Racist letter vs American Canyon Filipino community in Napa County CA goes viral

rageA supposedly ‘racist’ letter directed against the Filipino community in the city of American Canyon in Napa County, California in the United States is making the rounds in social media. An image of the letter was first shared by a certain Derek Valencia on a Facebook post with the caption “Anyone else in American canyon get this letter in the mail?!?!?!?!!!!!!?”

Here is a full transcript of the letter originally published by Phil Yu on a post in his blog Angry Asian Man:

====start of transcript====

California Department of Consumer Affairs
Board of Barbering & Cosmetology

Maria Aida Ignacio Brandes aka Maria ‘Lenny’ Ignacio
Cosmetolgist-License #234099
421 Knightsbridge Way
American Canyon, CA 94503

DOB 10 September 1950

Subj: Haircutting/Styling Practices Under Revoked License

According to the State of California Licensing & the concerned neighborhood residence in close proximity to your dwelling find the above referenced license currently holds a status which carry restrictions from a disciplinary action brought against you as noted below:

License issued on 1 February 1991
Expiry 28 February 2013
Accusation filed on 22 November 2010.
Revocation effective date 4 January 2012

Note: Nguyen, Minh T.N. also covered under Lic #234099 at the time of the date accusation.

Be advised that under California statues “Any person providing certain services for a fee is required to be licensed by the California Board of Barbering & Cosmetology”.

Those services include (but are not limited to) hair cutting, hair dressing and styling, nail care, skin care, removal of superfluous hair, permanent removal of unwanted hair and the application of makeup.

Be advised from concerned local citizens that you may not be within jurisdiction to perform noted services includes in the statutes cited above. This would include the maintenance & care of known male/female/male child relations in current residence at 103 Ford Drive, American Canyon, cA 94503 since early 2010.

Ms. Brandes, be advised that you are potentially in breach of current State of California rules/regulations and subject to fines.

In addition, the American Canyon Filipino community as filthy as it is. [Illegible] unwanted as it is…… doesn’t need to bring additional unwarranted/unlicensed practices which assists in bringing down the already downward spiraling property values in our area.

We are attempting to have our community a law abiding one, without having yet another gang of Filipino scum such as yourself and married daughters who have attempted to assimilate into this once clean non-Filipino dominated area in American Canyon (Napa Junction) which includes those of your female offspring who have aligned themselves with CAUCASION husbands to assist in ensuring their half-breed children have “straight noses” in order to be accepted in non-Filipino society.

Yours Truly,
Concerned American Canyon Neighbors

====end of transcript====

According to a Huffington Post report, Valencia had since reported the letter to the police who are as of that report looking into the matter…

American Canyon Chief of Police Jean Donaldson described the letter as “unusual” in a phone interview with The Huffington Post.

“We really haven’t seen that here before,” said Donaldson. “It’s an unusual event.” The police department is currently investigating the letter to determine whether or not it violates penal codes about hate crimes.

Apparently, American Canyon is dominated by ethnic Filipinos if we are to refer to a comment made by Facebook user ‘Nick Napala’ in Valencia’s post as a credible source of that information; “so were filthy.. yall white people the ones who built the damn city on top of a dumb and in a swamp.. call us filthy. wow. the whole a/c [i.e., Amercian County] is like 95% pino”.

The Filipino community in the United States have long been the target of incidents of alleged race-related discrimination. Recently, for example, a landmark lawsuit was slapped by Filipino nurses in 2010 against the Delano Regional Medical Center in Kern County, California after they were allegedly banned from speaking Tagalog (a southern Luzon dialect) among themselves while in the centre’s premises.

