When a gynecologist suggested Terri Hatcher's character (Susan) might be reaching menopause, she said: "Can I just check those diplomas because I just want to make sure that they are not from some med school in the Philippines."
While I agree that this is, indeed, an inappropriate and offensive thing to say, I think that this, like many "racial issues," may be taken too far. ABC, Inc. (my former employer, heh) has issued a formal apology for its stupidity. After receiving notice from the Filipino community that they had pissed a lot of people off, they recognized their insensitivity and tried to make amends. But apparently, sorry isn't enough.
The Filipino community wants more. They want ABC to "... produce shows recognizing Filipino [contribution to society]" ... or else.
I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous. There are tons of ethnicities, minority and otherwise, who have contributed to making this world what it is... who have helped the world move forward... and not everyone gets a show about their ethnic triumphs on primetime. To demand such a thing is ludicrous. Where does an ethnic group get off making such a demand? Are their contributions to society that much more important than everyone else's? Isn't that a bit elitist and self-important and quite possibly... racist?
I guess racial insensitivity doesn't stop at big corporate productions.
Furthermore, I'd like to point out that one of the statements quoted in the article from a Dr. Fernando Ona (who I am sure is a bright gentleman with a great education) makes absolutely no sense. "[It was a]... reprehensible insult to the racial diversity... of doctors of Filipino ancestry."
I'm sorry. What?!
Ignoring the fact that there is only the human race and everything else breaks down into ethnicities, doesn't "racial diversity of doctors of Filipino ancestry" seem to contradict itself? Or is that just me being nit picky and looking too closely at semantics? What is he trying to say? Granted, I've cut up the quote a bit, but even in its entirety, the meaning is lost.
Can anyone explain this to me?
In talking to another close friend of Filipino ancestry, when I brought this quote to his attention, he told me that, "...one thing I think is common with 'educated' Filipinos is that they have a tendency to want to use 'big' words and 'flowery' phrases...that don't necessarily make sense. It's part of the Filipino culture to be flamboyant...not in a malicious or mean-spirited way, but it's just their way."
But that makes them look stupid.
And I'm sorry, but his saying that DOES make him look stupid. And if that's the norm, no wonder the editors and writers for 'Desperate Housewives' let that quote slide. While it's never good to base things on stereotypes, they exist for a reason. And that reason is that there is some truth to it.
I'm horrible. I know. And I know that lots of people use big words inappropriately. It's not just Filipinos. I want to say that people who learn English as a second language do it more often than most because they want to demonstrate (often subconsciously) their true fluency and harness of the English language. I want to say it, but hell, I know LOTS of English as a FIRST language speakers who butcher English all the time, in ignorance. I'm sure I'm one of them (although technically Thai was my first language... I don't remember a lick of it). But I think it's just more blatant when the speaker doesn't have English as their mother-tongue.
I personally am of the mind that everyone's a little bit racist. (Ha! Avenue Q was right.) I am no exception. I know that I am quite racist, and unfortunately, because I went to a high school where I was the minority in a world of what was often called "Little Manila," one of the ethnic groups toward which I harbor the most animosity is Filipinos. Ignore the fact that some of the people I love most are Filipino. Heh. (*Waves at all my Filipino friends who KNOW I am often anti-Filipino*)
And it is because I have always felt that the Hawaii Filipino community is too self-engrossed, too close-minded, and too culture-centric. I think it's healthy to remember where you come from. To have ethnic pride. But what about welcoming other cultures and learning from them and embracing them? What about expanding one's world and accepting that people are different and stopping the jamming of your own culture down someone else's throat until they gag?
It's not happy to gag on someone else's culture.
Mind you, this all coming from a girl who knows well not to eat the chocolate pork, but to steal all the banana lumpia, who understands what it's like to pack and ship balikbayan boxes to the family, who loves patis, who laughs at the barrel man, who has sung "Dahil Sayo," who has done tinikling in two states, who has gotten into a fist fight for not being Pinay and to DEFEND Pinay, who has taken friends to get Alibata tattoos, who looks for the Fork & Spoon, the Last Supper, and plastic runners when she goes into a Filipino house, and who understands the meaning of "Mahal Kita."