If you haven't been living under a rock for the past week and a half, you've already heard that athletes from around the world are competing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I have to say that I'm a huge fan of the summer and winter games, despite all the controversy of the games being held in China (insert complaint of Beijing Olympics here, human rights violations, lip-syncing cute Chinese girl, terrible tragedy cover-ups, fake fireworks displays, etc...) it has been quite interesting to watch. Golden boy, Michael Phelps achieving the impossible (shh, let's not talk about Mark Spitz reaction) has been amazing. Although my wife is not happy about all the world records being shattered due to the technology of the LZR racer swimsuits, she would just prefer them to wear the regular Speedos.
Also being able to watch the games in High Definition has been such a treat! The color, detail and resolution makes everything look better. I've been trying to get my son to watch, but since M is only 21 months old, it's been difficult to get him to be interested in it all. The only way it would hold his interest if one of the competitors was Thomas the Tank himself.
So with any Olympic games there's drama and controversy, but one thing I just can't believe is the perpetuation of stupidity and racism. Both Spanish basketball teams posed for this photo for a promotional ad to wish them good luck in the 2008 games. Was there no one among Spain's Basketball Federation to review the picture and say, "Hey wait, this isn't probably the best idea." Instead they said: "No wait, it's really funny and people around the world will think it's funny." Let's just say speaking from an Asian perspective, no laughing is going on here.
Do people perpetuate racial stereotypes because they don't perceive it as being harmful? At least that's how some of the players reacted. Well let this be a message to you, "IT IS HARMFUL AND PLEASE STOP!" I thought things like this would eventually die with time. Things that I grew up with in the school yard, incidences I would talk to my son about, but hope that he would never have to face. We call ourselves progressive and contemporary, but it's often disappointing to see examples like this. You might be interested to read about some of the player's comments here.