Some disturbing photographs have peeled the eyes off of Internet readers over the last few days as the Asian “slit-eye” gesture has made the news. The first image to hit the eye was this one of the Spanish basketball team in Beijing mocking the “slit-eyes” of their host nation:
That awful image was quickly usurped by this image of the Spanish women’s tennis team:
The Argentina women’s soccer/football team was also photographed making the “slit-eye” gesture in Beijing while wearing their Coca-Cola team shirts:
Do you find the “slit-eye” gesture insulting or funny?
Are these teams racist, or are they merely saluting, in a rather sad way, the distinctive, stereotypical, shape of their Asian counterparts’ eyes?
Is this sort of mocking humor part of their culture?
What amazes me the most is the dialogue that might’ve taken place in the posing of the images…
“Okay, so everyone? Index fingers ready? Place them next to your eyes and pull back to your ears where the sun don’t shine. Harder. Harder! Goooood.”
“Umm… you on the left… you aren’t pulling back hard enough. Yes. Right. Make a slit! They’re slanty-eyed, you know! Most excellent! Say ‘cheese!'”
“You there! You aren’t smiling enough as you pull! Fight through the pain. You’re an Olympian, ya know! That’s better, but I don’t think the upside-down-hands-with-thumbs-pulling-back is giving us enough slant. We have masking tape if you need help holding the slit still.”
Let’s hope these teams will be able to learn from the international exposure of their behavior just how their taste in humor damages the performer so much more than the intended mark.