Trumping the Droplet

I have always been appalled by the idea that if a person has “one drop” of “Black” blood in them, then they are “Black.”

If you have “The Drop,” then no other ethnicity, skin color, or culture can trump that Black droplet.

I wonder where that notion of a single drop of blood making you Black was invented.

It seems impossible that idea came from the scientific community.

A single drop of pure water doesn’t make the ocean any less salty. Adding a single speck of sugar to cookie dough doesn’t make the cookie any sweeter.

If Racial identification by blood droplet isn’t chemical or scientific — then is it a cultural condemnation and a preservation of a social pecking order used to falsely mediate expectation? 

The droplet identifier isn’t perceived as a mark of pride by those attending the notion and applying its appeal. There isn’t a day when we celebrate “Being a little Black” in the same spirit that we celebrate having “A little Irish in all of us” on Saint Patrick’s Day.

Is the idea of the droplet a mark to dehumanize those without identifiable — or stereotypical — “Black” skin in order to keep them down and under social control? Once accused, how does one disprove they do not have the droplet?

Is it possible we all have a droplet of Black blood? How can anyone truly know the genetic blood history of their ancestors from thousands of years ago? There is no blood test that can differentiate a single drop of blood from the rest of the body’s blood pool.

Why have we allowed the notion — the total evisceration — of a person based on the theory of a single droplet? Can we ever trump the droplet or not?

71 comments

  • Hi David,
    I wonder if this will matter less as Americans are more likely to “swirl” today than they were at any other time in our nation’s history.

    Like

  • What an appalling notion – one I have never heard of before. The sooner we become the human race the better !

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  • Hi Chris!
    You will have to define “swirl” for our international readers. :grin:
    I think it is a bit of a fallacy that people are Black because of a drop of blood — though there is tremendous pressure, even in the Black Community — to identify with the Black Community if you have that drop.
    “Passing” is not an acceptable mode of operation in the Black Community and the confession of your one drop in that community, and self-identifying as Black, is preferred even over the fact that a single drop cannot really be traced — it can only condemn by inference.

    Like

  • Hi David,
    Here’s the quick definition of “swirl” — think of the soft-serve ice cream machines that can combine both chocolate and vanilla ice cream to make a tasty new flavor combination. :)
    There’s actually a group that advocates on behalf of multiracial people called Swirl, Inc.

    Swirl, Inc. is an anti-racist, grassroots organization that serves the mixed heritage community and aims to develop a national consciousness around mixed heritage issues to empower members to organize and take action towards progressive social change.

    I don’t know if the “one drop” rule works in the Black community as much as it does in the caucasian community — if there is such a thing.
    I knew a woman who is multiracial, and she once said she never felt like she belonged to any group. She complained that she felt like she was always caught in the middle of the two groups, but never a part of either.
    Also, Barak Obama’s mixed heritage prompts those in the media to ask, as Time Magazine recently did, “Is Obama Black Enough.”
    I think humans have a tendency to latch onto any characteristic and use that to define people, instead of looking at the person as a whole.

    Like

  • Hi David,
    Here’s the quick definition of “swirl” — think of the soft-serve ice cream machines that can combine both chocolate and vanilla ice cream to make a tasty new flavor combination. :)
    There’s actually a group that advocates on behalf of multiracial people called Swirl, Inc.

    Swirl, Inc. is an anti-racist, grassroots organization that serves the mixed heritage community and aims to develop a national consciousness around mixed heritage issues to empower members to organize and take action towards progressive social change.

    I don’t know if the “one drop” rule works in the Black community as much as it does in the caucasian community — if there is such a thing.
    I knew a woman who is multiracial, and she once said she never felt like she belonged to any group. She complained that she felt like she was always caught in the middle of the two groups, but never a part of either.
    Also, Barak Obama’s mixed heritage prompts those in the media to ask, as Time Magazine recently did, “Is Obama Black Enough.”
    I think humans have a tendency to latch onto any characteristic and use that to define people, instead of looking at the person as a whole.

    Like

  • Thanks for the links ………… it could well be that this concept has not reached my rural idyll !

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  • Thanks for the links ………… it could well be that this concept has not reached my rural idyll !

    Like

  • I didn’t close my blockquote properly — it should have been placed after “progressive social change” in paragraph three.

