In a famous trial in Manila about Neil Puache, convicted of rape, exclaimed: “You’re all racists and you don’t even know it!” This topic may be quite controversial but I have enough evidences to back up my opinions. Racism refers to any theory or doctrine stating that inherited physical characteristics such as skin color, facial features, hair texture, and the like determine behavior patterns, personality traits and intellectual abilities. They do not know that, according to the values’ standards, that the actions of man define what values they have instead of how they look because through these values, one can know that a person is acting in a proper or improper way. In practice, racism takes the form of a claim that some human races are superior to others.
Did you know that the term “Mangyan”, the name of the indigenous peoples in Mindoro comes from the Tagalog phrase: “mangmang iyan” meaning “that person is stupid”? Why would people who have been oppressed by whites want to act like them? Because the oppression was effective in instilling the belief that whites are better than Filipinos. Instead of responding to this in an aggressive mood, Filipinos took the belief as something true. That’s why Filipinos are really conscious about their skin color.
How about this: did you know that our country is the world’s capital of whitening products? Yes, it’s a fact. Filipinos seem to think that with lighter skin, one can climb the social ladder. Haven’t you noticed that Filipinos respond to sunlight the same way Clark Kent does to kryptonite?
And this: did you know that only two dark-skinned Filipinas managed to get the title of Binibining Pilipinas Universe? This is another visible practice of racism in the Philippines. It might be coincidental if there were ten or fifteen candidates but two out of forty-one is just unacceptable.
It isn’t only amongst us that Filipinos have shown preference of a certain race. Did you know that people with Chinese blood were often discriminated in the Philippines because of the way they look? Only because of the current norms of what people perceive to be beautiful are Chinese people thought of as better than us. They make their Chinese blood a feature of their humanity. This is why “Tsinoys” are more frequently seen on T.V. than Filipinos with the traditional Filipino beauty.
Historians claim that this fever started the same time colonial mentality seeped into our veins and pointed out that it was widespread by 1572. The colonizers start with the assumption that their ways are inherently superior to those of the colonized. Racist men were put into positions of power where they were expected to promote, first and foremost, the economic and fashion interests of the country’s elite. In the name of God, civilization progress and development, the colonizers justified the most barbaric acts they inflicted on the colonized. The brainwashing committed by the colonizers was meant to tell the imposed that their culture is way behind civilization. They did not know that the acts also made the Filipinos think that lighter skin meant more superior beings.
Particularly when face-to-face with a person in authority, Filipinos have the tendency to be submissive. They have an obsessive desire to please, serve and accept the opinion of a person in authority. Rather than asserting their rights, they prefer to suffer in silence for fear of offending another person or being thought of as uncooperative or dumb. The Filipinos have practiced pakikisama but this value turned out to be a non-assertive mentality that started the whole disease. This is the kind of mindset and barbarism that shaped the history of the Filipinos.
We must also talk about the ancestral influence. If parents cut corners, their children will too. If parents spend all their money on themselves and tithe no portion of it for charities, colleges, churches, synagogues and civic causes, their children won’t either. The same way, if parents snicker at racial and gender jokes, a new generation will pass on the poison adults still have not had the courage to snuff out.
According to Rogdiger in his article from rubak.com, “a typical Filipino parent would say that being white is good because it shows superiority (the female parent is likely to suggest this, most males tend to be contented with their own race) because only a small percent of Filipinos is lucky enough to have this gift”. The truth is, to think so is being as racist as the people who enslaved them and told them that they were inferior. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Filipinos are so caught up in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. The parents sent the word and strength of racism to many generations in the future and it will never stop until Filipinos accept that they are racists.
In the past, racism was easily defined and institutional. The colonizers have been successful in promoting their race to a higher level but they, surely enough, didn’t expect the Philippines to be a racist society in the future. The refusal to accept this sickness has allowed it to transform into new forms. Racism has evolved from an aggressive prejudicial behavior to a more subtle one. This type of subtle prejudicial behavior has advanced to a degree that is much more difficult to se, yet is regarded as more severe. This modern form of racism has entered the workplace. Filipinos are so caught up with trying to be an independent race, yet they would prefer to be a part of a different race. A foreigner came back from the Philippines and said: “All I saw was a lot of racists!” More that a quarter of the females in the Philippines have died their hair blonde, with an effort to be “more cool” or “more foreign” only to have most turn out an ugly orangy-color. These women also wear too much makeup to lighten their skin.
We must also discredit the title of “the bearers of racism” to our ancestors, colonizers and the society. The media also has a lot to do with this. Most of the people who accepted the title of being “ugly” in showbiz entertainment are people with dark skin.
The victims of racism have suffered from direct or indirect forms of racial discrimination. Direct forms include being laughed at; indirect forms include the “glass ceiling effect, a modern type of racism which describes the invisible differences in other Filipino’s views. This type of thinking may very well be the cause of a victim’s mental and psychological damage. It has also affected the victim’s social health and yes, also his/her spiritual health.
So it’s your choice. You can either be a lazy fool, influenced by the society’s wrong perspective or you can park the car, stand on hard ground and take a look at the real Philippine Islands.
Courtney from Study Moose
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