General Question

eLenaLicious's avatar

Would you say my parents are being "racist" in this situation?

Asked by eLenaLicious (822points) March 30th, 2010

Well, about two weeks ago, I started going out with this awesome guy!
About two nights ago, I decided to tell my father since I promised my bf I would tell my dad last weekend. So I did, he seemed alright about it. Until… I told him what ethnicity he is.
I told him he is Filipino, and my dad didn’t take it well. He told me, “why are you down grading yourself? You can do way better than that.”
First of all, WTF does he mean?! When I told him my last bf was rich and white, he had no damn problem! And it is kind of weird because we live in Hawai’i which is pretty much Filipino infested.
I don’t know why my dad is being like this. He isn’t even full white. He’s Italian, Hispanic.
So do you think this is a racial thing? The reason behind why he doesn’t approve of this relationship?
I mean, I know he cares about my education, future, and well-being, but he didn’t use those excuses when I had my white bf. So what do you think is going on here!?

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45 Answers

kevbo's avatar

Ask him if he has heard of Archie Bunker.

Arisztid's avatar

You said “He told me, “why are you down grading yourself? You can do way better than that.”

That would be a “yes” to “is he racist?”

Why? Because he thinks lesser of Filipinos. Your father’s ethnicity does not factor into being racist. Thinking lesser of someone because of their ethnicity makes him racist.

Trillian's avatar

Filipino infested?

Rarebear's avatar

@Trillian I saw that too, but I took it as a vernacular figure of speech.

Pandora's avatar

Of course he’s being racist. There are many reasons for a person to be racist but none of them are good.
@Trillian, Yeah, Infested is definetly not a good word.

mrrich724's avatar

OMG, infested!

eLenaLicious's avatar

@Trillian oh, my mistake. No worries. I’m half Filipino. I meant majority Filipino

Rarebear's avatar

Wait. You’re half Filipino and your dad has a problem with you dating Filipinos? Doesn’t that mean your mom is Filipiino?

eLenaLicious's avatar

Yes, I know it doesn’t make any sense. I am guessing it is the way Filipinos treat him and eye him out….

Just_Justine's avatar

Your dad has a problem with himself.

Trillian's avatar

@Rarebear Waaaah! I was just going to say that! What do ya reckon that means about how he really feels about her mom?

eLenaLicious's avatar

and because of his stereotyping of local boys down here being ‘losers.’
He just doesn’t get it.
My brother also told my father when my bf came over he was wearing hat and sunglasses and my dad misunderstood him for a hoodlum like WTF

Rarebear's avatar

@eLenaLicious Okay, here is how I suggest you fix the situation. Have your boyfriend take off the hat and sunglasses. He should dress nicely. He should shake your father’s hand firmly and look him in the eye. He should apologize for the first impression. That may fix things for you.

mrrich724's avatar

He’s hispanic and Italian. I don’t think he has a personal issue. It was probably how he was brought up. My family had a fit when my sister brought a black guy home GASP!!!!

They are . . . hispanic and Italian.

The older Italians, or Latinos, or both were brought up to “know” that you should keep it within your own community.

jaytkay's avatar

What @Rarebear said.

Have your boyfriend take off the hat and sunglasses. He should dress nicely. He should shake your father’s hand firmly and look him in the eye.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

By dictionary definitions, he’s displayed prejudice against the Philipino people.
So what what’s next?

rahm_sahriv's avatar

I don’t know, but I find your phrasing “Filipino infested”, very telling. Seems the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and yes, I think your father is being a bigot and he isn’t the only one.

IBERnineD's avatar

Is there more about your boyfriend you aren’t telling us? I’m not saying you are lying about what you heard or saw, but what is your boyfriend like? I have had some shady boyfriends in the past that have made my parents react that way, and since he didn’t directly (or from what I read) say that it was because he was Filipino, maybe there is some background story? And another thing is that it may not be the race but what about the your boyfriend hangs around?

Regardless, I think you should clear this up with your father, and figure out why exactly he said what he did. There could have been a misunderstanding. And he maybe surprised you took it the way you did. Of course he could have meant what he said, and you should probably address the fact that it is totally not cool.

And apparently need to move to Hawaii since it is “infested” with Filipinos, I love Filipino men :}

PhillyCheese's avatar

Ya. Your dad is being racist. But seeing that you’re half filipino, there are probably reasons why he’s acting like this. Introduce your bf to your dad and let him break any stereotypes your dad follows, if your boyfriend is smart and down to earth, the make sure your bf presents that side to your dad.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Why do you ask if your “parents” are being racist?

What does your mother say?

escapedone7's avatar

Did your father ask a lot of questions about the boy before he announced this? Such as, did he ask if the boy finished high school, things like that? Because your father’s reasoning for reacting might have something to do with another matter altogether. It is hard to say if his issue was about the boy’s race or something else. Is the only thing your father knows about this boy is the boy is fillipino? Might you have told your father a few other things that made him think badly of the boy? It depends on what things he asked about and what else you told him. If the boy’s race is your father’s only issue, I would flat out ask him why. Since we can’t read minds, I don’t know what his logic is. Sounds racist to me, for sure. But I wasn’t there for this conversation. If you happened to mention your boyfriend is on probation in this same discussion, your dad might not be as fixated on his race as you think he is. If he knows nothing about the boy and is only going on race, then yes he is being very racist.

bob_'s avatar

Um, yes. Yes, they are.

lilikoi's avatar

Hello my Hawaiian sister! Maybe he just looked at the guy and thought he was ugly, not necessarily for racial reasons. Or maybe it was a racist thing to say. My family was like that regarding Filipinos, too.

