The media often equivocate issues to rile up people in order to get good ratings. One of the issues I often see a lot is “racism.” It’s a ubiquitous perspective that minorities are victims by the “racist white people.” They don’t say it like that, but it is implied. Yes, I agree we have racist people in this country and let me tell you – their skin is NOT ALWAYS WHITE.
I grew up in Hawaii in the early 90s, and at 11 years old I realized I was Filipino. Prejudice and racism was rampant in my school, and Filipinos and Whites were at the bottom of the totem pole (yes, White People). This may be unbeknownst to most people, but Hawaiians despise white people. The hatred stems from the US annexation of their Hawaiian monarchy. Hence, Hawaiians hated Haoles (white people) and all other immigrants that came into their land – but in my days mostly Whites and Filipinos.
Growing up, I only had Filipino and white friends because we all fell into the same category – DESPISED. We got picked on, called horrible names, and became targets for prejudice. All this “racism” that you see in the media with people hanging the Confederate Flag and the Nazi symbol – is nothing compared to the hateful and blatant racism I endured. I would go to the store with my mother and some brown skin folks would bark at us, implying we were dogs. When I got insulted, swear words preceded the name of my “race.”
“You ugly Filipino, go somewhere and die!” is an example of statements I often heard as a kid, and these came from the mouths of my Hawaiian and Japanese peers. To state that someone should extinguish their life because of their race is very painful, especially for an 11 year old child who really can’t understand “why.”
Filipinos were called “black dog buk buk.” It was derogatory term that implied several things:
“You’re a dog!”
“You’re a lowly race.”
The term “buk buk” is just a made up phrase to make fun of how we speak.
Overall, this statement simply meant:
“I HATE YOUR KIND!” and this was expressed everyday in a blatant manner without equivocation.
My white friends suffered worse. They were constantly bullied, beat up, and harassed. Filipinos were at the bottom, but whites were AT THE VERY BOTTOM. It was horrible way to grow up but gave me very meaningful experiences. While I was aware of racism in our history books, it was hard for me to perceive white people as racist because we shared the suffering of prejudice.
I moved to California and realized my views about racism is NOT congruent with everyone’s . In the mainland, I realize whites are very “sensitive” about offending the sensibilities of minorities. We have heritage months for everyone, except for white people. No white person will ever speak for their own heritage out of fear of being labeled as a “racist.” Hell, white people can’t even say the word “black” these days without being crucified. For some reason, somebody instilled in the minds of minorities that white people can’t have a heritage month because if they do, it’s definitely associated with the KKK “white power!” I made some of my white friends “uncomfortable” because I asked them about their white heritage. They were afraid that if they spoke about it, they will be seen as racist. WTF?! So now, supposedly only brown people have “heritage?!”
We are creating this double standard in our society and it is wrong. If we are to be equal, then let’s be EQUAL. and that doesn’t mean preferential treatment. I wrote a paper in college called “only white people are racist” and it talked about the misconception of society that only white people are racist. I’m sure I received a few hate-mail for that. I was on a quest to open up people’s eyes on the issue that racism is a plague that affects EVERYONE, regardless of color. Imagine that, racism is an an equal opportunity offender.
I decided to challenge the racist views of some minorities and I learned that my own minority status “protects” me from being called “racist” so instead, I earned the title “white sympathizer” (you have to love the connotation on that one). It’s meant as an insult, because I did not validate someone’s race card.
In the end I realize, it’s not equality that some minorities want, it’s preferential treatment. Some minorities use racism as an excuse for their failures. This is disgusting and very disrespectful to all of the men and women who fought hard for the civil rights movement.
To conclude, the problem with the racism issue is that people are afraid to be honest out of fear of being labeled a “racist.” The other problem is the lack of compassion and understanding. Minorities tend to forget, there were WHITE people who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. to Washington DC. Maybe if minorities remember, that there were white people who fought for their rights, they might be inclined to be less “racist.”