October 28, 2017

"[B]elieve me when I tell you racial terms aren’t said with the same level of maliciousness in Spanish as they are in English."

"Even racist-looking gestures, like the one [Yuli] Guerriel made, aren’t made with the same level of vitriol. Not close. Of course, just because something is done playfully doesn’t necessarily make it OK. Race- and ethnic-based humor typically demonstrates ignorance, as was the case here with Gurriel, and Latin cultures could use less of that. At the same time, it’s hard for me to be offended by words or actions that weren’t intended to be mean-spirited. Remember when Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez used to feed Juan Uribe bananas in the Dodgers dugout?"

Writes Dylan Hernandez, in the L.A. Times, claiming special authority to discuss Guerriel's "slanty eyes" gesture and use of the term "el Chinito" as he was in the dugout celebrating the home run he'd just hit — in Game 3 of the World Series — off the Dodger's pitcher Yu Darvish.

Darvish is Japanese. Guerriel is Cuban-born. Dylan Hernandez is the offspring of a father who was born in El Salvador and a mother who was born in Japan.

"El Chinito" — according to Hernandez — means something like "little Chinese boy."

Hernandez says the Spanish-language epithet is different — merely stupid — because it is not "using language representing a system designed to oppress certain groups of people."

Spanish doesn't represent a system designed to oppress certain groups of people, but English does? It's almost as if Hernandez is saying that there's depth and serious meaning in what English-speaking people say, and those who speak Spanish should be understood as playful and childlike. But that would be racist.

After he heard the criticism, Gurriel said (in Spanish):
“What happened was that I was commenting how I hadn’t had much luck with Darvish... I said I thought maybe they saw me as they see themselves and I wanted to see if they would throw me a pitch like that.”
And why call a Japanese person Chinese? Gurriel said: “It’s because in Cuba and in various places, you don’t say Japanese, you call all Asians ‘chinitos.’” (And he admitted knowing that lumping all Asians together as Chinese is also offensive.)

As for Darvish:
“I saw it, but for me personally it doesn’t really bother me,” he said in Japanese.

Asked if he was upset, Darvish deadpanned, “I’m very, very angry.”

He laughed and added, “No.”
How are we to understand that? It was in Japanese. Hernandez, despite his Japanese background, does not reveal what he may think about whether those who speak Japanese reveal what they think.

88 comments:

David Begley said...

This is what the media does today. Make excuses and cover stories for their favorites.

A Hispanic can’t be a racist because he’s Hispanic. Righhht.

Dylan Hernandez needs to read Tom Wolfe’s “Back to Blood” about racism amongst minorities.

tim in vermont said...

Whatever.

Ralph L said...

I'm confused.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Hispanic privilege.

rhhardin said...

It's make-believe offense in every language.

Who in the world gets angry at being called something or other. It constitutes winning the argument, if there's a dispute.

Bob R said...

Cortez was just being "playful." Got it.

George M. Spencer said...

"Believe me when I tell you...."

There's a tip-off, if there ever was one.

BDNYC said...

The eyes thing is a common thing in Latin cultures. Remember when the Spanish Olympic teams did it in Beijing?

Fabi said...

We could solve this by forcing baseball players to speak American.

Craig Howard said...

In other words, his culture behaves like ours used to.

We used to tell Polack jokes in front of our Polish-American buddies. No one thought to be offended. After all, it was humor.

BDNYC said...

I also don't understand his point about Latin cultures not being oppressive. Has he ever visited a Latin country? The racial hierarchy is more obvious and rigorously enforced in those cultures than in the U.S.

Ann Althouse said...

"Believe me when I tell you...." causes me to sing "I'll never do you no harm."

TwilightofLiberty.com said...

Perhaps this is a phenomenon similar to Althouse's "when presenting a story about men and women, women must be portrayed as superior". When a minority does something bad, its not nearly as bad as when a cracker does it.

Gahrie said...

Spanish doesn't represent a system designed to oppress certain groups of people, but English does?

Bullshit...just utter bullshit.

