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Is making a slitty-eyed gesture racist?

Is making a slitty-eyed gesture racist?

Spanish basketball team pictured with slitty-eyed gesture

To recap, the Spanish basketball team pose for a pre-Olympic-Games advert making slit-eyed gestures in one of Spain’s major newspapers. Freelance Madrid-based journalist Sid Lowe points this out in the Guardian, spreading the story everywhere else with predictable outrage in English-speaking media.

To which the Spanish wonder what the fuss is about. The Spanish-language paper El Mundo debates whether the advert was racist, and accuses the British press of trying to smear Spain’s good name. One Spanish basketballer apologises, saying “It’s wrong to interpret it as racist.”, while the head coach says “I don’t think it was offensive”.

Now, brilliantly, the original journalist who filed the report has filed a piece defending himself against accusations that he had a hidden agenda, pointing out that he never said it was racist. Of course, if you see someone carrying an umbrella, you don’t wonder if it’s raining or not.

Oh, and here’s the Spanish tennis team making a similar gesture. Interestingly, a random sampling of Chinese people in Beijing suggests they aren’t that bothered – but then they don’t have the history of racial harassment.

Be careful of what you put up on Flickr…

Be careful of what you put up on Flickr…

reappropriate.com has the very interesting story of how one goofy posed-for picture at a church barbecue in America became the centrepoint for a slightly racist campaign for Virgin Mobile Australia.

Of course the media is "institutionally racist" !

Of course the media is "institutionally racist" !

There’s been a bit of furore in the UK media after the chief of the Metropolitian police accused the media of racism, specifically reporting/hyping certain crimes more if white victims were involved, as opposed to non-white victims.

Why this comes as a surprise, I don’t know. Victims of crime who aren’t generic “pretty blondes” don’t really get covered in any depth, unless there’s another sensational aspect.

Hell, look at the perennial story of A-level students and their results. Pictures illustrating that tend to be of pretty female blonde students collecting their results. You hardly see any dark-haired women collecting their results, let alone non-white people.

Hell, when the national newspaper of Wales publishes an article headlined However much I love my gay friends, I don’t want them running the country, the problem isn’t just with racism. It’s sexism, homophobia, everything.

In other words, the media, the police, and everyone else are as institutionally racist as society itself. And until society accepts that it is genuinely racist in its thinking, nothing is really going to change.

qwghlm makes this point in a tad more detail than I do, but hey I’ve been busy and snowed under.

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