By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO
But not in the Philippines, otherwise all those skin whiteners in all the malls’ cosmetic sections would not be there or “sell like pan cakes”. It looks like every young Filipina, and now also the Filipino, think it is a must to whiten their skin. The highschool kids save up from their allowances for a bottle or jar of skin whitener. They even know and advise each other to rub calamansi or alcohol if they cannot afford the commercial concoctions.
If the Filipino believed and perceives that dark skin is as beautiful then all those skin clinics would not be making just as good in profits on whitening as they are now. There is even a prevailing “racist” perception among non-igorots that their skin is fairer than the mountain people or shall we place it in the plain words that I have many times been confronted with; “ ay, Igorot ka? bakit ka maputi?!” (Ay, you an Igorot? why are you fair?). Just by the statement, suggests that the Filipino speaker has something against two things. One is against Igorots and the other, is against dark skin.
At different degrees, racism and discrimination does exist in Philippine society today even if it is against the law of the land. I still recall racist or snide references in some jokes about the Igorot, the Kiangan, the Aetas, the Boholanos, the Ibadoi (shiyay mango). Of course, there is a degree of maturity and amount of silence as “a show-of-respect” that the Filipino has reached since the days of slavery but it still does exist in everyday, run-of-the-mill Filipino life.
Today, maybe, we Pinoys should realize that being of the “Malay race”, as scientists have classified the Filipinos, does not necessarily mean being browned skinned. Besides, the brown skin is relative.
In a report submitted by the Philippine government to the United Nations, re: the elimination of racial discrimination are the following excerpts:
‘The Philippine Government therefore maintains in this report that discrimination based on race, color or ethnic origin is non-existent in the Philippines because Filipinos have essentially the same racial and ethnic origins. It is noteworthy to reiterate at this juncture that such practice has never been implemented officially nor is it present in an informal form in the country.”
“As in the previous reports, the Philippine Government wishes to emphasize that racial discrimination, … is alien to the prevailing mores and culture of the Filipino people. The type of racial discrimination, similar to what was practiced in South Africa when the policy of apartheid was not yet dismantled, has never officially or factually existed in the Philippines, neither in a systemic nor formal nor intermittent nor isolated manner. Hence, there has never been any reference to the existence of a discriminatory policy on racial grounds nor has there been any allegation of instances of racial discrimination as a specific kind of human rights violation in the Philippines, even before or immediately after the Philippines adopted and ratified the Convention on 21 December 1965 and 15 September 1967 respectively.”
Mediocre, noh? Apparently, covering-up faults like using make-up or cosmetics to cover blemishes on ones face, is an expertise among our politicians even at the level of international representation. Why can’t our ‘leaders’ be leaders? Admit and recognize that they are still racists and still do discriminate against gender, economic status and the dark skin. Individually, check and rectify so all can move on as part of the developing Filipino nation. # email@example.com. nordis.net