First of all the Spanish language is one of the most patriarchal around. Secondly, Spain was a much more brutal colonial power than England. Thirdly I challenge you to find a Spanish speaking culture that is less racist than the United States. (or frankly an Asian one)

The dirty little secret that must never be acknowledged is that mainstream American culture is the least racist culture on Earth.

traditionalguy said...

Just don't call them inmates. The racial differences are merely differences in colors in Hispanic countries. Understands. None are hated any more than Bob Hope's nose joke means he was hated.

Our trouble is racial victim trophies are being fought for. Just like woman victims of men trophies are suddenly the prize again after the Clinton stand down era ended.

Sydney said...

Hernandez says the Spanish-language epithet is different — merely stupid — because it is not "using language representing a system designed to oppress certain groups of people."

Someone never learned the history of Spanish-American colonialism.

Curious George said...

Racist? I don't know. I do know he crushed that hanging slider by Durvish.

Ralph L said...

"Believe me when I tell you...."
But you must believe me when I tell you that I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help and support of the baseball bat I love.

Greg Hlatky said...


Fancy, after just one year in this country he's a white supremacist!

mockturtle said...

By all means, let's bring 'racism' into a flag-honoring, multicultural and thoroughly enjoyable World Series.

Night Owl said...

The idea that English is uniquely racist because of it's history of racial oppression while Spanish is not, is laughable. Can you say "conquistadores", can you say "the Spanish Inquisition*".


*(I bet nobody expected that.)

Angel-Dyne said...

"Even racist-looking gestures, like the one [Yuli] Guerriel made, aren’t made with the same level of vitriol. Not close. Of course, just because something is done playfully doesn’t necessarily make it OK. Race- and ethnic-based humor typically demonstrates ignorance...

It must be getting exhausting for these dipshits these days, keeping all the plates spinning. Gotta virtue-signal, hate on whitey (or Anglos), big-up or excuse one's own culture while still pulling rank on the "ignorant", hop-scotch through the minefield of other PoC's sensibilities -- sometimes all in one sound-bite. Whew!

I guess we can thank them for providing the slapstick entertainment of watching them trip all over their shoelaces like this.

sane_voter said...

Sorry, that baseball player is a racist. He should be burned at the stake like any English speaking white player would have been. No passes for racists with darker skin or who can't speak English.

Lucien said...

Dylan Hernandez must have been a big supporter of George Zimmerman, right?

Big Mike said...

”Believe me when I tell you”

No

Tommy Duncan said...

I have a question I've needed to ask for some time. This thread seems to be an appropriate place.

What are the physical properties of dog shit that make it stick so effectively to your shoes? I was raking leaves a few days ago and stepped in a deposit from a neighborhood dog. As always, the poop was nearly impossible to remove from the tread on my shoes. Mud comes off with ease. Dog poop is forever!

Any thoughts on this topic?

Angel-Dyne said...

Gahrie: The dirty little secret that must never be acknowledged is that mainstream American culture is the least racist culture on Earth.

I don't know that the U.S. has the *least* racist culture, but the real dirty little secret is that, outside of white people in select Western countries (a very small minority of human beings), nobody else on earth gives a shit about "racism". Unless the concept happens to useful as a stick to (hypocritically) beat on whitey.

Angel-Dyne said...

Tommy Duncan: What are the physical properties of dog shit that make it stick so effectively to your shoes?

Are you sure dog shit is so unique? What other kinds of shit are you in the habit of stepping in?

ndspinelli said...

If he just called him a Nip or Slope Gurriel would not have to deal w/ all this horseshit. The microphones can't pick up the sound from the dugout, only visuals.

Michael K said...

"We used to tell Polack jokes in front of our Polish-American buddies."

My Polish friends in high school used to tell Polish jokes. That's where I learned most of them.

About the Polish ballerina, for example.

tim in vermont said...

"Believe me when I tell you...."

Like Howie Carr's shtick, "I'm not like all the others..."

AllenS said...

