Calling for a Boycott!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Dear Friends,

Events have transpired over the past hour that have been appalling.

For those of you who are not aware, there is currently a Twitter backlash against racist comments made by NYC Shop Guide.

I had been tweeting since Monday night about my excitement for the Brasil/DPRK (North Korea) game in the world cup, saying that I would be sporting my Ronaldinho jersey. I have an extreme fascination with DPRK, I want to visit it, understand them, watched the Departures episodes with wide eyes. I tweeted that I wanted a DPRK jersey, that they would be like the Norwegian curling team pants, impossible to find and awesome. But no luck, no jerseys, in South Africa or online.

Prior to today's match, there was footage about the DPRK team, showing the players as relate able, regular guys laughing and having fun.
The teams took the field and anthems were played. One DPRK player was so moved by the atmosphere that he was crying. This image absolutely struck my heart strings.

Having had to opportunity to represent my country, I know how moving it is to hear your anthem on the international stage. You are granted this unreal opportunity to do what you love for the country that you love. So imagine how this would feel coming from a socialist dictatorship. This is DPRK's second World Cup appearance, so this isn't exactly a regular occurrence, in fact, it could be a once in a lifetime opportunity. So imagine the emotion that would be running through your body.

Instead, I see racist comments in my feed:

I have no problem with the support for Brasil. None. But to feel the need to re-tweet a racist/ignorant comment from someone else and then to laugh at it is poor brand management. Sure, it's funny to joke about DPRK being a dictatorship, but that is no way to represent yourself as a brand. I found the comment to be offensive, so I tweeted whether or not I should unfollow someone due to my belief that they made an inappropriate comment.

So, I decided that I would unfollow them and let them know that they crossed a line.

Maybe you believe that I shouldn't have said anything. And maybe you're right. But I absolutely cannot support ignorance. Canada is a multi-cultural place, where tolerance is a way of life. While I don't agree with the political stance of DPRK, you cannot blame the citizens. They know no different and really, they don't have much choice. I don't believe that what I said was malicious or angry. I believe that it has validity. I don't know anyone, personally, who would represent their brand in such a way.

What did I receive in response?

Shocked, I immediately re-tweeted it:

Immediately after I re-tweeted this comment, the original tweet was deleted. And just to show that Tweetdeck doesn't lie:

It is not possible for me to have put a tweet with their avatar in the middle of my Mentions column.

I am now being called a liar by this individual, saying that I targeted them because they were cheering for Brasil, not because of their ignorant and insensitive comments.

Thank you everyone for your support. How can we move forward as a society and race with ignorance and insensitivity? Don't be afraid to stand up for your beliefs. Don't be afraid to have your voice heard and start a movement. These people should not be supported until they are willing to TAKE ACCOUNTABILITY for their actions.

Sport is a wonderful thing because it brings people together. Let's erase the hate. Let's support our favourite teams. Let's be proud of these men for doing their countries proud - they are not politicians, they are soccer players, and to some child, they are heroes.


@HeadtotheNet said...

Well said Erin. Some people don't get it, but most can't avoid it: sport brings people together. Recall the way the Olympics brought our diverse country together.

g said...

You have presented your side of the story with dignity and grace, without using offensive language or slurs. I commend you for keeping a level head. Good on ya, Erin.

ntippe said...

I agree with g. You have explained your side of the story in an honest and respectful manner. The World Cup should be about being proud of your own country, not putting others down.

Marda said...

Great post Erin. It's important to remember the unity that sports provides. Trash talking is not uncommon in sports, but racial slurs are just a low blow and unsportsmanlike.

rachaelkrystina said...

Great post Erin!

Well written, honest, and respectful.

They took the wrong approach to things over their twitter stream. I don't understand pinning a country's issues and wealth on history on a sports team.

At least no one can take these monumental moments away from the players of the DPRK.

Rachael Krystina of

Francis said...

HI Erin,

I am sorry I did not see a racist comment. The words you have chosen are very offensive to describe the comment. The comment was inappropriate but reflected a deep truth that North Korea is a vile place to live, unless you are a soldier.

The fact that North Korea is communist dictarship run by a fantasist seek world attention makes it very sad and as such any positive PR helps the regime.

You are correct it is an honour to represent your country and to display the virtues of your country on the playing field and I am sure that is what the player felt. Unfortunately, he is nothing but a pawn being exploited by his government which again is sad and you do nothing to help North Korean people being sympathetic to the player, Kim Jong Il just wins.

When Gazza cried in 1990 the UK government did not get an positive PR.

Erin said...

@Francis A racial slur is not a racist comment?

Geraldine said...

@Francis, and @NYCShopGuide seem to both be missing the part where Erin was called "Kim Chee" and told to "piss off". That is definitely racist. If you read @NYCshopguide's tweets now, talking about the incident, s/he is saying that they were called racist for following Brasil, COMPLETELY missing the point! This is not about what team Erin is supporting (she had a Brazilian jersey picked out!), but the fact that @NYCshopguide said something really offensive in response to Erin's tweet.

Good for you, Erin, for standing up for yourself.

Eve Sanders said...

Great article --- Erin.

@NYCshopguide fire the person who's tweeting. Bad for your branding and image.

Anonymous said...

Multiculturalism in Canada is not only about learning about each other's cultural differences and about tolerance but also of acceptance and embracing our unique differences.

Kudos Erin on having the guts to stand up and speak out against such ignorance!


MizzJ said...

Wow that is unbelievable. Good for you for standing up for yourself Erin! I cannot believe that someone actually tweeted that to you AND from a corporate account! Makes me wonder just who the person is behind their Twitter.