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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Y-speak: Racism in the Philippines: Does it exist?


MOST people nowadays don't consider themselves racist. They live their day-to-day lives thinking that they don't discriminate other people.

In today's society, racism is only acknowledged to the extreme. You dislike people who look like they're from Arabic descent and generalize them all as terrorists? Racist. You call out black people for the sole reason that they're black? Racist. You feel disgusted when a Lumad comes near you? Racist.

But, in reality, racism is everywhere. Just like in the song from the musical Avenue Q, you could definitely say that everyone's a little bit racist sometimes. Racism has become so casual and latent that it couldn't even be detected unless you're a warrior of social justice.

Racism is the discrimination and targeted bigotry towards another race. This discrimination is derived from the amount of melanin your skin has to even your cultural ethnicity. It can also be defined as feeling dominant and superior to other racial groups, as stated in the Merriam Webster Dictionary. This issue is more common in the west — whites dominates the blacks.

In the Philippines, racism is a prejudice that is present and yet most Filipinos are ignorant that is currently in our society's system. They are not aware that they're making racist comments and judgments on a daily basis. It is considered a problem even when you ignore the issue and not confront it.

These racist acts are almost always portrayed on media — especially TV. A great example for this is the 2011 TV Show Nita Negrita. The show, which ran for 4 months, was about a dark-skinned Filipina who got discriminated because of her skin color. It could've been a good plot: a bullied girl who conquers the problems and obstacles in her life. But, what was wrong was that instead of casting an actual dark-skinned Filipina actress, a fair-skinned actress was painted black instead. It was also pointed out how super exaggerated and dark the make-up was — it was so dark that it resembled the color of charcoal.

The most recent TV show that implied racist thoughts is based from an online novel entitled Maid for Korean Boys that was broadcasted in 2015. The main character of the show was a dark-skinned, curly-haired maid. The actress of this show was also fair-skinned and was only painted to appear darker.

This has happened so many times in Filipino Television. Shows usually patronize the white and the rich and condemn the dark and the poor.

The question is: why is this discrimination happening in the Philippines? The main reason is that Filipinos still have this colonial mentality.

Colonial Mentality, as stated by Jon Royeca (2010) in an article on the emanila site, is the thinking that foreign talents and products are always the good, the better, and the best, and that the local ones are of poor or no quality at all.

If you notice, Filipinos value fair-skinned people more than the average morenas. By thinking that these people are better than the other, it is already considered discrimination.

Filipinos almost always associate whiteness with wealth. Have you ever seen a TV show where the rich ones are the dark-skinned ones? Even if there are shows that portray that, they're not known and there are only so few of them.

By broadcasting these shows on television, it can create an effect on people.

The Cultivation Theory by Gerbner states that TV can affect how people think reality is. It can alter how they view the world. For example, showing racist shows will give the impression that it's a norm in society and it just happens everyday. It is bad enough that there is a possibility that it can be a norm in society, more so if people tolerate this kind of behavior.

So, does racism exist in the Philippines? Yes, it does. End the ignorance and be informed. Nobody wants to be called racist, right? (Fhrea Zenntine Malinit)
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