Soccer Mexican Chant: Offensive? Discriminatory? or are we just “too sensitive”?

August 12, 2011

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Courtesy of theyoungestbouquet.blogspot.comQuite recently Mexico was crowned the winner of FIFA's U-17 World Cup tournament, after defeating Uruguay before more than 100 thousand spectators at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. I've been a soccer fan ever since I was a little girl, but it hasn't been until recent years that I've come to notice a very particular chant from the crowds… a chant that was in fact created by a local team from the state of Jalisco – and invariably used at any game, local league or nationals, and heard in unison every time the rival goalkeeper clears a long kick off from the goal. “Puto” is the word the entire stadium fervently chants. This offensive term, as it turns out, has been long used throughout Latin America as a derogatory word to refer to homosexual men in a discriminatory way (think of it as ‘fag' in English speaking countries). And several months ago, there I was at the stadium, celebrating at a game amidst thousands of people, when I realized how impacting it is to hear this word being chanted over and over again, by all the voices hidden behind the anonymity created by the masses.
And I can't deny that more and more I am annoyed by the constant use of this chant, at any game or tournament played in Mexico. I also find that this offensive word is being used totally out of context, but what it is, is a reminder of the excruciating ignorance and lack of education of Mexicans. However, in discussing the issue with heterosexual friends, they feel the use of the word puto is intended to mean ‘coward or cowardly', rather than a direct form of offense to gay individuals. My friends believe it is quite simply another sports war chant, make-some noise, throw a party type of phrase, your typical Mexican desmadre or blast. And yet, I remain unconvinced.  
Is it right, is it wrong? Should we view this in plain black and white, or shades of grey? Should we take it up with the FIFA as inappropriate conduct because it does point to blatant discriminatory attitudes as many others that have been widely recognized as unacceptable and have even led to sanctionings and closing of certain stadiums? How do you feel about it? 
I stop to think about this issue and wonder if I'm taking it too far, this might just be another ‘insignificant' offense, like many others created by hooligans all around the world to intimidate rival teams, or should this be something we do in fact point out, and specifically teach new generations to omit this from their vocabulary once and for all. ¿Are others like me – who feel uncomfortable by the use of the word, just being too sensitive?
By the way – and quite separately from the above, I want to take a minute to wholeheartedly congratulate the Mexican U-17 team. Bottom line, only the new generations can aspire to transform Mexico in every way. Congratulations to my team, world champions! (Image courtesy of theyoungestbouquet.blogspot.com).