February 27, 2008

Spain - Not Quite as PC as the U.S.

In case you're among the 99% of Americans who don't follow Formula One racing, there has been an on-going rift between Lewis Hamilton, last year's phenom rookie Brit, who happens to be F1's first black racer, and his former McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso, a Spaniard. Spaniards blame Hamilton for being McLaren's golden boy last year, which they say cost Alonso a third straight driver's championship.

When Hamilton was testing in Spain last month he should have expected to receive taunts from the Spanish fans, according to Alonso. After all, when Alonso did his "lap of glory" after winning at the Italian Grand Prix at Monsa last year, he was subjected to the horrors of obscene gestures. I don't think Alonso quite has a grasp on the issue.

The obscene gestures Alonso endured were an impromptu show of disgust at the victory of an unpopular driver. The Spanish fans who attended Hamilton's practice wore blackface and afro wigs and carried signs reading "Hamilton's Family". They planned a racist attack in advance, for a practice, and carried it out. That's not quite the same thing. Judging by the shoddy quality of the t-shirts and wigs, I'd have to assume that these four could never afford to attend an actual race.
blahblahblahblah Hey F1 - I just investigated the incident

F1 is investigating the incident. Sanctions could include removing the two Spanish events from the schedule (Barcelona Apr. 27 and Valencia Aug. 24).
For the record, I don't even find the outfits offensive because they are so poorly done. It's one thing to be unambiguously racist, as European fans have proven themselves time after time. It's another to be totally unfunny and unoriginal about it. I'm pretty sure the second from the left is actually wearing Dave Chappelle's white-guy news anchor wig. If you are going to potentially cost your nation two huge revenue events, at least execute an original concept.

7 Responses:

"ben" said...

How stupid. They're so clearly not related. Lewis is much lighter skinned than that.

They look more like part of the Duany family.

big tuna said...

You sure those aren't NASCAR fans?

J-Red said...

Here's a brief history of blacks in NASCAR:

1) Wendell Scott (1961 to 1973) was the first, and he won in 1963. He finished in the top 10 in points in 1966 through 1969.

2) Willy Ribbs (1986) started three races, finishing one. He was 13 laps down in his finish.

3) Bill Lester (2006) had two Nextel Cup starts in 2006.

Brien said...

European racism in sports isn't limited to F1. Black soccer players have been subjected to that and worse all over the continent.

KGoon1590 said...

They look more like Flavor Flav's family. Or the Murphys.


Brien said...

I should have mentioned that I think those fans are horrible people who should have been kicked out of the venue immediately.

Basically, that's all F1 wants. The Spaniards didn't exercise any control over the fans in the stands, and it made F1 look bad. As long as the Spanish race organizers promise to kick anyone out who acts racist, they'll keep the races.

J-Red said...

I recall an incident in Italy with a black English player where the crowd made monkey noises every time he had the ball.

Perhaps Spain is still stinging from the Moors taking over their entire country and Italy is still stinging from getting their asses whipped across Africa in WWII.