Tommy Duncan said...
As always, the poop was nearly impossible to remove from the tread on my shoes. Mud comes off with ease. Any thoughts on this topic?

Probably has something to do with their different diets.

AllenS said...

Also, mud is free range.

Oso Negro said...

The claim is preposterous. At the Presidio la Bahia, in lovely Goliad, Texas, there is a display that details the eight or so different terms the Spanish had for different shades of human pigment depending on the relative race mixing. Americans round off into a few.

McGehee said...

Confucius say, "He who look for reason to take offense will find it. Because he is an ass."

Night Owl said...

"Really, it’s the context. This might be a hard concept to grasp for anyone who is monocultural or monolingual, but believe me when I tell you racial terms aren’t said with the same level of maliciousness in Spanish as they are in English. Even racist-looking gestures, like the one Guerriel made, aren’t made with the same level of vitriol. Not close."

Cough(bullshit)cough. Hispanics are as racist as anybody else. Spanish was my mother's native tongue, and my family is half-hispanic. Don't dare suggest to the older hispanics that they aren't "white", unless you're ready for a heated argument. With the millennial generation it's the opposite: Want to piss them off? Call them a "white person". Racism has been flipped on its head.

DavidD said...

“When you told me you didn’t need me anymore well, you know, I nearly broke down and cried.”

wild chicken said...

Spanish is racist AND sexist! I was wondering when someone would notice.

Chris N said...

I picture him as if in pantomime after checking each pocket and weakly smiling at you and...yep, yep ok here we go he’s actually trying to explain how many lines of credit there still are on the race card.


David said...

I am assuming that Darvish is not inscrutable and meant exactly what he said.

Bravo for Darvish. He chose to be forgiving and positive. It is a choice. Pity that we do not seem to have more like him.

Feranandinande said...

This narrative certainly dispels the myth that the only interesting thing about genetic freaks on steroids is that they're genetic freaks on steroids.

Angel-Dyne said...

Night Owl: Don't dare suggest to the older hispanics that they aren't "white", unless you're ready for a heated argument. With the millennial generation it's the opposite: Want to piss them off? Call them a "white person". Racism has been flipped on its head.

Ain't it the truth. Back in the day, if you wanted a fight, or to turn a friendship into eternal enmity, the thing to do was to suggest, even remotely or in jest, that the Hispanic in question wasn't the purest of pure white -- even if he or she was obviously of mixed-racial descent. Nowadays, lol, we see Blanquisimo Blanquez parading around as an oppressed "person of color" for fun and profit.

Seeing Red said...

He's choosing to play by the rules here, so follow the rules he must. When in Rome.

Johnny Sokko said...
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Johnny Sokko said...

Hispanics are just as racist as most other cultures.

I grew up in South Florida in the 1970s. Call a Cuban man a Mexican and see what happens.

Same thing with Asian. My brother has spent the past 27 years living in Japan and he tells me this all the time about various ethnicities in Asia. For example, call a Japanese a Korean or Filipino and you will see one offended person. 

Thinking your tribe is better than the other tribe is the common human experience.

AZ Bob said...

I admire Althouse's fascination with language.

Stan Smith said...

Yu Darvish is at least as Iranian as he is Japanese. Why do people always choose one or the other of a mixed-race individual to describe them? And why do we ever even have to describe the race of an individual at all? Once we finally decide to eliminate "race" as a descriptive, perhaps we won't need to use the epithet "racist" at all. Wouldn't THAT be nice?

TWW said...

I'm really pissed at YG for taking away what should and could be the Astros finest moment and deflecting the attention to himself.

You want sterotypes? He's a Cuban Hothead. How's that? Not PC? No, but that was what you were thinking, right?

I hope they fine him but if they suspend him, the real loss will be by Astro fans and MLB fans.

Magson said...

""We used to tell Polack jokes in front of our Polish-American buddies."

My Polish friends in high school used to tell Polish jokes. That's where I learned most of them."

