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August 18, 2008
Remind me to take that visit to Madrid ...
... off my list of things to do before I die.
Really, I have no words. Well, I do have one:
i wouldn't damn the whole country because of one racist and completely tasteless incident. i still love the US and plenty of crap happens there (i am american, but not living in the country currently).
August 18, 2008 at 1:24 AM
As an Asian-American, even though I was put off by the pictures, what I found really deplorable was their refusal to apologize.
Pau Gasol said it was "absurd" that people thought it was racist and also gave one of those lame apologies that implied that the offended were somehow at fault: "I'm sorry if anybody thought or took it the wrong way and thought that it was offensive."
Reminds me of the schoolyard bully who when told to apologize for calling someone stupid pouts, "Fine. Sorry you're so stupid."
If, as Gasol and others claim, they meant no harm, then that's good enough for me. I'm not asking them to declare to the world that they're racist. I wouldn't think they were if as long as they acknowledge that they offended others (whether on purpose or accidentally) and apologized for it. Don't presume to tell me how I should feel about a racist gesture directed at me.
Anyways, great blog. I love that you're willing to deal so directly with the identity issues that affect your kids. I think a lot of Asian-Americans feel the effects as they get older if they neglect those issues early on. I think that's the case for me, anyway.
August 18, 2008 at 8:24 AM
Vega, I absolutely agree that the stupidity of a few shouldn't condemn an entire country.
But what different about this is that it was institutionalized. When you find a collection of photos all demonstrating the same behavior, and they had the approval of the governing bodies for those sports, something different is going on.
Additionally, those involved have tried to blow it off as harmless, and that demonstrates a lack of sensitivity to the issue.
So, although I agree with what you say, I don't think it applies here. This is a whole different ball game in my opinion.
August 18, 2008 at 9:28 AM
margie, so you think that there aren't any rotten things going on in the states in a more institutionalized setting? i'm not talking about racism (though i'm sure someone, somewhere could come up with some examples) necessarily, but what about, for instance, the school of the americas? i read a lot about US/latin american relations in college. unfortunately i'm afraid i have retained almost none of it, but what has stayed with me is a feeling of complete shame and disgust over US endorsed/supported actions in latin america.
to me it's the same.
August 18, 2008 at 4:21 PM
This might take a post to say, but I'll give it a shot here.
First, the issue in my post is racism, not institutionalized misbehavior in general. I'm not a political blogger, I blog about adoption and race as it impacts my family. Looking at the photos of those Spanish (and Argentine) teams, my thoughts went to what my kids might think if they saw the U.S. gymnastics team in such a pose, or the basketball team, or maybe Michael Phelps. And I believe the likelihood is smaller that we would see that in the U.S., given our history and sensitivity to race and racial issues.
I've written about racist incidents here in the US far more than I've written about them anywhere else, so by no means am I singling Spain out for criticism when I haven't done the same here. I just think what these athletes did was so beyond the pale of appropriate behavior that it has to be called.
Thanks for commenting, I do understand your point of view and appreciate it.
August 18, 2008 at 5:13 PM
margie, i hope you don't think i'm attacking you. i'm not, just puzzled as i have been reading your blog for a while now (2-3 years, maybe?), and this post surprised me. perhaps i've not been reading carefully enough.
i realize that you are not a political blogger. it was just an example of something that disgusts me. just like racism does. maybe i don't get it because i don't feel impassioned about any one aspect of humanity's shortfalls. i don't know. i wish i was more eloquent at this type of thing, but i have a hard time getting my thoughts together and my point across.
it makes me sad to see someone condemn a whole country like that. there are idiots everywhere. it's just...i don't know. i wonder if you are being blinded a bit by your passion, and i can't help thinking it's a bit like saying all muslims are extremists because of a few terrorists.
i know that comparison is going to rub you the wrong way. i know you don't think that way about muslims. but you are condemning a whole group of people because of the actions of a few.
August 19, 2008 at 12:39 AM
Vega, no worries about attack, I don't feel you're attacking at all.
I'd ask that you consider that what I said here is that Spain wouldn't be high on my list of places to go anymore, knowing how easily such public figures fell into racist behavior. This doesn't mean I condemn the Spanish people - I neither said nor believed that. But I would think twice about traveling there.
Do the Saudis and the Spanish have the right to do what they want? Yes, indeed. But everyone has the same right to decide if they want to be subjected to it or not. That's my point here.
Also, please leave room for a little snark - although I don't go that route too often, once in awhile it seems to fit the bill. It did for me here, because I believe nations need to pay attention to what the world is saying about them. Hopefully the many Spanish who DO oppose this kind of racist behavior are taking note and action to make sure it doesn't happen again. And candidly, if the Spanish teams that did this had shown an iota of remorse, this post would have looked different. Their attitude as much as the photos themselves give me pause - the old "well too bad if YOU'RE offended, I didn't mean it that way" thing that just doesn't fly anymore because everyone know it's just racism in whitewash. Think about it a bit from the perspective of white privilege and my point may be clearer.
I submitted a post to ARP that I hope they'll run that explains a little more what I'm trying to say. And I really do appreciate your thoughts. This is a good discussion, and I hope it continues over there.
August 19, 2008 at 8:01 AM
ah, well, i did totally miss any intended snarkiness! sorry!
i am acutely aware of my position of white privilege. i'm always over-analyzing my reactions to race issues because of this.
do you have a right to be offended? good lord, of course you do! it was offensive. should the spanish team, and anyone else who doesn't understand what all the hullaballoo is about, be educated and reprimanded? of course they should!
but it is extremely important not to lose sight of the big picture (the big cheezy picture in my mind being world peace, love, and harmony). that photo does not appear to have come from a place of hatred, but ignorance. a HUGE difference in my book. that doesn't mean you can't be offended and protest, but it should be a guide for your reaction.
anyway. i'll just leave it at that, though i do have other very jumbled thoughts about culture, and viewing the world through american-colored glasses.
August 20, 2008 at 4:03 PM
That's pitiful. I can't believe it was published anywhere. Sad enough that they did it, but weird that it was published. It makes the Spanish look like idiots, really doing nothing negative for the Chinese (that's how I tend to see most racist acts). Really, I'm shocked it was published.
No apology? Guess they are okay looking stupid.
I hate that I don't understand, truly, how this stuff will affect my daughter. I just can't really get it.
August 20, 2008 at 9:09 PM
I talked with my 17-year-old daughter about it, and she was appalled. Our kids are watching, and they feel the insult.
August 21, 2008 at 1:26 PM
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