ABC Undermines Pilipinos in Health Care

We recently received an e-mail petition about a curious tension that has arisen between Pilipinos and the television network, ABC.

To: ABC

To the producers of “Desperate Housewives” and ABC:

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.’

It’s hard to know exactly how “hateful” the uttered statement was without any televisual context. Looking at the language used in the petition letter–among them, “oppression” and “disrespectful,”–it seems like Teri Hatcher’s tone might have been a bit too vile.

In text, the remark does not seem racially discriminatory, but rather, economically discriminatory. It is saying, “Poor countries like the Philippines can’t have good medical schools,” much more than it is saying, “Filipinos aren’t good at medicine.”

Still, not very flattering. However, it is laughable that the writers would choose the Philippines as the third world country to convey the humor of that remark, since countless health care technicians in this country–especially nurses–are from the Philippines. But then again, Filipino nurses have had some bad press in the past, including a scandal about nursing students cheating on the license exams.

What do you think: are we being too sensitive? Should Filipinos boycott ABC?

If you would like to read the rest of the letter and sign the petition, go here.

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