Answering Questions Since 2006.
This doesn't surprise me at all. Being part Brazilian I remember the eternal rivalry between these two countries in soccer. The Argentinean press is known to call Brazilians "monkeys" due to the fact that most of the players in the Brazilian National Team are black.If a newspaper is willing to print a headline saying "Que vengan los macacos!" ("Let the monkeys come!") I understand it's quite fair to assume that some sort of racism exist in that country, euphemistically speaking.However, what's amazing to me is that over 56% of the Argentinean population has some degree of Amerindian mix in their blood, so making fun of Asians shouldn't be kosher in that country de mierda.Does this guy have to slant his eyes to look Asian? For those who're not into soccer, he's Diego Armando Maradona, one of the best players in history. And he's Argentinean.
Hmmm, this only goes to show that for better or worse, the U.S. is the best place to live for us "minorities." Not to say that racism doesn't exist here, but at least people are held liable (most of the time, anyway) for doing offensive sh*t like this. BTW, where are the women soccer players in the photo? All I see are Argentinian dudes. :)
I think this is an American thing to be offended by the eye thing. Makes sense considering the history of Asians being a minority and having the slant-eye thing used to mock them since they were in school. But it's hardly strong racism, and I find the suggestion that it reveals some deep-seated racist tendency to be a bit rich. When I was teaching in Korea, my students did the slant-eye thing all the time, just cause it was funny and they didn't have the ridiculous racial identity baggage that Asian Americans are staddled with. And some did the round-eye thing too. I just turned my top eyelids inside out to freak the hell out of them.
"But it's hardly strong racism, and I find the suggestion that it reveals some deep-seated racist tendency to be a bit rich."Torm,I could not disagree more with your comment. Growing up in the U.S. as a Korean American, I know for fact that the slanted-eye mockery IS an indication of "deep-seated racist tendency." It is the quickest and easiest way the perpetrators to express the hate/contempt that they harbor for Asians, and is often followed by other verbal and/or physical taunts and insults. I'm not a sociologist, so I don't know if the "eye thing" is just an American phenomenon, but I don't doubt that most (if not all) Asians living abroad are offended by it and that it cuts more deeply than the perpetrators or casual observers realize. Maybe it is not offensive at all to the White Americans, Europeans and South Americans, but it is not for them to decide what is/is not racist and offensive. If a large majority of a group of people find certain actions or words racist because they insult the very core of their being, then it is racist and no one outside should pass judgment on it. A standup comedian cannot tell his/her audience what is/isn't funny. The audience has to decide for itself.
I appreciate that I can never truly understand the way the guesture makes an Asian person feel. But I think the reaction has a lot to do with background. If I, a big fat longnosed white guy, did the slant-eye thing to an Asian-American, the reaction would be shock, anger, strong offense. And fair enough. But I can't see the average Chinese or Korean really giving a rats about it. I mean, its not much of an insult anyway.It seems like Group A (the team) did something motivated out of affection for Group B (the Chinese) that happens to be a specific cultural artifact that is a direct attack on Group C (the Asian American community). Neither Group A nor Group B really have the same perception of the artifact, but Group C sees it as a universal symbol of animosity and disrespect and demand an apology from Group A. Possibly leading to a small loss of face for Group B which they might be more concerned about anyway. The fact that I'm not Asian means its true, I can't know how much it hurts or affects an Asian person. But I'm not going to be wishy-washy. To assert that a particular guesture has a certain meaning or intent behind it, even removed from the culture in which it originated, smacks of cultural imperialism.That said, I'd like to hear from some ethnic Asian South Americans about whether the slant-eyed thing carries the same weight, and from some Chinese to find out if they actually cared. I couldn't find much about it in Asian newspapers though I'm gonna try and tackle the Asian blogosphere.
Fellas,Please move this debate to the post above. Thanks.
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