Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Speaking of DH

I'm referring not to Dear Husband but Desperate Housewives. I was stunned while watching the season premiere last night and had to rewind a bit to make sure I heard Teri Hatcher right. And I did! She mentioned the Philippines in one of her scenes but the dialogue made me cringe --- Okay before we go any further, can I check those diplomas? 'Cause I would just like to make sure they are not from some med school in the Philippines. In that particular scene, she was talking to her doctor. I was so sure people would raise hell about it and I was right.

Dear Kababayan and Allies:

I heard through the grapevine about a remark made on an episode of "Desperate Housewives" last night. The scene entailed Teri Hatcher's character (Susan) at a hospital, being told by her gynecologist that she might be hitting menopause. Susan replied, "Can I just check those diplomas because I just want to make sure that they are not from some med school in the Philippines." If you go to abc.com, you watch the full episode and witness the scene at about 18:50 minutes into the episode.

This type of derogatory remark is not only unnecessary and hurtful, but is also unfounded, considering the presence of Filipinos and Filipino Americans in the health care industry. Filipinos are the second largest immigrant population in the United States, with many entering the U.S. and passing their U.S. licensing boards as doctors, nurses, and medical technicians. In fact, the Philippines produces more U.S. nurses than any other country in the world. So, to belittle the education, experience, or value of Filipino Americans in health care is disrespectful and plain and simply ignorant.

As Filipino Americans, we need to band together to ensure that this type of hateful message is not allowed to continue on our television and radio airwaves. Given the recent amounts of media attention that has been given to Michael Richards (against African Americans), Isaiah Washington (against gays), and Rosie O'Donnell (against Asian/ Chinese Americans), it is ridiculous that this type of hateful speech made it through various screenwriters, the show's producers, the show's actors, and ABC itself. Yet, this isn't the first time that negative remarks have been made about the Philippines or Filipinos in the past. In recent years, we've heard one too many "dogeater" comments by "comedian" Joan Rivers on the red carpet or in her standup act, and I believe that it is about time that we stand up for ourselves, so that this type of hateful speech never happens again.

Please join me in expressing your concern, disappointment, and/or disgust to the producers of ABC.com. You can sign the petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/FilABC/ or you can reach them directly at abc7@abc.com.

And please feel free to forward this widely to other Filipinos/Filipino Americans/ Asian Americans/ and other allies.


Kevin Nadal,
Filipino Performance Artist/ Activist

And why not? This was a direct attack! I feel sorry for Teri Hatcher because she's on the receiving end of all of this but it's the writers of this show who are to blame for being so insensitive. I think we Filipinos deserve an apology for this really!


  1. hi patty!
    i watch desperate housewives, but i'm still in season 3. it's not the first time i read about that comment. how ignorant can they be?

  2. yup the comment was offensive...

  3. I knew it was going to raise a lot of eyebrows and spark a protest of some sort, especially in the Filipino communities in the US. True enough, it was a main feature in the news last night. Now even GMA has stepped in. Kawawa naman tayo.