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Discussion Starter #1
This is not actually new but I admit to having an ulterior motive for posting now. Gaël Monfils, along with three other French athletes of West Indian origin, is a public ambassador for bananas from the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, where his parents are from. He has a brief profile on the official website that includes a picture of him holding a banana. I originally stumbled on this photo while looking for new avatar during Wimbledon and I instantly liked it - the way Monfils is smiling, his hair (still have mixed feelings on the current 'do), the cheesy pose with the fruit. Looking at the pics of other ambassadors like footballer Nicolas Anelka and runner Christine Arron,
it seems like their images have been altered to include the banana. Gaël, however, appears to be the only one IMO who actually posed with one.

Unfortunately I don't speak or read French despite some high school lessons and I don't know precisely what motivated the French tennis player to agree to this endorsement. However, I came across an article whose English translation gave me an idea of the economic uncertainty facing banana production in that part of the world and the urgency of an increased marketing push in Europe. Being from a part of the world that's facing similar agricultural/trade struggles (look at my flag, not my location), I can personally relate. That is why it is both incomprehensible and infuriating that I apparently can't lend my solidarity, in however small a way, by using an avatar of Monfils holding a banana from his parents' homeland. It is truly sad that some people not only find the image racially offensive but, by extension, think he is/I am discriminating against himself/myself :confused: :sad:
 

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All right, this really seems to be true and I didn't know that when I saw your picture. So all right, keep your Monfils banana avatar if you like, and maybe you can explain it to people who have/had concerns that it is not you who doctored this pic with any racist message or insult meant towards Monfils, but that he is an official ambassador des Bananes Guadeloupes & Martiniques.
Sorry for the troubles caused!
 

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People can be really quick to judge things. The western media has been particularly insidious in creating this "ultra sensitivity" in relation to race.

I remember in the states here we had a Washington DC politician who stepped down from his post because he dared use the word "niggardly" to describe the funding budget he was being given for a certain edneavor. And more recently Tony Snow, another white house politicina type got into some hotwater because he used a reference to a literary character know as "the tar baby". It all resulted from a lot of ignorant figner pointers.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Context is everything when it comes to some potentially tricky issues. While I understand why some would be sensitive to the image and the negative symbolism it could be associated with, it's still puzzling to me that it was repeatedly removed without any explanation or warning. That is why I ultimately decided to start my first ever GM thread, so that people could not only find out something they probably didn't know about Monfils but also see that there's a fine line between preventing the spread of hatred and actually surrendering to it. Personally I prefer to discuss these things first rather than just sweep them under a rug.

Ironically, I was planning on switching avatars anyway because it seemed every time Gaël had a good result and I uploaded it, he lost his next match :sad: Then Federer had that scare against Nadal in the final after I featured him with Juliette, who it later turned out had been slaughtered :tears: followed by the Fed-Nadal embrace in honour of the post-Wimbledon goodwill between the two forum factions :angel: and we all know how long that lasted... So I actually think now is the best time for Monfils to hoist his banana again because I don't believe he's playing a tournament this week and therefore I can't jinx his next match ;) at least for the next few days :p
 

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Well he is a French West Indian and they have produced a lot of good athletes besides the ones mentioned there are Thierry Henry, Bruny Surin, Lillian Thuram and bananas are an important product of the islands along with rum, though it's not wise for Gael to take a bottle of rum on the court.

If people think it's racist and won't look any further as to why this campaign is going, then that's their own stupidity.
 

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Sickening that people say such things about anyone, and the banana avvie is just throwing red meat to the lions. But i say, keep it. Vamos Caribbean :rocker2:
 

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Well he is a French West Indian and they have produced a lot of good athletes besides the ones mentioned there are Thierry Henry, Bruny Surin, Lillian Thuram and bananas are an important product of the islands along with rum, though it's not wise for Gael to take a bottle of rum on the court.

If people think it's racist and won't look any further as to why this campaign is going, then that's their own stupidity.
You know my takes on rum, and another Bruny is a good haitian footballer. Have you heard of Boucicaut? he wants to play in Europe, although with his pathetic display in the Gold Cup, i dunno who would want him :tape:
 

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Forum Umpire:, Gaston Gaudio,
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You know my takes on rum, and bruny is a good haitian footballer. Have you heard of Baucicaut? he wants to play in Europe, although with his pathetic display in the Gold Cup, i dunno who would want him :tape:
I meant Surin the former long jumper and 100m runner for Canada is Haitian. There have been many other very gifted sportspeople from the region, but onto the subject and I agree with you that the OP should keep the avatar.
 

