Are Pinoys more racist on social media?
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