Mexican Riddles

Informant: My informant is my Mexican dad who grew up in Puebla, Mexico.

Main Piece: Soy negrito cuando me prenden me pongo rojito…que soy? 

Transliteration: I’m black when they catch me I wear red

Translation: I’m black when I light up, but then I turn red…What am I?

Context: This riddle can be present anywhere, but it mostly present whenever there are festivals or birthday parties. My dad learned this when he was in Mexico, and it was told to him by his friend during the 1980’s. The answer to this would be coal.

Analysis: I don’t know where exactly this riddle originates from, but I am more than sure that there has to be some racism or stereotyping to this kind of riddle. I believe this because based on the date in which it was told to my dad, that was when racism was pretty heavy in the U.S. In addition, it was also a times were the Latino community and the black community would come to find themselves to come clashing a lot to each other. Although, my dad is not aware of this, when he presents this riddle, he innocently believes that there is nothing wrong. Of course, if you don’t know history of the U.S, then yeah you are left in the clouds.