After spending ten years of my life in the US, I cannot help but noticing that my outlook on life was profoundly affected by living in a very different type of society. Sure there was little difficulty with adjusting to the language difference because for me, there was none. But upon returning to the Philippines seven years ago, I realized that Philippine culture has actually very little in common with American culture.
Most Filipinos of my generation and older, grew up with English as the primary language used in school for almost all major subjects. In my school the only subject that used Filipino was, of course, FILIPINO. I had absolutely no problem adjusting to living in the US. And except for some rarely used idioms that I had to learn “the hard way” on what they actually meant.
But in ten years one cannot help but come to realize that what is causing so many problems in the Philippines is this strange fascination with everything American. So much so, that the vast majority of Filipinos don’t even realize they have. Funny that some of the most vocal anti-Americans in the Philippines don’t even know how obsessed they are with America.
What is this specific “fascination for everything American” that I’m speaking of? It’s that lingering belief that Caucasians – the white folks – are automatically viewed or perceived of as being superior to everyone else including us Filipinos. This inferiority complex of the Filipinos to anyone who is “white” (as within the context of this observation), is one of the root causes of all the troubles in our country.
It’s very hard to come to this conclusion if you have never really lived in the US. Or if you had, but spent 90% of your time with other Filipinos. During my time in the US, I had very few Filipino friends, and so, had little contact with Filipinos altogether. It took a little bit of time to me to come to this realization, and it took seven years of being back in the Philippines that things finally started to make sense.
Almost all Filipinos see themselves inferior to Americans or any white person, in general. This mentality needs to change because this kind of thinking leads the radicals among us to think that Americans are the enemy when they are not. It’s not American Imperialism that we should be worried about but rather the Filipino Inferiority Complex. It might seem too difficult for some to compare, but there can be no American Imperialism if we don’t see ourselves inferior to anybody else.
There would be no need for us to be in a constant “fight mode” if we can begin looking at ourselves as worthy of being equal to everyone else around us. But it’s very deep within Filipino culture to even discuss this. I bet most of you who are reading at this point will be in-denial, but will soon come to realize how frighteningly real this message is today.
Personally I do not see anything wrong with emulating those who are successful. For example: taking successful American traits and applying them to our own to make the Filipino culture stronger. But the danger is when we want to be something else, while in the same light, believe ourselves to be less or inferior.
Something to think about today and beyond.
By: Raffy Gutierrez