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Nadra Kareem Nittle

There’s Nothing Funny About Floyd Mayweather’s Racist Rant Against Manny Pacquiao

By September 5, 2010

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Floyd Mayweather Jr. made the bad decision on Sept. 2 to allow himself to be filmed giving a racist rant against boxing rival Manny Pacquiao.

For those not in the know, the African-American Mayweather has been in talks since January to fight the Filipino Pacquiao. After two rounds of failed negotiations between the boxers, a match has yet to be set. So Mayweather decided to berate Pacquiao via Ustream. Rather than just take jabs at Pacquiao's boxing skills, Mayweather made Pacquiao's Asian heritage the focal point of his tirade.

In the video, Mayweather refers to Pacquiao as a "little yellow chump" and brags that he will force Pacquiao to "make me a sushi roll and cook me some rice" after beating him.

Although some Mayweather fans view his diatribe as good ole' trash talk, it's no such thing. It's racist babble filled with nasty stereotypes. I've outlined three of Mayweather's main generalizations about Asians below.

  1. All Asians Are Alike - Throughout his rant, Mayweather links Pacquiao to Japanese foods such as sushi. Pacquiao, though, is Filipino. The fact that Mayweather never used one anti-Filipino stereotype against Pacquiao indicates that he views Asian ethic groups as interchangeable with each other. This is a common Western stereotype of Asians, most likely seen in Westerners who label any Asian they encounter as "Chinese" or "Japanese."
  2. Asian Men Aren't Real Men - While insulting Pacquiao, Mayweather took pains to point out that he views his rival as a "girly man." He referred to Pacquiao as a "f____t" at one point and repeatedly as a "midget." At 5 feet 6, Pacquiao isn't very tall but neither is Mayweather, who's 5 feet 8. Given this, it appears that Mayweather's remarks about Pacquiao's stature weren't simple jabs at the Filipino boxing champ's height but challenges to his masculinity. Unfortunately, in popular culture Asian men are frequently portrayed as nerdy and asexual, which is why they're not often cast as romantic leads. Newer films such as "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" and "Better Luck Tomorrow" depict Asian men in a different light, however.
  3. It's Funny to Stereotype Asians - The odd thing about the Ustream video of Mayweather is that he laughs throughout it. He clearly finds it funny when he boasts, for example, that he will cook Pacquiao up with "cats and dogs."  One reason why anti-Asian racism isn't taken as seriously as, say, anti-Latino racism is that bigots against Asians often express their prejudice in a way designed to get laughs. Mayweather basically admitted as much when he apologized for his racist rant on Sept. 3. "Forgive me for saying what I said. I was just having fun. I didn't really mean it," he explained. But racism isn't "fun." It's hurtful.

Looking at Mayweather's demeanor on the videotape, I doubt that the boxer realized the impact his words would have on Pacquiao, the Filipino community and Asians generally.  But just because Mayweather didn't understand that his rant would be considered racist doesn't excuse his conduct. Unfortunately, this isn't the first time someone has delivered a race-based tirade against Pacquiao this year. Radio talk show host Adam Carolla made Pacquiao's ethnicity the basis of a verbal assault against the Pacman in April. What gives?

Racism directed at Asians is just as troublesome as racism directed at other minority groups. Public figures like Mayweather and Carolla need to know that their anti-Asian rants are unacceptable. If you want to hold Mayweather accountable, consider contacting his publicist to demand that he apologize to the Asian community for his offensive remarks.


Comments

September 5, 2010 at 1:48 pm
(1) Jeff Neely says:

The video just shows how ignorant Mayweather’s assertion of his view of a culture. Filipinos are from the islands, just like how Samoans. Tongans, Fijian, Guamanians are and not from mainland Asia. Although it is in the same geographical region, the Philippine culture were more of Spanish and American influence than of any country in Asia. It’s culture is more closely related to Puerto Rico, another country which came under Spanish and American rule. By the way Floyd is really a CLASS ACT!

