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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-13-2008, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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That's Racist!

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/14/sp...hp&oref=slogin

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August 14, 2008
Sports of The Times
Should Spanish Insensitivity Be Punished?
By HARVEY ARATON

BEIJING

It took a few days for the Spanish slant-eye controversy to ignite as a hot topic here, albeit short of a raging bonfire. Which raises the question: If the Chinese aren’t terribly offended and are not blowing the whistle on the Spanish basketball team, can the offensive gesture be a case of no harm, no foul?

In a photo that was taken in a pre-Olympics advertisement for a courier company that sponsors the Spanish federation, Pau Gasol and friends, winners of the 2006 FIBA World Championship and strong medal favorites, posed with their index fingers pulling back the skin by the corner of their eyes.

This apparently was some corporate executive’s idea of a lighthearted gesture, or a dumb fraternity joke. The photo was published in a popular Spanish newspaper and predictably spread via the Internet. Blogs erupted, mostly outside China. A couple of newspapers — in Britain, of all centers of social sensitivity — called out the Spaniards.

Spain’s men’s team rallied to defeat the Chinese on Tuesday night in the best game of the basketball tournament and spent the next 24 hours trying to explain that it meant no disrespect, without sounding too convincing about just what it meant.

“Funny or something,” Gasol said.

José Calderon, the point guard who plays professionally in the N.B.A. for the Toronto Raptors, wrote on a Web site: “It seemed to us to be something appropriate and that it would always be interpreted as an affectionate gesture. I want to express that we have great respect for the Orient and its people.”

He signed off with a line that — based on the interpretive values of the typical American audience, at least — might have been better off stricken.

“Some of my best friends are of Chinese origin,” he wrote.

They may still be his friends, but they have to wonder how Calderon and the Spaniards could actually believe that mimicking a people’s physical characteristics could be intended as a show of solidarity and respect. These players are citizens of the global basketball community, which now stretches East to West. They should know better.

But what about here, in Beijing? Inside the basketball arena, there was booing Tuesday night. But on the court, the Chinese players, while extending heavily favored Spain to overtime, did not appear extraordinarily provoked.

Chinese Web sites have reported on the issue but without great energy or emotion. In my office Wednesday, the photo was shown to two Chinese staffers. Neither viewed it with surprise or disgust, but more with bewilderment.

An American I know who has spent much time here speculated that the Chinese reaction would naturally differ from that of Chinese people living in the West, where, as with any minority, they would understandably be more sensitive to such a display.

And then there is the prevalent perception that people here do not want to dwell too much on anything beyond the Olympics they have been waiting so long for, prepared for so lavishly and organized so well. They want attention focused on the athletes, on the architecture, on the hospitality, not on causes and controversies.

This being the Olympics, where every perceived antisocial slight is recorded and remembered, the Spaniards will have to carry the fallout of the photo around for a while, not unfairly. Context is important, though. There can be far worse demonstrations in the sporting arena, such as the Iranian swimmer who called in sick to his swimming heat, almost certainly to avoid getting into the pool with an Israeli.

That was a truly revolting development, a flagrant foul.



Are you offended?

Playful racial banter is everywhere. It's on here, it's at work, it's at the gas station, grocery store, sometimes in homes too!

So, do you think these guys were being funny? Is it a cultural thing with Spain? I know from experience that the Spanish and Basque cultures can be quite brash with a crude sense of humor. Many of the jokes my ex-father-in-law made were extremely mean, but what was I supposed to do? Tell him I was offended? No, I grew thicker skin because of it and learned not to live in a glass house. Very loving when the time came down to it, but if you got him talking politics and you are a fragile person, you best leave the room. I can't say he is one for all. During my visits accumulating only a month in the Northern region, known as the Basque Country, I was blown away by their friendly culture. Yes, two different cultures, but Spaniards were up there too, and they weren't the nicest bunch.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-13-2008, 09:22 PM
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That's racist!

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-13-2008, 09:24 PM
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Usually I think that people are WAY too sensitive. However, even though I'm not offended, I can see how this pic would make people mad.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-13-2008, 09:45 PM
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The Chinese basketball team should take the same photo but do a "reverse" chink eye's, I call all you guys "wide eyes" behind your backs anyway
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-13-2008, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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The Chinese basketball team should take the same photo but do a "reverse" chink eye's, I call all you guys "wide eyes" behind your backs anyway
Thought it was "round eye"
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-13-2008, 09:51 PM
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Thought it was "round eye"
either way






I mean ¦)
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-13-2008, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-13-2008, 10:17 PM
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-13-2008, 10:22 PM
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I agree that people can be hypersensitive about many things, but at what point in this photo-shoot was it decided that this was a good idea? Nothing good could be remotely taken from this, "good fun" or not. Even the photographer was rumored to have asked the team if they were sure they wanted this photo taken.

Spain is no stranger to high-profile racism issues.

Recently, the Spanish national futbol (soccer) coach (now coach of Turkish side Fenerbahce) called Thierry Henry (a black Frenchman) a black piece of sh1t and received what essentially amounted to a slap on the wrist.

At almost every La Liga futbol (soccer) venue, the black players are taunted with monkey noises and other blatant derogatory terms. Unfortunately, this isn't unique to Spain but Spain is known to be among the worst nations for this.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-13-2008, 11:12 PM
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I thought we already had this thread...
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-13-2008, 11:21 PM
 
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did you guys ever watch that dodgeball episode of south park???
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-14-2008, 07:49 AM
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Not racist.

Not funny.

Just dumb.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-14-2008, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
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I thought we already had this thread...
Didn't Ill_ag start this exact thread with the same exact title?


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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 07:49 AM Thread Starter
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Damn, I guess this was just too much for CLSB to handle.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 08:15 AM
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Didn't Ill_ag start this exact thread with the same exact title?


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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 08:17 AM Thread Starter
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There is no thread by ill_ag.
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