Experiencing Racism in the Philippines

Blue eyes, blonde hair, and skin as white as snow was the way I arrived into this world. Of course, this came after the blood was wiped from my body. My eyes have since grayed, hair has darkened, and skin blistered a bit. However, I’m still a white person with Caucasian features a Disney character could envy.

Growing up there weren’t too many minorities in my neighborhood. At school in my early days it was rare to see a black kid and the role of minority was primarily filled by Indians who crushed in the classroom spelling bees. As I got older I experienced a more diverse surrounding eventually knowing people of all races. From it I have learned that everybody is a little bit racist like the Avenue Q song taught us.

My experience is nothing unique. The only thing that makes it special is it took me almost 30 years before I got to enjoy being the victim of racism where everybody was against me. It happened in the Philippines and this time around it was very blatant.

When I first visited the Philippines I did notice people staring. According to Jenny it’s very rare to see a young white person over there. When you do see a white man under 50 he’s usually Australian and with his equally as adventurous girlfriend. What is it about Australians that makes them so “competing on The Amazing Race” looking? I guess when you come from a country whose most famous citizen is a toss-up between Mel Gibson and Russell Crowe you’ll do whatever you can to go somewhere else and where a giant backpack while doing so.

For me to walk around in the Philippines with Jenny is a rare thing. Most Filipino girls will date much older men. Even though my feet try to age me Jenny and I are only four and a half years apart. In terms of maturity this is also the case except in reverse; she’s the older one.

Or maybe it's a tie...
Or maybe it’s a tie…

White people are unicorns in the Philippines which is why I don’t blame the little boy who made me suffer through a hate crime. This was only my second day in the Philippines and after throwing up the first night we went to the mall to get some food. Jenny wanted some Jollibee and I wasn’t allowed to have any so I pouted at a table waiting or her to grab the food. On the other side of a glass divider a kid happened to pass by me. He had one of those dumb kid faces where you want to smack them, but instead you just smile hoping it goes away. I did this then saw him mouth something at me in what felt like it was slow motion.

W-H-I-T-E B-O-Y

As funny as it was the immediate feeling was one of rejection. I was being singled out for something that wasn’t my choice. I was being targeted for my race and not in a positive way either. I may not have heard him say it, but clearly I was an attraction to this small child and not in a positive way either.

His mother came over immediately and pulled him away. This was a brattish child exemplified by his misbehavior and drooling. Children of Aristocrats don’t drool. Something about the silver spoons in their mouths growing up prevents it.

There were other instances of racism I suffered through like everyone thinking I had a lot of money. Although I do well for myself financially (sometimes I get EXTRA meat on my sandwiches) I’m not Mr. Moneybags.

One place in the Philippines is especially racist and it’s a restaurant called Army Navy. The whole theme is American food and they pretty much suggest all Americans are the American Sniper guy. They don’t sell French fries, they sell Freedom fries. Want an iced tea? Order a LiberTea instead! If fried chicken is your thing then too bad. Army Navy only has fearless fried chicken because Americans have no fear. Have you see how people at Wal-Mart dress? They’re incredibly brave.

It’s a good menu of hamburgers, burritos, and basically everything else that can make an American fat. It’s also a great place to have some fun with lipstick.

Maturity level 0. Absolutely nothing.
Maturity level 0. Absolutely nothing.

After my experiences as a minority I’ve tried to sympathize a little more with others when it comes to race. Instead I’m trying to get to know people better and judge them negatively on other shortcomings aside from their national origin.

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5 thoughts on “Experiencing Racism in the Philippines

  1. Please I’m asking for an apology with all the racism that the Philippines caused you. I’m a Filipino. And I also experience racism working in an African country. They rarely see Filipino or Asians in this side of Africa so I became a point of interest by the locals. At first its sad that they identify us by our colors, etc but now I’m just living my life and don’t mind them. Enjoy your stay in the Philippines!

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    1. No apology necessary. I actually find it funny how in the United States we stress the word minority then I’m able to go somewhere else and experience what it’s like. We’re all a little “different” somewhere.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting, how racism seems to be found everywhere, right? I have experienced racism in Venezuela, too. If you’d like to call it that way I was “lucky” though, as my German appearance makes me look like a member of the more European looking upper class living in the capital and I was therefore subjected to positive racism. And because my natural blonde hair and pale skin stood out so much I could hardly save myself from guys mumuring sometimes perverted compliments while passing by me or whistling whereever I walked by. Maybe this was also sexism at work but then sexism and racism are just two sides of the same coin. While at first I felt flattered I soon felt over-conscious and uncomfortable of my looks because ot still makes you realize that you are seen as different. Apart from all the German stereotypes and history questions I have to put up whenever I go abroad I also eyperienced the expectation of wealthiness. Silly…but it has made me understand racism better and I think I have become even more empathetic towards victims of racism.

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    1. It sounds like your experience was similar to mine. Beyond skin color there’s also the shape and sizes that vary from place to place. In the Philippines I’m a giant. In the US I’m on the bottom side of average.

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