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  1. #1
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    Greek Team Expels Triple Jumper Over Racist Tweet

    London 2012: Greece expel triple jumper over racist Twitter remark

    The Greece Olympic team have expelled their triple jumper Voula Papachristou after she made a racist remark on Twitter, days before she was due to compete at London 2012.

    Papachristou, 23, who was part of the 105-strong Greek team in London, had commented on the widely reported appearance of Nile-virus-carrying mosquitoes in Athens by tweeting: "With so many Africans in Greece, at least the mosquitoes of West Nile will eat homemade food."


    She subsequently deleted the message....

    Papachristou said in a statement: "I would like to express my heartfelt apologies for the unfortunate and tasteless joke I published on my personal Twitter account. I am very sorry and ashamed for the negative responses I triggered, since I never wanted to offend anyone, or to encroach human rights.

    "My dream is connected to the Olympic Games and I could not possibly participate if I did not respect their values. Therefore, I could never believe in discrimination between human beings and races....
    Gee,Voula, if that was your dream, you respect Olympic values, and you don't believe in discrimination, why did you make that tweet?



    Good riddance!

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    Can someone please explain to me exactly how the comment is racist? I've been reading it over and over again, but I'm not sure I see it... Tasteless joke to post on twitter--yes, Racism--I don't see it.

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    CBC Sports ~ Greece expels Olympic athlete over racist tweets

    It appears that disgusting "joke" of hers is just the tip of the iceberg here. Lots more information in that link.

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    Quote Originally Posted by altai_rose View Post
    Can someone please explain to me exactly how the comment is racist? I've been reading it over and over again, but I'm not sure I see it... Tasteless joke to post on twitter--yes, Racism--I don't see it.
    The second link in this thread certainly gives the context to the joke. Her commentary about "having so many Africans in Greece" was certainly not a complimentary one.
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    I think that statement she issued should be reworded to start, "My lawyers told me to say:..."

    Because it sure doesn't sound like the same style of writing as that Tweet
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    Quote Originally Posted by altai_rose View Post
    Can someone please explain to me exactly how the comment is racist? I've been reading it over and over again, but I'm not sure I see it... Tasteless joke to post on twitter--yes, Racism--I don't see it.
    Mentioning an entire racial/ethnic group in a negative, sweeping statement = racism.

    Referring to an entire racial/ethnic group as 'food for mosquitoes' = racism.

    etc.

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    She was referring to a group that inhabits a continent, not a race or an ethnic group. Africans belong to many different races, FYI, Ziggy.

    However, the comment was tasteless.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    Mentioning an entire racial/ethnic group in a negative, sweeping statement = racism.

    Referring to an entire racial/ethnic group as 'food for mosquitoes' = racism.

    etc.

    Except that's not really what she did. She was referencing the well known fact that mosquitoes "eat" people's blood.

    I'm very uncomfortable with limitations on free speech, no matter how offensive. And letting someone's political leanings factor into a decision to dismiss them from the Games? THAT is offensive to me.

    Racist is saying something like all [insert racial group here] are stupid or slutty or whatever.
    Keeper of Nathalie Pechelat's bitchface.

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    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

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    I've referred to myself and others as "food for mosquitoes" on many occasions, but I can see why some people may find the statement offensive.

    It does seem that the dismissal was somewhat politically motivated. In any case, it's probably safest for these athletes (and others) not to make any comments at all that involve race or ethnicity as even comments that are neutral or positive may be misunderstood and considered racist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    She was referring to a group that inhabits a continent, not a race or an ethnic group. Africans belong to many different races, FYI, Ziggy.
    They do? Incredible.

    Next you will be telling me they speak different languages as well.

    Whilst technically, you are of course right, I believe in pan-Africanism so nyer.

    And while I know all of that, I somehow doubt that the moron who made this tweet does.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coco View Post
    Except that's not really what she did. She was referencing the well known fact that mosquitoes "eat" people's blood.

    Racist is saying something like all [insert racial group here] are stupid or slutty or whatever.
    But she wasn't talking about 'people', she was talking about a particular group of people as defined by the continent of their origin, whilst highlighting their "otherness" and taking delight in the fact they would be eaten by mosquitoes (who are also "the other" so hey what a great match! ).

    Making reference to people's race in a sweeping way, when it's irrelevant (because we're all human beings and it doesn't matter whether somebody is white or black so why are you highlighting it?) is what is racist. As is presenting racial, ethnic and other groups if they were homogeneous and totally different (read: worse) from you.

    So no, not just saying that Africans are stupid.

    Reminds of people saying 'I'm not racist but why is it always black people that...'

