Update: Miley Cyrus [Hannah Montana] is still very young. No need to slam her for her slanted eyes photos but we should slam the slanted eyes gestures. Why? Because we don’t want 50 million teens around the world to think that slanting your eyes is affectionate. Nothing is more scary that a Hannah Montana with 16,000 fans slitting their eyes. Right?
I’ve received several emails this past week asking why I was making such a big deal in an earlier post of the photos of the Spanish Men’s AND Women’s Olympic Basketball Teams. I suppose we have to agree to disagree.
I’m in no position to judge any of the individuals or players involved as racists. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and I certainly do in this situation; Truthfully, I also really like Pau Gasol and Jose Calderon as NBA players…I intend to draft both of them for my fantasy basketball teams in the upcoming season. But having said that, I have no problems with calling the ACT racist. While the intent may have been to demonstrate an “affectionate gesture,” let’s make this very clear: slitting or slanting your eyes is NOT an affectionate gesture. You don’t mock physical appearance because you think it’s affectionate.
For example, when was the last time you saw someone do this as an “affectionate gesture?”
Slitting or slitting your eyes has been used historically in the past and present as a way to mock, offend, and degrade Asians locally and globally. And if we don’t make a big deal of this and other instances, it will continue to not only occur but be perceived by some as acceptable.
Not only will it be the basketball teams that will do this, but before you know it, others might start doing it too because folks aren’t making a big deal about it…and thus, giving off the impression that it’s acceptable to perpetuate such “affectionate” racist stereotypes.
The latest photo to emerge shows Spanish women tennis players pulling the pose, apparently in anticipation of their Federation Cup match against China in April.
Pictures of the Spanish men’s and women’s basketball teams making the gesture, a crude impersonation of Chinese people, were published in adverts in Spanish newspapers earlier this week…
The photo is still visible on the official website of the Spanish Tennis Federation, where it was spotted. The original is captioned “Estamos preparados para China”, which translates as “We are prepared for China”.
Now, let’s be clear. Labeling all Spanish people as racists is the most idiotic and nonsensical response and judgment a person can make. And as I shared above, I can’t speak directly and authoritatively to the individuals involved. I’m not about to call any player, official, or photographer a RACIST but I have no hesitation whatsoever to call these gestures racist–even if they say their intent was otherwise.
So, let’s not mince words or stutter to defend the actions. They hurt, offend, and degrade all who are created with beautiful Asian eyes – just as God intended. I don’t want to boast here so perhaps, I should boast in my Creator. God made my eyes beautiful. Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.
I encourage each of you to be convicted and enboldened to speak up against any and all forms of prejudice. I was reminded again that this stuff doesn’t just happen with “other” folks across the world, but it happens regularly in our neighborhoods [h/t Joseph]:
Then, I was just shocked.
*At the end my bus ride, I got off at my stop and starting walking home. A young teenager on a skateboard rode by, took one look at me, and with two fingers pulled back the skin by his eyes, imitating the familiar taunt I used to receive as a child, and laughed. As he rolled on, he took about four more looks back at me and repeated the gesture, each time smiling.
I just stared at him in shock, not really knowing what to do. Then I was a bit angry. Then, I was just sad.
*Just last night, my friend got caught up in the middle of a fight that had started out as a result of an argument about race that escalated. He may have been targeted because of his ethnicity, as he stepped in trying to protect a friend, who was outnumbered. He has the swollen eye and a few face contusions to show for it.