Friuli winemaker Fulvio Bressan’s racially-charged political comments about Cécile Kyenge, Italy’s first African-Italian government minister (you can read the translation if you’re up for it, but fair warning: it will most likely disgust you) just caused a large crap-storm in the wine world.
In my view, only an idiot (it takes a lot of stupid to hate based on race, people) would not find Bressan’s original statement offensive.
In the comments section of Jeremy Parzen’s excellent Do Bianchi blog, there is a follow up from Bressan offering an unapologetic rant in defense of his original (indefensible) statement. I have a touchy spot (ok, a huge, ugly, flaming, red-hot-molten-lava spot) for this type of racially-motivated hate talk, particularly when people of African descent are the targets, as I have a niece and a nephew who are beautiful, intelligent, well-rounded, gentle, and amazing young people, who also happen to be black.
So having this kind of thing happen within the wine world hit a little too close to home for me, and I responded to Bressan directly on Do Bianchi:
Nothing in any of your unapologetic, post-facto rants justifies the fact that you could easily have made your politically-motivated comment without a single one of the racially-charged epithets you decided to include (presumably for emphasis but clearly without regard to what reasonable people would find offensive or hurtful). The right thing to do – the ballsy, mature, adult thing to do – would be to issue a formal apology immediately.
I, of course, have not been the only one to ask Bressan to apologize (far from it). To my great surprise, Bressan actually did so… sort of…