Racism in the Philippines

For those few keeping up with my Deep series, please don’t worry, I’m working on Chapter 5 as I write this. However, I’m afraid this issue to be discussed can’t wait because of its utmost importance. I’m afraid that, all things considered, this is a topic that needs to be heard by all Filipinos because of how deep it has infected us as a people.

Anyway, racism is a touchy subject for a lot of people. For Filipinos, when the idea of racism is ever mentioned, they will probably think one of two things: One, they will think of the black vs. whites issues going on in the West, more specifically the United States. Second, they will probably think of the foreigners who have had something to say against the Philippines like Alec Baldwin or Clair Danes. However, I strongly doubt that they will ever even think of themselves as blatantly racist even when it’s so clear that we are every bit as racist or even more so than those they accuse of it.

So, do I believe that most Pinoys are racist? Honestly, yes and magnitudes worse than some out there I might add. Here are my points if you want to hear them:


Standards of Beauty

One of the mildest ways we show our racism is in our standards of “beauty”. Of course, this is changing with some people as they come to recognize that brazen skin or an ebony complexion is attractive in its own right. However, no one can deny that majority of Pinoys still consider light skin is the go-to for the idea of beauty. Many of our celebrities like Marian Rivera, Heart Evangelista and Anne Curtis are widely lauded for being white and looking nothing like your average Filipina. In fact some of my foreign friends go on to comment that majority of the celebrities the masses worship do not look us at all and it looks as if they’re watching a European (specifically Spanish or Italian) show. It pains me to admit that in some circles, dark skin is still considered a mark of ugliness. In some schools, I still hear a lot of issues of bullying wherein students are being ostracized for having dark skin and being called “itang gala”. Also, in many teleseryes, how do they present a lead character as “ugly”? Simple! Darken her skin with cosmetics.

Racist Remarks 

Pinoys have always been sore winners and losers. When Pacquiao or any Filipino who wins a prestigious international award, many Pinoys clamor “Pinoy Pride” everywhere like there’s no tomorrow. However, when they lose, they resort to using below-the-belt tactics in degrading the foreign winner and calling them all kinds of mean things. Take note how so many Pinoys called Iranians “smelly” when they beat our soccer team, remember how so many attacked the recent Ms. Angola when our representative lost that competition and I know that remarks against Floyd Mayweather’s physiognomy continue to pour in as I write this because some people just can’t accept the defeat of their idol. In the end, people resort to slurs and worse just because they can’t accept the reality of Pinoy inferiority.

Social Bias Against Natives

Sadly, this is a grim reality that I find difficult to accept especially because we like to claim that we are a “modern” people. To this day, people view Negritos and other tribes like the Bajao and Igorots as inferior and backward despite the fact that common Pinoys also hold a lot of outdated beliefs like the superiority of race, for example. This kind of thinking was once prevalent in the West but has now faded into obscurity in developed countries with Native Americans becoming more mainstream and the Ainu of Japan becoming a respected part of Japanese culture. I can only pray and hope that these tribes will one day be seen as equals by our fellows and be accepted as a people who are as beautiful and smart as our common countrymen.


Post Author: Grimwald


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34 Comments on "Racism in the Philippines"

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Angelica Hopes
Yes, I agree that many Filipinos are quite of a racist too. They can discriminate in many areas like your darker skin, your intelligence, your petite stature, your size, your appearance, the region you came from, your profession, your religion and even from which school you came from. Even living in abroad (Europe) now for the last 20 years, some would approached me, “Gusto niyo bang gumanda, para mas pumuti kayo?…” Another one told me, “Are you tired of your dark skin?” A batch mate in high school told me, “Sayang saimo, nasa harong ka lang” (you’re wasted, you’re JUST… Read more »
Angelica Hopes
In addition to what I shared: p.s. If you happen to be married to a foreigner you are also discriminated by envious, judgmental pinay women. If you happen to be legally separated or a divorcee you are still discriminated and even if you have moved on in life from a divorcee state you carry that stigma most especially with fellow kababayan. If you happen to be gay or lesbian that too is discriminated by others. If you happen to be very intelligent but you didn’t come from the top school of the country, that one too you can be pinched… Read more »
Sick Amore

It seems the racist Pinoys are fired up by what concerns them the most -> desirable public image.

