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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Filipinos Denigrated on ABC's "Desperate Housewives"

I was watching the new episode of Desperate Housewives on ABC when I heard a negative comment on Filipinos which shocked me. I am reposting a bulletin I received in networking sites (so fellow peeps, take action if you care and don't be apathetic) -

Dear Kababayan and Allies:

I heard through the grapevine about a remark made on an episode of "Desperate Housewives" last night. The scene entailed Teri Hatcher's character (Susan) at a hospital, being told by her gynecologist that she might be hitting menopause. Susan replied, "Can I just check those diplomas because I just want to make sure that they are not from some med school in the Philippines." If you go to, you watch the full episode and witness the scene at about 18:50 minutes into the episode.

This type of derogatory remark is not only unnecessary and hurtful, but is also unfounded, considering the presence of Filipinos and Filipino Americans in the health care industry. Filipinos are the second largest immigrant population in the United States, with many entering the U.S. and passing their U.S. licensing boards as doctors, nurses, and medical technicians. In fact, the Philippines produces more U.S. nurses than any other country in the world. So, to belittle the education, experience, or value of Filipino Americans in health care is disrespectful and plain and simply ignorant.

As Filipino Americans, we need to band together to ensure that this type of hateful message is not allowed to continue on our television and radio airwaves. Given the recent amounts of media attention that has been given to Michael Richards (against African Americans), Isaiah Washington (against gays), and Rosie O'Donnell (against Asian/ Chinese Americans), it is ridiculous that this type of hateful speech made it through various screenwriters, the show's producers, the show's actors, and ABC itself. Yet, this isn't the first time that negative remarks have been made about the Philippines or Filipinos in the past. In recent years, we've heard one too many "dogeater" comments by "comedian" Joan Rivers on the red carpet or in her standup act, and I believe that it is about time that we stand up for ourselves, so that this type of hateful speech never happens again.

Please join me in expressing your concern, disappointment, and/or disgust to the producers of You can sign the petition at or you can reach them directly

And please feel free to forward this widely to other Filipinos/ Filipino Americans/ Asian Americans/ and other allies.


Kevin Nadal,
Filipino Performance Artist/ Activist

How ignorant was that comment on the show? They were trying to portray Filipinos as having poor education, when the people in the show just proved that they were the ones with no education for allowing this to air. And they don't just lack education, they lack common sense. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to be sensitive to racial comments (unless they're just plain stupid). That bit wasn't even funny at all. Although sometimes we have to check the credibility of foreign graduates, same goes here to. Why did they have to pick on the Philippines? Why not India? Why not other countries? This insult hits close to home mainly because my secondary and high school education was in the Philippines and I thought I was smarter than those who went to school here anyway. Hey, I did get my AA degree at age 18 when everyone else was still in high school. And in Political Science so my degree has some substance too. And my older sister is also a doctor who practices in the Philippines. A lot of my friends are nurses whose secondary education was in the Philippines, and went to college here. One was even magna cum laude at a reputable university in San Francisco. My dear aunt is also a doctor who now a respectable director at a pharmaceutical firm in the US, and sought after by other companies. My first cousin also went to school in the Philippines, and is a scholar at one of the top universities in the US. Even with the emergence of nursing schools in the Philippines, they still have to pass the board exams. It is the same here anyway, where you can go to a community college and be an RN.

Also, many doctors in the Philippines are passionate about being a doctor and stay in the third-world country to legitimately help others. And this is in absence of healthcare systems (unlike most doctors who are in the US are paid by corporate healthcare systems). Filipino doctors who are here in the US seek a better life away from the corrupt Philippine goverment and are recruited anyway because of the need for nurses and doctors here. The insult not only degrades doctors who went to med school in the Philippines, but also other medical professional who went to school there, such as nurses, dentists, physical therapists, medical technologiests, pharmacists, and others. Anyway, I urge you guys to sign the petition to prove that we are a force to be reckoned with. So set aside your apathy (yes, we Pinoys are know for that) and make a stand (no matter how small this may seem). Desperate Housewives make a lot of stereotypical remarks anyway and it's time they stop writing in an unethical way. Remember, there is strength in numbers. For those who are curious, here's a clip for you from -


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