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  • I didn’t close my blockquote properly — it should have been placed after “progressive social change” in paragraph three.

    Like

  • Hi Chris!
    I like the Swirl idea! Now — do you consider your children swirled? Which one of you do they most culturally identify?
    I know a lot of light-skinned Black women who — if they so chose — could pass. They all identify as being Black first because it’s easier due to the “one drop” rule.
    Whites, they claim, get upset if they think you’re White and they later find out you have the drop… and Blacks — while they won’t accept you as being fully Black — expect you to adhere to Black culture and to identify yourself as Black first if you ever want to claim belonging to any sort of community. It’s a vicious cycle that I’m not sure can ever be cured.

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  • Hi Chris!
    I like the Swirl idea! Now — do you consider your children swirled? Which one of you do they most culturally identify?
    I know a lot of light-skinned Black women who — if they so chose — could pass. They all identify as being Black first because it’s easier due to the “one drop” rule.
    Whites, they claim, get upset if they think you’re White and they later find out you have the drop… and Blacks — while they won’t accept you as being fully Black — expect you to adhere to Black culture and to identify yourself as Black first if you ever want to claim belonging to any sort of community. It’s a vicious cycle that I’m not sure can ever be cured.

    Like

  • Hi Nicola!
    Ask around! Wonder about this with your friends. I’m curious to know if this “One Drop Rule” has spread beyond the USA.
    Here’s a fascinating quote from the NYTimes link I gave you:

    Over the centuries America has made and remade the white and other so-called races with abandon. A century ago the Irish were not white but ”Negroes turned inside out,” while Negroes were ”smoked Irish.” The immigration act of 1921 was passed to keep the very different and ”inferior” races of southern Europe, as well as Jews, from contaminating white people. Jews entered the Caucasian chalk circle only after World War II, Italians having squeaked in a little earlier, although many non-Italians continue to harbor doubts. And the nation’s Census Bureau has had such a thoroughly bizarre history of racial categorization that recently, out of sheer conceptual and political exhaustion, it gave up and asked people to classify themselves in any and as many racial ways as the spirit moved them.

    It’s amazing how powerful colors can be throughout history.

    Like

  • Hi Nicola!
    Ask around! Wonder about this with your friends. I’m curious to know if this “One Drop Rule” has spread beyond the USA.
    Here’s a fascinating quote from the NYTimes link I gave you:

    Over the centuries America has made and remade the white and other so-called races with abandon. A century ago the Irish were not white but ”Negroes turned inside out,” while Negroes were ”smoked Irish.” The immigration act of 1921 was passed to keep the very different and ”inferior” races of southern Europe, as well as Jews, from contaminating white people. Jews entered the Caucasian chalk circle only after World War II, Italians having squeaked in a little earlier, although many non-Italians continue to harbor doubts. And the nation’s Census Bureau has had such a thoroughly bizarre history of racial categorization that recently, out of sheer conceptual and political exhaustion, it gave up and asked people to classify themselves in any and as many racial ways as the spirit moved them.

    It’s amazing how powerful colors can be throughout history.

    Like

  • I think I fixed your blockquote issue, Chris!

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  • I think I fixed your blockquote issue, Chris!

    Like

  • It’s interesting that Pagan and Judeo-Christian religions have an importance to purity at their core, The untouched maiden, the innocent lamb. And of course
    blood, the very essence of life is as much a talisman as it was to our ancient ancestors. Whether it was spilled to ensure good crops or wine drunk in church as an analogue of Christ’s blood.As humans we are the sum of those that went before.We would do well to realize our privative animalistic past still controls us
    under our modern varnish of technology.

    Like

  • It’s interesting that Pagan and Judeo-Christian religions have an importance to purity at their core, The untouched maiden, the innocent lamb. And of course
    blood, the very essence of life is as much a talisman as it was to our ancient ancestors. Whether it was spilled to ensure good crops or wine drunk in church as an analogue of Christ’s blood.As humans we are the sum of those that went before.We would do well to realize our privative animalistic past still controls us
    under our modern varnish of technology.

