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Is this photograph racist? August 12, 2008

Posted by Daniel Martin in General.
Tags: , ,

I am posting an article published in The Guardian referring to a commercial made by the Spanish basketball team. In the picture below you can see the players posing and making slit-eyes gestures. The article claims that this may be considered racist behaviour. The article also makes reference to unfortunate episodes of racism from Spaniards at sports events. What’s your opinion?

Olympics: Spain’s eye-catching faux pas

Spain basketball team

The Spanish basketball team pose for an advertisement. Photograph: Public domain

Spain’s Olympic basketball teams have risked upsetting their Chinese hosts by posing for a pre-Games advert making slit-eyed gestures. The advert for a courier company, which is an official sponsor of the Spanish Basketball Federation, occupied a full page in the sports daily Marca, the country’s best-selling newspaper.

The advert features two large photographs, one of the men’s basketball team, below, and one of the women’s team. Both squads pose in full Olympic kit on a basketball court decorated with a picture of a Chinese dragon. Every single player appears pulling back the skin on either side of their eyes. The advert carries the symbol of the sport’s governing body.

No one involved in the advert appears to have considered it inappropriate nor contemplated the manner in which it could be interpreted in China and elsewhere. No offence was intended by the advert, but whether the Chinese see it that way is a different matter and it is likely to provoke more criticism at a delicate time for Spanish sport. The failure to recognise the potential consequences is striking in the light of the problems Spain has had with issues of race and the Spanish Olympic committee’s continued desire to host the Games in Madrid in 2016 or 2020.

In the past the Spanish have been left in no doubt as to the sensitivity of racial issues internationally, especially since Spain’s football manager, Luis Aragonés, made his infamous remark about Thierry Henry, monkey chants greeted England’s football players in a friendly game in Madrid and the formula one driver Lewis Hamilton was subjected to abuse in Barcelona.



1. palbaro - September 14, 2008


2. Mar - August 19, 2008

I agree, -all- expressions of racism should be always comdemned, and we should also see a picture as big as possible.

3. rafa - August 12, 2008

Absolutely not! What a nonsense! I think the intention of this advertisement is completely opposed to racism.
On the other hand Spanish people are not racist, however as in a big country there are stupid people, and also there are people who make mistakes, but as a general rule, Spanish people are sensible with this problem, and we always try to help people fron other countries who are in trouble…. Once again: we are not racist…. of course not!

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