    Quote Originally Posted by Coco View Post
    I'm very uncomfortable with limitations on free speech, no matter how offensive. And letting someone's political leanings factor into a decision to dismiss them from the Games? THAT is offensive to me.
    I am very uncomfortable by 'free speech' used as an excuse for hate speech which perpetuates discrimination.

    And it's not about 'political leanings'. She's is representing her country and and being a racist idiot does not do that job very well, don't you think?

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    Especially since free speech is a freedom from prosecution by the government (and I don't know where free speech stands in Greece). It usually does not protect you from criticism, losing your job, losing privileges, etc. etc. etc.

    And I'm with Ziggy on this one. Except he's doing a much better job explaining himself since I'm still trying to figure out how someone could see this as not racist.

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    That's OK, Ziggy. Good thing you are not an American. You are not in any danger from free speech.

    I recall Ahmadinejad trying to rile the West by saying something very offensive such as Anne Frank slept with Hitler (hoping there would be outrage, calls for ban, etc). He was disappointed. While I find this statement stupid and offensive, I contend that a person has the right to express it.

    Now the question is, does that woman deserve to be booted off the team? Probably. Does she have a right to say these things? Absolutely.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    Now the question is, does that woman deserve to be booted off the team? Probably. Does she have a right to say these things? Absolutely.
    Luckily no one has stopped her from saying these things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Theatregirl1122 View Post
    Luckily no one has stopped her from saying these things.
    You want to bet that if she remains Olympic eligible, she will stop?
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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    Well, when the Spanish Olympic basketball team in 2008 took a what-was-supposed-to-be-funny photo of themselves making Oriental faces, they weren't thrown out of the Olympics. I say keep this woman in the Olympics, but make sure every media outlet recounts how stupid she is at every opportunity, so her name will be remembered but ruined. That kind of stigma would (hopefully) last a long time. And just maybe she'll get a better dye job to disguise herself. After the Games get underway on Friday, she'll be forgotten.

    Good comment in the San Francisco Chronicle (paraphrasing here) "doesn't Greece have more pressing matters right now than monitoring the Twitter account of a triple jumper?"
    Last edited by Oreo; 07-26-2012 at 03:16 AM.

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    I agree with Coco. Having to be on a world stage with Olympians from all over the world, representing all continents and races, after such a blunder would teach her a better lesson.

    I didn't know the Spanish Olympic team did that in '08. How stupid and tasteless as well.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    You want to bet that if she remains Olympic eligible, she will stop?
    Possibly not. People don't always learn. But if she stops, it's not because she's been stopped from saying these things due to threat of criminal punishment. It's because she's been forced to realize that this kind of conduct is not acceptable from an Olympic athlete. Again, there is a huge difference between public outcry, loss of privileges, loss of job, etc. and the government infringing on someone's rights.

    If I tweeted insults about my company, I'd get fired. I wouldn't get prosecuted because I am allowed to say whatever I want (as long as it doesn't endanger anyone) but my company does not have to keep an employee if they say things that are detrimental to the company.

    And sure, that's the US, I don't know about Greece but I don't know of any country in the world where you have the right to free speech and it protects you from anyone disagreeing with you or from anyone choosing to end a professional relationship with you because your speech reflects negatively on them and puts their brand and advertising dollars in danger.

    It's frightening to me how often people seem to confuse what free speech really grants them.


    I never said that I thought it was right or not right to kick her off the team, I only said that this is not a free speech issue.

  19. #19
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    If she is an angry person she seems to be, I would guess, she'd become even more so by staying behind. It's meeting people of different backgrounds, getting to know them, that helps us shed our prejudices, not staying at home with the likes of us.

    As to free speech, I was responding to Ziggy and Coco bringing it up. But I do agree, of course that it doesn't protect you from being fired from a job or in this case, kicked off the team. Obviously.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oreo View Post

    Good comment in the San Francisco Chronicle (paraphrasing here) "doesn't Greece have more pressing matters right now than monitoring the Twitter account of a triple jumper?"
    It's a pretty stupid and patronising comment really. They're saying just because a country has a financial crisis that people in that society shouldn't confront racist and bigoted remarks.

    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    I agree with Coco. Having to be on a world stage with Olympians from all over the world, representing all continents and races, after such a blunder would teach her a better lesson.
    She's been to many international events, including a World Championships (athletics/track & field) with close to 200 countries in attendance. I think believing she would have been taught "a lesson" by going to the Olympics is naive.

    As for free speech, to the best of my knowledge she hasn't been arrested for her remarks. She has been sanctioned by the Greek Olympic Committee. There are consequences to speaking what's on your mind. If an employee of a company made these kind of comments in a workplace, are some of you suggesting that instead of being dismissed that the employee would be sent on a business trip?
    To think that fun is simple fun, while earnest things are earnest, proves all too plain that neither one thou truthfully discernest.

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