Category Archives: Opinion and commentaries

[Random Thoughts]: ‘Racist Jokes’ (?) and the Filipino Psyche

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  • Vitriolic reactions of ‘offended’ Filipinos online (just use google, you’ll find such comments anywhere, everywhere…) re: Katherine Ryan‘s joke as seen in the video above.

Some Thoughts:

  • “Unlikely Lines from a Cosmetics Commercial” ← Did people ever considered the qualifier in there?  There’s that word – UNLIKELY – which means:  1. “Not likely to happen, be done, or be true” 2. improbable (Ref: a free online dictionary webpage)

That word – UNLIKELY, sort of defined the scope/premise of the whole thing, not to mention that considering the nature of the show, involvement of satirical elements (in whatever that comes out from participants’ mouth in that show) is to be expected.

  • My understanding is that, the whole thing is about jokes re: “UNLIKELY lines from a cosmetic commercial” – meaning – anything that participants gonna say would be “improbable, not likely to be true, not likely to happen or be seen“, in any cosmetics commercial – not in the past, not at present, and possibly not in the future. It’s not for real. Did I get that right? I hope so.

So if Ryan said: “We don’t test on animals, we test on Filipino children.” ← It’d be kind of idiotic (for me, personally) to interpret ANY WORD in that statement, in any way, as offensive. Why should I? Based on what?

I’ve been trying to find the connection of racism with a joke that is in the first place, about something that’s not probable to happen. How did it became racist? Maybe am too dumb to find the justification, really. What makes the usage of “Filipino” or “children” or “animal testing” so offensive in that routine? What’s so offensive about something that is – as implied in the title of the episode - improbable to happen, never had happened, UNLIKELY to happen? :-o

  • And that’s why I don’t get it why some Filipinos are making a big deal out of it. No one’s encouraging cosmetics companies to use Filipino children as guinea pigs for research or product test. No one’s saying some companies prefer Filipino children for product testing. The comedienne wasn’t saying anything like that, right?
  • What I don’t understand, on the other hand, is why one would just pick a word or two from that statement as proof that there’s something offensive/improper about the joke. If there’s really a valid reason for that, then maybe am really just too DUMB not to see where they’re coming from.
  • What I know is that, for one to really understand a joke, one must ‘judge’ it based on its totality and not based on SOME WORD USAGE (which may not even be in accordance with the context in which that word’s been used) .
  •  If, on the other hand, one would try to interpret @Kathbum’s statement – NOT AS A JOKE – the statement shall then be understood as: →”It is UNLIKELY that the phrase – ‘We don’t test on animals, we test on Filipino children’ – will ever be used as part of a cosmetics commercial/ad.”

Conclusion:

  • Filipinos who felt offended, erroneously – 1.) ‘measured’ that  joke – flavored with that distinctive British humor - through a ‘metric’ applicable ONLY to that equally distinctive brand of Filipino comedy (Ryan may be a Canadian but that was a BBC show – among other things); 2.) outraged due to a bit of misguided notion about racism – probably.

We, Filipinos,  know for a fact that  ‘the Filipino comedy’ is a totally different type as compared to that of the British or that of the French, or that of the Americans. Maybe next time, let’s ‘”think first, before we speak” online, for our own sake.

  • Most of us, Filipinos, still have a lot to learn re:  coexistence, unity in diversity, cultural relativism, how not to be so ethnocentric, how to avoid logical fallacy, how to use critical thinking, and most of all - LEARN HOW TO APPLY CONTEXT ANALYSIS PROPERLY.

I put emphasis on that last sentence because I found out that, not everyone who ‘present themselves’ as an expert of sort, or knowledgeable enough re: “contextualization”/context analysis are really capable to do it properly – in application – in context.  So beware, folks.  ;-)

Cheers, and have a good weekend. :-)