However, there may be reason to argue that incidents of alleged discrimination against Filipinos in the United States may have something to do with what has been described as an unhealthy ego inherent to Filipinos’ collective cultural character. It is possible that an unhealthy collective ego predisposes Filipinos to being relatively quicker to play the victim card when it comes to perceived incidents of racism. In the study “Workplace Discrimination and Health Among Filipinos in the United States” which was published on the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) website, some empirical findings may have confirmed this hypothesis:

Compared with Chinese and Vietnamese Americans, Filipino Americans appear to perceive the highest levels of discrimination, and these levels are fairly similar to those of African Americans.

This seems consistent with what has long been observed to be the general onion-skinned character of Filipinos, evident in the way they are quick to bristle in response to perceived slights. Way back in 2002, the late Clarence Henderson wrote about this “onion skin mentality”. At that time, the dust was just settling after a national lynching was mounted against actress Claire Danes and her famous (and now classic) “Ghastly Manila” remarks…

About four years ago, Claire Danes came to Manila to film Brokedown Palace. After returning to the states, she made several not-very-flattering remarks about Manila in the pages of Vogue and Premiere magazines. Specifically, she described Manila as a “ghastly and weird city,” said that the city “smelled like cockroaches”, and noted that “rats were everywhere”.

The whole country, led by the Manila City Council, was immediately inflamed and up in arms. There was a major move to ban all of Danes’ films in Manila and her name is now considered synonymous with “Ugly American”. Very few politicians or commentators were brave enough to note that Danes’ comments were basically accurate and that something badly needs to be done about the state of the Philippines’ capital city.

[Personal note] In my call center work I have met numerous potential international investors here on fact-finding trips. They come here to compare the Philippines to other alternatives for their offshore facilities. Although they are favorably impressed by the quality of telecommunications infrastructure and the motivated, English-speaking workers, they are uniformly turned off by the physical ugliness of Manila. In our recent call center roundtable at the Asian Institute of Management – attended by the major players in the industry, most of them high-level Filipino professionals from both public and private sector – one of the key policy issues identified for government attention was the need to beautify the area around NAIA, clean up the streets, and otherwise create a more pleasing environment for visiting investors. And how much more important for the tourism industry!

Danes was right. Her Filipinos critics may be correct that she was rude in her tone of expression, but they should at least acknowledge her point and commit themselves to doing something about it.

Of course, this all goes without saying.

[NB: All content published on Facebook referred to in this article were publicly-accessible at the time this article was published (11:50am AEDST 09th Jan 2013).]


Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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47 Comments on "Racist letter vs American Canyon Filipino community in Napa County CA goes viral"

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First and foremost, the image of the letter in question is suspect. The header reads “The California Department of Consumer Affairs…” lacks the “Seal” of California. ANY and ALL documents and/or letters sent form ANY State, Federal and/or Local Agency will ALWAYS contain the official seal and/or insignia of the corresponding agency. In addition, if you look at the first bend in the paper (License issued…) you can see how the letters are distorted or compressed and then just below, appear normal. Also in this section, notice the paragraph spacing difference on the sides of the page in comparison to… Read more »
Bill Steffen
The Filipinos in America need to get over it. Everybody, everywhere in the damn world is discriminated against in one way or the other. They have a whole hell of a lot more rights in the US than I do here in the Philippines. As for the girls wanting American Husbands, I pretty much believe that. What makes them any different than the Filipinas here? As for the place being filthy, I think that filthy in America is different from filthy in the PH. Everything is relative I guess. If they believe they are being singled out and discriminated against… Read more »

Mga Penoy kulang sa pansin, Der Adobo have low follow, does not convey sophistication compared with neighboring vintners produce.

I’ve been to Napa Valley, CA. It is a blue collar community. Caucasian residents are mostly transplants from the east coast, unskilled and probably farmers where they originally came from but are the better beneficiaries of this growing community. They have a large Hispanic and Asian communities. Filipinos are typically identified as Pacific Islanders with the Hawaiians and the Chamorros from Guam. The subject, a Filipino beautician who I would like to believe must be doing good in her business. Beauticians with a good number of regular customers are known to make $60 to $70K per year. A salon owner,… Read more »

That letter is surreal, there no need to go viral. Another epic tale of onion-skinned kababayans.

