Just take a look at this picture:
Here is the actual ad that was published in the Spanish Marca newspaper
Need I say more? Something like this would not occur on this side of the planet. It would just create a huge furor. However, the members of the Spanish team are still defending themselves. Look at what Jose Manuel Calderon said, according to Elmundo.es:
“José Manuel Calderón, uno de los emblemas de la selección, explica en su blog en elmundo.es que fue un guiño del patrocinador, algo que creían apropiado y cariñoso. Por eso, es tajante: “Quien quiera interpretar algo diferente, se confunde absolutamente”. “Resulta que en la sesión fotográfica de la presentación de nuestro equipo, uno de nuestros patrocinadores nos pidió que posásemos y que, como un ‘guiño’ a nuestra participación en Pekín, lo hiciésemos con una expresión oriental en los ojos. Nos pareció algo apropiado y que sería siempre interpretado como un gesto cariñoso”, explica Calderón. “Sin embargo, algunos medios de comunicación europeos no lo han visto así”, lamenta el base de Villanueva de la Serena.
Calderón restó cualquier mínimo tinte racista en el gesto y manifestó su “gran respeto por Oriente y sus gentes”. El extremeño puso como ejemplo su gran relación personal con varios amigos chinos en Toronto y recordó que la marca deportiva china Li Ning viste a la selección española, como uno de sus patrocinadores.”
Something endearing and warmth? Caca de toro, my dear Calderon. And on top of that you say that some of your friends are Chinese? Didn’t I hear that some place before? “I am not a racist because I have [fill-in the blank] as my friends.” Racism is something inside your spirit and no matter how many excuses you have, it is what it is. An acceptance and apology would have ended this episode. Instead, by trying to make excuses about it only makes the issue worse. Madrid, you may have lost your Olympic bid.
[8/13/08 NOT TO DRAG THIS SUBJECT TO DEATH, BUT I WILL, IT IS MY BLOG – So, I’ll repost this response from someone in another blog. For a second I thought that I was too sensitive:]
I’m an adopted Asian American who studied abroad in Spain for 6 months. In my experience, I noticed a high level of aggressive racism towards both blacks and Asians and came to a couple interesting conclusions.
Spain was fascist for many years under Franco’s rule and was a culturally and ethnically closed country. Only in recent years has Spain seen an influx of non-white people groups in their nation. Of those immigrants there are most notably black men from Morocco who have come to the country who are poor, marginalized and usually turn to petty crime (selling ripped DVDs on the street) and Asian small business owners who have restaurants and massage parlors, who are also extremely marginalized with the language barrier. I don’t want to overgeneralize but I did see a trend.
The immigrants have struggled in their move and are usually of a lower socioeconomic level which can bring on negative connotations to the Spanish citizens.
Have Spaniards only seen negative images of blacks and asians in their country, and should it be a reason to be racist? Absolutely not, but I think it does contextualize their awful and ignorant behavior.
I left Spain with a really sour taste in my mouth. I was accosted and put down day after day all across the country but most specifically in Madrid. My two black friends, both from the states, also experienced the same level of overt racism. I hope Spain can realize that it is under scrutiny by the world with these images and take responsibility for their ignorance.
One final note is that I made a sad observation while I lived there. Even the young children called me “cheena,” made slant eyes, called me a rat and and yelled taunts in the streets. If spain were developing a conscience about racism you would think that younger generations would become more tolerant and open minded to different kinds of people; however, the bigotry is widespread through all generations which doesn’t give me much hope for their future. — Posted by Megan