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We beg to differ.


A racist is someone who believes in racism, the doctrine that a particular human race is superior to another or all others. Are Filipinos racists? Generally speaking, yes. Most Filipinos are even racist to their own kind in the way they consider people with fair or white skin and those with straight noses superior to those with brown skin and flat noses. This is evident in the number of Caucasian-looking men and women who succeed in show business and in the modeling industry.

If you don’t believe my claim, just ask the advertising agency behind the controversial advertisement of clothing line BAYO. Or, you could even ask the owners of BAYO themselves because the said ad wouldn’t even make it to print without their seal of approval. Although the company’s latest ad was immediately toned down, it still received a backlash from Netizens because the campaign sent “mixed” messages to the public. If you ask me, their message was pretty clear. Here’s an excerpt of the copy from the said advertising campaign:

This is just all about MIXING and MATCHING. Nationalities, moods, personalities and of course your fashion pieces. Call it biased, but the mixing and matching of different nationalities with Filipino blood is almost a sure formula for someone beautiful and world class. We always have that fighting chance to make it in the world arena of almost all aspects. Be it Fashion, Music, Science and Sports. Having Filipino lineage is definitely something to be proud of.

One can be forgiven for thinking that whoever wrote that ad must have been smoking something illegal. And since BAYO executives approved it, they must have inhaled that smoke too. It has to be one of the lamest ads I’ve ever read. No wonder it had to be pulled out for being a flop. It ranks right up there with the 1937 Hindenburg disaster. That one also went up in smoke.

So according to BAYO, having Filipino lineage is “something to be proud of”, but that the “mixing and matching of different nationalities with Filipino blood is almost a sure formula for someone beautiful and world class.” Their statement is just a subtle way of saying that if you are 100 percent Indio, you are not beautiful and definitely not world class. Worst of all, you won’t have “that fighting chance of making it in the world arena of almost all aspects. Be it Fashion, Music, Science and Sports.”

Their fashion statement only makes sense to those who buy into skin whitening products. And that’s probably a big percentage of the Philippine population. To quote the Marie Claire article “Who’s afraid of Kayumanggi?”

“Most Pinays unboudtedly still want to be fair. A 2004 Synovate study showed that 50% of Filipinas used a skin-lightening product. Today, whitening products control over half of the local skincare market. Even Isabel Daza, the 22-year-old daugher of trailblazing morena beauty Gloria Diaz endorses a whitening product.”

It’s bad enough that a big percentage of Filipinos have an image problem, BAYO’s ad had to emphasize that looking like an Indio is akin to being a kulelat.

Could it be that BAYO was trying to promote the idea that we Filipinos should mix our genes with those they consider to possess superior genetics so as to improve our lot? It would seem so if you go by their statement it “is almost a sure formula for someone beautiful and world class”. Or could it be that BAYO was just stating reality? Most Filipinos do tend to idolize the mestizas and mestizos in Philippine society and also treat them better compared to their negrito counterparts. Let’s face it, in our society fair-skinned people get treated like gods and goddesses. It doesn’t help that most advertising agencies almost always use white-skinned instead of brown-skinned beauties in their advertising campaigns.

To be fair, the phenomenon is not unique to Filipinos. A study by a Harvard professor also highlighted how “most Americans prefer lighter to darker skin aesthetically, normatively, and culturally”. To quote:

Film-makers, novelists, advertisers, modeling agencies, matchmaking websites – all demonstrate the power of a fair complexion, along with straight hair and Eurocentric facial features, to appeal to Americans.2 Complexion and appearance are also related to how voters evaluate candidates and who wins elections.

Unfortunately, the study also showed that “racial minorities with dark skin in the United States have been disproportionately disadvantaged for centuries.”

In September 2005, a CNN news anchor remarked that the most devastated victims of Hurricane Katrina “are so poor and they are so Black” (Blitzer 2005). He presumably was referring to the fact that most displaced people were African American residents of New Orleans. But behind his comment was a physical fact about the people appearing on television sets across the country; those left behind were the darkest as well as the poorest of their race. Commentators have spoken endlessly of their poverty–but beyond this comment, not at all of their complexion.

Blitzer’s remarks were prescient; as the first epigraph suggests, racial minorities with dark skin in the United States have been disproportionately disadvantaged for centuries. Relative to their lighter-skinned counterparts, dark-skinned Blacks have lower levels of education, income, and job status; they are less likely to own homes or to marry; and dark-skinned blacks’ prison sentences are longer. Dark-skin discrimination occurs within as well as across races. Some evidence suggests, in fact, that intra-racial disparities are as detrimental to a person’s life chances as are disparities traditionally associated with racial divisions.

Apparently, preference for fair skin is universal. It doesn’t matter that white-skinned people invented tanning machines; there is still this underlying notion that people with whiter skin are better even if it’s only a perception. And that perception can be changed as soon as advertising agencies for companies like BAYO put less emphasis on this narrow-minded preference.

[BAYO has since issued an apology for any offense the ad had caused.]

Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.

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19 Comments

  • Mercury says:

    I think this is more applicaple, rather. ^^;

    http://i48.tinypic.com/2kg12x.jpg

    • Sid says:

      No offense, but the dude doesn’t look flattering at all. His girlfriend looks nice however. A cute, petite look is a widely appreciated status of beauty.

  • Gogs says:

    1. yes pinoys are racists since their appreciation of sports , singing contests, philanthropy and natural wonders always hinge on race.

    2. To quote the Stranglers in the context of pinoy values “you better watch out for the skin deep.”

    • aika says:

      That is so true.We became racist because colonial mentality lies in our blood. How sad that we are afraid of boasting kayumanggi as an outstanding color rather than sickly paled skin.

