Are Pi­noys more racist on so­cial me­dia?

Manila Times - - Business Times - JosephUbaldeisadig­i­tal­con­tent­ex­per­tand so­cial­me­di­as­trate­gist­who­has­worked­for­var­i­ous lo­ca­land­glob­al­com­pa­nies.Ify­ouhavecom­ments or­want­to­con­nectwith­him,E-mail:markjubalde@ gmail.com

On our re­cent trip to El Nido last July, our tour guide, Kuya Ryan, told us a story about a Chi­nese tourist he en­coun­tered a while back.

One time, he said, he over­heard the Chi­nese man brazenly ask­ing an­other tour guide: “Where are the is­lands owned by China?” as the tourist pro­ceeded to point to the many rocky is­lands in the fa­mous tourist spot.

The thing is, the guy wasn’t jok­ing at all. In fact, his face was se­ri­ous when he asked the tour guide to take them there.

“Is it far from here? I want to see our is­lands,” the guy de­manded.

At this point, our “kuya” has had it and couldn’t stand what he had heard any longer. He went over and gave the tourist a ver­bal beat­down. In his bro­ken English, he fu­ri­ously yet clearly told him no is­land in Palawan be­longs to the Chi­nese. He also de­manded an apol­ogy.

“Hey you!” he said to the tourist, “If you want to see Chi­nese is­lands, go back to China!”

But then, he went fur­ther by also con­fronting the Pi­noy tour guide: “Kayo din na­man kasi kinukun­sinte nyo! Kaya tayo mi­na­maliit eh, kasi hi­na­hayaan nyo lang!”

Shaken, the tourist apol­o­gized and hur­ried back to the boat.

I tell this story be­cause of the spate of Face­book posts on rude Chi­nese tourists that have been cir­cu­lat­ing around re­cently. An on­line news site even com­piled these posts, which in it­self be­came a mag­net for much vit­riol from throngs of neo-slack­tvists on so­cial me­dia.

While I laud how Kuya Ryan con­fronted racism in our coun­try, I can­not say the same thing about how other Pi­noys re­sort to equally racist be­hav­ior on­line, es­pe­cially on so­cial me­dia.

Ten­sions are high, I know, es­pe­cially with the ac­tiv­i­ties around the dis­puted Spratlys chain and the seem­ing sur­ren­der of the ad­min­is­tra­tion to the whims of China.

The Chi­nese too do not have a good rep­u­ta­tion abroad as visi­tors to for­eign coun­tries. They have been known to be rude, im­po­lite, un­ruly, and racist. Just re­cently, Kenya de­ported a Chi­nese man who was caught on cam­era say­ing that Kenyans, in­clud­ing their pres­i­dent, were like “mon­keys.”

The video was widely cir­cu­lated on so­cial me­dia and sparked out­rage against the grow­ing Chi­nese pres­ence in Africa.

Here in the Philip­pines, while we do have a very vis­i­ble Chi­nese pop­u­la­tion (the old­est Chi­nese set­tle­ment out­side China is Bi­nondo af­ter all), what is dis­turb­ing is the fact that Pi­noys have been quite out­spo­ken about their ha­tred to­wards the them when the chance arises.

But what should we do when we en­counter racism on our very shores like what hap­pened to Kuya Ryan in El Nido? Con­front them. Teach them. Ed­u­cate them.

Don’t just hate on them or do the easy route of name call­ing like “chekwa” or say­ing, “Mga in­stik

mus­cles at your mas­ter.” I com­piled in one in­fo­graphic sev­eral other racist com­ments against Filipinos and shared it on Face­book. The fol­low­ing day, I shared an­other in­fo­graphic, this time with com­ments from out­siders cel­e­brat­ing Filipinos world­wide.

You know what hap­pened? The racist in­fo­graphic got more shares than the other one. It was frus­trat­ing! But anger fu­els vi­ral con­tent on­line and this is a known fact.

But we have got to put an end to be­ing so cal­lous and in­sen­si­tive about our re­marks on other peo­ple, not only the Chi­nese. Yes, we should con­front them but when we do, we need to call them out on their racism and ed­u­cate them. Re­spect begets re­spect.

me­dia, that I sup­port. But we have to be care­ful not to be equally racist in do­ing so. This is not who we are or who we should be as Filipinos. We should know bet­ter.

(I posted an ex­cerpt of this in my Face­book ac­count early this week and it quickly hit a chord with a lot of Filipinos. In fact, as of this writ­ing, the post had over 24,000 likes and more than 10,000 shares. Racism is still a hot topic for many Filipinos but a few of the com­ments I read still reeked of hate­ful words. In the end, we can­not ask for some­thing we do not have.)

JOSEPH HOLANDES UBALDE

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