Racism has been one of the many problems people face in every part of the world. It makes one lose self-confidence, lack self-esteem, which prevents him from attaining self-fulfillment.
As a developing, low-income economy and a third world country, Filipinos around the world continue to experience racism in many ways possible. These discriminatory remarks and downgrading notions about us emerge from those coming from developed countries which are superior in nature. In spite our people’s skills and capabilities, they make us feel our inferiority by thinking that Filipino men are suited to blue-collar jobs; and our women are born to be domestic helpers who just wait in line to be married to a foreign man who will make her and her family rise from poverty. With this kind of treatment, our Overseas Filipino Workers are finding it much harder to survive the unceasing longing for their families and emptiness in their hearts as they strive to give them a better life and secure a better future.
I went to Singapore with my classmates and friends for our Retail Marketing class last July. Apparently, there, Filipinos weren’t the ones (or not the only ones) looked down on. The Indians took majority of the blue-collar jobs everywhere and they can be seen working really hard. They take the backseats in buses and they stand inside the trains, giving the seats to the Singaporeans and/or Chinese locals. I was guilty of being a racist then when I saw a “terrorist-looking” man and laughed to my friends about it. I felt bad about it after a while. I don’t know how to call it though but I felt kind of relieved that Filipinos weren’t that inferior in Singapore compared to other countries our people are now at.
I myself have experienced racism. I was born here in Manila but we moved to Legazpi City, my dad’s hometown, when I was 7. My dad’s family has been one of the elites there, not to mention being a political clan. I studied elementary and high school at St. Agnes’ Academy, St. Scholastica’s College’s sister school, which was actually one of the best schools in my province. I had to move back here in Manila with just a helper to study college and get a degree in Marketing Management at De Le Salle University.
Since the LPEP or the orientation day before classes finally resumed on my first year, I noticed how some of the girls from good and exclusive schools here would react whenever I mentioned that I was from Bicol. I can never forget one of my blockmates asking me “Bakit ang puti mo? Diba taga-province ka?”. That really shook me. I was like “Bakit, bawal ba maging maputi pag galing doon?”. I wanted to tell her straight to her face “Eh ikaw nga di naman halatang galing Poveda. Di ka nga maputi, at lalong di ka maganda”. Of course, I didn’t tell her that because I wanted to be in good terms with my classmates, after all, they were one of the first few I met in La Salle. Hearing that from her and getting “Saan yung Bicol?” from people made me more homesick than I was then since I was away from my family and friends (I was the only one in our barkada and we were 5 from St. Agnes’ who studied in DLSU). Honestly, I was shocked at how my social status changed: I was one of the top students in our batch in high school and people saw me as the girl who had poise while accomplishing my achievements. Lately did I realize that back then, I was the one who was kind of the racist, but in my first year in college, I was the one getting “racist-ed”. Now, it seems like it doesn’t matter anymore, or maybe, I just got proud of the fact that I’m from Bicol plus I’m getting high grades from tough subjects in my academic life, doing really good in extracurricular activities, and will be graduating on time which will be on October 2012.
I guess, everywhere we go, racism is present and it’s never going to disappear. In our own ways of thinking, we become racists and we don’t even realize it. As educated people, we should think of what we do, be careful with our choice of words and make sure we are not hurting anyone with what we say because what goes around, comes around.