    Like

  • Hi David,
    Thanks for fixing the blockquote.
    My youngest son is too young to have thought about the issue, but my 9-year-old son has told me before that his classmates see him as a “Chinese” kid — even though he isn’t Chinese. My son will always say he’s American in response. He doesn’t have any problems with the kids and gets along with everyone. He’s also a foot taller than his classmates, so that doesn’t hurt either.
    My son identifies completely with American culture, but we make sure that he is exposed to Filipino culture as well. A lot of Filipino culture is Americentric because of its history and because of the opportunities the U.S. provides many of its citizens.

    Like

  • Hi David,
    Thanks for fixing the blockquote.
    My youngest son is too young to have thought about the issue, but my 9-year-old son has told me before that his classmates see him as a “Chinese” kid — even though he isn’t Chinese. My son will always say he’s American in response. He doesn’t have any problems with the kids and gets along with everyone. He’s also a foot taller than his classmates, so that doesn’t hurt either.
    My son identifies completely with American culture, but we make sure that he is exposed to Filipino culture as well. A lot of Filipino culture is Americentric because of its history and because of the opportunities the U.S. provides many of its citizens.

    Like

  • davidseven!
    Excellent insight!
    Don’t all cultures the world over revere the unvanquished Virgin, blood oaths and virginal sacrifices flung into the mouths of volcanoes?
    I am mesmerized by the whole idea that a single drop of blood can change your future course and coarsen the history of who you used to be.
    The fact that the “one drop” was made popular against immigrants to separate the European immigration is especially teasing — especially since the “one drop” accusation could not be DISproven a hundred years ago.

    Like

  • davidseven!
    Excellent insight!
    Don’t all cultures the world over revere the unvanquished Virgin, blood oaths and virginal sacrifices flung into the mouths of volcanoes?
    I am mesmerized by the whole idea that a single drop of blood can change your future course and coarsen the history of who you used to be.
    The fact that the “one drop” was made popular against immigrants to separate the European immigration is especially teasing — especially since the “one drop” accusation could not be DISproven a hundred years ago.

    Like

  • Hi Chris!
    You son’s cultural identification is fascinating. He’s exposed to more Filipino culture at home — in the form of actual, living, bodies — than Caucasian, right?
    Is there any effort to de-Americanize his world view and ethnic identity?
    Do you all regularly eat Filipino food, listen to Filipino music and honor the other cultural totems of the Philippines?

    Like

  • Hi Chris!
    You son’s cultural identification is fascinating. He’s exposed to more Filipino culture at home — in the form of actual, living, bodies — than Caucasian, right?
    Is there any effort to de-Americanize his world view and ethnic identity?
    Do you all regularly eat Filipino food, listen to Filipino music and honor the other cultural totems of the Philippines?

    Like

  • Hi David,
    We don’t do anything to de-Americanize his world view, but we do expose him to Filipino culture. We’re lucky because there are a couple of Filipino store in the area where one can get food and network with others. We also socialize with other Filipinos as well.
    I don’t listen to Filipino music very much because it seems like a lot of the “hits” played on TFC are cover versions of American pop tunes.

    Like

  • Hi David,
    We don’t do anything to de-Americanize his world view, but we do expose him to Filipino culture. We’re lucky because there are a couple of Filipino store in the area where one can get food and network with others. We also socialize with other Filipinos as well.
    I don’t listen to Filipino music very much because it seems like a lot of the “hits” played on TFC are cover versions of American pop tunes.

    Like

  • Hi Chris!
    I love it that your son is free to explore all parts of the cultures that made him. That’s important. I hope the “you’re Chinese” taunt doesn’t affect him too much. There’s no harm and nothing wrong with being Chinese or Asian or whatever. Kids can be cruel and I’m sure the “Chinese” identification is meant to separate and not join.
    The Americanization of the Filipino culture concerns me — why drink in the music, education and aesthetic of another culture instead of keeping and then celebrating your own?

    Like

  • Hi Chris!
    I love it that your son is free to explore all parts of the cultures that made him. That’s important. I hope the “you’re Chinese” taunt doesn’t affect him too much. There’s no harm and nothing wrong with being Chinese or Asian or whatever. Kids can be cruel and I’m sure the “Chinese” identification is meant to separate and not join.
    The Americanization of the Filipino culture concerns me — why drink in the music, education and aesthetic of another culture instead of keeping and then celebrating your own?