Jerry Lynch

As a western man who admires Filipina beauty, I always say, “If I wanted a white woman I would have stayed home. I came here for a petite (tiny) very dark skinned woman and no other will do.”


A Pacquiao victory would have doomed Pinoys. It’d be like giving the Arkenstone to Thorin Oakenshield while under dragon sickness. It would’ve lulled every Pinoy on the street into thinking that they too have all sorts of superiority over other nationalities.

Back to reality, Filipinos.

Love my Brown Skin Beauty
Love my Brown Skin Beauty

Well said Grimwald…. I was married to a city girl who along with her sister and friend’s seemed to buy into the white skin theory….Well, sh ewas all about the money, control and nastiness….I’m rid of her for the better…I’ll take my sweet, dark skinned Filipina Farm girl beauty any day over any white skinned city girl! If I wanted to marry a white Asian, I would have married a Korean girl !

People are people, no matter what color, appearances, ethnicity and culture, they came from in our Planet. I find the “white skin beauty” mindset; not only in the Philippines; but in Mexico, and other Spanish colonized countries in South America. It is because the Spanish Colonizers, degraded us natives, of our appearances; our cultures and our beliefs. We have to tell ourselves: “Brown is Beautiful…” My dark skin, has nothing to do with my humanity, my intellect and my intelligence. It is that way, I am created. I see no difference between a brown cat and a white cat. If… Read more »

Is it just me or do they say “Foreigner” with lots of jealously and contempt. The locals love to use the word “Foreigner” and we always get the question is the babies dad a “Foreigner” then of course then ask the mother if she is the yaya.

Robert Haighton
I find this all to be a bit funny. Most Dutch people will start to enjoy the first rays of sunshine by wearing thinner fabric of clothes. Then when full summer starts they wil go to the beach, swimming pool and/or parks to get a tan by wearing less and less clothes (shorts, short sleeved T-shirts, trunks, bikinis). We want to get a darker skin. And while we do that we will avoid skin cancer by using sunblock (protecting from UV). If you go to European beaches and parks, you can see this almost everywhere I am sure most white… Read more »

No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.

And Failipinos in the Failippines are so goddamn good and making a career out of it.

a lot of filipinos who are married to the same race along with their parents put you down if you are married to a white or black American especially if you are a woman. they automatically assume that you were a hooker, they’re so ignorant yet they claimed themselves as highly educated people. now some of their children are married or living together with white or black Americans. also on some of the functions my husband and i attended to, they specified that these seats are for mixed marriages and these seats are for solid marriages (filipino to filipino). in… Read more »

The most disturbing thing about racism here in the Philippines is that many casually speak of racism without any repercussions and regrets, and if one complains, the typical reply of a Pinoy is that “it is a joke.”

And there is this thing about Pinoys raging over something they perceive as “racist” when on the receiving end despite that they talk racist stuff casually and simply say it is a joke.


Filipinos ( and Latinos) tend to be more racist as you move up the social scale. Thus, so-called educated Filipinos and rich Filipinos tend to be the most racist. The lower you go down the social ladder, the friendlier and more accepting.

In America ( and Europe, and Russia) it’s the opposite. The poor and uneducated people are the most racist, the ones who are richer and better educated accept other races and mingle with them.

This is why you see most interracial marriages with people of the so called low classes. But in the US, it is with the higher classes.


Some Filipinos get mad if you are white and speak Tagalog to them. They pointedly reply in English. But then, they get mad at a Filipino who speaks English and pointedly reply in Tagalog.
But it’s OK for Filipinos to speak Italian and Arabic and what not.


I still see Filipino shows using black face make up on light skinned actors instead of hiring dark skinned actors. Local parades often have colorful kids in customary costumes but also paint their skin black, so totally racist.


[…] skin the greater the level of success is available to you.” Another article posted by Grimwald, Racism in the Philippines, he stated three points of racism happening in the country: 1) Standard of Beauty; 2) Racist […]