Are you kidding me?! In the year 2010, in Europe, there are still people who think it's acceptable to call a store by the ethnicity of the owner, and moreover, to lump all persons of a very broad ethnic descent into one terribly inappropriate term?!?
José Calderón, point-guard for the team, told cnn, "We thought it was something appropriate and that it would always be interpreted as somewhat loving. Nevertheless, some of the European media did not see it this way."
That about sums it up. The Spanish can say and act in extremely racist ways and not realize why anyone would find it offensive.
Compare these illustrations with our experience living in the Raval. Within a 20 meter radius of our flat, you have your pick of a Philipino, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Romanian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani restaurants.
In the Spaniards defense, I haven’t witnessed any overtly hostile racist behavior since being here. Spain has also experienced an incredible influx of immigration since the late 1970's, the end of the Franco era, and before that it was not easy for foreigners to immigrate. For the old-guard, people like my friend Joro, it has probably been somewhat shocking to go through the dramatic changes of the last 30 years.
Maybe they don't know what to make of it all and haven't had much experience dealing with other cultures.
I definitely do not know what to make of it. My Spanish teacher says, in general, Spaniards don't travel outside of Spain often. But I don’t think the undertones of racism that persist within Spanish culture can be explained away that easily.
On a similar note, here is an outrageous video - The Name Game - which came to me via the always witty, Sang Lee. It is worth a watch.