The Folly of Brown Pride


It already irks me to keep hearing Filipinos complain about other Filipinos using skin whitening products or liking foreign shows and products, saying it’s a sign that Filipinos are ashamed of themselves. I disagree with that view. I think loving white skin has nothing to do with shame.

It’s just common sense. When something is color white, it is usually perceived as clean. When you do laundry, how do you describe clean laudry? White. “Ang puti ng labada.” And what’s usually the color of dirt? Black or brown (kulay tae)! When you look at underarms, what would you prefer? A brighter or darker color? Besides, even white people are looking for skin whitening products.

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I also earlier junked the idea of colonial mentality as a problem of our country. A researcher from UP already debunked the idea that Filipinos use whitening products as an effect of colonial mentality. The researcher makes the point that desiring whiter skin is prevalent even in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and other Malay-descended countries. Quoting Wikipedia’s summary then of that research in its Colonial Mentality entry:

Many Filipinos believe that the idealization of fair skin had its roots during the Spanish colonization. Actually, fairness of complexion was attested as a characteristic of the upper class women and appears as the standard of beauty among the Austronesian peoples of the pre-Hispanic Philippines. The desire for white skin is definitely not a result of colonial mentality during the Spanish rule. Besides, the Philippines was a colony of the Majapahit Empire (1293–1527) based in Indonesia prior to Spanish colonization (1565-1898)

If you want to discourage skin whitening products, the health reasons are much better to use. They’re found in the same Wikipedia article. Also, I agree the money is better used elsewhere.

Another issue bothering me is the slamming of half-Filipinos, half-foreigners like the Azkals’ Younghusband brothers. It seems they want to the Younghusbands to stop calling themselves Filipino just because the lads keep their British accents.

Wait a minute! Aren’t you supposed to be glad these lads chose to be Filipino? Where’s the appreciation for their loyalty to our country? Isn’t it hypocrisy to be hitting the Azkals like this? Maybe it’s because the Azkals lost, the critics slam the Azkals. So now that the Azkals won, they’ll bootlick the Azkals? Hypocrisy indeed.

And brown? Indians are also brown. In fact, they’re browner than us! Brown is definitely not exclusive to Filipinos!

I think the real reason people want to raise brown and put down other colors is that they’re just ego-tripping. They probably think it looks cool. Unfortunately, it isn’t cool at all. It’s just as stupid as saying “I’m proud to be Filipino” after the Manila Bus Hostage Crisis.

Why should anyone claim that Filipinos should only be brown? “Brown is great,” “Brown is superior” and similar slogans comprise another collection of great folly. Welcome to the brown version of Nazi Germany.

So what if some brown people want to use skin whiteners? So what if some white people want to get a tan? Or what if the Azkals want to call themselves Filipino? Let them! And mind you, when white people get a tan, they’re color tan, not brown, so they’re not trying to be Filipinos (or anyone brown).

Brown pride is yet another manifestation of Da Pinoy’s hubris. It’s time to drop it.

40 Replies to “The Folly of Brown Pride”

  1. Hi, Chino!

    Haven’t read anything new from you for a while.

    Here’s a thought: Maybe someone should invent a tablet that can turn our skin orange. That way we can have a color exclusive to us. 😛

    Seriously, I love what you said about the Azkals. Hey, at least these guys try.

    I guess people misunderstand these Fil-Foreigners because they can’t seem to embrace everything “Filipino,” including the barok English. However, there are those full-blooded Filipinos who have been in country for so long but still can’t get it straight. That’s a different case altogether I think. I mean, people might feel that if these guys feel the heat brought upon by their “pagka-Pinoy,” trust that they’ll be on the first boat out. I mean, being Pinoy is almost like being in a gigantic street gang. If you can’t talk the language correctly, then you’re not one of us.

    As for skin whitening products, yep, agreeing with you on that one. White is beauty for most people. 🙂 Pero…thank God for the morenas. Buti na lang walang batik batik na Pinay.

    1. Hey, thanks. I’ve been focused on my new job lately, just had time for this one. I’ll be posting a bit less often than before, though I’ll try to churn up more.

      I can like morenas too, you know. They just have to like me too. LOL

  2. I Agree with Chino 9000>% for the most obvious reasons.

    And guess who are the entities and companies who are promoting that kind of pride? Obviously the entities and companies that thrive under the protectionist constitution created under the first Brown-Yellow regime.

    I hate to put ourselves down, but we are a piece of “bovine oudure” compared to the rest of Asia. To paraphrase Adam Carolla, we should get fix our act, and have more common sense when dealing with various situations and scenarios.

