American in Spain

Mono vs. Morro

May 13, 2011

thumbI love it when current events cause a traffic spike on my blog. The big news in Spanish sports today is regarding a video clip where Sergio Busquets, a soccer player for Barcelona, covers his mouth, looks at Marcelo Vieira, who plays for Real Madrid, and says (no audio, just video) either "morro" or "mono". Both require the tongue to hit the palate, and are more or less indistinguishable with video alone. The important facts of the case are that, Barcelona and Real Madrid are the principal archrivals in Spain's favorite sport, and Busquets is a white guy from Barcelona, while Marcelo is a black guy from Brazil. Oh, and "mono" means "monkey". This case would be pretty boring to me, except that I am the internet's primary source for the definition of the Spanish expression "mucho morro". That post has received over 200 hits today, and my top posts normally get around 30 hits a day. All the non-Spanish soccer fans are desperately trying to understand both sides of this story.

You decide! Morro or mono?

My Opinion

The more you watch Spanish fíºtbol, the more you see people touching their faces to mean mucho moro as a gesture of general "Hey, you jerk!" disapproval. There is, however, still a lot of inherent racism in Spain, mainly because it's still such a racially homogenous country. Personally I'm inclined to give Busquets the benefit of the doubt on this totally ambiguous case. But then that wouldn't be much of a media story, would it?

At least no one is suggesting he said moro...