September 5, 2010 at 4:13 pm
(2) Peplz says:

What Mayweather actually said was bad enough, but for media journalists to continue to insist to that he called Pacquiao a little “yellow” chump makes it seem a lot worse than it was. It’s clear to those who aren’t looking for more reasons to disparage him that he said little ” young” chump. Even though this was an obvious misqoute what he went on to say was unacceptable. But actually addressing Pacquiao’s skin color would have been far more inflammatory. And if you don’t think racial jokes are funny then you all need to write letters and call VH1 and Comedy Central and tell them to stop showing Lisa Lampanelli’s stand up routines and to never let her roast another celebrity on their networks again! And she is really funny, but you can’t have it both ways.

September 5, 2010 at 4:55 pm
(3) Lyn G. says:

I am kinda surprised,that Mayweather Jr.,adding more injury to the Filipino Community.I myself was a Filipino.I am married to an African-American for almost 12 yrs.,i never have a problem with my black husband,because he is a good and mature person,who knows how to respect other people specifically the people from Asia.

I might accept Floyd Mayweather apology,if he come forward to the Filipinos face to face and not in YouTube,it makes no sense to me asking for an apology,while wearing his sunglass and his tone was still not sincere.Technically,he never mentioned the filipino community instead he said to my fans and to everybody,who got offended,then he said it’s not serious and racist remarks and he said,that he was having fun.
well…is that really funny?
I don’t think so.
I am very disappointed,at how Mayweather Jr. crossed the line.

September 5, 2010 at 6:27 pm
(4) jmjoemig says:

FLOYD MAYWEATHER IS THE FACE OF AMERICAN BOXING – I am proud to be American and I am supporting Floyd like a brave American soldier in a war. What a shame.

September 5, 2010 at 6:34 pm
(5) summer says:

I am a Filipino and I’m proud to be one. Like what Pacman said, it is just an “uneducated message.” I don’t really care about what Mayweather Jr. said because I know who I am and I love who I am.

September 5, 2010 at 7:29 pm
(6) Rudy says:

Not surprise what Mayweather have said, I know that this uneducated moron don’t even know what’s the color of his skin.

September 5, 2010 at 7:54 pm
(7) BP says:

Mayweather is an idiot. I think he will get off the hook with this though. It would likely cause an uproar if it was coming from a white boxer. He should think about if the roles were reversed. Pacquiao would be all over the news. BTW, J. Neely, Filipinos ARE Asian, not Pacific Islanders. Please do our collective people(s) a favor and release your denial.

September 5, 2010 at 9:38 pm
(8) Erik says:

If you’re raised from the gutter like Floyd was, you become an animal like your environment. That’s why Floyd talks and acts like an animal, he’s lineage and family are not too far from those species.

September 5, 2010 at 10:08 pm
(9) doubletrouble says:

“Mayweather is an idiot. I think he will get off the hook with this though. It would likely cause an uproar if it was coming from a white boxer.”

Exactly – which is why he didn’t even think twice about spewing that ridiculously racist rant that would make a Klansman blush. He knows that he’s Black – and in this country, that’s a free pass for any type of misbehavior or racist hate speech that Whites or others would get crucified for. Racist liberals endorse any type of racism that’s not by Whites and not against Blacks and hence keep enabling it.

September 6, 2010 at 2:20 am
(10) esme says:

America should consider Floyd Mayweather Jr., a national shame with his continues racism acts. Although I bet he got some spanking with his latest comments which led to his apology, still it’s not enough. In fact, the apology built on an ‘excuse’ that he was ‘just having fun’ is totally shallow. What if somebody assaulted your mother, sister or daughter on video and afterwards say it’s just for fun, what could have been you reaction, huh Floyd?

September 6, 2010 at 1:49 pm
(11) dr laura -miss whitey says:

hey, i’m white and i made racist remarks on radio. now i lost my job. mayweather is black but he gets a free pass to make racist remarks to pacquiao and apologizes and gets to keep on boxing. double standard my friends. think about that!!!

September 6, 2010 at 6:54 pm
(12) Louis says:

Mayweather’s comments cannot be excuse. We Blacks would not allow other to insult without paying a price. If we are to be taken serious by others we must respect others. Mayweather will have to explain these comments to his children as they grow. If any of his children try to run for political office, try to fill the shoes of President Obama, he or she would have to run from their father’s comments. Actually, he or she would have to run from his or her father. Being old enough to remember the days when we Blacks were publically depicted as Little Black Sambos earing watermelon, on signs and postcards, it is clear that Mayweather has been miseducated. He had better hope that his money is not taken from him. If that happens, racist comments will be remembered.

