Friday, October 05, 2007

Why Filipinos are insulted by Desperate Housewive's remark

I recently saw Fox News' coverage on the controversy surrounding the TV show, Desperate Housewives and the country of the Philippines. Teri Hatcher made this remark in the show:

"OK, before we go any further, can I check those diplomas? Because I would just like to make sure they are not from some med school in the Philippines."

Fox News analysts had no idea why the Philippines would be so upset about this remark. The reason why they have no clue? They lack cultural understanding. This specific remark hits the national pride of the country. I'll explain below.

The role of Filipinos in the U.S. health industry
The Philippines is by far one of America's closest allies in Asia (it used to be part of the United States). The Philippines is also closely tied to America's health industry. It is the largest provider of medical professionals to the United States. The country sends over 60,000 nurses and physical therapists every year and in some cases sacrificing its own health needs to help our country.

In fact, many hard working Filipinos spend their entire life working to be able to go to medical/health schools and to go to the United States for a better life. They go through extensive visa screening, examinations, and accreditation before they can even practice here in America.

The dream of the nation
Working overseas is fast becoming the heart and soul of the Philippines, as it feeds and educates the masses in the Philippines, accounting for a significant chunk of the economy. Being a health professional in the Philippines and being able to come over to America to help their families back home is almost like a culturally ingrained dream to all Filipinos.

This is why the remark was insulting. It hit home across all Filipinos.

A comparison
When I see a U.S. flag being burned on television, I get angry. When I hear people insulting our troops in the field, I get angry. I felt the same exact anger hearing this remark. Spitting on the heart of the nation hurts.

ABC/Teri, that's a low blow.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

From my perspective as an American-born Filipino:
I think this created such a stir because the Filipinos or should we say Filipinas that avidly watched the show believed they had a connection with the main characters as social peers.
The writers obviously thought it was funny to make fun of professional Filipinos/Filipinas. If the joke went "well", the writers would've pushed the envelope further by insinuating that all Filipinas, even the ones born here are ripe for "mail-order bride" status!