When Houston Astro’s first baseman Yuli Gurriel hit a home run against Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish in game three of the World Series, he did something that shocked many people around the world. After circling the bases he quickly returned to the Astro’s dugout, put his fingers on his face, lifted the corners of his eyes, and made a “slated eye” gesture that is known as an offensive gesture towards people of Asian descent.
Gurriel, however, didn’t stop there.
While lifting the corner of his eyes, he also said the word “chinito,” which is also considered offensive towards people of Asian descent.
For many around the world, it was one of the first examples of Latinos discriminating against people of Asian descent. For others, it was an example of the anti-Asian sentiments that already exist in many parts of Latin America.
Gurriel’s gestures have been interpreted in different ways, but unbeknownst to many, his home country of Cuba has a long history of Chinese immigration dating back to the 18th century when Chinese laborers were often shipped to the Caribbean island as slaves or indentured servants.
On the island, like in other parts of Latin America, Cubans of Asian descent were often discriminated against for their cultural practices and language differences.
Gurriel’s actions were entirely offensive and reveal that Latinos can also be capable of acting in racist ways towards other marginalized groups.
Check out the video below to learn more about the history of Chinese immigration in Cuba.