    Like

  • Hi David,
    It’s an interesting phenomenon since there are so many strong influences in the region — the Muslims that dominate Indonesia and the Chinese who are the dominant regional economic power — that haven’t captured the culture of the Philippines as much as American culture has. And, even though Spain ruled the Philippines for 300 years or so, the people don’t seem to look toward Spain or Europe for anything.
    Writes Critic-at-Large:

    If there is a place on earth that seems more American than the United States of America, that place is the Philippines.

    But, as Critic-at-Large writes, the Americanization is split-level and isn’t all that it seems on the surface. American culture might seem to dominate, but it isn’t necessarily the case upon close examination.

    To think of something Filipino as residual, of American or Western culture as dominant, and perhaps deliberately subversive sub- or anti-culture as emergent glosses over the lack of clear distinctions between types of culture in the country. Someone driving a Japanese car with the CD player or iPod blasting out a pirated American song may strike European critics as postmodern, but if we look at old Philippine houses, we will realize that eclecticism is the rule rather than the exception in Philippine culture. Even the typical modern building in the business center of Makati City is based on the Asian model of a house on stilts, with the ground floor being used merely as a holding area for visitors. The cell phone is a way not to accelerate communication, but to spread tsismis (a blend of gossip and censored news), the main preoccupation of Filipinos of whatever social standing.

    Of course, if you are Filipino and live in America, you see advertisements encouraging you to come home to buy a nice “Italian-style” villa in the countryside or a modern condo in Manilla that would rival any in New York City.
    From an ad for “Canyon Ranch Luxury Homes” in the Philippines:

    One of the finest, gated residential communities in the country. Perched on the foothills of Carmona, Cavite, beside Southwoods Golf Club, this masterplanned community is spread out over 17 hectares of pristine land. You have a choice of three to five bedroom luxury homes and this will be the first wired (internet ready) community in the country.

    When you retire, you can go home and live in luxury, collect your U.S. Social Security check, and take advantage of an exchange rate that makes everything relatively inexpensive while maintaining an American-style lifestyle.
    Critic argues in the Philippines “America today is not in the heart, if it ever was. It is in the cataract, in the blurred vision that keeps the rich and the influential from seeing what and who they really are.”
    Maybe education makes some Filipinos Americentric because they know they aren’t training for jobs that will be done in their country? And, could having so many relatives in America makes it easy to look toward the U.S.?
    It also cannot be denied that there is something about America that makes people who come here want to adopt our way of life and culture — even the latest arrivals’ kids are Americanized by the time they enter school.
    Maybe the Filipinos are taking the best of all cultures to make their own unique, if not always recognized, culture.

    Like

  • Hi David,
    It’s an interesting phenomenon since there are so many strong influences in the region — the Muslims that dominate Indonesia and the Chinese who are the dominant regional economic power — that haven’t captured the culture of the Philippines as much as American culture has. And, even though Spain ruled the Philippines for 300 years or so, the people don’t seem to look toward Spain or Europe for anything.
    Writes Critic-at-Large:

    If there is a place on earth that seems more American than the United States of America, that place is the Philippines.

    But, as Critic-at-Large writes, the Americanization is split-level and isn’t all that it seems on the surface. American culture might seem to dominate, but it isn’t necessarily the case upon close examination.

    To think of something Filipino as residual, of American or Western culture as dominant, and perhaps deliberately subversive sub- or anti-culture as emergent glosses over the lack of clear distinctions between types of culture in the country. Someone driving a Japanese car with the CD player or iPod blasting out a pirated American song may strike European critics as postmodern, but if we look at old Philippine houses, we will realize that eclecticism is the rule rather than the exception in Philippine culture. Even the typical modern building in the business center of Makati City is based on the Asian model of a house on stilts, with the ground floor being used merely as a holding area for visitors. The cell phone is a way not to accelerate communication, but to spread tsismis (a blend of gossip and censored news), the main preoccupation of Filipinos of whatever social standing.

