Yesterday’s smart pills quote on my blog was:

“It is human nature to think wisely and act in an absurd fashion.” – Anatole France

He forgot to add “… especially when aided by alcohol”. How many times have you heard a deep-thinking drunk spout Descartesesque views and then attempt to look up your skirt the next second? I was struck by how funny and true it was for everyone so I’m blogging it here just in case I forget.

Last night, I was with Rhea and a couple of guy friends. We took them to one of the Starbucks branches inside Faisal’s main building because the OPD one closed early. Rhea stayed in the waiting area while I opted to stand with our friends. I suppose that as four Pinoys in jeans, we stood out from all the thobe-and-ghutra-attired visitors who were milling around the lobby; and it was way past working hours.

Still, there was no reason for the guard to accost the guys insultingly and demand them to show their IDs. He wanted them to leave. Rhea told him they were our cousins and showed him our Faisal IDs and then we promised that we wouldn’t go inside the main hospital and that we’d leave as soon as we get our coffee.

As I thought about it more later, I got angrier when I realized that it was so racist of the guard to single us out that way. At least two of our party were employees and we were certainly allowed to be accompanied by our personal guests. The lobby was full of non-employees who roamed around freely without being asked. But because we looked different and stood out, we were instantly tagged as suspicious.

The guard didn’t know that the Filipino guys he was screaming at were American officers with diplomat privileges in this country so it wouldn’t have mattered even if he tried to kick us out because he can’t. They just looked too Asian, too casual, and they were obviously outsiders. I doubt if he would have acted the same way if we looked Caucasian.

But what they are or what immunities they have doesn’t matter. The fact that we were even threatened was absurd!

It’s disappointing how some people react to what you appear to be. I like being a Filipina, and I’m proud to be one. I have no desire to look different: taller, whiter, etc. Nor do I wish to change the color of my passport unless I have to settle somewhere else (dual citizenship is possible after all). I don’t have any prejudice when it comes to other nationalities and I’ve always believed that your accent or the country where you come from does not matter when it comes to being a decent and smart person.

I rarely have experiences with racists as most people have been really good to me my whole life so last night’s episode came as a shock. The guys were more used to it so they just shrugged it off, and so did Rhea. I’m afflicted with eternal late reaction syndrome so my rage started way after the security guard was out of my sight. I’m still upset but, unfortunately, discrimination is a reality.

You can’t just change how people judge you overnight.


4 thoughts on “Absurdity

  1. Nor can you change the world. 🙂 But one person at a time would be a great start. I’ve also been discriminated by caucasians even by african american and indians. You can’t change the fact that they put race among the order of things that they should look upon when dealing with other people different than them.

    I also had the unique experience to travel to to the United States with a diplomatic immunity in tow. But nonetheless to some people there it did not stop them from discriminating a diplomat. Still that doesn’t change the fact that some of the warmest persons that I’ve known in my whole life are Americans (especially people from the south). They can be terribly nice 🙂 Ingat jan!

  2. I know. =P It sucks, but it’s true: it really happens and we just have to learn how to deal with it. I know it will change someday but these things happen gradually.

    Thanks. =) I will.

  3. i think it’s because they see themselves as superior in terms of race. or maybe it’s because the philippines has been tagged as a terrorist country. it sucks to be descriminated. pinoys even get this sh*t from kapwa-pinoys. sucks but as pinoyharbinger said, they can really be nice at times. the effin racist should be hanged. lololol

  4. Maybe some people would associate the Philippines with terrorism. But I live in Saudi Arabia! Hehe. It would be odd for them to think that way.

    Oh yes, in Pinas, some Pinoys discriminate fellow Pinoys. A few years ago, I read in the news that a Filipino who works in the US embassy screamed at the people who were in line for a visa. =P

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