As Korea triumphed against Germany in the World Cup group stage today, preventing Mexico from being eliminated from the tournament, Koreans and Mexicans joined in solidarity to celebrate their achievements. Korea’s victory allowed Mexico to advance to the round of 16 and eliminated Germany, the first time the country hasn’t advanced to the knockout stage in World Cup history (Mexican hinchas on the ground in Russia are even starting mini parades for Korean fans).
But of course, as viral videos of fans rejoicing flood our timelines, the anti-Asian sentiment that’s common in Latino communities is bound to surface. After Korea’s win, noted bigot Aleks Syntek posted a video on Twitter mocking Koreans through offensive facial gestures and by mimicking the Korean language.
The Mexican pop singer has a reputation for racist and discriminatory comments. Last August, he made headlines for claiming reggaeton “comes from apes,” and more recently, he drew the ire of the genre’s biggest stars for his moralizing attacks on música urbana, blaming artists for promoting moral corruption in children. Given reggaeton’s long history as a site of resistance for black Puerto Ricans and Panamanians, and the Puerto Rican government’s history of targeting of the genre, many were quick to point out the problems with Syntek’s remarks.
Latinos have a long history of stereotyping Asians and Asian-Latinos, whether it’s through mocking them or generalizing the entire community as “chinos.” Syntek’s video not only erases Asian Latinos, it perpetuates harmful stereotypes about the Asian community, too.