Same for me. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago -- a city that has more Poles than Warsaw and where Casimir Pulaski Day is a school holiday. Many of my friends had names like Zielinski, Kowalski, Wocjik, Ciolcosz, Dusza, and so on. and they told more Polack jokes than anyone else. No one had any thought of being offended, other than the occasional facetious "you can't say THAT!!!" while laughing his head off.

mockturtle said...

Stan asks: Yu Darvish is at least as Iranian as he is Japanese. Why do people always choose one or the other of a mixed-race individual to describe them? And why do we ever even have to describe the race of an individual at all? Once we finally decide to eliminate "race" as a descriptive, perhaps we won't need to use the epithet "racist" at all. Wouldn't THAT be nice?

Yes, it certainly would! I honestly believe race should be ignored.

Rabel said...

Isn't the headline at the Times a racist joke?

I'd add something about slanting the news and yellow journalism but the best way to stop these things is to nip them. Nip them in the bud.

Oso Negro said...


@ Mockturtle - Sure, ignore it all until race war finally breaks out and then someone will care on your behalf

Gahrie said...

Yes, it certainly would! I honestly believe race should be ignored.

Well thank God doctors don't.

Bay Area Guy said...

Yu Darvish? No, I'm Williams.

buwaya said...

This is incredibly false.
Its a complete lie.

cubanbob said...



That is true. A Spanish speaker can tell the difference between full strength lesser strength and epithets.

John said...

Don't see it much any more but in the 70s and before "que blanquito/a" (how white) used to be an good compliment for a newborn in Puerto Rico if the were not darkly complected.

Also "mejorando la raza" (improving the race)

John Henry

buwaya said...

"Chinito" is a diminutive, and disparaging. English equivalent would be "little chink". A Spanish speaking Asian would feel it that way.

When in Spain my sisters and I were called "los chinitos". In retrospect this was not exactly well-meant.

There are complications here of course - in 19th century Spanish slang "chinita" meant "cutie", or "babe"; this was very widspread, you will find it for example in Yradiers "La Paloma" and of course the ancient "Cafe de Chinitas" in Malaga, hence in Garcia Lorcas song.

In the old Empire, and the Hispanosphere, Chinese were considered cute. This was not so in Manila, suppliers of Chinese to the Spanish empire, where they had a much less positive attitude to the Chinese. But even there "chinita" was not disparaging. "Chinito" certainly was.

As for ethnic distinctions, this is not a big deal in Spanish discourse. It a bit difficult to describe just how un-PC the attitudes in common Spanish discourse are. They can and do speak with far more freedom than is usual in English.

JaimeRoberto said...

Only white, English speaking Americans can be racist. Of course anyone who thinks that is either full of crap or has never been anywhere else.

Yancey Ward said...

The public maintenance of double standards causes pundits to make themselves look stupid, like Hernandez does here.

Yancey Ward said...

"What are the physical properties of dog shit....."

Probably fats.

TWW said...

Stan Smith: "Yu Darvish is at least as Iranian as he is Japanese. Why do people always choose one or the other of a mixed-race individual to describe them?

Maybe because he doesn't use an Iranian interpreter?

mockturtle said...

I was thinking last night when the players were being introduced that, when Darvish's turn came, the crowd should all shout, "Hey, Yu!"

mockturtle said...

Oso Negro warns me: @ Mockturtle - Sure, ignore it all until race war finally breaks out and then someone will care on your behalf

A race war would pose a dilemma for me as one of my children is half black, one of my grandsons is 1/4 Korean and the other four are part white, part black and part Filipino.
One of my granddaughters is marrying a Mexican-American. Here in the West there are so many multiracial families that it would be difficult to engage in a race war. Count me out.

Achilles said...

I wonder how the writer of this article could be so base.

Big Mike said...

Spanish doesn't represent a system designed to oppress certain groups of people ...

Check we confirm that with the Catalonians?

Big Mike said...

But perhaps we need to cut Hernandez some slack. It’s only been very recently that people have begun to recognize and respond to racial slurs directed against Asians. He’s been busy playing baseball so he’s just not woke.

