- Posted August 9, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Everyday racism: Your stories
Racist immigration- has it gone for good?
Cases in point:
Three of us from the Philippines went to Poland in 2006 to attend the Miss World. At the Polish Immigration, the lady Immigration Officer was not “kind” to us. After examining my passport,
“What will you do here in Poland?” asked the lady Immigration Officer
"I’m here to attend the Miss World Maam.”
“Really?” She looked at my passport.
“Filipino? And you will attend the Miss World? You stay there.”
It hurt me, really. I went to the corner to give way to other people who passed by at the Immigration.
When it was my friends’ turn, they were also asked to stay at the corner.
“What’s wrong? Just because we are Filipinos we are not entitled to watch the Miss World?”
We waited for almost an hour. We saw other nationalities who were permitted to pass by at the same lady Immigration Officer.
Sensing fear and doubt, we went to an office that looked like an office for an Immigration head. It was written in Polish so we didn’t understand. In English, we told the man (maybe the head of the Immigration Office) our purpose and we presented to him our passports with valid visas, round trip tickets and a hotel booking confirmation. After examining our documents, he told us to come with him and he told something to the lady Immigration Office in their language. And she stamped our passports.
What a relief!
We’d enjoyed our stay in Poland. We met some Filipino friends who are working there, both documented and undocumented. I also learned from them the ethnic and racial discrimination cases while living in Poland. One friend said a group of yuppies threw stones at her when they found she was a Filipino. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights reported in 2007 on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that “the Physical racist violence most often touches persons of a different appearance or skin color. Drastic cases, such as homicide or those causing grievous bodily injury, occur very infrequently. However, hate speech, i.e. insults due to ethnic origin or calling for hate based on ethnicity, is usually of an anti-Semitic nature. Press reports about events indicating a negative role by Islamic extremists sometimes result in increased aggression against Muslims.”
Personally, while we were roaming around the city and nearby towns, we didn’t experience such violence.
Warsaw, the country’s capital, is a city with many faces, it's an emerging point where tradition mixes with modernity. I never mind the language barrier I'd encountered in Germany and Poland (because only a handful few speak English) as long as I was able to reach out through sign language. I’d also observed that most Polish youth are not friendly, but I understand because the country has just been “liberated” a few years back. Yet, it was amazing to find that there are some Polish youths who are warm and hospitable.
They even offered me a shoot of whisky! For me, Poland is for everyone (Polska Wszystkich).
Leaving Poland, the Immigration Officer asked us many questions like where we were staying and she even asked for the receipt of the hotel where we stayed. After convincing the lady, she stamped our passports and allowed us to enter.
Inside the Warsaw Chopin Airport, I saw two Asians. Since they were smiling at me, I smiled back. Then they asked me, “Are you Indonesian?”
“No, I’m Filipino.”
“Ah, so sorry. I thought you are Indonesian.” And they left.
At the Immigration in Seoul, South Korea in 2007, I waited for a few long minutes. The lady Immigration Officer would examine me and the she looked at my passport. She was doing it for several times.
“What’s wrong with me? Do I look like a terrorist?” I asked myself.
Another Immigration blues.
Then, the lady Immigration Officer inquired something with another Immigration Officer. I didn’t understand what she was saying but the man said, “it’s okay.” She stamped my passport and allowed me to enter Korea where I was enjoying the hospitality of my Korean friends in the land of the morning calm.
Thank God, it never happened again.
Why they hate Filipino?
I have had heard stories of “Anti-Filipino sentiment,” which refers to the general dislike or hate of the Philippines, its people or culture. When Filipinos are discriminated – we are referred to as monkeys, ignorant and uneducated savages.
Why they discriminate or hate us ( Filipinos)? Not all though.
The Filipino-American Historical Society of Hawaii and Operation Manong says:
Like other non-whites, Filipinos were racially discriminated against and stereotyped. They were often called half-civilized (or half-savage), uneducated, worthless, and unscrupulous. Racism against the Filipinos was strong since they were essentially viewed as taking the jobs of the white workers as well as their white women. They were accused of luring white women, hence an anti-miscegenation law was passed. They were also called wasteful for their alleged ostentatious display of lifestyle, mainly clothing.
Filipinos were denounced as being prone to crime and violence. They were accused of living in substandard conditions where as many as twenty people slept in one room. In reality, though, these statements were mere racial prejudices. Filipinos were mostly men and the gender ratio between Filipino men and women in California was like 14:1. Filipino men sought the company of white women. Low wages, on the other hand, consigned Filipinos to poor living conditions since they could not afford better accommodation. In some cases, the housing accommodation provided by the growers was substandard.
Anti-Filipino discrimination was primarily due to economic reasons. Filipinos were disliked because they were seen as willing to work for low wages and, thus, were taking the jobs of white people. This was exacerbated by the preference in hiring Filipinos since their physique were perceived to be ideally suited for "stoop labor", i.e., bent down kind of work like cutting asparagus and planting cauliflower.