    Of course, if you are Filipino and live in America, you see advertisements encouraging you to come home to buy a nice “Italian-style” villa in the countryside or a modern condo in Manilla that would rival any in New York City.
    From an ad for “Canyon Ranch Luxury Homes” in the Philippines:

    One of the finest, gated residential communities in the country. Perched on the foothills of Carmona, Cavite, beside Southwoods Golf Club, this masterplanned community is spread out over 17 hectares of pristine land. You have a choice of three to five bedroom luxury homes and this will be the first wired (internet ready) community in the country.

    When you retire, you can go home and live in luxury, collect your U.S. Social Security check, and take advantage of an exchange rate that makes everything relatively inexpensive while maintaining an American-style lifestyle.
    Critic argues in the Philippines “America today is not in the heart, if it ever was. It is in the cataract, in the blurred vision that keeps the rich and the influential from seeing what and who they really are.”
    Maybe education makes some Filipinos Americentric because they know they aren’t training for jobs that will be done in their country? And, could having so many relatives in America makes it easy to look toward the U.S.?
    It also cannot be denied that there is something about America that makes people who come here want to adopt our way of life and culture — even the latest arrivals’ kids are Americanized by the time they enter school.
    Maybe the Filipinos are taking the best of all cultures to make their own unique, if not always recognized, culture.

    Like

  • If I had been thinking, I should have identified Critic-At-Large as Isagani R. Cruz in my post above to keep in line with our style of identifying authors.

    Like

  • If I had been thinking, I should have identified Critic-At-Large as Isagani R. Cruz in my post above to keep in line with our style of identifying authors.

    Like

  • Hi Chris!
    When I was teaching at Rutgers I had many Filipino students. They were all wonderful and full of life. They were driven and strong.
    The women were pushed by their families to assimilate, get good jobs — nursing was the one pushed the most — and to “fit in” as much as possible, and to defer to authority and not make waves and to “behave.”
    The male Filipino children were more laid back and self-confessed “Mama’s Boys” who were fun seekers and who loved fast cars, video games, and easy access to money. Their version of the American Dream was to declare themselves landed Americans and have their world, and its riches, presented to them on a silver platter.

    Like

  • Hi Chris!
    When I was teaching at Rutgers I had many Filipino students. They were all wonderful and full of life. They were driven and strong.
    The women were pushed by their families to assimilate, get good jobs — nursing was the one pushed the most — and to “fit in” as much as possible, and to defer to authority and not make waves and to “behave.”
    The male Filipino children were more laid back and self-confessed “Mama’s Boys” who were fun seekers and who loved fast cars, video games, and easy access to money. Their version of the American Dream was to declare themselves landed Americans and have their world, and its riches, presented to them on a silver platter.

    Like

  • Oh, and thanks for identifying the author, Chris! That is important and appreciated!

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  • Oh, and thanks for identifying the author, Chris! That is important and appreciated!

    Like

  • Hi David,
    Nursing is a huge field of study for Filipinos. I’ve heard of M.D.s from the Philippines are taking nursing courses so they can get a nursing job and a “H” work visa in the United States as all of the baby-boomer nurses retire.
    Writes Danny Chan:

    Philippine physicians are undergoing nursing studies to obtain better-paying jobs in the United States. Approximately 2,000 physicians in the nation are taking up nursing, the Philippine Nurses Association recently stated, and over 100 doctors took the nursing board examinations in June.
    Demand is fueled by a paucity of nurses and other certified caregivers in some western countries. The United States will require an estimated 600,000 nurses by 2010, and Japan will need a further 1.2 million. Dr Resuldo Malintad, the provincial health officer of Davao Oriental province, said doctors considering working abroad have decided to study nursing.
    “The very attractive salaries and perks being dangled before Filipino doctors and nurses abroad are simply irresistible,” he said. A nurse working in a government hospital in the Philippines earns about P10,000 a month while their counterparts in the United States or the United Kingdom could earn up to P200,000 monthly, Dr Malintad said, adding his predecessor had resigned to work in a New York hospital. Dr. Malintad cautioned that government hospitals in the Philippines could regress into clinic status if the current exodus continues unabated.

