From 2012, inspired by watching David Silva on Telemundo today:
And what if Silva said it was ok to call him “El Chino”? Would it make the nickname more acceptable?
I contend that even if Silva is “ok” with being called “El Chino” it is still not suitable for a soccer federation and its announcers to continue to call him “El Chino”, particularly if they are trying to build anti-racist campaigns. For one, Silva is not Chinese. He is not even of Chinese descent. Calling Silva “El Chino” continues to perpetuate the racial ideology in Spain and Latin America and among Latinos in the U.S. that it is appropriate for us to continue to call Asians “Chinos” simply because it is easier.
Secondly, we don’t call white soccer players “El Blanco” and we do not overtly call Black soccer players “El Negro” (I say overtly because words like “Negro” are still being hurled at players in private). Why is this acceptable to do to players of Asian descent?
Finally, this example points to the well-rehearsed perspective that is commonly attributed to people of Asian descent, particularly those in the US — that of the “passive” Asian. By saying, on Silva’s behalf no less, that it is “just a nickname” we take it upon ourselves to speak for a whole race of people. It denies the vast impact that racism has on its soccer players of color. By us ignoring this “one incident” we deny the opportunity for referees and soccer announcers to learn about the different ways racism manifests; the ways that racism differentially and differently impact people of color.