(Part 14 of the “In Defense of the Filipino” series)
ANTI-FILIPINOS love to imagine, fabricate, and propagate stories that would make the United States of America a flawless paradise on earth, and the Americans flawless (and almost angelic) beings.
When they see traffic violations, gossips, graft and corruption, back fighting, cursing, urinating on the streets, spitting anywhere, uncollected garbage, thefts, burglary, and other wrongdoing in the Philippines, they right away say:
“Alam mo, walang ganyan sa States!” (You know, there’s nothing like that in the States!)
They heartily believe that Americans do not, for they cannot, commit crimes, mistakes, flaws, etc., and that in America, there are no grievances committed against anyone, people don’t envy each other, there are no gossips, there are no cheatings, there are no fighting, people are honest, they always take care of their families and children, there are no sexual abusers of children, animals and the environment are always protected, and everything is always clean, in order, and progressive. If there are crimes there, they are few, just mild, and always solved by the police. Moreover, it is not the Americans who commit them but Filipinos.
The United States is a nation of immense wealth and military power. Americans are among the most affluent peoples and are world leader in politics, economy, education, movies, music, literature, medicine, sciences, technology, engineering, robotics, agriculture, and other fields of modern civilization.
America’s greatness cannot be doubted. It is a land of liberty and opportunities. Millions of peoples from around the world try to enter it and settle there permanently. Americans and their native land are really great. But the wrong beliefs about them must be corrected. The following are some of those wrong perceptions that anti-Filipinos always tell.
Error no. 1: Americans are so industrious that they don’t even have time for themselves. All they do everyday is work, work, and work.
Correction: Television, movies, music, sports, circus, theme parks, software games, the Internet, and publishing are multi-billion dollar industries in the U.S.
Americans have abundant time to watch television programs, go to the movies, listen to songs, watch spectator games in coliseums and other venues, enjoy parks and circuses, play computer games, surf the Internet, and read books, newspapers, magazines, and journals. On weekends, they go to the beach, shop in malls, go for strolls through the cities and towns, or have backyard barbecue.
How come they could still do all these if they don’t even have time for themselves and all they do is work and work? Why do they spend more than US$100 billion each year on all those amusements if they don’t even have time for themselves?
Anti-Filipinos say this because when they are in America, they notice that most American families do the cooking, dish washing, housecleaning, laundry, and other chores.
Domestic helpers are not common in the U.S. because they are expensive and few would like to be one, since there are other more productive employments. Such rarity makes domestic jobs expensive, and most American families cannot afford them.
In the Philippines, domestic helpers are not expensive and are common. Thus, even the average-income families can employ them. Because they have household helps, anti-Filipinos do not need to perform the chores. They have plenty of time to relax.
When they land in America, they cannot afford domestic helpers, forcing them to do what they do not do in the Philippines. They become very busy there. That leads them into thinking that in America, everybody is busy and does not have time for himself because all he does is work, work, and work.
Error no. 2: There are no gossips in America; Americans don’t care about their neighbors’ and other people’s lives.
Correction: In the U.S., publishers have been convinced long ago by the age-old belief that people are interested to know about people, whatever their race, sex, social position, or education is. They have interpreted it as a profit-generating industry.
Today, dozens of daily, weekly, and monthly publications in the U.S. capitalize on talking about the backgrounds, lifestyles, romances, and secrets of the rich and famous in politics, entertainment, royalty, business, sports, religion, and other arenas. Those publications have elevated gossip to dignified status through stylish writing and top-quality printing.
Anti-Filipinos claim that Americans don’t gossip because when they are in the U.S., they notice that Americans don’t mind them, and that when they mingle with their fellow Filipinos in their gatherings in the Filipino communities there, they exchange gossips.
Americans don’t gossip with them because they don’t belong to the same crowd. Americans would prefer to mingle and gossip with their fellow Americans. Many American Christian churches proclaim in the doors: “Whites only.” It means that non-whites cannot enter those congregations, and mingle and gossip with whites.
In the U.S., which is home to millions of immigrants, it is only natural for people there to be at ease, to feel relaxed, and to gossip with those belonging to their kind: whites and whites, blacks and blacks, Arabs and Arabs, Chinese and Chinese, Filipinos and Filipinos, etc. Anti-Filipinos cannot understand this.
A number of local celebrities say that Americans really don’t gossip because when they are in the U.S., Americans don’t have time to mind them, unlike here where the moves they make are noticed.
Americans don’t mind them because they are totally unknown or nobodies there. They are famous only within the Filipino communities there. Americans mind the celebrities in their country, who are mostly their fellow Americans. Why would they mind someone they are not even aware of?
To know the extent of gossips in the U.S., WordsCanHeal.org commissioned Luntz/Lazlo to survey 800 adult Americans on August 17-21, 2001. The numbers of Americans were calculated based on U.S. Census figures.
The survey found out that 117 million Americans listened to or shared gossip about other people at least once or twice a week, 51 million admitted that people said something hurtful behind their backs at least once or twice a week, and 63 million admitted that people said something untrue about them at least once or twice a week.
