8 Acts of Casual Racism
by Tim Henares
Unlike in Western countries, the notion of racism (or sensitivity towards people of other races) isn’t a topic of utmost importance in the Philippines. This explains why, outside of whether Leonardo DiCaprio (finally) won an Oscar, there was next to nothing about the Oscars that really captured our fancy.
Is it any wonder why the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite just made us scratch our heads in confusion? After all, it’s not like we Filipinos experience much racism in this country, except when stuff like this happens that makes us feel like we’re second-class citizens in our own country.
The truth is that Filipinos can be incredibly racist when given the chance. We just tend to not realize it because nobody really talks about it in this country, and anyone who does is often dismissed as being “oversensitive.” Here are 8 examples of the random acts of racial discrimination we practice in daily life that seem almost inconsequential to us.
Nita Negrita? Who thought this was a good idea in this decade? And whose bright idea was it that to make her beautiful she had to turn white?
The Implication: If you have dark complexion, you are ugly. Sure. Tell that to Beyonce.
Go ahead. Tell Queen Bey.
7. Making fun of the “Pinoy accent”
Internalized imperialism, anyone? Whenever we see a person put on a thick “Pinoy” accent, it never fails to grate. Maybe it was funny the first time Rex Navarette did it, but the minute someone like Mikey Bustos thought it was a good idea to rip that off and make a schtick out of it for his abomination of a career in the Philippines, we realized that the Pinoy accent has worn out its welcome.
Just like this guy did.
The Implication: Pinoys may know English, but they sound atrocious speaking it. ORLY?
6. On Korean hygiene
“I was in the elevator today, and the Koreans entered. They smell like kimchi!”
Ugh. Get out of my bed!
The Implication: Koreans all smell alike and have poor hygiene. Even if this isn’t even remotely true.
5. “Hey, Joe!”
This is how kids on the street love to harass the white guys they meet on the street.
The Implication: If they’re white, they’re named Joe. Even if they’re French. They all look the same to us, apparently.
⅚? ⅚? Motorcycles? Umbrellas? Turbans? Oh, the stereotypes never end! Nowadays, we even confuse the Indians with people from, say, the UAE, or Muslims wearing religious garb, regardless of country of origin. Meanwhile, not every Indian hails from Bombay.
Meanwhile, who’s worried about rush hour traffic? Not this guy!
The Implication: South Asians all look the same to us.
When half the Chinese people I know consider the word itself a slur and when we have to pull our eyelids to do an impression of them, it really is cringe-inducing. Given how much we actually adore Chinitas in this country, it’s shameful that we poke fun at their stereotypes all the same.
The Implication: We can’t tell the Chinese apart, and yet we rely on them for nearly everything–that is, if CD-R King is to be believed.
Worried about the Spratlys? Too late!
Imagine that. Knowing full well how we look down on black people, we have turned them into the ultimate underdog.
To the point that it might win this underdog the presidency.
The Implication: Black (and white) people are imperfect because when God made them in His oven, they were overcooked and undercooked respectively. How self-serving a myth!
Ah! Bisaya kasi katulong ko, eh! Eh ikaw? Ilokano? Ang kuripot mo! Teka lang, ha, inaaway na naman ako ng Waray kong kapitbahay.
The Implication: Pinoys are so racist, we’re racist against ourselves in 7,107 ways during low tides.
What other acts of casual racism should we be aware of and do away with? Share your thoughts in the comments below!