October 5, 2007
Written by C.N.
I was alerted to a recent episode of Desperate Housewives that contains an offensive comment about medical schools in the Philippines. A video clip of the segment is below and the scene involved 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 would like to sign a petition objecting to this episode to ABC, you can do so at http://www.petitiononline.com/FilABC/.
I can already hear people say things like, “Oh come on — it was just a little joke. Why do you (Asians/Blacks/minorities) have to take everything so seriously? I don’t find those comments offensive. Sticks and stones — lighten up, already!” So let’s just cut to the chase. Here is my reply:
What we need to recognize is that there are fundamental institutional power differences inherent in situations in which White public figures denigrate minorities and that each time an incident like that happens, it reinforces the notion of White supremacy — that Whites can say whatever they want against anybody at any time.
I’m also not surprised to hear a White person say that they don’t feel offended by anything because as a collective racial group, Whites already enjoy so many other privileges associated with their skin color. Isn’t it just typical for Whites and their lackeys to say “sticks and stones” and “get just it over it.” Unfortunately, that comment only serves to provide us with nothing else than a clear illustration of White privilege and supremacy.
Update: ABC has since issued an apology over the scene in question. In part, the apology reads, “[We] offer our sincere apologies for any offense caused by the brief reference in the season premiere. There was no intent to disparage the integrity of any aspect of the medical community in the Philippines.”
Unfortunately, to me, this is just another one of those half-ass “sorry that you were offended” pseudo-apologies that really doesn’t say anything about ABC acknowledging that they make a serious lapse in judgment and mistake with the original writing of the scene. But that’s just my opinion — you can decide for yourself whether ABC’s ‘apology’ is sufficient.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Anti-Filipino Episode of Desperate Housewives" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2007/10/anti-filipino-episode-of-desperate-housewives/> ().
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