Only 13 per cent said that no one ever said anything hurtful about them behind their back, and only 7 per cent said that no one ever said something untrue about them behind their back. 31 million said something about someone behind their back that they regretted later at least once or twice a week, while only 25 per cent said they never said anything about someone behind their back that they regretted later.
As to how much of a problem was gossip, 69 per cent of adults said that it was a somewhat or significant problem in schools, 79 per cent said it was a problem in the workplace, 80 per cent said it was a problem in politics, 84 per cent said it was a problem in reports given by the news media, and 88 per cent agreed that it was important to reduce gossip and verbal abuse in schools, places of work, and within families.
These statistics tell the real truth: Americans do gossip. Now, whom should we believe? People who, because of their wrong perceptions of Americans, blindly believe that Americans never gossip, or the Americans themselves who admit that there are gossips among themselves?
Error no. 3: Americans are very mature when it comes to love, marriage, and sex.
Correction: Thousands of American husbands beat their wives. If they were mature enough when it comes to love, why do they slap, punch, and kick their wives?
More than two million divorce cases are filed each year in the U.S. If they were mature when it comes to marriage, they should be able to handle their relationships very well.
More than one million babies are aborted each year in the U.S. Why resort to murdering innocents if they were already that matured in sex? They should have known that they would get pregnant, and thus there would have been no unwanted fetuses.
Error no. 4: Americans are not thieves.
Correction: In the U.S. in 2003, there were one larceny/theft every 4½ seconds, one burglary every 15 seconds, one motor vehicle theft every 25 seconds, and one robbery every 1¼ minutes, or more than ten million cases of stealing.
There were 413,402 robbery offenses estimated at US$514 million, or an average dollar loss of US$1,244 per offense; 2,153,464 burglaries estimated at US$3.5 billion, or an average dollar loss of US$1,626 per incident; 7 million cases of larceny-thefts worth US$4.9 billion, or an average value of US$698 per offense; and 1.3 million motor vehicle thefts estimated at US$8.6 billion, or an average dollar loss of US$6,797 per offense.
Of the robbery cases, 41.8 per cent were committed with the use of firearms; 39.9 per cent with hands, fists, and feet; 8.9 per cent with knives or cutting instruments; and 9.4 per cent with other weapons.
Of the burglary incidents, 62.4 per cent were forcible entry, 31.2 per cent were unlawful entry, and 6.3 per cent were attempted forcible entry. 65.8 per cent took place at residences, and 62 per cent of residential burglaries happened at day.
Larceny-thefts accounted for 67.3 per cent of the estimated 10.4 million property crimes. The largest portion of these cases (26.4 per cent) involved motor vehicle thefts.
Law enforcement agencies made an estimated 13.6 million arrests in the entire country. These did not include traffic violations. Of those arrested, 70.6 per cent were white (Crime in the United States, 2003).
In 2004, 27 of the major U.S. retailers apprehended 689,340 shoplifters, up 4.86 per cent from the 657,414 apprehended shoplifters in 2003 (17th Annual Retail Theft Survey, conducted in 2004 by Jack L. Hayes International). Of those shoplifters, 64 per cent were white (Crime in the United States, 2003.).
Error no. 5: Americans don’t cheat.
Correction: In the U.S., white-collar crimes amount to US$300 billion each year (ibid.). These crimes include bribery, extortion, blackmail, embezzlements, counterfeiting, money laundering, forgery, and frauds in banking, bankruptcy claims, insurance claims, mail, tax payments, and credit card transactions.
In 2002, looting company funds, which caused losses of more than US$60 billion to investors, led to the arrest of the chief executives of Adelphia Communications, the sixth biggest cable company in the U.S. (AP, July 26, 2002).
Two former executives of WorldCom Inc. were also arrested for hiding US$3.8 billion in company expenses from investors and for helping push the telecommunications giant into bankruptcy (AP, August 3, 2002).
Throughout 2002, massive accounting fraud costing more than US$50 billion were discovered among corporate giants like Enron Corporation, Merck, Reliant Resources, Xerox, Rite Aid, Tyco International, Waste Management, Global Crossing, CMS Energy Corporation, Dynegy, Qwest Communications International, and ImClone Systems.
In April 2007, schools across the U.S. decided to ban using iPods and Zunes, since they could be hidden by the students under clothing and used to cheat during examinations. Schools had already banned baseball caps (since students could inscribe the answers under the brim) and cell phones (since students could exchange the answers to each one).
“It doesn’t take long to get out of the loop with teenagers,” said Mountain View High School Principal Aaron Maybon. “They come up with new and creative ways to cheat very fast” (AP, April 29, 2007).
Error no. 6: Americans are not corrupt.
Correction: On November 29, 2005, Randy Cunningham tearfully resigned as member of the U.S. House of Representatives after admitting that he had received US$2.4 million in bribes from military contractors to influence the award of defense contracts (AFP, December 4, 2005).
This was just from one congressman. If other lawmakers would also admit it, bribery and corruption in the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, and city and town councils may run into billions of dollars yearly.
Error no. 7: Americans cannot kill their fellow human beings. If there are murders in America, it is not they who commit them.
