For those few keeping up with my Deep series, please don’t worry, I’m working on Chapter 5 as I write this. However, I’m afraid this issue to be discussed can’t wait because of its utmost importance. I’m afraid that, all things considered, this is a topic that needs to be heard by all Filipinos because of how deep it has infected us as a people.
Anyway, racism is a touchy subject for a lot of people. For Filipinos, when the idea of racism is ever mentioned, they will probably think one of two things: One, they will think of the black vs. whites issues going on in the West, more specifically the United States. Second, they will probably think of the foreigners who have had something to say against the Philippines like Alec Baldwin or Clair Danes. However, I strongly doubt that they will ever even think of themselves as blatantly racist even when it’s so clear that we are every bit as racist or even more so than those they accuse of it.
So, do I believe that most Pinoys are racist? Honestly, yes and magnitudes worse than some out there I might add. Here are my points if you want to hear them:
Standards of Beauty
One of the mildest ways we show our racism is in our standards of “beauty”. Of course, this is changing with some people as they come to recognize that brazen skin or an ebony complexion is attractive in its own right. However, no one can deny that majority of Pinoys still consider light skin is the go-to for the idea of beauty. Many of our celebrities like Marian Rivera, Heart Evangelista and Anne Curtis are widely lauded for being white and looking nothing like your average Filipina. In fact some of my foreign friends go on to comment that majority of the celebrities the masses worship do not look us at all and it looks as if they’re watching a European (specifically Spanish or Italian) show. It pains me to admit that in some circles, dark skin is still considered a mark of ugliness. In some schools, I still hear a lot of issues of bullying wherein students are being ostracized for having dark skin and being called “itang gala”. Also, in many teleseryes, how do they present a lead character as “ugly”? Simple! Darken her skin with cosmetics.
Pinoys have always been sore winners and losers. When Pacquiao or any Filipino who wins a prestigious international award, many Pinoys clamor “Pinoy Pride” everywhere like there’s no tomorrow. However, when they lose, they resort to using below-the-belt tactics in degrading the foreign winner and calling them all kinds of mean things. Take note how so many Pinoys called Iranians “smelly” when they beat our soccer team, remember how so many attacked the recent Ms. Angola when our representative lost that competition and I know that remarks against Floyd Mayweather’s physiognomy continue to pour in as I write this because some people just can’t accept the defeat of their idol. In the end, people resort to slurs and worse just because they can’t accept the reality of Pinoy inferiority.
Social Bias Against Natives
Sadly, this is a grim reality that I find difficult to accept especially because we like to claim that we are a “modern” people. To this day, people view Negritos and other tribes like the Bajao and Igorots as inferior and backward despite the fact that common Pinoys also hold a lot of outdated beliefs like the superiority of race, for example. This kind of thinking was once prevalent in the West but has now faded into obscurity in developed countries with Native Americans becoming more mainstream and the Ainu of Japan becoming a respected part of Japanese culture. I can only pray and hope that these tribes will one day be seen as equals by our fellows and be accepted as a people who are as beautiful and smart as our common countrymen.