September 7, 2010 at 10:24 am
(13) KE says:

A number of the comments and on point and as an African American male, I agree we cannot allow Mayweather to make those comments without some price to be paid.

However in this case, I think there is something else to consider. That is Floyd is afraid to fight Pacquiao. I think that is at the heart of this issue. He has been evading Pacquiao for months and I believe this is part of the frustration of the constant questions.

Floyd has proven his ignorance and ghetto attitude. He has no class and it is showing. I’m reminded of a questions posed to the great manager when asked why he was educated and had so much class when he came from the same projects/ghetto. His response was that he was “`from’ the projects, not `of’ the projects.” Floyd is “from” the projects.

September 7, 2010 at 11:34 am
(14) Avatar123 says:

@jmjoemig! Yah! Pac could not speak English,,but what’s more path3t1c is you Americans cannot even spell your own words!!!! Supporting your face of boxing? this 1d1ot is not even supporting Americans for not paying his taxes!….yah right! not all Americans like you is an 1d1ot! believe me, more mature Americans are disgusted than a few of you accepted it!

September 7, 2010 at 12:42 pm
(15) Mike says:

People,

Floyd was just trying to hype up this potential fight. this is all about money. What better way to get attention in America that to be ignorant, racist, and to offend most people. Floyd may not have a great academic education but he is very street smart. Let’s face it, if this was a “who’s better” issue, they could go and fight any day in any gym in this or any other country out of the limelight. It is about money and Floyd has always stated that that is what he is about.

On talent alone, this fight is a mismatch. Floyd is by far the superior fighter. Manny is too small to deal with his strength and speed. This rant was calculated to blow this fight up into the highest paying fight in history!!! I don’t agree with his tactics but I will watch the fight becauseI love boxing.

September 7, 2010 at 1:31 pm
(16) BlackContractor says:

Of course Floyd is just trying to hype up the fight. But he went the racial route. Now, he won’t have a friend in the world and when he is laying on the canvas bruised and beaten, all people are going to do is laugh.

As for all the racists here, it is pretty well known all you guys are waiting for is racist rants to come from “Black” folks so that you can justify your own racist bs.

A real shame though.

September 9, 2010 at 12:24 am
(17) K says:

Had this have been a white person that went on a racist rant against black people it would have made news headline across the world (eg. Mel Gibson).He even tried to insult the Filipino people by issuing an “apology”. Apology or was it a verbal diarrhoea about his self obsession? I say, we the Filipino People should unite and call for sponsors to drop him as endorser of their products. As Filipinos we have much pride, and as humans with the entitlement of courtesy and respect. Mabuhay tayong lahat!

September 10, 2010 at 11:25 am
(18) boxingfan says:

@Peplz, You most likely watched an audio edited version from an original source video and not the original embedded “USTREAM” broadcast video. The “EDITED” video without an embedded the “USTREAM” with even more clear audio does say “young” however the original broadcast of the ustream video Mayweather clearly says “yellow” You have been deceived.

September 11, 2010 at 8:18 am
(19) Naya says:

Floyd’s apology isn’t even sincere. Just one unintentional word offensive to the African Americans and everybody raises a fuss, as if somebody murdered a whole community. And here’s one African American doing it to my race, and the African American community is silent. (But there could be African-American-written articles critical of Floyd I haven’t read about). I applaud author Nadra for her analysis of the whole situation. Thanks, Nadra. Well, fellow Filipinos, let’s take the high road. Just comment without cuss words, although sometimes it’s understandable.

September 12, 2010 at 3:23 pm
(20) FilipinoBoxingfan says:

All us Filipinos and Fil-Ams want is some respect, and some accountability when we are offended.

We have nothing but respect for African-Americans and black athletes. We welcome many NBA stars over to the Philippines and the people love them.

That’s because sports is supposed to UNITE people. It’s about fun, not about hate.

