Monday, April 28, 2008

is skin color really matters, nowadays?

disclaimer: the following article would probably be one of my lengthiest post ever. but please just get the gist!

the other night, i found myself hook to this us talk show out of extreme boredom. i got really interested on it because they were talking about racism brought about by skin colors. they've discussed the common notion that the lighter your skin complexion is, the more attractive and advantageous you are in the us.
check here for details of the episode.

the entire audience was extremely furious and yelling "racist" to this woman guest. the reason?
the woman confessed that she kept on telling her 12 year old boy, not ever date or bring a dark-skinned "chick" in her house. well, i guess, we couldn't blame the crowd, can we?

but surprisingly, the woman was also an african-american. although her skin is 'quite' lighter than most of the black audience in the show, or what most south black americans as yellow-skinned.
then everything went worst, when this woman actually told the host, who was also black, that she doesn't want to have dark-skinned grand kids with big noses and full lips. simply because she found them less attractive and intelligent. well, just beat that guts dude.

while watching the show, i just can't stop myself from getting disturbed and at the same time relate their rants to our context. then i thought, is there also a room for racism in the country? or is it just that we don't have the term for it, thus, we (also) lack knowledge and/or sensitivity for its existence in our everyday life?

for me, racism is very obvious in our society. by just mere seeing hundreds of skin whitening product ads and billboards along edsa, we could already tell that there is indeed a prevailing racism against the general filipino population in the country.

but ironically,most of us, don't really feel discriminated with such. the intriguing question is why?
some would actually argue that,
* not all filipinos are dark-skinned---uhuh! good point. but not enough.
**we are raised believing that white is good. while black is bad---huh?
***many of us perceive and agree that whiter complexion as clean. while dark-skinned as the opposite---"...".

first of all, i think that there is a need to understand the concept of race thoroughly. as defined by webster, race is any of the different varieties of population of human beings distinguished by physical traits, blood types, genetic code patterns and inherited characteristics. while racism basically as the belief and practice that directly or indirectly asserts the superiority of one race over another.

filipinos are classified as mongoloids. indeed, we are mongoloids as connotative and retarded as it may sound. we are technically identified as such from the two remaining primary race: caucasoid and negroid, because of our black hair, round dark eyes and medium brown to dark skin.

nonetheless, same with the us, it also goes that not all of us share the same physical characteristics. our rich (prehistoric and colonial) history and the growing (or disturbing) cases of online mail-order marriages and OCWs at present, would actually tell us that country has become the melting pot of all colors of the world. it is even becoming problematic nowadays, what a filipino really looks like or is, if you're going to watch pinoy big brother or any other local reality show or beauty pageants alike.

i get the point that these shows would just like to promote and highlight the diversity of the filipino race. however, it always occur to me that what if such is just a mere excuse for what is in fact a form of racism in our media. or probably, i am just being too pessimistic.

take for example, a friend's experience., she was a singer who i met in baguio and auditioned for a reality singing contest here in manila last year. basically, she blew the judges away with her voice. in fact they even made this aware to her. but one of the judges blatantly told her that they don't actually accept dark-skinned hopefuls. they even advised her to try auditioning to the other stations instead. because they've heard, they were accepting dark-skinned talents.

i felt sorry for my friend upon hearing this. obviously, after that audition she never tried to such anymore.

now, it aggravates me more to watch people, especially those typically pinoy dark skinned talents not passing the audition just for the reason that they don't have that "star quality". probably, even you couldn't also blame them from thinking that the concept of star quality is equated to beauty with/or having whiter or lighter skin complexion.

another case was this little aeta boy i've seen in a documentary show. he was interviewed primarily for the topic of child labor in a sugar cane plantation. but when he was asked what he feels whenever people from work tease him because of being an aeta. he answered that he just ignore them because he believes that he is no longer one (aeta). simply because he is already in the lowlands and has no intentions of going back to the mountains.

like the documentarist, i also felt alarmed and dismayed with what the boy said. i was alarmed about his life. because atleast for me, i believed that a future is always vague and hopeless to be determined or taken by somebody, who doesn't even know himself. where will he even begin?

but come to think of it, you couldn't also blame the poor kid. because for those who are like them in a society where opportunities to prosper are determined by the color of your skin, there is no other way but to deny the bitter fact of their fate, in order to atleast survive.

then i look at my skin before i went to bed that night. it was not that fair nor dark. but in a way, i still couldn't stop myself from feeling fear.


Anonymous said...

saka na ko magbabasa.. ask ko email mo kasi, hingin ko number mo kasi, balak ko pumunta ng bicol sa june or july.. ala lang.. trip trip lang na makakita ng bulkan.. isa sa goal ko yan this year.. makakita ng bulkan, bukod sa taal.. at least para pag naligaw ako, cargo de consencia mo.. ehehe

well malalaman naman ng tao na iniligaw mo ako kasi, di na ako magblog by then.

(email mo na lang ako:

-- --

niweys.. clueless ka ba, may dalawa kasing blogger na adik na ang galing mang-asar. di ako makaganti kasi tandem kung mang alaska eh..

thanks sa hugs po, brotherly hug.. lol...


Anonymous said...

hindi lang yan, ayon sa studies, ang mga tao as a jury in the US ay prone to give heavier verdict to dark skin than whites, goodlooking men over not so handsome men.

overall, discrimation could be an unconscious effort too.

--- now a controversial thought..

i realized people who are not grads of "cream school" in our country would take months before they got a job.. because the companies are busy hiring the products of cream school first. or it is just me.