    • robert carino says:

      while people should be proud of whatever skin color they’re born with, it would be just as dangerous to say that skin color is something we can boast about. in truth, skin color has never been a determinant of morality, intelligence and character. if only the kayumanggi are 100% filipino, does that make anyone of mixed ethnicity less of a filipino (as in 50% or less)? i have always believed that there is no such thing as a filipino race, and neither is there such a thing as a “pure filipino”. filipino should refer to citizenship and allegiance.

  • FallenAngel says:

    The ad wasn’t racist, it was stupid. I’m guessing they probably meant mixing Filipino and foreign designs or clothes, but of course it looks like the ones who made the ad thought they were being…skillful with words.

    Bayo did put into words though the Pinoy paradox of lineage that no one wants to hear: when we look at ourselves, we should have foreign blood in order to look “beautiful”. When we look at foreigners, having Filipino blood makes them even more “beautiful”.

    Will people still be proud to be Pinoy with such idiotic idiosyncrasies like this?

    • BenK says:

      Exactly right. Bayo’s biggest mistake is that the ad was ambiguous. I read it according to that paradox you just described; never thought of it that way, but that hits the nail right on the head. And because of that, no one’s happy: Pinoys are offended because of the implication that their looks are less than ‘mixed-bloods’, and we very jealous and protective fathers of mixed-ethnicity children are offended by all the Pinoys’ racist reaction to the ad.

    • Jackass says:

      FallenAngel,

      I agree, the ad wasn’t racist, stupid as it might be, I tend to agree with the ad that mixing Filipino genes with caucasian’s produces a world class beauty, but if it is mixed with black genes the result is the opposite. Being said that am I a racist? Abosolutely not.

      You see, I am having trouble relating to the racist thing in this article. Could be a prejudice thing, but definitely not racism; however, it is an interesting piece. The classic racism that I know of is Hitler’s third reich against the Jew and the American race problem with the black. Philippines doesnt have that race problem, do we?

  • Hugh says:

    I agree it’s stupid for 2 unrelated but significant reasons:
    1. They look for foreign blood in Filipinos (BAYO); and
    2. They look for Filipino blood in foreigners (Jessica the American).

    I got Gitano and Aztec ancestry on top of old Ilocano. Wonder what those BAYO dipwads would make of me considering I’m too dark and grim-looking for their tastes.

    • Ilda says:

      Whatever angle I look at it, the ad was a fail. If they were trying to stress how “awesome” we are compared to other ethnicities, it’s still discriminatory.

      The bad grammar on the manifesto alone was enough reason to pull the ad down.

  • Adik lang says:

    colonial mentality = racism

  • alconce says:

    Could this be a revenge of the less educated, less endowed, flat nosed and dark skinned Pinays who failed to get the attention of our local macho men, went abroad, married a caucasian, came back with their good looking children with funny accents and idolized like homecoming queens and prince charmings?

  • Legati says:

    The Skinfreaks are at it again in The Balut Society! Prejudice is ignorance period, does’nt matter where one is and/or class, even if one has a Phd. All these politically correct gone wild is crapper. Mass Media always like to stir the potty and throw it on the face of the unsuspecting public. The ad targets a particular segment of the society. However, in the more develop countries of the west, particularly the US, tone is becoming less and less of an issue, consumers just lol at the ad, gap it off, and spend their money with the other competition -such is the power of the informed consumer’s free-will. BK, I, and folks who have heritages view these as an insult to the intelligence of decent people, and have every right to protect from such a negative portrayal. The ad maker needs to go back to school or do more in-depth research on their marketing. Bonehead twit does not know how to make money or simply, talagang Tanga!

  • jan says:

    “We are citizens of the world. The tragedy of our times is that we do not know this.” – Woodrow Wilson

    “I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a
    citizen of the world”
    Socrates

    “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main”
    John donne

    People should not be so sensitive or insular – or buy so many whitening products if they are so proud to be filipino!

    The philippines mix
    15% – single parents
    15% – absentee fathers
    14% – gay
    10% – abroad
    40% – below poverty line

    1% controls 70% of wealth

    100% – screwed

    Most want to be white, leave the country and have some-one else look after them.

    Ostrich syndrome

  • K3 says:

    “It doesn’t matter that white-skinned people invented tanning machines; there is still this underlying notion that people with whiter skin are better even if it’s only a perception.”

    Maybe this is why they make fun of the people from New Jersey so much.

  • Philip says:

    Don’t overanalyze this, people. This is just horrendous writing gone public, period.

  • jason says:

    it is after all a matter of perspective. In my perspective, i see the ad as something that empowers the Filipino blood. In my view, i can say that other races mixed with Filipino blood can surely succeed, i don’t feel like the ad is saying that the Filipino blood needs other races to succeed. It’s just most Filipinos see other races as superior making our view to this ad skewed to the negative side. BAYO failed to consider the Pinoy psyche, they should have consulted the local media ABS and GMA, they seem to be very good at pleasing the masang pinoy.

  • jeff says:

    You have to decide if you want to be “descriptive” or “normative”. Marketing is usually descriptive, i.e. it plays to the crowd. It is schools and people in authority who must be normative, to teach values.

  • The_Eurasian_Filipino says:

    What is it with skin?Some say:A moreno and a morena would never get partners in life.Only white looks good and is just so right.(topics like those make the nazis and klansmen blush.hahahaha!)

    Sheesh…For once being attractive goes beyond the superficial.I maybe white but do I like it when bozo pinays claw over me because I look like their ticket out of this basketcase country?No Siree!No way!No me Frego!

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