  3. You simply cannot jump out of your own skin…It’s a crazy world. The Browns want to be white. So, they apply whitening lotions to their skins. The Whites want to be brown. So, they Sun-tan their skins. Or go to Sun-tanning clinics…Why not be content , of who you are…

  4. I also want to address some negativity. People may say that I’m negative to put down brown pride. But brown pride itself is actually negative, since it puts down other colors. People tend to twist the definition on what is negative, and thus they have confused values.

  5. Filipinos aren’t even all brown. With the various mixtures of Native, Chinese, and European ancestry, Filipinos, in fact, come in all colors. I’m pretty sure all my relatives all the way back to my great-great-grandparents are all Filipino, but most everyone in my family are very light-skinned. I’m about as dark as you can get in my family

  6. Something interesting I found: Brown is actually a term used for Latinos and Hispanics in the US. There’s even a US Brown Pride page:

    But it doesn’t seem to have anything about Filipinos.

    In the Philippines, Latino would be called mestizo. hehe

    1. And Latinos come in all colors, like Flips! Funny you said “Latinos AND Hispanics.” Most people used both words interchangeably. Technically there’s a difference. Latino means Latin American, so that includes Brazilians, but not Spaniards. Hispanic just vaguely means Spanish, so that includes Spaniards, but not Brazilians. The official US government definition of Hispanic however excludes Spaniards, because they are European.

      1. Hmm, that’s interesting. I myself didn’t know about the differences, though I had a hunch the terms were different. It does pay to do your research.

  7. Ever wonder if the likes of Anne Curtis, Derek Ramsey and Solenn Heussaff would get all the breaks their way if they had Pinoy-sounding last names like Batungbacal or Dacuycoy? Does anyone feel for those unsung theater-polished character actors who are denied lead roles because they had Pinoy names and thick regional accents?

  8. I’m sorry, what is this? What is wrong with natural brown skin? Are the blacks ugly cause they’re dark? Why shoudl white be the standard for beauty? Hell, even my Liberal Arts teacher here in Australia who has scottish ancestry envies my brown skin.

    She says about how white people (and she’s in her 50s already) as they age, their skin turns ugly pink and wrinkly. I have seen many plain looking white anglo Aussies, and they envy my skin tone cause it’s the perfect tan. Whites here do the opposite of what you filos use for skin *toning*.

    Now, I don’t want to tell you off for using skin whitening product (which is to me sickening and offensive for many people of colour), but to justify the usage of such a product reeks vanity and indirect racism. I’ve seen whites using fake tans and yet some of them dis people of darker skin colour. So much hypocrisy in this article. The gov’t even discourages them from using these products cause they harm their bodies (skin cancer is rampant here).

    I had a friend who had been to the Philippines and this thing shocked her. She laughed about how ridiculous we are cause she looves our skin colour. Now, don’t judge me for disregarding the product. And DON’T judge me for who I am cause I oppose YOUR view. I have a grandmother who is a 1/4 spanish/mediterranean. My dad looks rich to people cause he looks mestizo. Should that give me a sense of pride cause I’m white? So what if I’m brown? Should I be proud? Honestly, I feel nothing with it whatsoever. I have no *colour* pride. Have you ever heard of white privilege? Social Darwinism?

    This product wouldn’t sell shit in Australia, cause you’ll be subjected to racism sending a wrong message to people how you should change skin colour to meet up to society’s standard. So can you say you justify what anglo whites here have done to the Aborigines by breeding them out for many years, forcing the light-skinned Aborigines to assimilate to white *cough* retarded society? Honestly, this article makes me sick.

    I have read many articles in this sight and I thought they’re great help to bring awareness to our very flawed culture. But this one is just a big miss. Please do more research on Social Darwinism and books dealing with white privilege. I can’t blame on other dark-skinned people complaining about this rubbish of a product. And i can’t believe you buy into this notion of *whiteness*.

    This is just my two cents so you can disregard this all you want. Well, have a good day then!

    1. You may want to re-read the article. My point was, if white should not be used as a standard of beauty, neither should brown. And that brown isn’t superior… and neither is white.

  9. My apologies for the rash judgment. I just am angry how filipinos still uphold whiteness. Blame the Enlgihtenment for that. Slavery wasn’t bad and wasn’t because of the colour of skin but then these stupid colonialists bring up the subject of race unheard of before and then this is why we have such distorted attitudes towards each other. I very much want to kill the mass media for promoting overt racism. Oh and those so called *stars* in fil media- they’re nothing compared to the immigrants livin here down under. I’ve seen beautiful, slender looking Sudanese women- I can see all sorts of beauty in this country. Oh and i don’t want to hear crap about the science of beauty- and that’s another rubbish the white man has brought to our psyche. I also don’t like the imported media from Korea where they also uphold this notion. We,Asians, are so self-hating.