Bino/Geno said...

We can say that half of the world wants to be whiter while half wants to be darker.

I think that colonialism, stripped of all the good things it brings, is what is really making the Philippines a hell to live in.

Why stripped? Because Filipinos got all the bad stuff like wanting imported goods, wanting to be white, wanting to go abroad, and all that bruhaha. But we did not acquire the good stuff from the western countries like the ideas of liberty, fraternity and equality. And important values like patriotism.

And what kind of education do we have? The one that fosters the bad stuff and not the good stuff.

red riding odin hood said...

im dark skinned and i love it!

Mugen said...

Dark-skinned rin ako pero proud pa rin ako sa kulay ko.

♥nova-san said...

Maybe someday, we all can live in a world where people are based on their character inside rather than on the color of their skin. Conversely, while some people judge negatively based on whether you are darker or lighter, there are times when they are judged positively, such as saying white men can't jump and that blacks play better basketball, etc.

amicus said...

sabi nga ni foucault, knowledge creates power. hanggang may mga taong akala nila mas magagaling sila sa ibang tao, hindi mawawala ang diskriminasyon.

sabi ko nga sa mga kaibigan ko: ang taong maganda, kahit kulay green ang buong katawan, maganda pa din! :)

mrs.j said...

u know racism kasabay ng homophobia un lang same effect same problem...


by the way nice skin that is...

ruff nurse-du-jour said...

i mean, you could actually be discriminated against just by the basis of your skin color.

wag na tayong lumayo pa, ilang beses na bang napabalita ang mga aetas/negritos na pinapalayas at inaalila ng mga puti.

it just so happened that our westernized mentality has taken the "good" out of ourselves.

Bulaang Katotohanan said...

kalahating puti ako pero dama ko pa rin ang discrimination nuong andun ako sa uk, mas lalo na ang mama ko dahil mukha syang koreana...

isang bes nasa plaza kami ng may lumapit na adiktus na puti begging for money, pangdrugs malamang, at dahil sapat lang ang pera ng mama ko tumanggi siya, ang dami pang sinabi ng gago, nasa isip niya na nauubusan na ng oportunidad ang mga puti dahil sa ibang lahi.

ang hindi niya alam tamad sila, ayaw humawak ng tae, ihi, alikabok, nakakadiri, nakakasulasok at mabahong kung ano na di nila masikmura, sarili nga nilang matatanda itinatakwil nila.

pwes kung tayo lahing mongol/mongoloid; sila (kasama na ang kalahati ko) lahing albino-anak araw! puneta!


ang haba (ng post). lol.

anyway racism is everywhere... di ba jan pag maitim laging tinatawag na negro? D2 di talaga ginagamit ang N word. yung mga blacks kc laging OA.

Turismoboi said...

i agree with veryting uve said

acey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janjie said...

I'm a proud morena... Totoong Pinoy..

Racism is not really that big issue here, I mean, among Filipinos... Pero, ang dami nang aliens na pumupunta dito sa Pinas, at minsan pa nga eh minamaliit tayo... The nerve! Eh kung pauwiin kaya natin yang mga racist na yan sa planeta nila...

wanderingcommuter said...

bino: And what kind of education do we have? The one that fosters the bad stuff and not the good stuff.
---wow, yun na lang ang nasabi ko. kapag naging teacher mo ko ako sa sociology. bibigyan kita ng isang tambak pang mga papers na cocommentan. hahaha. dapat mapakinabangan ang talent mo. hehehe

odin and mugen: pareho tayo! go, go, go. pag minsan gusto ko na lang takaga tumira malapit sa dagat para wala ng nagtatanong kung bakit ako maitim. hehehe

novasan: siguro nga steretyping has is ups and downs. but for me it, it walways depend on the intensity and graveness of its effects to the people involved.

amicus: si foucault baliw. ikaw mas baliw. pero above all, pareho kayong magaling!

mrs. j.: meron pa ngang fineature sa tyra. racism among homosexuals. check mo sa youtube. hehehe.

ruff: tama ka. its an indirect manifestation of the negative effects of colonialism to us. kung pwede lang talaga sabunin para matanggal siya sa katawan ng mga tao. nagpa-oplan ligo na ako sa mga baranggay eh.

bk: hahaha... galit na galit ha?! pero justifiable naman ang galit. naku, naiimagine ko na tuloy ang itsura mo sa likod ng mga kamay na yan. hahaha!

kj: tama...perro alam mo in second thought, kapag minsan naman yung mga inaapi nagiging over sensitive. hmmm...ouch!

turismoboi: thats nioce to hear. hehehe

acey: salamat sa comment. well, tingin ko stereotyping has a big contribution sa lahat ng ito. some of my friends are actually caucasians pero i make it to a point na mali ang mga perception ng mga tao sa akin sa kanila at sila sa akin.
i hope a made a point. basta!

janjie: pwede. alam mo iniisip ko nga parang new wave na nga lang ng racism yung nararansan o mararanasan pa natin dahil sa paglogo ng tourism. hhhmmm...good topic.

acey said...

hi, wc! i was re-reading the comments and found some grammatical errors in my comment. pasensya na, bro, nahiya ako kaya i deleted it. =D

i remember a heated discussion in anthropology class about skin color. i remember the prof pointing out that we filipinos dicriminate, too. marami daw ang takot sa blacks at may mga pilipino din palang galit sa mga whites...

and, yes, i'm with you and what you mentioned about the media contributing to stereotypes. it's sad how asians and blacks are portrayed in america, especially. would you agree na hindi tayo well-represented?