Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Spain Shows Its Racist Side... Again
Okay, so I'm married to a Spaniard. I'm Black. I wrote a book, Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain (due out March 4, 2008) about being Black in Spain and Spain's peculiar attitude and history with Black people.
So of course I have to comment about this latest incident of Spanish fans spouting racist taunts at Black Formula One driver, Lewis Hamilton. True confession, I know nothing about race car driving and what I do know is from watching Will Ferrell and Sacha Barron Cohen in Talledega Nights (very funny movie) so this is coming from the heart.
This SUCKS! It is ridiculous that in the year 2008 people in any country can dress up in blackface (yes they did! see photo above!) yell foul racist language in a crowd and feel that it is okay in the name of supporting your favorite race car driver. Hello? or Perhaps I should say, Hola? And don't forget Spaniards are not above throwing banana peels and making monkey noises during soccer matches when Black futbolistas come on the field. Por favor, people.
Time International writes a story about this latest incident and Spain's history of rabid, racist sports fans. You can read about it here
Being that my children are half Spanish and my husband still calls Spain home, I still have to figure out what to do with this information. Do I boycott any future trips to my husband's homeland? Do I keep going but wear Black in protest and refuse to speak to any of the locals? Probably not. Because there are still parts of Spain and Spanish culture that I love. And while many people may view these incidents and write off Spain as a Black spot of Europe (no pun intended) I have to remember to use some perspective.
If a Spaniard, or any other foreigner read about the Jena 6 tragedy or any number of racial profiling police brutality cases, they'd say America was a racist country as well. And we are! As is Spain. But as all of you know, despite the acts and attitudes of many Americans, this is still a country that in many ways embraces and celebrates diversity. I wouldn't say Spain celebrates diversity, but the people individually can be very welcoming and open-minded when it comes to racial differences...except in Sports!
So I will continue to go to Spain. And maybe my role there will be to be a cultural ambassador and knock some sense, I mean educate Spain's citizens about Black people, political correctness and well, just what is appropriate during a Formula One race.
Wish Me Luck.