    Like

  • Hi David,
    Nursing is a huge field of study for Filipinos. I’ve heard of M.D.s from the Philippines are taking nursing courses so they can get a nursing job and a “H” work visa in the United States as all of the baby-boomer nurses retire.
    Writes Danny Chan:

    Philippine physicians are undergoing nursing studies to obtain better-paying jobs in the United States. Approximately 2,000 physicians in the nation are taking up nursing, the Philippine Nurses Association recently stated, and over 100 doctors took the nursing board examinations in June.
    Demand is fueled by a paucity of nurses and other certified caregivers in some western countries. The United States will require an estimated 600,000 nurses by 2010, and Japan will need a further 1.2 million. Dr Resuldo Malintad, the provincial health officer of Davao Oriental province, said doctors considering working abroad have decided to study nursing.
    “The very attractive salaries and perks being dangled before Filipino doctors and nurses abroad are simply irresistible,” he said. A nurse working in a government hospital in the Philippines earns about P10,000 a month while their counterparts in the United States or the United Kingdom could earn up to P200,000 monthly, Dr Malintad said, adding his predecessor had resigned to work in a New York hospital. Dr. Malintad cautioned that government hospitals in the Philippines could regress into clinic status if the current exodus continues unabated.

    Like

  • Hi David,
    Akismet blocked my last comment about Filipino doctors studying nursing so they can get work visas in the U.S.

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  • Hi David,
    Akismet blocked my last comment about Filipino doctors studying nursing so they can get work visas in the U.S.

    Like

  • Hi Chris!
    Wow! MDs becoming nurses! Now that’s a concept! :grin:
    Yes, the Filipino young women are pressed into medicine and many of them resent it because there is no room in their culture for using the Arts as a major form and function of living and, the evidence of that cultural taboo, I’m told, is the lack of Filipino stars in American media. Is that true in your experience?
    It’s interesting how cultural identifiers can come from working.
    Irish nurses are valued here in the USA and there are special pipelines created to bring the Irish-trained nurses to the USA. You can get a starting nursing job at some hospitals in Newark that start off paying $82,000.00 USD a year. Now that’s BIG money for a first time job!

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  • Hi Chris!
    Wow! MDs becoming nurses! Now that’s a concept! :grin:
    Yes, the Filipino young women are pressed into medicine and many of them resent it because there is no room in their culture for using the Arts as a major form and function of living and, the evidence of that cultural taboo, I’m told, is the lack of Filipino stars in American media. Is that true in your experience?
    It’s interesting how cultural identifiers can come from working.
    Irish nurses are valued here in the USA and there are special pipelines created to bring the Irish-trained nurses to the USA. You can get a starting nursing job at some hospitals in Newark that start off paying $82,000.00 USD a year. Now that’s BIG money for a first time job!

    Like

  • Sorry about the Akismet bug, Chris. There was nothing in your comment that should trigger Akismet to catch you. Thanks for letting me know about the problem so quickly!

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  • Quick straw poll conducted – none of the people I asked were aware of it – I think it is very much an American thing. ( Yes some of those I asked were black).

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  • Thanks, Nicola! What a mind-opener!

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  • Hi David,
    I wonder if a lot of Asian-Americans are overlooked by the media?
    There are some big names who have Filipino roots who have been featured in Hollywood productions: Phoebe Bates, Tia Carrere, Kelly Hu, Rob Schneider, and Lou Diamond Phillips to name a few.
    Here are some more with varying amounts of fame: Cris Judd (married to Jennifer Lopez), Melissa Howard (Girls Behaving Badly and The Real World, New Orleans), Vanessa Minnillo (MTV’s TRL), and Victoria Recano (Inside Edition, The Insider and an episode of CSI: Miami).
    Filipino television has a lot of Filipino-American stars who probably never had a chance to make it big in Hollywood. Jasmine Trias seems to be popular and has been featured on Filipino television.
    Maybe the place to be is Vegas if you’re Filipino and can sing. Martin Nievera is a popular singer in Las Vegas and speaking of Jasmine Trias, she’s filling in for Lani Misalucha at the Flamingo Hotel.
    Erin Pangilinan laments the scarcity of Fil-Am actors in American movies:

    Closer to home, it is not surprising to find actors/actresses with Filipino in their bio playing roles different from their true ethnicity. Aside from the notable films like “The Debut,” “Lumpia,” “The Flipside,” “Lolo’s Child,” “Disoriented” and other attempts to bring the Filipino American to mainstream cinema, many FilAm actors/actresses are cast in token roles in films as, maybe, an East Asian nurse, a Hawaiian cook, or a Chinese martial artist.
    The same frustration has been expressed by some Asian Americans who have criticized the Asian representation in films, ranging from old favorites like “The Flower Drum Song” to recent druggie comedy “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.” What about the modern depictions of William Hung as the buck-toothed tone-deaf singer, Lucy Liu as the swashbuckling dragon lady, and the exaggerated image of Mulan as a warrior woman? Isn’t the Asian American much more than these images?