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Looking at the pics of other ambassadors like footballer Nicolas Anelka and runner Christine Arron, it seems like their images have been altered to include the banana. Gaël, however, appears to be the only one IMO who actually posed with one.
No, it's photoshopped too. The problem is they did a very poor job and the pics look like MTF self-made avatars qualitywise.

There even was a spot on French TV with Gael and the other sport stars making the promotion of the "banane de Guadeloupe et Martinique".

There have been quite a few negative reactions to this campaign because they do look a bit ridiculous with their poorly photoshopped pics. It's perfectly OK as a MTF avatar and your avatar always makes me smile, Rumour, but as a TV spot... Some people from this region were not amused.

Here, for example: http://www.afrik.com/article8941.html (in French)
 

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Andreas Du Rieux said:
If people think it's racist and won't look any further as to why this campaign is going, then that's their own stupidity.
Yes, but just seeing the picture, at first you must know that there is even a campaign going on :lol: and I guess many people just don't know it.

Truc said:
Yes, just wanted to bring this one up as well as a response :lol:
 

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Thank God this is MTF. The mention of banana and a black player in WTAhell.com is a death sentence :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Where exactly does one draw the line? Should black peope never eat bananas in public because some bigots have sadly succeeded in linking that fruit to their hateful agenda? Does using the :banana: smiley to celebrate a Monfils victory suddenly mean something different than when it's used for Gasquet or Gonzo (himself an avocado ambassador yet no one would bat an eyelash if he was seen holding one) or anyone else? Some symbols, like the swastika, may have been irreversibly tainted but a banana surely represents far more than its misuse and shouldn't be written off so easily :confused:

There will always be differences of opinion in any community or culture about what is 'appropriate' or 'offensive' but I think the fact that this image - altered or not - could be a questionable issue here shows what a slippery slope freedom of expression rests on. Of course none of the people who apparently had a problem with it mentioned it to me publicly or privately (till Neely yesterday), only those who actually like it. While I appreciate the MTF mod squad finally seeing my point of view, I feel rather sad that this is what the innocent banana has been reduced to in some people's minds, even if I understand where they're coming from.
 

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Where exactly does one draw the line? Should black peope never eat bananas in public because some bigots have sadly succeeded in linking that fruit to their hateful agenda? Does using the :banana: smiley to celebrate a Monfils victory suddenly mean something different than when it's used for Gasquet or Gonzo (himself an avocado ambassador yet no one would bat an eyelash if he was seen holding one) or anyone else? Some symbols, like the swastika, may have been irreversibly tainted but a banana surely represents far more than its misuse and shouldn't be written off so easily :confused:

There will always be differences of opinion in any community or culture about what is 'appropriate' or 'offensive' but I think the fact that this image - altered or not - could be a questionable issue here shows what a slippery slope freedom of expression rests on. Of course none of the people who apparently had a problem with it mentioned it to me publicly or privately (till Neely yesterday), only those who actually like it. While I appreciate the MTF mod squad finally seeing my point of view, I feel rather sad that this is what the innocent banana has been reduced to in some people's minds, even if I understand where they're coming from.
Excellent post.
 

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Not the banana itself is the problem, but the style of the campaign. It makes them look ridiculous because of the terrible quality and it is playing with stereotypes (it reminds of those old colonial products, "Ya bon Banania", etc.)That is disturbing imo. And the banana thing gets an unpleasant touch then.
It does look like a caricature, the fact that people who didn't know the context reported your avatar and thought you were making fun of him shows it.
 

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Not the banana itself is the problem, but the style of the campaign. It makes them look ridiculous because of the terrible quality and it is playing with stereotypes (it reminds of those old colonial products, "Ya bon Banania", etc.)That is disturbing imo. And the banana thing gets an unpleasant touch then.
It does look like a caricature, the fact that people who didn't know the context reported your avatar and thought you were making fun of him shows it.
I agree.

Also it didn't help matters that this Rumor kid was a new poster, so I for one had no idea whether he was "taking a piss" on Gaël or just looking for attention.
 

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wondered about the photo :lol:
 
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