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racism or reality?

>> Friday, October 10, 2008

There was a report a few days ago about a tv show that presented a Filipino domestic helper acting lowly.

It depicted a bad image of the Filipinos. It gave an impression that domestic helpers are sex slaves or uto-uto in the face of foreigners.

Before everyone should go nuts and demand an apology from BBC, I think we should all step back and look at the whole situation.

Yes, I agree that it was offensive to use a Filipina to bring pleasure to her boss. However, I am 100% sure that there are certain factors that led to this skit.

Majority of the Overseas Filipino Workers are Domestic Helpers. Some of them are even college graduates, with degrees, and with careers different from their current job abroad. The lure of better pay forces them to become maids and clean toilets.

For some of them, it's a choice to abuse the body for extra pay. It's a trait of the Filipino to do anything for a better life back home. I can't confirm this, but I do have a feeling that some OFWs are pimping their own dignity just to add to the money they send back to the Philippines.

I'm not saying that all OFWs are whores and sleazy. There are Filipinos that we can be proud of and who work really hard for the best intentions. But somehow, the bad side of this money temptation is seen by the writers who need material for their shows. This becomes an instant topic for their scripts.

This depiction won't happen if the foreigners don't see this happening around them. Why didn't they pick other unknown country? Why the Philippines? Why us? Why our workers? The more they see this kind of act, the stronger the urge is to write about it.

(This reminds me of the Desperate Housewives episode where they said Filipino doctors can fake their diplomas. Offensive? Oh camon, talk about the famous Recto where you can get instant diplomas without even entering college. Fiction comes from reality. There has to be some experience from reality that gives the writer a basis for his fiction.)

Harry and Paul is a comedy show. Usually, comedians focus on flaws and make it into a laughing matter. For example, SNL actors dress up as presidential candidates and exaggerate all their traits and actions. It's funny, but why aren't Obama and McCain protesting against the show? I haven't watched the real Palin, but Tina Fey as Palin is hilarious when she keeps on diverting the issue to another of her interest. Is Palin complaining? Is Palin asking for a public apology from the show? More or less, it's the same banana as the Harry and Paul show.

I feel bad for the negative image that we present. It'll be doubly difficult for the Filipinos abroad to uplift the Philippines. They need to work thrice as hard to prove that Filipinos are not just sources of jokes. We can be a race of engineers, managers, writers, scientists and artists.

It'll take a lifetime to take back the image portrayed in foreign shows. But it's possible to gain back the dignity. It takes one Filipino at a time, one excellent attitude, one positive influence and one helluva good record at work. We can do better than cleaning toilets.


paolo 6:15 PM  

aside from this, there's also the fact that brits have a history of slavery and abuse against them. so the problem goes both ways.

yumi 5:12 PM  

oh that too. *sigh* it all boils down to respect. where has it gone?

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