10.27.09

TBL’s Duffy : Thinking Outside Of The Bun Brain

Posted in Blogged Down, Racism Corner, Sports TV, Vroom Vroom at 2:27 pm by

(a delicious taco for Bob Griese, courtesy of Torchy’s)

ESPN suspended college football analyst Bob Griese today for the former Dolphins QB’s ill-advised remarks about Colombian NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya during Saturday’s Minnesota/Ohio State game.  The Big Lead’s Ty Duffy considers ESPN’s actions kowtowing to “PC fascists”, surmising, “political correctness has a place, but that place should be weeding out legitimate racism, rather than hounding an innocuous old man for a minor incident.”

Bob Griese mistook Juan Pablo Montoya for a Mexican. Montoya is Columbian. Griese could be old whitey mistaking all Latin Americans for Mexicans, but it™s far more likely he was just unaware.  He had no time to google.

Assuming Griese was genuine, the taco comment wasn™t offensive.  Mexicans eat tacos.  They are an indigenous part of their cuisine.  They predate the Spanish.  There™s nothing demeaning about eating a taco.

Saying a Mexican is eating a taco is like saying an Englishman drinks tea, an Irishman went out for a pint, or an American was eating a hambuger.  It™s a stereotype.  There certainly are Mexican people who don™t like tacos, but it™s not a gross disparagement of Mexican culture.

Griese™s gag was lame but not scandalous.  It would have appeared in a Dan Shaughnessy column.

Though I have no desire to see Bob Griese lose his job over one isolated incident, it’s pretty hard to understand why said incident should be excused as inoffensive merely because some people weren’t offended.  On the Colombian/Mexican question, ignorance is a poor excuse. The phrase, “they all look alike” comes to mind, and unless Disney believes they really all do look alike, they’re smart to kick Griese to the curb, even if temporarily.

“There’s nothing demeaning about eating a taco.”  Hey, you might think there’s nothing demeaning about eating watermelon, either, and Rick Barry‘s still dealing with the fallout from that one. Anytime you choose to describe someone in terms that specifically target their ethnicity (or what you presume to be their ethnicity) rather than their individual characteristics, they’re reduced to a caricature.

Griese could’ve skewered Montoya for his reputation for arrogance (“he’s probably kissing a mirror somewhere”) or for aggressive driving. Instead, he went after the first thing that popped into his tiny head ; Latino = taco chomping. If that’s the kind of free expression Duffy wishes to defend, perhaps TBL can take up a petition drive to have Steve Lyons replace Steve Phillips on Baseball Tonight next spring.

2 Responses to “TBL’s Duffy : Thinking Outside Of The Bun Brain”

  1. tyduffy says:

    Thanks for reading.

    The parallel with Lyons is tenuous. Lyons used a deliberately disparaging stereotype. Griese’s you have to fabricate context and infuse it with nuance about it to make it offensive. “Taco chomping” are your words not Griese’s.

    I believe, as I said in the piece. It was stupid. I don’t think it was malicious. I think screaming racist about something like this is detrimental to combatting real racism in society.

  2. GC says:

    “The parallel with Lyons is tenuous. Lyons used a deliberately disparaging stereotype. Griese’s you have to fabricate context and infuse it with nuance about it to make it offensive.”

    No fabrication’s necessary, Ty. Griese considers the single most recognizable characteristic of J.P. Montoya not his poor relations with other drivers, alleged conceit or rep for bumping/wrecking competitors on two different racing circuits, but rather that he’s “out having a taco”. And apologies if those words are entirely different from “taco chomping”. What the fuck was Montoya doing with the taco if he wasn’t eating it?

    I can believe no malice was intended on Griese’s part, but cackling over the Colombian driver-who-he-mistook-for-Mexican eating a taco is “real racism”. It essentially says that no matter what Montoya achieves on the national or global stage, at the end of the day, he’s just another taco chomper. There’s any number of ways to poke fun at Montoya — he’s a pretty famous guy. If the only thing Bob Griese knows about him is that his name sounds funnier than Kyle Busch and that’s all he’s got, there’s a problem here. Ignorance is just as demeaning as malice sometimes.

Leave a Reply