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PC police alert: Hubertus von Hohenlohe is guilty of racial stereotyping

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It’s hard to say what facet of this story is the most absurd. Is it that Mexico, a country that enjoys mild temperatures the year round, has an Olympic ski team? Is it the name Hubertus von Hohenlohe, which if you didn’t know better you would assume is straight out of “The Onion”?

Or is it the body suit that Hohenlohe, a prince of German descent and — despite his advancing years — member of the ski team, intends to wear at this year’s event in Sochi? NBC News writes uncritically:

The suit [which is modeled in the photo here by the 55-year-old Hohenlohe] … features the trimmings of a black bolero jacket, ruffled tuxedo shirt, red tie and cummerbund, and designs down the legs surrounding the initials “MEX.”

If anyone else suggested that an athlete representing Mexico don a “mariachi-themed race suit,” he would be pounced upon by the same media forces that find the team name Redskins a raical affront of epic proportions. What could be more of a stereotype of Mexican culture than a “Mariachi Olympic Prince,” clad in a get-up that is a cut above a t-shirt designed to resemble a tuxedo only by dint of its being fashioned from spandex? The answer could well be a Pancho Villa-essque “Mexicano desperado’ race suit, complete with bullet straps and pistoleros in the design.” That’s what Hohenlohe wore in the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010.

Hohenlohe is quoted as saying:

Until I went to Mexico recently to make a documentary, I never realized what a beautiful, amazing, rich past and culture they have and what a proud people they are. It actually moved me to see how much they suffered and how much they fought for what they have. The power to have your own identity is so strong and something I believe in so I want to give it a go in a very cool, elegant way. I want to celebrate who they are, but of course in my own style.

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