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  • Minor correction: Phoebe Cates is misspelled in my comment.

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  • Hi Chris –
    I agree Asian actors in general have a really hard time being proud and culturally self-identifying. I’m sure Filipino actors find it better to not draw attention to their cultural roots when they want to appeal to as wide a cross section of Americans as possible. That’s a sad reality of dealing with fame in the mass media.
    It is often better for minorities to try to “pass” than to stand up and separate themselves from the American mainstream.
    When you’re Black and can’t hide or shy away your identity, there is much more benefit to join in and create cultural niches for exploitation against mainstream expectation.

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  • I had no idea Phoebe Cates has a Filipino pedigree, Chris! That’s a surprise!

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  • I think all media is like that — if you look at the Spanish channels, most of the actors are European looking and could easy crossover to English language programming. The same thing is true for a lot of the Fil-Am stars. I think it reflects the fact that people today have many different ethnicities in their background.
    But, it’s also easy to get lost in the niches — even if they are huge niches. Don Francisco, host of Sabado Gigante on Univision, has 100 million viewers in 42 nations, but is said to be “mostly unknown” in the United States.

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  • Hi David,
    Phoebe Cates’ mother is Filippina, according to IMDb.

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  • Hi Chris –
    You’re right there is great financial equity in American assimilation. You can make a lot of money if you appeal to the middling core and hide any cultural variations on your being.
    Sabado Gigante is a massive show! I wonder if Don speaks English fluently or if he is limited in his vocabulary mastery or if he has a heavy accent. It seems in TV hosts, news hosts and other adoring major media places there is a higher value on speaking “Midwestern” English without an accent.
    A few young leading men and women in the movies can “get away” with accents because they are prettier to look at than to listen to and the same can be argued for big action blockbuster movie stars like Arnold and Jackie Chan who also make money with their bodies and not their speech.

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  • Hi Chris –
    I knew Phoebe’s father was Joe Cates –
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0146068/bio
    – brother of Gil Cates, but I don’t remember ever reading anything about her mother. I wonder if her mother’s ethnicity was purposefully held back until now, 25 years after she started her career?

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  • Things have changed over the last 25 years or so. It seems like there is more diversity on television, whereas in the 1970s and 1980s, everyone was pretty much homogeneous — with a few exceptions here and there.
    Seeing Jennifer Hudson on Vogue and Beyonce Knowles on Sport Illustrated shows how far the country has come in being able to see beauty in real women.

    Like

  • I agree, Chris, it seems we are much more tolerant of diversity now than we were back when we were growing up and that’s a good thing. That sort of openness makes us all immediately more worldly and wise.

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  • The notion is about as ridiculous as that of homeopathy, and is likely believed by a subset of the same gullible people.
    Of course it’s not about what makes a person of a specific race, it’s about finding an excuse to persecute somebody.
    There was a TV series in England run a year or so back that tested peoples genetic heritage. I wish I could find the link – if anybody else has it please post it as I forget what it was called. The program tested various people who all insisted they were 100% British (whatever that means). They all got a shock to be told they were a certain percentage asian / native American / African / etc.
    I think anybody convicted of any kind of race crime should be forced to have a similar test and the results made public. On finding they ar 17% African they might hard pressed to consider continuing any racist activities. At the very least they would be ostracised from that community.
    Cheers
    Mike

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  • Indeed, diversity is the key. We know that genetically the wider the pool the less likelihood of replicated error. The very antithesis of the purity view.
    The argument extrapolates to the political and economic push to centralize and conform, The purity of a monoculture if you will.
    Diversity is seen as a threat, to be outside of the perceived norm and yet nature shows us otherwise.

