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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

MUNENORI KAWASAKI AND THE HISTORY OF RACIAL MASCOTS

The Cubs, who’ve become known for having one of the more relaxed camps in the game, indulged in some Spring Training levity, donning headbands featuring the phrase “Just Win” in Japanese, and went about their team warmups to the sound of some pop hits. That’s when the day truly veered into the queasy: “Kung Fu Fighting” and “Gangnam Style” blared from speakers as the Cubs did their kinetic warmups. If you think about it even for a little bit of time, that doesn’t really make any sense, unless you’re willing to group all Asian cultures together in one big “foreign” pot, thereafter to serve as a theme.

Maddon acknowledged the infringement upon political correctness that the sequence of events posed, in a preemptive strike against the thinkpieces that would surely flurry soon after. “Political correctness has been at an all-time high over the last couple of decades,” Jesse Spector quoted Maddon as saying, “We’re not trying to hurt anybody, it was all in fun.” Other teammates and coaches summed up the situation by commenting on Kawasaki’s outstanding character and echoing their manager’s sentiments. Kris Bryant said that Kawasaki is “hilarious,” praised the new Cub’s desire to learn, and called the song routine “one of [Bryant’s] favorite skits that [he’s] ever seen here.”

While there’s no reason not to believe Maddon’s “we’re only having fun” assertion—Kawasaki reportedly consented to the antics, and in fact organized the headbands—Maddon’s dismissal of political correctness still rings a bit hollow, considering the Cubs’ and Major League Baseball’s uneasy relationship with its relatively few Asian and Asian-American players, as well as the history of teams and fandoms pigeonholing players of color into mascot-like roles

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 15, 2016 at 03:00 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, japanese, munenori kawasaki, race in baseball

 

 

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