responses to the spanish basketball teams' chink-eye photo

Here's the Organization of Chinese Americans' joint press releaase with the Comittee of 100 speaking out against the Spanish basketbal teams' chink-eyed photo pose, which hit mainstream attention this week. As you can probably guess, they are offended:
OCA & C-100 Find Spanish Olympics Basketball Team's Photo Offensive
Washington, DC & New York, NY – OCA and the Committee of 100, two national organizations serving the Asian Pacific American and Chinese American community, join forces to speak out against the Spanish men's Olympics basketball team's slanted eye photo.

"The photograph is offensive to people of Asian and Chinese descent. It was a poor decision for these professional athletes to make this historically denigrating gesture and it was a poorer decision for the team sponsor and the Spanish paper to put it in print," said OCA National President Ginny Gong. "And it is disturbing that neither the Olympic athletes nor their sponsors have adequately apologized for their decisions."

Despite a worldwide uproar over the image, Spanish basketball player Jose' Manuel Calderon, who plays for the NBA's Toronto Raptors, stated that the photograph and the gesture were "something appropriate and that it would always be interpreted as somewhat loving."

"Even if this image was produced without any ill will, its effects are still damaging," said C-100 Chairman General John L. Fugh (U.S. Army – Ret.). "It affects individuals of Chinese descent, as well as others of Asian descent who also have experienced the same mockery, and it also affects the relationships among communities and nations."

George C. Wu, OCA's Deputy Director added: "as Asian Pacific Americans support the U.S. Olympic athletes, many of whom are Asian Pacific Americans, it is disturbing to OCA that Spain's basketball team would introduce such offensive and divisive imagery into the Olympics. Highly regarded NBA players like Pau Gasol and Calderon need to also understand that these gestures are often associated with bullying and taunting in schools and are harmful to the communities that support their teams."

OCA and C-100 will continue to monitor both the actions of the participants in the Olympics and the media coverage of the Olympics to ensure that this type of imagery or rhetoric does not negatively impact race relations in the United States.
More than the photo, what bugs me is Spain's basketball players' insistence that the gesture is not in any way meant to be offensive or insulting. Here's a great column from the Los Angeles Times' Bill Plaschke, who hits the nail on the head in regards to why Pau Gasol and his teammates' response to their racial slight is unacceptable: Plaschke points a finger at Gasol.

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