Friday, November 16, 2012

Fil-Ams: Not Your Typical Ethnic Voters

While most of the world cheered the re-election of President Obama, many (most) Filipinos  in the Philippines and especially those living in the U.S. (Fil-Ams) did not share this sentiment and preferred Romney instead.  Here's the breakdown of the Fil-Am vote: 38% for Romney, 32% for Obama, and 28% undecided.

One explanation for Filipinos identification with the Republican Party (27% GOP supporters vs. 24% Democrats)   is colonial mentality, including an interpretation or a perception of what they consider to be the true  patriotic American mindset which as it turns out is actually the  extremist "old white male" mentality.  An  example of an individual who fits this profile is Marisha Agana, a Republican Tea Party candidate for Congress from Ohio who odiously compared Obama to Hitler.   Fortunately, she was defeated.

Paradoxically, however, most of the other Fil-Ams running for political office were Democrats and and did fairly well.  The percentage of  Filipino Americans residing in the candidates' respective locales varied. So this factor didn't seem to play a part in whether they lost or won.

Another reason—and likely that of  Agana—for Filipinos voters' rejection of Obama is their racism against African-Americans. This is likely a legacy  from the American colonial period in the Philippines when the American civilian and military administrators and soldiers were white and conveyed a sense of superiority (as did their Spanish predecessors) towards their "little brown brothers" along with (especially  from the numerous troops from the segregated American South) a hatred of blacks. So in a kind of a  pecking order, Filipinos wound up seeing themselves as inferior to Caucasians but superior towards Blacks and for that matter towards  darker skin co-Filipinos as well .  

Indeed, President Obama's first administration was in many ways a disappointment, and there's no guarantee that he will deliver on his campaign promises for the new term. But Fil-Ams have no less a stake in the socioeconomic progress of the U.S. than other Americans. And it makes no sense for them or anyone else to hitch their wagons to the Republican party whose reckless economic policies not only brought on the Great Recession, but whose "old white male" / right wing politics of exclusion and closed-mindedness are at the end of the day nothing but a travesty of the American way after all.