I'm not bitter because I did not get hired for a position I applied for at the website BuzzFeed. If you're not familiar with the site, it is a mixture of interesting news that the masses seem to enjoy reading and "sharing" on FaceBook and Twitter.
The main reason why I'm upset is because somebody at BuzzFeed made an offensive remark regarding Filipino Culture, and probably doesn't even realize or care.
Leonora Epstein, who is apparently an editor at BuzzFeed "wrote" (i.e., constructed about 12 sentences followed by photos) this piece, which apparently ridicules the designs that 1980s and 1990s Mattel created for Barbie's popular (yet not necessarily anatomically correct) boyfriend Ken.
If you read her entry and check out numbers #8 and #9, you will find that Ken is wearing a Barong Tagalog- the formal shirt worn by Filipino men in the Philippines and across the globe. Apparently, Epstein thinks that our traditional gear is something that is humorous, and she probably didn't even think twice that she was being offensive to a whole group of people.
No, I don't sport the Filipino native gear in everyday life. And while the barong depicted in #8 is not something that I would necessarily wear, I have owned, and still possess (somewhere) a barong that is depicted in #9.
In fact, I plan to wear a #9 style barong to my Pamahikan, and perhaps even to my Big, Mataba, Gay, Filipino Wedding. (Of course, it will be custom-made and fabulous.)
Don't get me wrong. I admit that I am the first to crack up at many jokes that make light of Filipino Culture. I even make these jokes around my Filipino friends quite regularly. However, for some reason, it rubs me the wrong way when someone with no personal connection (or apparently understanding of microaggressions and racism) says something negative about Filipinos. It bothers me so much that I am here blogging on the Internet, wondering what the hell has this world become.
I'm actually a follower of BuzzFeed because there is some interesting and amusing content on the site. However, I think a majority of the content is almost like fast-food. Quick-loading on a tablet or mobile app, readers get an animated gif and couple of witty sentences and it's over. And yet, millions of people visit this site on the regular, often using this "news" as a way of becoming politically informed or educated about the world.
Maybe I'm jaded because my day job deals with an uncomfortable reality of talking with people about their real life health problems and the effects of their bad decisions. Maybe I'm jaded because my volunteer work with organizations deals with the uncomfortable reality that millions of people don't have a high quality of life. Or maybe I'm jaded because I wasn't offered a job at BuzzFeed.
All I know is that this is the Internet, and that it is quite common for someone to get away with posting something mildly offensive. (Yes, it may only be mildly offensive, but it is offensive nonetheless).
Just because she poked fun at our traditional clothing and didn't make some overt racist comment about us being doggeaters, doesn't make it okay. Microaggressive racism is still racism.
Read her unfunny remark and enjoy a pretty pogi barong on a pretty pogi Ken (sorry, I just had to...) right over here.