Filipino Americans demand for apology from ABC and Desperate Housewives
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We are writing to express concern and hurt about a racially-discriminatory comment made in an episode of Desperate Housewives on 9/30/07. In a scene in which Susan was told by her gynecologist that she might be hitting menopause, she 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."
As members and allies of the Filipino American community, we are writing to inform you that this type of derogatory remark was discriminatory and hurtful, and such a comment was not necessary to maintain any humor in the show. Additionally, a statement that devalues Filipinos in healthcare is extremely unfounded, considering the overwhelming presence of Filipinos and Filipino Americans in the medical field. Filipinos are the second largest immigrant population in the United States, with many entering the U.S. (and successfully 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 extremely disrespectful and plain and simply ignorant. Many of the hospitals in major metropolitan areas of the U.S. (and the world) would not be able to operate without its Filipino and Filipino American staff members.
As Filipino Americans and allies, we band together to ensure that this type of hateful message should not be 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.
We demand a public apology to the Filipino American community, and we demand the episode be edited to remove the ignorant and racist remark. We will not allow hateful messages against our community (or any other oppressed community) to continue.