Correction: In 2003, there were 16,503 murders in the U.S.
In the murders concerning a single victim and a single offender, 92.4 per cent of black victims were killed by black offenders, and 84.7 per cent of white victims were killed by white offenders.
In the murders with victim-offender relationship data, 32.3 per cent of females were killed by their husbands or boyfriends, and 2.5 per cent of males were killed by their wives or girlfriends (Crime in the United States, 2003).
Many of those murderers are led to the death penalty. Since it revived the death penalty in 1976 until 2005, the U.S. government has already executed 1,002 convicts. Of these, 578 were whites, 338 were blacks, 63 were Hispanics, and 23 were of various ethnic origins (AFP, December 18, 2005).
Error no. 8: Americans are very disciplined.
Correction: When the Chicago Bulls won the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship title in June 1991, residents of their home city, Chicago, celebrated their victory with melees. 100 people were arrested, and dozens of stores were looted.
In June 1992, when the Bulls won their second straight NBA title, riots sparked again in Chicago City. Residents went wild—throwing bottles and rocks, vandalizing, and looting. 107 police officers were injured, more than a thousand people were arrested, 340 business establishments were looted, and US$10 million was the estimated damage.
In 1993, when the Bulls won their third straight NBA title, 533 were arrested for disorderly conduct and minor vandalism, while five policemen suffered minor injuries when rocks and bottles were thrown in crowds (AP, June 21, 1993).
During those riots, advantage-seeking residents looted stores like Levi’s, Sara Lee, and Wal-Marts, taking with them anything, from apples to wines, pants, jewelry, etc.
Similar incidences also occur when collegiate teams win championship titles, driving bright and good-looking students to riot, steal, and defy the authorities.
On August 29, 2005, hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana and other southern U.S. states. Trapped residents looted the stores and laughed about it down the streets, as they pulled bags and carts that they had filled with grocery items, jewelry, laptop computers, and other goods.
Casinos were raided, and guns and knives were emptied from weapon stores. Those who formed themselves into armed groups committed rape, murder, and arson. They proved that even in times of disasters, indeed there were people who still took advantage of others. Seeing such scenarios, many police deserted their duties, with some joining the looting.
Error no. 9: Shopping malls in the U.S. are constructed not in the cities but on the outside of the urban areas—in the mountains.
Correction: In New York City alone, there are more than a thousand shopping malls. Anti-Filipinos must have seen a mall constructed in the mountains, and they already want to imitate such insanity.
Why would malls be constructed in the mountains? They would destroy the environment, and nobody would go there because they are far from where people live and work. If we would imitate things done by other peoples, let’s imitate the good ones and not their insane acts.
Error no. 10: July 4th is the most popular holiday in the U.S.
Correction: Anti-Filipinos say this because they project that Americans have a good sense of history and give much importance to their country’s historical events and figures.
Most Americans prefer Christmas as the most popular holiday in their country. They spend much on food, gifts, greeting cards, parties, carols, Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and other things associated with it.
July 4 is celebrated with games, picnics, bands, and fireworks. But Americans may find it childish to give as gifts or display in their homes American flags, pictures of American patriots and presidents, and other nationalistic paraphernalia, unlike during Christmas where they can display Santa Claus and Christmas trees without any trepidation of being laughed at.
Error no. 11: Americans are not gamblers. They work so hard that they never pin their welfare, improvement, and future on gambling and other get-rich-quick schemes.
Correction: In 2002, gamblers in the U.S. lost US$68.7 billion at casinos, tracks, lottery outlets, legal sports books, bingo halls, charity gaming halls, and card rooms (Gross Annual Wager, compiled by Christiansen Capital Advisors, International Gaming & Wagering Business Magazine, August 2003, p. 1).
In 2004, according to official figures from the Federal Trade Commission, 950,000 people lost US$100 million to bogus get-rich-quick schemes like instant-cash investments, pyramiding, high pay, big commissions, and mail sweepstakes.
Worshippers. Why is it that anti-Filipinos have heavenly conceptions about Americans that even if they clearly see that Americans also commit cheating, stealing, gossiping, and such other acts, they still would not believe that Americans do them?
One answer is that they already have the premise that Americans are perfect. Thus, it would be impossible for them if they see that there are also Americans who commit flaws. Another answer is that they already worship the Americans. We just wish that the Americans would also worship them.
These facts are presented here not to insult the Americans. They have been made by the Americans themselves or are official releases from the American authorities.
They are presented here so that those people who believe that Americans are flawless would no longer think that Americans are that perfect, and thus would stop from always making America and Americans the bases for the rightness of everything: “In America. …” “Americans are. …”
And so that they would also stop thinking that because Americans are the way they are, and because we Filipinos are not the way Americans are, then we are already at fault.
We Filipinos have our own character, values, culture, life styles, and outlook on life. The Americans have their own. Ours are different from theirs. We can never be like them. We should be proud of and develop our own.
Just what can you say to a Japanese who hates his being a Japanese and tries desperately to become like a Chinese? One who hates himself and is dying to be like someone else is a person who throws away his dignity.