Chinky-Eyed Mistake

Praise God for the Olympics. There are so many illustrations to choose from, it is truly a preacher’s banquet to feast upon.
 
 
Spain's B-Ball Team and Slanty Eyes.jpg
 
 
 
If you look at this picture carefully, you will realize that the Spain’s Olympic basketball team is posing by making slit-eyes with their fingers. Wow! And this is the year 2008.

Obviously, this has upset the Chinese host in Beijing, but more than that it has offended a lot of Asian people. This picture, along with the women’s basketball team (making the same gestures) were in the full page sports section of Spain’s best-selling newspaper.

In the Guardian newspaper’s report, it states, “No one involved in the advert appears to have considered it inappropriate nor contemplated the manner in which it could be interpreted in China and elsewhere. No offence was intended by the advert, but whether the Chinese see it that way is a different matter and it is likely to provoke more criticism at a delicate time for Spanish sport. The failure to recognise [sic] the potential consequences is striking in the light of the problems Spain has had with issues of race and the Spanish Olympic committee’s continued desire to host the Games in Madrid in 2016 or 2020.”

Wait a minute.

Of course those involved in the advertisement didn’t “considered it inappropriate nor contemplated the manner in which it could be interpreted in China and elsewhere.” The reason is because they are focused on themselves and did not consider what an Asian person would have felt if they saw the picture.

This is the problem with race relations and even prejudice. A lot of times, we are not able to see beyond our own culture and our own comforts. This is why at HMCC, we are trying to teach the principle of “transculturalism.” Being transcultural simply means that it is “a decision to go through discomforts and difficulties in order to develop understanding and delight in people from a different culture.” It is not just a race issue but it even goes down to things like differences in personality and preferences. It is really learning how to think ourselves less and love people more.

Only a true understanding of the Gospel can bring this kind of transformation of the heart.