OCA & C-100 Find Spanish Olympics Basketball Team’s Photo OffensiveFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 2008
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OCA & C-100 Find Spanish Olympics Basketball Team’s Photo Offensive
Washington, DC & New York, NY – OCA and the Committee of 100, two national organizations serving the Asian Pacific American and Chinese American community, join forces to speak out against the Spanish men’s Olympics basketball team’s slanted eye photo.
"The photograph is offensive to people of Asian and Chinese descent. It was a poor decision for these professional athletes to make this historically denigrating gesture and it was a poorer decision for the team sponsor and the Spanish paper to put it in print,” said OCA National President Ginny Gong. "And it is disturbing that neither the Olympic athletes nor their sponsors have adequately apologized for their decisions.”
Despite a worldwide uproar over the image, Spanish basketball player Jose' Manuel Calderon, who plays for the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, stated that the photograph and the gesture were "something appropriate and that it would always be interpreted as somewhat loving.”
"Even if this image was produced without any ill will, its effects are still damaging,” said C-100 Chairman General John L. Fugh (U.S. Army – Ret.). "It affects individuals of Chinese descent, as well as others of Asian descent who also have experienced the same mockery, and it also affects the relationships among communities and nations.”
George C. Wu, OCA’s Deputy Director added: "as Asian Pacific Americans support the U.S. Olympic athletes, many of whom are Asian Pacific Americans, it is disturbing to OCA that Spain’s basketball team would introduce such offensive and divisive imagery into the Olympics. Highly regarded NBA players like Pau Gasol and Calderon need to also understand that these gestures are often associated with bullying and taunting in schools and are harmful to the communities that support their teams.”
OCA and C-100 will continue to monitor both the actions of the participants in the Olympics and the media coverage of the Olympics to ensure that this type of imagery or rhetoric does not negatively impact race relations in the United States.
Founded in 1973 as the Organization of Chinese Americans, OCA is a national organization dedicated to the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States. Through its 81 chapters and college affiliates, OCA aims to embrace the hopes and aspirations of APAs in the United States.
About Committee of 100
The Committee of 100 is a national non-partisan organization composed of American citizens of Chinese descent. Each member has achieved positions of leadership in the United States in a broad range of professions. With these diverse backgrounds, members collectively pool their strengths and experience to address important issues concerning the Chinese-American community, as well as issues affecting U.S.-China relations.