September 13, 2010 at 1:01 pm
(21) BlackContractor says:

@Naya

Maybe there just isn’t any such thing as a spokesperson for a community. Nadra brought it up here. I have condemned the words and so have other “Black” people. But maybe, just maybe, you, me or, whomever don’t owe anything on the behalf of someone else who happens to be a member of their community.

When an Asian restaurant owner tells me that I had better tip properly when I pay my bill, maybe you don’t owe me any condemnation of his action. Maybe that problem is his and his alone. Maybe Muslims don’t have to go the extra mile in condemning actions of other Muslims. Maybe they are just responsible for their individual actions.

Maybe people of color don’t have to be seen in the negative context of culture. Or at least if we have to be seen that way, it is consistent whether the action is negative or positive.

Of course, racists will always claim that people of color have negative cultural issues. But why do we have to hold each other to such ridiculous standards?

September 13, 2010 at 2:09 pm
(22) Richard Doten says:

First I want to thank Nadra for bringing these issues to our attention. Like BlackContractor says people of color cannot be responsible for all the actions of other people of color, however it never seems to ssink in to all the racists out there and the media, maybe the media should just shut up because they just don’t seem to help. Floyd grow up and stop acting like a fool. I am sure that Manny is very willing to fight you, your insults are ridiculous and childish, and personally as a black man I hope Manny puts you in your place.

September 14, 2010 at 8:52 am
(23) Floyd Mayweenie says:

Floyd is high end of story…

September 14, 2010 at 7:18 pm
(24) ahaynes says:

While Floyd’s comments were wrong and unacceptable, it’s amazing how much time the media has spent trying to make him out to be such a racist guy. You can’t turn on the tv without being overwhelmed by race related jokes, stereotypes, etc. It’s one thing to demand an apology, but it’s another to condemn a man (or woman) for putting his foot in his mouth. We all know the role race has played in this country. Because of that, I feel it makes no sense to go into detail. Using history as the standard, what Floyd said doesn’t make him a racist. It makes him a man who didn’t think before he spoke and now he’s paying for it. Before “we” judge others, it’s important to look at “ourselves” and question the things we may have said or done.

September 14, 2010 at 9:31 pm
(25) Albert from Brooklyn says:

This is boxing. NOthing about it follows decorum or ediquitte that requires so much of this psychoanalysis. This is the sport that produced Jack Johnson and the search for the “great white hype.” The sport that used racial undertones to …sell the Cooney-Holmes fight. The sport where Bernard Hopkins threw the Puerto Rican flag onto the ground in PR and got chased throughout the arena. Even as recently as last week there was a fight promoting the upcoming Shane Mosley vs. Sergio Mora as “no Mexican has beaten Mosley. Who will be the first?” So please…..tell her to sit her ass down. Boxing has always used race to promote fights.

March 7, 2011 at 7:02 am
(26) Jason says:

I just hope somebody would embarrass Mayweather in the ring. Obviously, Floyd is still in grade school and acts like a school bully. Somebody needs to teach this bully a lesson. It doesn’t even have to be Pacquiao. Maybe he would go to prison with his legal problems. I wonder if he would still be laughing and make racist remarks, in cell block B?

May 9, 2011 at 3:31 am
(27) Seiji says:

Funny……
He still uses his “slave” name….. Mayweather?
Get f.#%nig real ……

June 23, 2011 at 5:09 am
(28) caloy says:

most people know, you are making publicity on your upcoming fight, but its simply offending other people. we want to remind you! you are black american. originally your ancestors came from africa as slaves long time ago, dont forget that “niggah”. for you maywheather, the weather is bad. its super typhoon!!!

September 22, 2011 at 6:08 pm
(29) mark d. says:

Mayweather ! Is a ” PUNK ASS” !! and It’s not good enough !! For any apologys !! To Both Human Beings !! “Manny Pacquiao and “Larry Merchant” ! To Bad “Larry did not Deck you! ( What would they Call a Fight Between Mayweather and manny ! Anyway ( The “yellow Chump -VS- The C_ i _ P. To! As far as “Asians go ! I Remember a Great “Asian”! Named “BRUCE LEE”! His Fighting Skills !! Would be { Superiour !! } To Yours !

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