The subject of racism in the Philippines comes up in discussion threads now and then. Recently I opined that I think racism exists here, but it is fairly benign. It is rather odd because it often favors those of us who are white of skin.
I said it is benign because I view the obsession most women have about being light skinned as a form of racism. Not a big deal. Indeed, some say it is just a cosmetic choice. So I concluded that racism was benign,
But now I'm not so sure.
I'm starting to think . . . always a dangerous condition . . .
I read an article the other day that suggests racism is not benign, at least as it pertains to the Filipino sons and daughters of black American servicemen. American soldiers fathered about 45,000 children in the Philippines during the time bases in Subic and Clark were active. Many of these kids were abandoned by their fathers when they returned to the States, and many were cast off by their mothers who had no means of support after the servicemen left. Most of the mothers were employed at bars or in other ways provided . . . um, personal services.
As they grew up, the half-black kids were routinely taunted in school and stared at as if they were space aliens when going anywhere in public. They were often greeted with condescending sneers or catcalls. Now they are young adults. They have a difficult time getting jobs so they have no means of support.
In one of the most heartless legal judgments ever, the Philippine courts determined that the Philippines has no State responsibility to care for these kids because the mothers were most likely engaged in the illegal activity of prostitution. In other words, the Philippine State joined those who stare and catcall and otherwise tell children they are somehow worthless.
As if the kids had anything to do with this.
Truly, this nation is missing a whole lot in the compassion department.
So the article opened my eyes. It also contained enlightening information about how the fascination with white skin began before the Spanish arrived. The "superior" peoples were of light-skinned Malaysian ancestry and the "inferior" peoples were dark-skinned Indios. When the light complexioned Spanish arrived, the empowerment of white rose even higher. Then the Americans arrived . . .
Then the cosmetics companies and "stars" jumped on the white gravy train.
Now I wonder if racism is indeed benign. Or if it is so pronounced that those discriminated against have no voice. Perhaps it is because they have no voice that I am not aware of the racism. Maybe these "lesser beings" have zero opportunity to get out of the barrio. Perhaps they are forced to endure poverty assigned to them for the offense of being born in the wrong tint of skin.
Racism is a trap that confirms the bias. Even in the U.S. the poor remain poor and uneducated because the schools in their areas are overcrowded pits of anger and danger. Poor education tends to confirm for bigots that Blacks or Mexicans are "stupid".
So perhaps we simply don't hear about active racism in the Philippines because those discriminated against are forced to submit by stares, taunts and being hounded out of the mainstream community. Certainly there is no Civil Liberties Union sticking up for people without power. After all, this is a country that thrives on power and winning, personally, at any cost. In that regard, it is not exactly a kind nation.
I wonder, what is the percentage of dark-skinned Indios in the Philippine population? Let me guess that it is 10%, or about the same as the black population in the United States.
And I wonder what is the percentage of Indios in, say, the student enrollment of the University of the Philippines? What do you figure, less than 1%?
So assuming that the numbers are reasonable enough to make a point, we could conclude that the social process . . . a process that cuts off opportunity and suppresses voices of protest . . . holds 9% of the Philippine population back? "Discrimination". That's the big word for racism, and Bubba, it ain't benign if the real situation approximates the guess.
If this is true, I smirk ironically at the notion that the nation that hates abortion doesn't mind throwing away 9% of its Filipino kids. Live kids.
Clearly, I need to rethink this racism question and perhaps work up some statistics. For now, please remove from the record any hint that JoeAm said racism in the Philippines is benign.