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Susan Mayer, Part Deux

Below is the statement from Ugnayan, a comprehensive grassroots organization of Filipino youth based in New York and New Jersey dedicated to educating, organizing, and mobilizing for the rights and welfare of the Filipino youth in the US, regarding the racist comment about Filipinos on "Desperate Housewives". I found it appropriate to post this statement in light of a comment in the initial Blaaag entry about this incident. The Ugnayan statement provides important historical context and also nicely details why, frankly, we're angry.

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October 3, 2007
Contact: Joana Palomar, Spokesperson, Ugnayan ng mga Anak ng Bayan, 212-564-6057, ugnayan_nyc@yahoo.com

Statement of Ugnayan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (Linking the Children of the Motherland) on the Racist Comment Made Against Filipinos on "Desperate Housewives"

Progressive Filipino American youth in New York and New Jersey strongly condemn ABC's Desperate Housewives' executive producer and writer Marc Cherry and the other producers, editors and the director of the show for the racist remark made against Filipinos in the Sept. 30, 2007 episode. We join the Filipino community and its allies in demanding from ABC a public apology and recognition of the existence of systemic racism in the corporate media and corporate-driven pop culture.

In the Sept. 30, 2007 episode of Desperate Housewives, Teri Hatcher's character is told by her gynecologist that she might be hitting menopause, to which she replies, "Can I just check those diplomas because I just want to make sure that they are not from some med school in the Philippines." The comment reflects systemic racism at its worst. Targeting an entire education system (rather than targeting individuals based on skin color, which is how we have traditionally defined racism), the comment is based on the racist assumption that the products of a western education are far more qualified than the products of a Philippine education.

Filipino youth, conscious and aware of our history, know that it was the US who set up the Philippine education system in the first place when the Philippines was a direct colony of the US in the early 1900s. We understand that the main beneficiary of this crippled Philippine education system IS the US, especially in the medical field. The US opens and closes its doors to immigrants based not on qualifications, but on the need for labor. This was the case at the height of the "Brain Drain" in the 70's and 80's when there was an influx of medical professionals migrating from the Philippines into the US, and US immigration laws were relatively lenient. However, once saturated with medical professionals, the US closed its doors by setting up stricter immigration policies.

Filipino youth, conscious and aware of the issues of our community, know that the Filipino medical professionals who migrated in the 70's and 80's are becoming replaced by a new generation of service workers, mostly domestic workers, who hold the same degrees from the same colleges as the previous generation, but who are working much less desirable jobs. There is a systemic de-skilling of the Filipino community in which the primary beneficiary is the US, and in which the US corporate media and corporate-driven pop culture are complicit. This large-scale de-skilling of an entire population would never be acceptable to white Americans, but is so palatable that it is a punchline in a TV show. That is racism on a systemic level.

Ugnayan ng mga Anak ng Bayan condemns ABC and the staff of Desperate Housewives for being complicit in the problems that plague our community and for perpetuating systemic racism. We support the initiative of so many in our community who are taking action on this issue and urge all to sign the online petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/FilABC/. We will take action if ABC does not heed the demands of the Filipino community.

Ugnayan vows to continue the struggle of Filipino youth and all Filipinos against systemic racism; and to fight for the genuine development of our community and for the life and liberation of the Filipino people as a whole.

Demand an apology from ABC!
End systemic racism!

4 comments:

  1. Diane said...

    hi young'uns! it warms my little ol' heart to see you guys blog (and mobilize) with such insight & passion.

    what ever happened to the kid that got hauled in by the police? update, maybe?  

  2. David said...

    Hey diane!
    Admittedly, the story unfolding with the student racially harassed by the nypd is moving along slowly. What we've been trying to do since the last time we posted (http://theblaaag.blogspot.com/2007/09/ developments-in-nypd-incident.html) has yet to come into full effect. The NYPD has been evasive and the court date for the student is still a few weeks ahead of us. We certainly won't let this incident go by without critical analysis.  

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