A 'Desperate Housewife' stirs desperate Filipinos
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2007-10-11
The outcry against Teri Hatcher's line in "Desperate Housewives" continues. Reruns of her lines in You Tube and broadcast news have reached even non-Filipino audiences all over the world. "Okay, before we go any further, can I check those diplomas? 'Coz I would just like to make sure they are not from some med school in the Philippines." Teri Hatcher said on that controversial episode.

For a Filipino, especially a Filipino doctor in the US who had worked hard to earn the respect of his peers and patients, that line hurts. The American ABC network recognized that and had quickly apologized.

As usual, our grandstanding politicians lost no time in riding on a popular controversy. The predictably theatrical Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago went into her overact mode and proposed a boycott of the TV series. Even former President Fidel V. Ramos (FVR) made a pitch. A Manila Congressman even wanted to file a formal congressional motion.

Don't you find it amusing that our politicos can be so incensed with that one line in a fictional drama series and yet be so selectively indifferent and inured to the travesty done to their supposedly honorable public office by their very obviously partial stance in defending perpetrators of scandals?

Take the case of the ZTE $329 million overprice scandal. Chinese-basher-turned penitent-overnight Sen. Santiago wanted the Senate investigation scrapped. I never heard FVR or that overeager Manila Congressman denounce the ZTE deal.

I would not be as severe on Teri Hatcher who merely delivered her lines according to the script. Of course an actress has the right to refuse saying lines which are anticipated to create controversy, but I doubt if Teri Hatcher even had a clue the remark will spark sensitivities.

Racial slurs in free-speech America are a dime a dozen. The ingenious schemes of job-seeking Mexicans to get to the United States, foremost of which include crossing the Rio Grande, gave rise to the coining of the offensive American slang "wetbacks."

Hollywood depicts Blacks as neighborhood thugs while the China man is often times portrayed as a laundry operator.

All the stigma of past sins inevitably form part of our image. There is the recent leakage in nursing exams. And even a little farther back, Fatima College suddenly surprised everyone by having many of its graduates suddenly in the top ten, besting the traditional topnotchers from schools known for tough standards.

Our government officials and our politicos once again chose not to see the whole picture. If they did, they will find that all this is also an indictment on our corrupt leaders' greed and callousness that had effectively screwed up and continues to screw up our once respectable educational system.

I think we will be wasting precious time and energy if we only harp on an undeserved remark alone without making sure it also inspires a reflection on why all this is happening.

I am not saying that it is the fault of the seductively dressed woman if she gets raped. But when a woman wears something that ignites the male libido, she should not resent it if men stare and salivate. A man weighing 400 pounds who will be taking up the space for three passengers should not also resent jeepney and tricycle drivers who refuse to transport him.

I do not intend to justify racial discrimination. It cannot be justified. But we must not lose the great opportunity to improve ourselves. We must heed the wise advice of the Dalai Lama — that we must learn the lesson of our mistake and failure. It is when we learn from a failure that we transform that failure into an opportunity for success.

Let's face it — stereotyping is a natural product of the human mind that seeks to simplify images into generalized labels. Education and positive experience can disprove and erase negative impressions but this takes time and involves a process.

Stereotyping is definitely odious. The best example of this is the Nazi genocide against the Jews and the backing it enjoyed from many anti-Semitic Germans who despised the ways of the Jews, especially Jewish businessmen.

The racial distribution of crimes in America points to Blacks as the dominant offender but it is most definitely unfair to stereotype all American Blacks as criminally-inclined.

Filipinos count among the highest in the number of illegal immigrants and undocumented workers in many countries, but it is definitely unfair to regard every Filipino who goes abroad as an unwanted visitor.

The proliferation of Filipino domestic workers overseas has given rise to making the word "Filipina" interchangeable with "domestic helper."

Now as to Cory Aquino being branded a SLUT on Comedy Central, charge that to bad impressions created by the current ruler who adheres to the practices of Harlot Politics.

Unless we see the time when our medical professionals can at last find comfort and opportunity in our own shores, we should never really claim to the world that we are doing all we can to demand applause.

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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