martes, 28 de octubre de 2008

Counter-racism?

During the last months (or even years) many accusations of racism have fallen upon Spain. We've heard about Aragonés, about fans in Montmeló circuit, about basketball Olympic players, and more recently about Atletico de Madrid fans and Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Much debate has been carried on, mostly with Spaniards defending themselves and the rest of the world attacking them.

Spaniards would excuse saying Spanish character is different. In Spain it's common to mock about others' looks. They do it openly, and those who "suffer" the mock don't usually take it seriously; it's considered just a joke, maybe a hard and bitter one, but a joke after all. However, the most characteristic thing of points of view is that every one has one of its own, and people outside Spain aren't an exception.

What in Spain is seen as a harmless joke seems totally unacceptable when it goes out of her boundaries. Many examples (1, 2, 3, just to cite some) show how outrageously the international press is banning Spanish behaviour. Such a difference can't come simply from a different point of view, one might think, and hence there's a problem in either side.

According to The Independent the problem is Spaniards aren't well educated on racist issues yet; they just don't get it. It's not that they want to be racist, it's simply they don't know how to behave better. And, following their analysis of Spain's lack of awareness, they claim "Britain can educate them". They can educate the Spaniards, that's a high-voltage statement. Saying you are capable of educating a whole country isn't a mere judgement, it's an undeniable assumption of you being far superior than those you are to educate. And you'd better have your reasons for such a bullet.

I've been waiting for that magic and fail-proof method to educate the misbehaving Spaniards ever since I read that article, and now that it finally came I have to admit I'm rather disappointed: the definite trick to avoid racism is... counter-racism. That's what Ledley King, Tottenham Hotspur football club captain, must have thought when its coach Juande Ramos was sacked and substituted by an English manager, as he manifested with the words "It is brilliant to have an English manager. It has been a while and I am looking forward to the relationship." and "It looked like a weight had been lifted off the players' shoulders. They played with freedom, and it was more like the old Tottenham."

Such a relief we can count on unbiased British teachers...