended, pissed off or confused.

    Personally, i like the marionettes with a pistol in one hand a bottle of tequila in the other hand.

  7. Please allow me to comment in spanish. Los mexicanos hemos aprendido a tomar con humor nuestras diferentes situaciones (la muerte, la politica, el deporte) y lo aceptamos como parte de la cultura. however, si el comentario viene de alguien ajeno a nuestra cultura es diferente. Yo pienso ke no llega a ser TACKY, pero ciertamente no es FUNNY. y si, es un poco RACIST. Pero creo ke podemos vivir con eso . . .

    • @ Nestor – Sí, por favor siempre estas bienvenido a comentar en cualquier idioma que quieras. Aprecio que compartiste su opinión. Es interesante ver cómo diferentes personas ven la misma cosa. Gracias por tomarte el tiempo de comentar.

  8. I came on to this site to actually find some of those lawn ornaments to decorate my yard with. I am white living in Georgia. I think they are really cool looking and will give my yard some really nice color. If you actually take offense to them I think you need to get a life. Everyone is too damn sensitive now days.

  9. My Mexican grandfather, Pedro, kept one in his yard since before I was born ’til he passed away a little while back. He loved the burro and the little man. He even repainted them every other year or so. If I were to put one in the yard, it would be for Pedro–as a kind of remembrance of my grandfather.

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