I wrote this article for my writing class in December 2007: there had been a lot of commotion after the season four premiere of Desperate Housewives. Filipinos around the world were offended by the discriminating remark made by one of the characters.
As the season four premiere of the American ABC television series “Desperate Housewives” aired on September 30th 2007, millions of fans across the U.S.A. were excited to finally discover what happened to their favorite heroines: Susan played by Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria as Gabrielle, Marcia Cross’ Bree, Felicity Huffman is Lynette and last but not least, actress Nicolette Sheridan as Edie. However, during the course of this first episode entitled “Now You Know,” a particular comment shocked and disappointed many people, namely Filipinos and Filipino Americans. Teri Hatcher’s character, Susan Meyer Delfino, sits with her new gynecologist. She questions the credibility of her doctor by saying, “Before we go any further, can I check those diplomas, because I would just like to make sure that they’re not from some med school in the Philippines.”
Following this incident, many Filipinos, not only in the USA but across the globe, expressed their displeasure at this derogatory and unfounded remark made against Philippine medical schools. In recent weeks, a petition has been circulating on the internet. Furthermore, the Philippines Ambassador to the U.S.A., Willy Gaa and the Philippines Consul Generals in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles individually wrote complaints to the President of ABC Television Network, Mr. Mark Pedowitz.
Although this line of dialogue might have seemed like a joke to certain people -- even the majority, others believe that it was unnecessary to zero-in on a particular country, in this case, the Philippines. This was also a very hurtful surprise acknowledging the fact that throughout the last decades, there has been an impressive rise of Filipinos in the medical field. These are doctors, nurses and medical technologists who graduated in the Philippines. This discriminating message, aired on national -- and soon international -- television, can only harm the reputation of these medical professionals, who have successfully fulfilled the requirements to practice in another country, such as the U.S.A.
After announcing their resentment towards the show and the television network’s lack of sensitivity, Filipinos worldwide requested a public apology to clear their name and reliability. There has already been a precedent of public excuses in the past. For instance, in July 2006, actor Mel Gibson made anti-Semitics comments when he was arrested by a Jewish officer for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) in California. Mel Gibson was promptly asked by the Jewish community to apologize for his behavior. Filipinos expect the same respect.
In conclusion, whether Filipinos will have their apology or not, it is important to know that prejudicial statements simply cause harm and they should never, in any circumstance, be tolerated.