What Frank DeLima has pointed out over his comedic career is that the foundation of racism around here is brutal honesty. I like to think that us Hawaii folks have figured out how to put a humorous spin on racism without being offensive (think DeLima, Rap Reiplinger’s “Japanese Roll Call”, Lee Cataluna,...). (usually)

Think about it – the poorest districts are unfortunately primarily Filipino (Kalihi on Oahu, Hanamaulu on Kauai, e.g.). They are therefore stuck with the most underfunded schools (I’ve been into a few around Honolulu, and let’s just say you can tell which ones get more money). If I had to guess, I’d guess that Filipinos are a minority in the elite private schools of Punahou and Iolani, that they statistically are more likely to not graduate from high school, that they are statistically less likely to attend a post-secondary institution for higher education, and more likely to be the first in their family to go to college if they do. I’m not trying to be racist, I know there are exceptions, but that is probably the truth.

If he was referring to race, I hope he didn’t mean to be offensive and discriminatory, but rather that years of facing reality has got him stuck in a rut of generalization. He is not seeing your boyfriend as an individual. He is looking at him as a representative of long standing statistical trends and the general reality. Point out that it is only fair that he keeps an open mind and gets to know him first.

On the other hand, as others have already pointed out, if he’s lighting up ganja in your living room, flipping knives, and flunking out of school or something, racism may have absolutely nothing to do with it.

lilikoi's avatar

And no, Hawaii is not “Filipino infested”. There are more White and Japanese in our state than Filipino.

And wait what? Your mom is Filipino???

DarkScribe's avatar

I was considering answering this, but it seems not quite bona fide. The context seem to be built on shifting sand. I then checked your bio and see that you cheerfully note that one reason that you came to Fluther was that you were “suspended” from Yahoo Answers. It takes a lot to be suspended from YA, usually consistent trolling or abuse of their TOS.

You say that you love to write, yet you phrased your question in a manner that left out some very essential detail. Asking if your father was racist is one thing – neglecting to initially mention that the race he was objecting to was your mother’s and partly your own. Using the expression infested to describe a race that you claim to be part of – none of it seems Kosher. If it is, then I am sorry but at this point I’ll bide my time before treating your questions as valid and your intent as genuine.

MrGV's avatar

He’s not racist; your boyfriend failed at the first impression who would dress like that to meet their gf’s parents?

eLenaLicious's avatar

@IBERnineD well he used to be a bad boy but my parents don’t know. He talked to my mom when he came to my house the other night and told her that he is working on being an honor student. He is also a football player and has the same future goals as me.
He wants to go to college and join the air force reserves like me.
I already told my dad yet he has no faith in him.
My last bf whom I told was rich and white was as dumb as a rock. But my parents just judged him because of his background and assumed he was smart just because he attended some fancy all boy’s private school. Big deal. I think my current boy friend regardless ethnic background is 100x smarter than him.

eLenaLicious's avatar

@lilikoi my dad used to live in Kailihi. Now we live in Waipahu which is obviously majority Filipino (Marshallese, Micronesian, Samoan…)

eLenaLicious's avatar

well born in Los Angeles but moved here some twenty or so years ago

eLenaLicious's avatar

@MrGV and just to let you know, that day, I wasn’t expecting him to meet my mom. We just decided it last minute to let it out in the open.
So yeah. Geez. You shouldn’t judge someone by the way they dress anyways.

eLenaLicious's avatar

Well not necessarily all the time.

shf84's avatar

Perhaps your father is being racist and perhaps not. The Philippines is a third world country not known for it’s progressive attitudes toward women. Maybe your fathers problem is with the culture rather than the race but it’s hard to say.

Mikelbf2000's avatar

first of all you don’t have to be white to be racist. Yeah he is being racist and prejudice (yeah the 2 are different). I have had and still have many racist family members. I just dont listen to it. I myself am not racist but I am not going screw up a family reunion, or Thanksgiving, or Christmas, over it.

xRIPxTHEREVx's avatar

yes. racism sucks. :(

The_Idler's avatar

Are they generally members of the poorer/criminal classes in your area?
or is there a well-known correlation?

Perhaps he was jumping to conclusions, which seems kinda unreasonable and offensive in the situation, but I don’t know how Filipinos are generally regarded there.

Like, if I said I was dating a Romani, my dad would be like õ.O
not because he is particularly racist, but because most Romani’s here are part of a nomadic criminal underclass of conniving leeches.

If that was the probable implication of a person’s ethnicity, I could understand a parent’s concern, though his bluntness in the matter was pretty – well – clumsy, to say the least.

IBERnineD's avatar

@eLenaLicious You still didn’t say if he directly told you it was because he was Filipino.

Sophief's avatar

I don’t think he is being racist. He just wants the best for his daughter. He was probably pleased youe ex was rich, because he could financially look after you. When he realises how much your into him, he should calm down and see the bigger picture.

eLenaLicious's avatar

@Dibley actually my father discourages relying on a man for money :P
@IBERnineD and no, I am not going to ask him that yet but it really seems like it especially since what he said right after I told him what ethnicity he is.
Like wtf

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, very racist.

I think it’s okay when parents point out some additional challenges faced by multicultural couples. But this has nothing to do with race. It’s the culture related to different upbringing.

lilikoi's avatar

@eLenaLicious Marshallese, Micronesian, and Samoan are NOT the same as Filipino…

eLenaLicious's avatar

0k this is getting annoying. Yesterday, my dad called him low-class >:/

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Keep in mind that if your Dad has met the guy, then racism aside, it could be his frank and more or less unbiased opinion of the person’s character. Except for the fact that he made the original “you can do better” comment, of course. That’s hard to get past.

IBERnineD's avatar

@eLenaLicious so did you ask him if it was because of his race? He still hasn’t said anything directly about his race.

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