13 August 2008

Advertising Stupidity

The Spanish Team is finding itself at the centre of a racism row as a photo has emerged of the whole team seemingly slanting their eyes. In this politically correct world that we live in this is undoubtedly going to be viewed as racist even if the intent was not to be so.

The ad was for a courier company. However, what is interesting is that the Spanish basketball team has just signed a four-year deal with a Chinese shoe company, Li Ning Footwear.

My question would be, "Why didn't anyone associated with this shot consider how it might be deemed racist?"

Stupid is as stupid does!


Ally said...

Who/What is a racist? I like to describe a typical character(s) of a group of people or a person. Would it make me a racist?

Rob Baiton said...


This is the thing. When I was a kid the idea of slanting your eyes was a means of making fun of my Chinese friends. Among kids I do not know whether this should be classed as harmless fun or as racism.

I guess the uproar with this picture is that if the gesture is to make fun of others then perhaps it crosses the line.

I can make a distinction between trying to describe typical characteristics of a group of people and mocking a group of people with regards to that very same characteristic.

If nothing else the photo is case of very bad timing.


GJ said...

Don't read too much into this, the shoot was a little noisy so the guys tried to block their ears with their fingers but missed. Much like most of their shots on goal!!!!!!!!!!!

Rob Baiton said...


They are basketballers so I would have thought they were trying to get their balls into and through a ring!

GJ said...

If I was homophobic I wouldn't comment on putting your balls in a ring!!! Lucky you gets another comment Cheers.

Ally said...


"I guess the uproar with this picture is that if the gesture is to make fun of others then perhaps it crosses the line."

So, making fun of others is not a proper thing to do... hmmmm...

"If nothing else the photo is case of very bad timing."

Why very bad timing? Isn't it now the time people talk about China?

Rob Baiton said...


It seems that you want to bait me into a further response. So, here it is.

The pulling of one's eyes into a slant to make fun of a particular trait of the Chinese can be construed as racist, and is racist in my mind, even if the intent was not there from those caught in the picture doing it. I think that the picture was a moment of stupidity. I am sure that you disagree though.

I am sure that if you are smart enough to have found my blog then you would also have done some other preliminary research and found that the gesture is considered to be racist.

Nevertheless, if you feel the need to do it to describe the characteristic then go for it. I would be interested to see how you go about describing the individual characteristics of people with down syndrome for instance.

Bad timing in the sense that perhaps this would not have been a story if the Olympics were not being held in Beijing, or that the Spanish team was not sponsored by a Chinese footwear company, I can see this as bad timing and believe it to be so.

To each their own if you think that mocking people regarding their race is funny, then who am I to tell you that your wrong. I guess it is a case of different strokes for different folks!

But hey, that is life. We will just have to agree to disagree on this one. I think it is racist, but that is just me. If you or others find it to be good humor and fun, then so be it.

Enjoy the coming weekend.

Ally said...

A long response Rob... Thanks for taking me seriously ;)

I understand your objection on this case.
Only, I wonder if making fun about religion or other stuffs would make you laugh or feel irritated. Or is there any difference with racism?

For me, just having some fun can be fun. Many times it will ask a victim ;)

Anonymous said...

You're right Rob. This is a very racist gesture

This brings bad memories of my childhood when my classmates slanted their eyes to make fun of me because I was the only Chinese descent kid in the whole school and you know the drill - even in the modern day Indonesia

Apparently, it's a universal tease.

It's not fun for those who get bullied/teased, no matter how funny it looks like.

Rob Baiton said...


To be honest, when I saw the picture I laughed. I laughed not because I thought it was funny but I was laughing at the stupidity of taking the shot.

There is humor in religion as there is in race and other things. However, if it is mocking in nature then I generally have a problem with whatever it is.

Writer One...

universal indeed.