My recent Wall Street Journal article on the Detroit Institute of Arts mentions Diego Rivera. It’s not the first time I’d referred to the Mexican artist in the Journal. That would have been in 2001, when I wrote a story on a U.S. stamp bearing the image of Rivera’s one-time wife, the Stalin-loving artist Frida Kahlo:
There’s something to be said for U.S. postage that looks like America, even if it means a mild form of affirmative action in selecting people for stamphood. Yet Kahlo isn’t simply the first Hispanic woman on a stamp — she’s also the first avowed communist. …
By honoring Kahlo, the Postal Service demeans the millions of Latin American immigrants who have come here in search of freedom and opportunity. It also says that not a single Hispanic-American woman, going back to the days of the first Spanish settlers arriving in what is now New Mexico, deserves a spot on a stamp before this communist foreigner whose art wasn’t especially good.
If ever a stamp cried out for cancellation, it is this one.