William said...

It's a commonplace to say that the original sin of America was slavery. What they're really saying is that blacks, Hispanics and recent immigrants were born without sin. Whites are congenitally damned unless they embrace rebirth and redemption in the PC faith.

Clark said...

I wonder how the Aztecs and Incas felt about the Spanish language.

buwaya said...

Spanish among people of Indian descent, and many Latin American mestizos, is in a curious position. There is intense ethno-nationalism and hatred of the colonizers and of the Spanish-derived upper classes, but there is (usually) no way to reject the language.

Its been tried indeed, and is reasonably successful in places like Paraguay where the common speech is Guarani, not Spanish, and in parts of Bolivia and Peru. But it is impossible elsewhere as there are either insufficient native roots, or there is a variety of native languages.

Its much worse among immigrants in the US as the variety is much greater. There is no hope of Mexicans making common cause with Puerto Ricans if the Mexicans speak Nahuatl, not that many of them do. Nor can Mexicans bond with Mexcicans, as their own roots are diverse. The only real bond between them is the Spanish language.

Among intellectuals, or a few of them anyway, there is a deep resentment that they have to use the colonizers language, lacking any others. Its not a comfortable position.

exiledonmainstreet said...

So Darvish (from a notably noninclusive culture himself) was not terribly offended - but never mind since white liberals can be offended and triggered in his stead.

mockturtle said...

exiled notes: So Darvish (from a notably noninclusive culture himself) was not terribly offended - but never mind since white liberals can be offended and triggered in his stead.

Offense by proxy.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Twenty five years ago I ended a little essay on mixed race children with "and my sister married a Texan! What race will their kids be?"
Never got any kind of answer to that...

Jim at said...

"Believe me when I tell you...."

There's a tip-off, if there ever was one.


Yep.

Kinda like, "Let me be perfectly clear" ... moments before a wave of bullshit comes forth.

mccullough said...

Gurriel is white Cuban. Puig is black Cuban. Would love to hear their insults translated. Darvish took it fine. He knows Japanese are the superior race.

mccullough said...

Gurriel played in Japan for a half season after defecting from that racist commie hellhole Cuba. He probably gets along with Japanese well.

Kevin said...

I was told only white people could be racist.

Etienne said...
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loudogblog said...

As a Latino in Southern California, I am constantly seeing other Latinos, usually on the far left, trying to make the case that Latinos are not really as nationalistic or tribal at the Americans. They'll tell you with a straight face that "La Raza" doesn't really mean "the race;" it means "the people."

Hari said...

The best way to deal with this is for one of the Dodger pitchers to hit the guy his next at bat and then make some sort of similar eye gesture to suggest that he couldn't see the strike zone clearly.

Birches said...

The big, over the top reactions from most of the people in Sportsmedia is why I hate sportsmedia. I guess it's news to them that most of Latin America doesn't have the US's racial sensibilities.

Oh brother.

Jose_K said...

Years ago, an American was chasing the season HR record in Japan. They gave him nothing to hit. Eventually Alex Cabrera broke the record
Ask any Korean or Chinese, they will cheer for Gurriel
Yes, most people in Latin America think the whole thong is stupid abd see nothing wrong. It is a cultural thing

Jose_K said...

Gurriel is an immigrant, good to know that imposing American values is OK again
The punishment would ne more effective if Cleveland were punished too,for the Chief

Jose_K said...

Darwish comes from this country:

"The level of Japanese society far surpasses that of the United States. There are many blacks, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans in the United States whose average level is extremely low."Nakasone

mockturtle said...
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mockturtle said...
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mockturtle said...

Of course, tonight, Joe Buck just to bring up the issue and report that Gurriel will be suspended for the first five games--without pay--next season. Seems a little harsh to me. LA manager, Roberts, says he wants to 'move on' and that it should be about the guys on the field [not, I would add, about the assholes in the booth].

HoodlumDoodlum said...

It's only really bad when white guys do it!

Did you ever imagine they would be so blatant about it?