The beginning of this month was opening week for Major League Baseball. I have always been a baseball fan and try to keep up with news around the league. One story that caught my attention actually happened during the World Series last fall. During one of the games, Yuli Gurriel from the Astros homered off of Yu Darvish from the Dodgers. After Gurriel rounded the bases and sat back down in the clubhouse, he pulled back his eyes with his hands and appeared to taunt the fact that Darvish is Asian. Apparently, he uttered a slur in Spanish which means “little Chinese man” even though Darvish is Japanese. Out of curiosity, I googled Gurriel’s name and one of the main images that comes up is of his gesture:
As a result, he was suspended for the first five games of the season. According to this article from USA Today, in the off-season, Gurriel received sensitivity training. He claims where he is from (Cuba) it is not seen as offensive, but he recognizes the need to understand other points of view.
As someone with unique eyes who has been subjected to a lifetime of scrutiny, this incident caught my attention. I am glad that he was disciplined and I hope that he took away from his training a better understanding of being sensitive to people’s differences.
I think the part of the article that was concerning was that Gurriel said he didn’t even realize that he was doing it. This makes me sad that taunting someone for being different is subconsciously ingrained in him.
Throughout all of this, Yu Darvish took the high road, saying he knew Gurriel didn’t understand what he was doing. I have never really had someone make fun of me to my face like that. One time a woman I did not know said to me “Wow, you have small eyes!” I don’t think she was making fun of me, but was curious and made a stupid comment. I kind of froze and didn’t really say anything. I was honestly kind of mad because in my head I was like “Who is this lady and why does she think it is okay to comment on my eyes?” She then realized what she said could be offensive and added, “They are pretty.” I just kind of nodded and walked away.
I always wonder what I would do if I were in Yu Darvish’s situation where someone was blatantly offensive. I would like to believe that like him, I would have a mature response. But sometimes when something like that happens, you never know how you will react.