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Filipino Americans suffer coronavirus racism and other bigotry differently from other Asian Americans

Views from the Edge

For those not on Twitter, I’m reposting a very interesting thread by E.J. Ramos David, a professor at the University of Alaska that is not much discussed outside of the Asian American community.

The Pampagueno immigrant has long held the contention that there exists a bias in this country by Asians from China, Korea and Japan (East Asians) against the Asians from the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, India and Pakistan (Southeast and South Asia).

“Filipinos have been historically forgotten and disregarded, even within the Asian American community,” said David in an email. “People have simplistically assumed that Filipinos and their experiences are the same as other Asian groups. 

“I’ve always argued that although there may be some similarities, Filipinos’ experiences differ in a lot more meaningful ways compared to other Asians,” says David, author of “Brown Skin, White Minds.”

One of the reasons that there is a little said about the distinctions that exist within the Asian American community is because the mainstream culture tends to lump all of the various nationalities, and ethnicities as one. 

Certainly there are similarities, (ie. the vast majority of us have black hair and brown eyes), but the differences are vast and the distinctions are important to us, even if the rest of America can’t tell the difference.

“We can’t just say that Filipinos are affected by COVID-related racism just as much as other Asians, because that’s not completely true,” says David. 
“Yes, some Filipinos have been victimized by Covid-related racism – and those are legit experiences,” he says, “but overall Filipinos are not as affected by this as other Asians. This is what data shows, and we can’t ignore that.”

While he says Filipino Americans should stand with other Asian Americans against the bigots blaming them for the coronavirus, it is important to acknowledge the different ways racism is experienced by the various Asian ethnicities and nationalities.

What the data shows is that beyond the coronavirus-related racism, Filipinos experience different kinds of stereotypes and racism such as being called names, harassed, threatened, getting poor service in restaurants and stores, being denied promotion, are more commonly experienced by Filipinos overall, so those kinds of stereotypes and racism affect us more, and they capture our racism realities better than COVID-related racism.
Recently, David posted a Twitter thread further exploring this interesting, albeit little-discussed, subject that I think might be of interest.

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