Monday, August 11, 2008

Peking Muck

There were some very mixed reactions around our dinner table tonight when we discussed today's hot topic - a photo of Spain's Olympic basketball team posing with "slanted-eyes" for an advert that was run in Marca, a Spanish daily sports newspaper.

It appears that the media has done their best to get tongues wagging and turn what was meant to be an endearing gesture into a controversial issue...racism. I can only speak from my personal experiences, that while living in Spain, not once was I ever made to feel inferior or unwelcomed. In fact I was greeted with open arms and embraced with warm Spanish hospitality.

During our recent trip back to Mallorca, Jesee's cousin confessed that when he first met me at age ten, he was mesmerized by my "slanted-eyes" and physically gestures this to me when pulling back the skin on the side of his eyes. I did not find this offensive - it was lovable.

I do understand how this image can be misconstrued and it's really all about perspective. Being a first generation Canadian of Chinese parents and married to a Spaniard, we've experienced many cultural misinterpretations. Although it may appear to be in poor taste to some, I do not believe that it was intended to insult the host country. I cannot ignore my heritage; my first reactions of the photo before I even saw it were of disappointment, denial and defensiveness, but I got over that quickly.

I do believe the real crime here is, "Why would anyone think this was a good advertising campaign in the first place?"

Opinions are like colons; everyone has one and they're all full of shit.