Sky News (March 27, 2009)
"Brazil's President, while meeting Gordon Brown, has said the global financial crisis was caused by 'white people with blue eyes'.I've got the same genetic melanin deficiency that my European ancestors did.
"Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made the comments after talks with the Prime Minister to try to forge a global consensus on how to save the worldwide economy.
I'd take this "fairly flamboyant language" personally, but I went to college in the seventies and eighties. I'm used to it. The 'white people are racist and to blame for [problem/grievance]' schtick is drearily familiar.
What does trouble me is the fact that remarks that would be career-wreckers, if uttered by Euro-Americans, in America, are glossed over and excused: provided that the right sort of person utters it.
More, from Sky News:
"Sky News' Joey Jones said it was an 'uncomfortable' moment for Mr Brown.I see Sky News' Joey Jones's - and Downing Street's - explanation as uncomfortably close to being a sort of soft prejudice. The British explanation, although very well-worded and considerate, could (with a bit of effort) be taken to mean 'he can't help it: he's Brazilian.'
" 'The President does not mind using fairly flamboyant language. He likes to give extensive answers to journalists.
" 'But some of it was rather awkward for the Prime Minister, who was standing there listening to the President.
" 'A few eyebrows will have gone up at what he said.'
"Downing Street says the remarks were meant for 'domestic consumption'.
"Jones said: 'People in Brazil are very frustrated and angry at what they feel is the injustice of the situation: a crisis that has essentially come from the banking sectors in places like the United States and the UK, but is affecting their country.' "
Reading Jones' response, I was reminded of Basil Fawlty's recurring line in Fawlty Towers: "He's from Barcelona."
Related posts, on tolerance, bigotry, racism, and hatred.