Filipino Heritage Month 2020: Dismantling anti-blackness is to honour our ancestors and our roots - Filipino
WEB - Philippine Canadian News - National, 04/06/2020 - EDITORIAL, English
Image Source: Philippine Canadian News website
Summary: Ted Alcuitas - The pressure is to be "white." With the many uprisings happening on the streets of North America against white supremacy and terrorism, it is important for us Filipinos to reflect and understand why it is important to stand together with our Black sisters and brothers. Being born and raised in the post-colonial, colonial, neo-colonial Philippines, the experience of growing up was surrounded by the anti-blackness mentality. It is embedded in the Filipino culture. Being ridiculed, bullied, discriminated against, and isolated for having a darker complexion indeed happen not only in the Philippines. Let’s be honest that racism has unfortunately been deeply rooted in many aspects of Philippine culture, in the Philippines and in the diaspora. Most television shows have been donning our screens with celebrities with white skin or lighter skin complexion. We are led to believe that white is beautiful and black is ugly. Such idolising traces back to the unequal master-and-slave dynamic when Filipinos were indentured servants by the European colonial settlers. To date, it is not surprising many Filipino screens and ads are bombarded with mixed-raced Filipinos, ideally lighter skinned and of Eurocentric beauty. The “mestiza” indeed became a category in terms of beauty standards in the Philippines as well. Anti-blackness in the Philippines also angles with being anti-poor. Same here in North America: commercial ads for missionary work and NGOs are bombarded with images of crying and malnourished African-descent or non-white poor children from poverty stricken “Third World” countries. Photo-ops feature non-white poor people for charity and missionary work’s sake by many privileged white people and their groups or organizations. This can also strongly instigate racism and “white saviour” mentalities. For hundreds of years, we were and are forced to believe that whiteness is the superior race. White is rich and black is poor. The idolized images of white-skinned Jesus, Mary, and the Saints displayed in shrines in most Filipino households have led us to believe that white is good and black is evil. As June marks the Filipino Heritage Month in Canada, we indeed are our ancestors’ wildest dreams. Each time we rise against white terrorism and supremacy, against colonial oppression anywhere in the world, we become part of the long continuous struggle of our ancestors. How can we truly honour our ancestors? Black Lives Matter.