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  • Hi Mike –
    Right! I love your solution for Race-Haters! Here’s a fascinating genetic genealogy project that documents and logs your DNA ancestry:

    How did we end up where we are today? DNA studies have shown that people shared a common ancestor who lived in Africa between 50,000 to 200,000 years ago. As our ancestors migrated out of Africa into the rest of the world, small changes called mutations occurred in their DNA. As generations passed, each mutation links our ancestor to a specific time and place in history. The mutations that we find in our own DNA tell the story of our own ancestral past.

    http://www.dnaancestryproject.com/

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  • I agree diversity is the key, davidseven, but it seems that the more diverse certain regions become, the more protecting – and cruel — the power majority becomes in maintaining their closed culture, because sharing the wealth and power diminishes their influence.
    Doesn’t history demonstrate ongoing stratifications of power interests even though the culture and ethnicities change?
    Diversity may work well for the commoners who are ruled by the upper class but in the elite power echelons there will always be a fight against the strange and the foreign.

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  • Hi David
    Thanks for the link. Fascinating site – it’s the sort of thing I’d love to take part in, especially as an adoptee who’s recently found out a it more about his (extremely varied) background. It’s a shame I’m just a bit wary about handing over my DNA to others (something you’ve already written about)

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  • Hi Mike!
    I think a test like that would be fascinating, but I do question the authenticity of a test that is basically done via mail order. Over 60,000 people signed up at that site since it opened and that means they’ve already done about $15 million USD in research “sales” so the monetary of into defining who you are and where you came from is a booming business.
    I can understand your situation and if you want to trace your DNA history, I’d try to do it locally where you can question the people and the methodology of the process. That way you can work to guarantee your results and your privacy concerns.

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  • A perfect example of what you suggest is happening right now in the celebration of the creation of the EU. It trumpets it’s love and protection of diversity and yet has a single minded need to integrate and force conformity and control. From food to foreign policy the process of total control is ratcheted up almost imperceptibly. It is a slight of hand by a political elite with promises of freedom for all, But its subjugation pure and simple.

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  • Right, davidseven! And it sickens me. It’s all pretend equality done with smoke and mirrors to protect political interests. The blood droplet may not judge you, but if you don’t have the required monetary droplet, you’re out and made to conform and follow the wishes of the power majority.

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  • Kathakali Chatterjee

    The power of ‘majority’ is prevalent in all culture regardless of location. Where there is diversity, there is territorialism. There has to be because each group will definitely try to protect their uniqueness.
    The faster we learn to be indifferent about any kind of pressure, the better.

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  • Right on, Katha!
    Is there any sort of similar institutional discrimination in India defined by a blood droplet?

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  • Kathakali Chatterjee

    You mean by look/appearance?
    I think we are the hypocrite-est amongst all!
    If you see any matrimonial (match making for marriage) column in any daily Indian newspaper, you will see almost all of them are looking for “fair to very fair and beautiful” brides.
    Ha?
    The reason for not getting married to a different caste was also the same – no one wanted to mix blood.
    People are still getting ostracised for this reason.
    I found these links very interesting:
    http://www.iht.com/articles/1993/11/12/bride.php
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/Cities/Ahmedabad/Terror_undoes_inter-caste_marriages/articleshow/msid-1253911,curpg-1.cms

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  • Amazing links and analysis, Katha! That is such a rich and awful topic! I’m so surprised the “lighter is better” preference is so boldly advertised! How does that make the darker skinned women feel? Hopeless? Abandoned?

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  • Kathakali Chatterjee

    David,
    From the beginning of civilization India was invaded by people with fair skin – Aryans, Turks, Afghans, Greeks and finally the British. So, ‘fair skin’ was automatically connected to beauty, power and prestige.
    The prejudice is very deep seated; it takes sheer will power to ignore that. Most of the time it is almost impossible, because people are surrounded by others who unconsciously/subconsciously are constantly praising fair skin.
    How does the much darker skinned women feel?
    They feel guilty for not being fair.
    The only thing the society forgets before putting pressure on them that they weren’t born up on a tree, they are only the product of not-so-fair parents.

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  • Thank you for that magnificent history lesson, Katha, it’s amazing how The Color Line is so bright in history and still strong today.

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  • Pingback: White is Winsome: Discounting Black Plastic Skin | Scientific Aesthetic

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