Anti-Filipino sentiment

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A newspaper clipping from the Boston Sunday Globe depicting a Filipino blackface before and after the expansion of the United States to the Philippines. The clipping portrays the transformation of the Filipino from being "barbaric" to a "civilized man".

Anti-Filipino sentiment refers to the general dislike or hate of the Philippines, its people or culture.

Overseas Filipinos, either living or working abroad, remain vulnerable to discrimination.[1]

United States[edit]


It was the American colonization of the Philippines that marked the flocking of many Filipinos to America, either as pensionados, who came to further pursue their studies or as laborers, who worked for Hawaii plantations, California farms, and the Alaska fishing industry. The 1924 Immigration Act, dictates that Filipinos are neither American citizens or foreigners but they were colonized people. Technically they were American nationals.[2]

Racial discrimination towards Filipinos in America was evident during the American colonial period in the Philippines. Filipinos were often labelled as half-civilized or half-savage, worthless, uneducated and unscrupulous. Filipinos were perceived to be taking the jobs of the Caucasian Americans. They were accused of attracting Caucasian women which led to the passing of an Anti-miscegenation law. Crime and violence was likely to be associated with Filipinos and they were shunned for their substandard living conditions, where in one instance there were as many as twenty people sleeping in one room. These were just racial prejudices and Filipinos in America were affected by various socio-economic factors. The majority of Filipinos were men with a gender ratio with Filipino males to females in California of approximately 14 to 1. Filipino workers were forced to live in poor conditions since they were poorly waged. [3]

Filipinos were discriminated against primarily for economic reasons. Caucasian Americans disliked Filipinos for their willingness to work for low wages, thus they perceive a loss of job opportunities in favor of Filipinos. Anti-Filipino sentiment was further fueled by the preference of hiring Filipinos because their build was thought to be ideal for "stoop labor", or bent down kind of work.[3]

World War II was a significant turning point of American views towards Filipinos. During the early period of the war, Filipinos were prohibited to join the army. However in 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt allowed Filipinos to serve the armed forces. Many Filipinos fought with the Americans in Asia and Europe while some opted to be civilians involved in the mobilization efforts during the war. Filipinos earned acceptance and admiration of the Americans by the end of the war. The United States recognized and affirmed the Filipinos' right to citizenship with the amended Nationality Act of 1940. Through the amendment, non-citizens who joined the military were given opportunity to attain citizenship. About ten thousand Filipinos became American citizens through the amendment.[4]


The Montreal–Philippines cutlery controversy was an incident in 2006 in which a seven-year-old Canadian boy from a Filipino family was punished by his school in Roxboro, Montreal for using his cutlery according to traditional Filipino etiquette. In response to the media coverage of the affair, a protest was held outside the Canadian embassy in Manila, and the Philippine Ambassador to Canada José Brillantes, described it as an "affront to Filipino culture." Some commentators saw it as an example of prejudice and a culture clash, especially since the school board had previously expelled a Sikh student for carrying a kirpan.

Hong Kong[edit]

A majority of Filipinos in Hong Kong are domestic helpers. Filipinos in general are usually stereotyped as domestic helpers or maids in Hong Kong.

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong launched an advocacy that Filipinos were causing a significant rise of local unemployment in Hong Kong and costing billions in welfare treatment.[5]

Anti-Filipino sentiment in Hong Kong rose after the 2010 Manila hostage crisis, in which a bus full of mostly Hong Kong tourists was fatally besieged by a disgruntled Filipino police officer, and where subsequent investigations found Filipino officials' handling of the hostage crisis to be directly responsible for the hostages' deaths.[5][6][7]


Anti-Filipino sentiment in Taiwan is noticeable especially in 2013 as a result of the Philippine Coast Guard killing a Taiwanese fisherman. As a result, Taiwanese businesses have started taking Filipino products off the shelves and some Taiwanese stores refuse to serve Filipino customers. However, it is actually Taiwan's fault when the Taiwanese vessel

tried to ram the Philipiine Coast Guard vessel.[8]

United Kingdom[edit]

Northern Ireland[edit]

According to a report by the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM), which was outlined at an event in Stormont, Filipino workers are vulnerable to exploitation, especially those working in the fishing industry. The research also noted many issues encountered by Filipinos in immigration, including limited access to social security and tight restriction on bringing family members with them. In a survey of 150 Filipino correspondents, 42% said that they have experienced racial abuse in the workspace. [9]

Derogatory terms[edit]

There are a variety of derogatory terms referring to the Philippines and Filipinos. Many of these terms are viewed as racist. However, these terms do not necessarily refer to Filipinos as a whole; they can also refer to specific policies, or specific time periods in history.

In English[edit]

  • Gugus (spelled sometimes as Goo-goos)- a racial term used to refer to Filipino guerillas during the Philippine-American War. The term came from the local name of a bark of a tree used by Filipino women to shampoo their hair. The term was a predecessor to the term gook, a racial term used to refer to all Asians.[10]
  • Flip- used to refer to American-born Filipinos. The term has vague origins with many hypothesis regarding the origin of the term. It is suggested that the term has origins from the World War II era. The term was allegedly an acronym for "fucking little island people" causing some Filipinos to avoid referring to themselves by the term. However, the term is also being reclaimed by some changing the alleged originally meaning of the word to "fine looking island people". Some are convinced that the term is just a short version of the term "Filipino".[11]

In Spanish[edit]

  • Indio- literally means "Indian". The term was used to refer to native Filipinos during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. "Filipino" was originally exclusively reserved to Spanish people who were living in the archipelago. The term developed negative connotation due to the mistreatment of people labeled as indio.[12]

In Chinese Languages[edit]

  • Huanna (Chinese: 番仔; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: hoan-á)- a term in Hokkien used by most Chinese to refer generally to non-Chinese Southeast Asians and Taiwanese Aborigines. In the Philippines, this term is used by Chinese Filipinos to refer to those of Filipino descent. The term literally means "foreigner or non-Chinese." [13] Although it is generally not considered racist, it is considered to hold the same connotations as the word gaijin in Japanese.

See also[edit]