So if you know us and are a part of our lives, please, do help me a bit, especially when our son is a bit older and can understand you: Resist the temptation to tell him how white and cute he is. 😊
So this whole Glutamax brouhaha has got me thinking about my little Dutch Pinoy. His dad has hazel eyes, light brown hair, and the kind of white skin that turns angry red under the sun. While it is too early to tell exactly how he will look as a teenager, it is safe to say that his Caucasian genes will always be undeniable.
When i was pregnant with him, a friend of mine joked that since he would probably be good looking due to his Eurasian blood, smart due to genetics (heh 🤓), and educated due to social expectation, he only needs to manage his body mass index and the world is his oyster.
I rolled my eyes then, but it was when i had him and we would bring him to malls and public places that the pervasiveness and relentlessness of our national obsession with whiteness truly became apparent. Once, at a Watson’s store, a circle of maybe 15 people actually formed around him to watch my son perform the impressive, extraordinary feat of…waving. They all say the same thing, “ang puti puti!” That awful Glutamax commercial only affirms what we have constantly been told: that white is valued, brown is commonplace, dark is ugly. If you’re dark, you should want to be white. And if you’re white, you can expect to get perks you don’t deserve.
Once I told my husband that we should probably send him to school in the Netherlands so he can experience being a minority person of color. Racism is academic until one experiences it first hand, and I’m absolutely fine with exposing my child to discomfort and vulnerability to make sure he doesn’t become an asshole. (My husband said we should go all-out and send him to Texas or some other MAGA state. Um, not sure about that.)
But yes, I worry. worry about what it does to a child’s mind to constantly be praised for being “maputi”, to be called guapo because he is mestizo. I worry about what it does to his can-do spirit and his drive if things are handed to him without him having to work hard for them. I worry, most of all, about what it might do to his soul — a soul that i wish will always be sensitive to the many ways the world is wounded and hurting.