Johnny Saint
Curious. If this were a letter addressed to African-Americans, what would the reaction be? Al Sharpton would be screaming bloody murder on MSNBC, CNN and even on Fox News. Hollywood personalities would be tweeting non-stop and condemning it on talk shows from Ellen and The View to Bill Mahr and John Stewart. Jesse Jackson would release a statement lamenting the return to pre-Civil War conditions for his “people” and organizing street rallies in American Canyon. Eventually, California lawmakers will call for an investigation and possibly a review of the legislation dealing with racial discrimination. Barack Obama might even hold another… Read more »

SO, is the ultra-sensitive Filipino community going to get up-in-arms (and if so, by doing what?), or simply laugh it off. Or if true, do something about it? Ms.Danes remarks were true. MANILA is a frickin hell-hole and even worse to someone who has never seen something like that before as MAYBE she had not.
If the shoe fits, wear it, after you polish it! If it doesn’t fit, get rid of it…and move on.
Take racial slurs for what they are, the remarks of the ignorant, and move on!


It seems the “insult radar” of Filipinos has gone into overdrive again, trying to find imagined insults and raising fellow Filipinos to an outrage to try and fake power and build up their “pride.” But what’s only building up is their idiocies.

The comments of Bill Steffen and Jetlag are hard to swallow. Reeks of contempt.I live and work in UP Los Banos next to the International Rice Research Inst. where foreigners of all colors abound. You are way too general in saying foreigners are discriminated upon here. More often than not they are ignored or left alone. Fact is Filipinos are way too hospitable and accommodating to foreigners, much more so if they’re Caucasian, almost to the point that it’s annoying. Unless of course you’re a rude foreigner. Then really no one is stopping you from leaving. I am not onion-skinned… Read more »
To ALL: Let me make this as clear as possible. I am against racial, discriminatory and bigoted comments, ideas and actions in any form and against anyone. However, and my response to Bills’ comment notwithstanding, it is my opinion that the letter in question is fraudulent. 1) The letter did NOT originate from any California State Agency. 2) Portions of the letter have been clearly altered to give the impression of authenticity. 3) The sentence structure and grammar used in the last paragraph suggests that portion was not written by the same person who composed the preceding sections. 4) The… Read more »

Interestingly enough… The facebook “post” where the letter appeared has been removed… Maybe someone finally took the time to take a closer look at the image. LOL


Why is this even news? And what reason would the police have to want to question the author of this letter? I guess its not enough that they’re trying to destroy the Second Amendment, but now we’re going after the First too?


america needs the philippines – for toilet cleaners and child sex slaves.
of course they discriminate. the 1st world does not integrate 3rd world immigrants easily, especially if they do not have high education and values. the philippines is its own worst PR so must not adopt a ‘3 monkey’ approach to criticism but get better at being global citizens. the west tolerates them as long as they serve a purpose, but dont respect them. the politicians are ti blame for that but others get tarred with the same brush.
sad, but true.


Fil-Ams have one of the highest household income levels in the country.


Southern Luzon dialect, benign0? 😮


I think it’s pretty normal to react about it whilst taking measures against such acts. However, onion-skinned Filipinos will surely mull over this issue beyond weeks or so, blown up to vast, illogical proportions. Some just need to feel relevant to the vast ocean of the human population and whine like a cry baby. Very KSP

So this is supposedly a racist letter? Who in the right mind would believe that these anonymous persons who signed this letter were real Americans? Who knows this could have been perpetrated by a Chinese, a Mexican, or another Filipino who had an Anti-Filipino mentality, hiding under the name, “Concerned American Canyon Neighbors”? Whoever he or she or they may be, I don’t even wanna lift a finger because anyone who uses fake name just to hate doesn’t have the balls to come out in the open. So this got me thinking why this author even bothered to write an… Read more »
Attorney Lawyer

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