I am well aware that during the Summer Olympics, what should be focused on are the sporting events taking place. This, however, does not sit well with me.
The Spanish National basketball team was recently photographed with their fingers pulling their eyes back in order to resemble Chinese or Asian people. This has obviously offended many people, but Spain somehow does not seem to see the big deal. Many on the team have already said "this was not meant to offend," and "we don't understand why this is being so talked about," and other statements of that nature. Then what the heck was it meant to do?
The Olympic Games are about unity; from the opening ceremonies to the symbol of the unified rings, the Games are representing a world as one, competing with one another. It is a time when you can get away from the growing problems that the world faces, and hope that the world can take a page from the Olympics and coexist peacefully.
Those reasons, Spain, are why there is so much controversy surrounding the basketball photo. I ask again what it was actually trying to accomplish if it was not meant to offend? Was it a compliment in some way? Was it a sick joke? The "it wasn't meant to offend" answer tells us nothing.
As we all read more about this story, we are enlightened to the fact that this is not the first racially charged issue associated with Spain. There have been publicized incidents involving a Spanish soccer coach and comments made about Thierry Henry, as well as an F-1 driver being racially ridiculed in Barcelona. Spain's recent track record is not helping them in this situation.
What did they do for the Atlanta games? Did they wear cowboy hats and grill on the 4th of July, because we are all American cowboys? Did they get into Kangaroo pouches for the Sydney Games? Those types of things do not seem very acceptable either, now do they?
Do not get me wrong here, this is not an article meant to bash Spain and their basketball players because, as a matter of fact, I lived in Madrid earlier this year for 4 months and loved it. I am also in no way saying "when I lived there, I saw these types of actions firsthand," because that is a generalized and foolish statement saying that the whole country is racist, which is simply not true. Actions such as this, however, really have to make you wonder how far the world has come, and how much farther we need to go.