Blue eyes, blonde hair, and skin as white as snow was the way I arrived into this world. Of course, this came after the blood was wiped from my body. My eyes have since grayed, hair has darkened, and skin blistered a bit. However, I’m still a white person with Caucasian features a Disney character could envy.
Growing up there weren’t too many minorities in my neighborhood. At school in my early days it was rare to see a black kid and the role of minority was primarily filled by Indians who crushed in the classroom spelling bees. As I got older I experienced a more diverse surrounding eventually knowing people of all races. From it I have learned that everybody is a little bit racist like the Avenue Q song taught us.
My experience is nothing unique. The only thing that makes it special is it took me almost 30 years before I got to enjoy being the victim of racism where everybody was against me. It happened in the Philippines and this time around it was very blatant.
When I first visited the Philippines I did notice people staring. According to Jenny it’s very rare to see a young white person over there. When you do see a white man under 50 he’s usually Australian and with his equally as adventurous girlfriend. What is it about Australians that makes them so “competing on The Amazing Race” looking? I guess when you come from a country whose most famous citizen is a toss-up between Mel Gibson and Russell Crowe you’ll do whatever you can to go somewhere else and where a giant backpack while doing so.
For me to walk around in the Philippines with Jenny is a rare thing. Most Filipino girls will date much older men. Even though my feet try to age me Jenny and I are only four and a half years apart. In terms of maturity this is also the case except in reverse; she’s the older one.
White people are unicorns in the Philippines which is why I don’t blame the little boy who made me suffer through a hate crime. This was only my second day in the Philippines and after throwing up the first night we went to the mall to get some food. Jenny wanted some Jollibee and I wasn’t allowed to have any so I pouted at a table waiting or her to grab the food. On the other side of a glass divider a kid happened to pass by me. He had one of those dumb kid faces where you want to smack them, but instead you just smile hoping it goes away. I did this then saw him mouth something at me in what felt like it was slow motion.
As funny as it was the immediate feeling was one of rejection. I was being singled out for something that wasn’t my choice. I was being targeted for my race and not in a positive way either. I may not have heard him say it, but clearly I was an attraction to this small child and not in a positive way either.
His mother came over immediately and pulled him away. This was a brattish child exemplified by his misbehavior and drooling. Children of Aristocrats don’t drool. Something about the silver spoons in their mouths growing up prevents it.
There were other instances of racism I suffered through like everyone thinking I had a lot of money. Although I do well for myself financially (sometimes I get EXTRA meat on my sandwiches) I’m not Mr. Moneybags.
One place in the Philippines is especially racist and it’s a restaurant called Army Navy. The whole theme is American food and they pretty much suggest all Americans are the American Sniper guy. They don’t sell French fries, they sell Freedom fries. Want an iced tea? Order a LiberTea instead! If fried chicken is your thing then too bad. Army Navy only has fearless fried chicken because Americans have no fear. Have you see how people at Wal-Mart dress? They’re incredibly brave.
It’s a good menu of hamburgers, burritos, and basically everything else that can make an American fat. It’s also a great place to have some fun with lipstick.
After my experiences as a minority I’ve tried to sympathize a little more with others when it comes to race. Instead I’m trying to get to know people better and judge them negatively on other shortcomings aside from their national origin.