b y Marcelle Fabie
Continued from If I Were A Hot, Black, Backup FHM Model (Part 1 of 2)
In the Philippines, there are nationally recognized men’s magazines other than FHM, which may very well be a better stepping stone for a hot, black, backup FHM model to catch P Noy’s attention. Like Playboy. Or Rogue. Or Maxim (Editor’s Note – no, not really.) Because really, if yours truly were a hot, black, backup FHM model, then I would conform to everyone else’s idea of success for me by marrying someone successful and living off of his merits for the rest of my life instead of actually making something of myself. Who cares about empowering myself? Mocha already has that covered, so I’ll just go ahead and be every bit as subservient in real life as I was to Bela Padilla during the shoot.
If yours truly were a hot, black, backup FHM model, I would allow them to derail my worth as a human person through casual and subtle racism, because at least they’re not burning wooden crosses on my lawn or lynching me at the drop of a hat any longer. I will let them dismiss my legitimate grievances as merely me going “PC crazy” on them, and allow them to label my offense at their thoughtlessness as me merely “finding an excuse” to get offended. I will respect their right to free speech, while they continue to disrespect my feelings, since life, liberty, and property are currently the only universal human rights, and “freedom from douchebags” isn’t written in the declaration either. I will not have the right to take offense, because if they’re all whiter than I am, then they wouldn’t really know how I feel, nor would they even care. I will just remind myself that I have it better now, because I’m at least not starving or begging on the streets, since having the basic things all the whiter people have by default are worth the price of a little bit of daily, nonstop discrimination coming my way.
After all, if yours truly were a hot, black, backup FHM model, I would focus on the more pressing problems like actually showing up in a dastardly, morally depraved magazine, than the fact that my skin color was used as a pun on the magazine in question, even if the very same thing got someone fired when it happened to Jeremy Lin. This is the Philippines: we’re tougher people here. I will grin and bear every single time they try to cite the opposite of my situation (What if a black woman was surrounded by subservient white women?) and ask if that is racist, because apparently, playing Oppression Olympics is the way to go, instead of listening to how I actually feel about the situation. I will listen to them attempt to cry racism to be ironic when someone is called “white,” because just like straight people, the word straight is totally used as an insult against their being. This apparently puts them on par with gay people, or disabled people, where something lousy or terrible is called “gay and lame.”
Speaking of important things, if yours truly were a hot, black, backup FHM model, I would not bother whiter people with my woes of institutionalized discrimination. Since they don’t have to go through what I go through every single day of my life of being given funny looks, nervous eyes trailing me whenever I’m in the convenience store, and the implicit sexism I will feel as nearly every other man who has seen me in a magazine will now imagine me naked and easier than Manny Pacquiao having a boxing match against the Venus de Milo, I cannot ever expect them to commiserate with me. I will just grin it and bear it and put on a thicker, but lighter skin, because hey, if it’s not happening to them, then it’s not real, and it can only be real the next time Chip Tsao or Adam Carolla or Alec Baldwin decide to diss the Filipino race wholesale again. Unlike me, everyone else with fairer skin has privilege, and how dare I expect them to check their privilege at the door when they speak to me and of me ignorantly, yet get upset at me when I get upset at them?
If yours truly were a hot, black, backup FHM model, and once P Noy actually asks me out, I will fawn all over him because this may be my only chance to ever get out of the rat race, as far as all the whiter people are concerned. I will show them that by working five times harder than everybody else on this, they will respect me much in the same way they respect an average person of their own complexion. Again, because that’s the way it’s always been, and heaven forbid we offend the people who offend us by telling them they’re being douchebags. Why let people’s feelings get in the way of their freedom of expression, right? And of course, unlike, say, the controversial Kulo exhibit where you have to deliberately go there to be offended, there is no way I can avoid the offense and insensitivity thrown my way.
President Aquino has every right to choose whatever woman tickles his fancy. One cannot force him to date darker-skinned woman, or insist he date only Filipinas (Which Grace Lee obviously isn’t.), or even date men, as abhorrent to us Patriotic Filipinos the CBCP as the idea may be. Thankfully, our beloved CGMA never had to deal with these issues because she picked the best possible husband she ever could.
The division between rich and poor, lighter and darker, is indeed a national problem. But the biggest challenge we face isn’t inequality. It’s ignorance.
Ignorance coming from a hot, black, backup FHM model.
Ignorance coming from a quarter-aged, mestizo-ish, upper middle class Patriotic Filipino.
Ignorance coming from people who never had to deal with said hot, black, backup FHM model’s troubles, and the discrimination she goes through day in and day out based on race, class, or even gender. Because obviously, if we can’t walk a mile in her shoes, then we have no use for empathy.
Ignorance coming from people who believe that intent is magic, and removes all fault from anyone who may have done something that is offensive. Clearly, it’s okay to step on people’s toes as long as you didn’t mean to, instead of actively watching where you walk.
Ignorance of what it means to have to kneel down in worship at the altar of Bela Padilla for a shoot and be called a “shadow” one needs to “step out” of for your efforts, just to pay the bills and to put food on the table. Because in this tough economy, at least she still has a job.
Ignorance of inequality. Because heaven forbid that we pay attention to people other than ourselves.
Indeed, nation, the problem is truly ignorance. Yet we all know that ignorance is bliss.
Blissful person, or most blissful person ever?
(Editor’s Note: The opinions presented here are written to parallel the Gene Marks article “If I Was A Poor Black Kid”. These views do not necessarily represent the views of the editors of Blogwatch, or the POC, or even the author himself.)