Posted in Commentary

Pardon my ramblings about skin color

I do not want to wish anything negative to happen to enemies (not that I have some) or people I don’t like (we all have them, I guess). Wishing anyone to have cancer is something that you won’t get from me. Cancer is once again pushed into the global limelight with the passing of Chadwick Boseman. A truly nice guy, so we all now find out. Like a lot of people I have seen a few of his movies, including the ones that made tons of money on a global scale. Will we able to see the last ones he was worked on before he died? That remains to be seen.

A cursory online check showed that his “Black Panther” movie chalked up close to $5M in my country (The Philippines) alone. Personally, I found this surprising. Why? I’m embarrassed to say that my countrymen, brown-skinned and all, are a bit on the racist side, with some of the worse kind acting like they are card-carrying members of white supremacist organizations. (Which is both hilarious and unfortunate, by the way.) And they come from all walks of life — from the rich that studied at the most influential schools in the country run by various religious (Catholic, I mean) orders, to public schools everywhere. (With that in mind, you’d expect them to shy away from Boseman’s T’Challa starrer.)

As an observer, I am not sure where the deep-seated racism or colorism where I am came from. But as a kid growing up, I already noticed that Philippine entertainment in the late ‘80s were replete with content that poke fun or even malign locals with dark(er) skin, and to a larger extent, black people in general. (Somehow, I had this feeling then that network TV in the Philippines is run, or controlled at least, by white men. My theory then as a kid apparently wasn’t far-fetched from reality.)

Believe it or not, there were even comedy characters whose sole purpose in gag shows were to be ridiculed for being black or dark-skinned. The tastelessness of it all continues to this day as the populace lap up all the racism/colorism as the most natural thing in the world. It doesn’t stop there. The racism spills over towards people from the Middle East and South Central Asia. In contrast, white people were elevated to pedestals. Filipinos with mixed lineage where their white side dominates have a special place in the upper echelons of Philippine showbiz royalty. (And with that gravitation to white skin, no need to expound why skin whitening products are a billion dollar business here on my side of the world.)

Let me stop there. This is not a treatise on racism and colorism. I am not an expert. I am, however, a human being that feels pain and anguish seeing that fellow men and women can be so shallow in terms of judging others, using skin color as a yard stick is perhaps the lowest of the low. I know how that feels. I’ve been on the receiving end of it. Feel free to stop reading now, perhaps even unfollow me or block me, if you happen to have a racist nerve and I touched it.

I wish we can all love one another, regardless of the color of our skin. The world is already an awful place as it is. Let’s not make it more obnoxious.