Thursday, May 29, 2008

Racism at Wrigley



All over the blogosphere and on facebook, sociologically mindful Chicagoans have been revolting against this Cubs Shirt that was originally being sanctioned by the organization. The T-shirt makes fun of the difficulty of pronouncing the letter "L" by many East Asian cultures, especially Japanese. I don't think that the many Cubs fans buying this are overtly racist. I am sure they think it is a funny shirt and that they support their Japanese import, Fukudome. But this type of making fun of an ethnicity or race as an acceptable part of culture is the type of latent racism that lies in wait to rear its head when a more pressing issue arises (the immigration issue, World War II internment, post-911 defamation of Muslim Americans). I support those working to bring attention to this rather offensive tee-shirt. Hopefully they educate fans to think beyond their own sense of humor and consider the larger effects of their cultural assumptions.

6 comments:

  1. I'll agree that it's a sign of latent racism, but I also think it should be noted that the motivation there isn't at all negative. While the choice in doing so was rather poor, the creator of the shirt seems to have tried to find something that made Fukudome special and unique: his culture, and then made a comment on it. The other cases you mention are why this t-shirt doesn't play out as well.

    As a random side note, isn't it that the Japanese CAN pronounce an "L" noise it's just rather radical and new-wave to do so? And Numi makes several types of red tea, I think I'll forward the little letter they just sent me.

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  2. In the Japanese language there is no sound like our letters L and R. Instead there is one sound in between the two. Physically make the two sounds and remain cognizant of where your tongue is placed in each case. Now place it in between the two (like on the roof of your mout right behind the teeth). And make the sound - that is the Japanese sound for both R and L.

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  3. I do think this is a sighn of racism. It is hard to beleive, but it still happends now. I think this shirt is just a bad as saying somethin racist. I think no matter what racist things should not be said even if you are a part of that racse.

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  4. sal does our account on this site go down after we're done with the class? or does it just stay open?

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  5. its racist, but i think that sterotypes are the foundation for tons of humor. And the intentions are not to put down a race, but to laugh about it.

    This week, I went downtown and saw a play called "Avenue Q"-- a dirty sesame street style musical. One song is entitled, "Everyone's a little bit Racist". It laughs about social inequalities. You need to be aware of these stereotypes in order to laugh.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9CSnlb-ymA&feature=related

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  6. Notice the slanted eyes of the bear. Imagine this shirt with a Jewish cubby bear or a black cubby bear with some stereotypical writing and imagery. Imagine how that would be offensive.

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