At the moment, Technorati counts 499 blog posts on the racist slur in the season opener of the television show “Desperate Housewives“.
That's an awful lot and is yet another example of the progressive and forward advance of Filipino bloggers, especially after the bigotry of Malu Fernandez which got her pilloried and scorned for — well — her bigotry against her own people.
Read the online petition, now signed by 51,830 individuals, that sums up the protesters’ arguments. The specific scene in the popular TV program posted on Youtube has been viewed more than 81,000 times.
Let's listen to Pinoy Blog Machine, a Filipino doctor educated in the Philippines:
I am offended, because I learned my profession in the Philippines, and I refuse to be told that all my hard work and sacrifice amounts to nothing more than mediocre, if not questionable. Specially if these impressions come from those who fail to see from my end, or at least check, and don’t know what they are talking about. My textbooks came from the US of A, if saying so is any help to Teri’s understanding.
I can’t even speak for the millions of Filipino medical workers in America and all over the world, whose professionalism and skill have made them prime catch. And what of the thousands of foreign students who come in droves to train in the Philippines?
Even as she apologized from veering away from her blog's fashionista bent, glamdeal.com took on the insult:
Sure, compared to USA, the American’s educational system may be better if not the best. But our doctors, nurses, and caregivers are among the best in the world; thousands of them serving, treating, and taking care of the US people.
I’m honestly not a fan of the show but I know a lot of Filipinos who are. Some say the show is a hit because of its mature and “intelligent” approach to the audience. Now with that, I guess we should all review what is mature and what is intelligent.
The rude remark was just a sign of irresponsible entertainment. Racism is never a witty and funny way of entertainment. If this is one of the show’s desperate ways to get ratings, then they’re getting one hell of controversy here.
The Broken Bow is also concerned and sees an opportunity for Filipino doctors to prove themselves:
Althought there might be some truth in the statement especially when placed side by side with the nursing exam debacle last year, I still find it offensive because it somehow committed the fallacy of over-generalizing. The fact is that there are a lot of great medical practitioners from the country and they must not be brushed aside especially when they outnumber the few who are otherwise. As for the said few, this might serve as an eye-opener and a signal to prove to those who are unimpressed that they are wrong to be so.
At the other side of the fence is The Sassy Lawyer who says:
Is it a racial slur? It may be a jab at Philippine medical schools, not Filipinos in general. Heck, not even Filipino doctors. And some people are already making it out as an insult against Filipino health workers IN GENERAL. My goodness gracious me…
Its not a racist slur, says The Anti-Niche Blog, but it's still offensive.
The office of the President of the Philippines also expressed displeasure and demanded an apology, even if Mrs. Arroyo herself is embroiled in her own scandals. The secretary of health also chimed in.
“Desperate Housewives” producers from ABC-TV today issued a one-paragraph apology hoping to calm the storm, but others have rejected it and have demanded a more appropriate apology that may be seen by the millions who watched the assailed episode on TV. Says the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, a US-based group that plans to picket the ABC-TV studios:
The simplistic nature of ABC's apology only insults our community even more. It is not proportionate to the damage it has caused. It is basically just a one-paragraph response, not just to the 2nd largest immigrant group in the US, or a third world country, but ALL foreign-trained medical practitioners in this country. This country thrives on the quality skills of foreign-trained doctors and nurses, and Filipino nurses are among the cream of the crop. We all deserve a decent, sincere, and proper apology.
Let's see what happens next.
UPDATES (5 Oct. 2007): The offensive portion of the “Desperate Housewives” that has roiled many will be deleted, according to a news report. This comes at the heels of an announcement from Filipino-American group NAFCON that a top ABC-TV executive has agreed to meet them before a scheduled picket at the ABC-TV studios in Manhattan.