  10. Just want to add more comment on this issue. Filos are unmindful (especially in the internet world) when boasting about nation pride.They r proud and yet they post up on websites pics of these mixed-race mongrels (who truly don’t look like your average filipino).

    I’ve noticed this on most Asian dramas too. This is why I only watch American made shows (though not the rubbish u see these days you know that show The Wire? Great show and cast), cause they keep faces relatable and real to your average American. The other thing I hate about Marcos was how he drove out the Vietnamese refugees from Phils. They’re one of the most hardworking group of people I’ve ever met (I’ve met them and they’re really down to earth)and perhaps could have contributed to improve economy in Phils. I know I’m getting further and further out of topic, so I’ll shut up now.

    1. Hey, thanks so much for stepping back and giving a second look. I think few people actually do that these days. I know some people have racial pride, but you’re right, it can be revolting and media helps perpetuate it. That’s the point of my article. It also makes no sense to differentiate people on ethnic origin and color when all of them can be nice or can be trolls online so the same. Cheers.

  11. By the way, in my paragraph where I say “white can mean clean,” I am talking about the general view of colors, and not skin color. However, I do agree that applying it to skin color is quite wrong. I believe skin color preference is a cultural thing, something you could trace to tribal beliefs. But media helps perpetuate it.

  12. May binabagayan ang lahat, kahit kaputian ng balat. Unfortunately not everyone can get away with or look better with darker skin tones. I can think of a few, Techie Agbayani (for those who are old enough to know her)…wait…ang hirap mag-isip ah. Well, sa Philippine showbiz, usually mga lalake lang ang pwedeng umitim, tulad nila Cesar Montano, Julio Diaz, Richard Gomez. I know a few girls who are beautifully morena, but are not in showbiz. It’s just coincidence that having fair skin is aesthetically appealing, and we don’t have to look deep inside to question that perception and find out if we’re victims of colonial mentality. I think this perception is for the most part objective. The same way we can all see if a square is not a perfect square when not all sides are perfectly equal, in which case we don’t want to call it a square. If a person looks better with darker skin, super dark skin, or slightly dark skin, or white skin, super white, or albino white, that’s just how it is. I know blondes who think red hair suits them more, so they dye their hair, no one gives a shit! What annoys me here is how Filipinos love to flaunt their intellectualism by being critical of everything they see. They fall into over-analysing things that shouldn’t really matter. I’d rather they use their brain muscles on things that do matter. I remember sitting in class at the Ateneo. This dark-skinned female classmate got props from our Psych teacher, and then the rest of the class, because her letter to the editor was published. It was a rant against this block&white commercial that implied that having dark skin was unattractive. She was upset because she’s dark skinned and she saw herself as attractive. And I agree! That girl was pretty, dark skin and all, and I wouldn’t have her any other way. But because this seemed all “virtuous” the Psych teacher simply praised her for it and gave us the “moral” of it all: that we shouldn’t be victims of colonial mentality. DUH! You actually have a masters in Psychology? What happened to your analysis there? Perceptions of beauty and aesthetics may differ cross-culturally. Some cultures like their women fat, others don’t, some like pointy noses, some don’t. It’s up to the individual to decide how they will adapt themselves to the socio-cultural context they are in. And it is not up to us to pass judgment on anyone for seeking to optimize their chances in society, or simply to enjoy a new look, or for whatever other reason. Putting make-up on is a cosmetic change, wearing clothes is a cosmetic change, tanning is cosmetic, bleaching is cosmetic, relaxing kinky hair is cosmetic, a hair cut is cosmetic, what’s the big f*ing deal? If people want to change their appearance to what they perceive as an improvement: LET THEM!

  13. I don’t outrightly agree with the claim that “the desire for white skin is definitely not a result of colonial mentality during the Spanish rule.” Of course, colonial rule still had some influence towards the desire to have lighter skin, but in terms of origin, then yes,the fact that this has been going on for quite some time now is something to chew on. Colonial rule has only amplified it for modern day times. Whether it’s under colonial rule or Asian ancestors, both are under the umbrella of the perception of social class; if you are rich, then you must have lighter skin.

    On a side note, this marks my first time commenting on a Get Real PI post! I’ve been scouring the website for months now actually, but I have only decided to comment now. Also, the reason partly that Showtime is on at my house and I cannot stand the frenzy of noise and garbage coming out of the living room TV. going on Get Real will knock some logic and sense to me…DEAR GOD MAKE IT STOP

  14. westerners want to be tanned – asians want to be white!
    historically white meant you didnt have to work in the sun and were therefore more prosperous.
    the real shame is that the country allows dubious companies to peddle worthless products which the less educated believe will help them – in what way i dont know.
    they should spend the hard earned money on education rather than product scams
    a beautiful person is just that – irrespective of skin colour

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