Saturday, August 16, 2008
Me: PingPing, come here, I want to show you a picture and tell me what you feel!
PP: I feel nothing. What’s the problem?
Me: Look well, this is the Spanish basketball team. The British and the American press say that the picture is racist.
PP: Racist? Is it because they are stepping on the dragon? I do not think they did it on purpose.
Me: No, it is not because of the dragon. Look at their eyes. They pretend they have slit eyes like Chinese
PP: They look cute.
Me: So, you do not find it offensive.
PP: No, it’s funny. Maybe, they should have stepped back a little bit in order not to step on the dragon.
This is the conversation I had yesterday with my wife, a mainland Chinese. I wanted to acid test whether Chinese felt offended with the picture or not. Clearly she did not feel offended at all. Her only remark was related to the Dragon, something that was not even noticed by the British and American press.
It is clear that Spaniards in general, and I have to include Catalans in the bucket too, lack cultural awareness. Someone in the advertising company should have realized that, in some countries, the picture would not be appreciated and it would be misinterpreted, but unfortunately, most Spaniards have a very simplistic and monocultural view of the world. But the level of racism in Spain is lower than in the anglo world. There is a lot of interest in Spain for China, its people and its culture. After USA, Spain the country with more adoptions in China. In Catalonia, I know many families with Chinese kids, the families adore them, they are great.
It is unfair for the British press to attack Spain for this ad. If the reaction had come from the Chinese, we should have apologized, but coming from the British, what the heck, aren't British notorious for their racism? Wherever they went, they either eliminated the local population (America) or segregated it (India, Africa). If by “accident” a mixed child was born, the child would no longer be Anglo, he/she will be the other race, even today, Obama is black, even if he is 50% Anglo-white.
Obviously, the objective of the Anglo press is to hurt Madrid candidacy for the Olympic games. If you want to know, I support Madrid’s candidacy full heartedly. I just hope that Catalonia will participate as an independent state.
The slit-eyed gesture is innocuous. How many times in China I have been called "gao bizi" (high nose – big nose), how many times people have hinted to me that the size of my nose most probably mimics the size of other appendices south of my belly button. I always smiled and I never sent a complaint to a British tabloid.