Skin-whitening products, including bleach, are used often by Filipinos in the Philippines to make their skins lighter. Skin whitening clinics and businesses are popular in the Philippines as well. The “beautiful” people such as actors and other celebrities endorse these skin-whitening procedures. Children are told by their parents to say away from the sun in order for them not to get “too dark.” Many Filipinos also regard anything “Made in the USA” or “imported” to be more special than anything “local” or made in the Philippines.
In the United States, many Filipino Americans make fun of “fresh-off-the-boats” (FOBs) or those who speak English with Filipino accents. Many Filipino Americans also try to dilute their “Filipino-ness” by saying that they are mixed with some other races. Even worse, some Filipino Americans may even deny that they are Filipino. Also, many Filipino Americans regard Filipinos in the Philippines, and pretty much everything about the Philippines, to be of “lower class” and those of the “third world.”
The historical and contemporary reasons for why Filipinos and Filipino Americans display these attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors – often referred to as colonial mentality – are explored in the newly-released book Filipino-/American Postcolonial Psychology: Oppression, Colonial Mentality, and Decolonization by author Dr. E. J. R. David. This peer-reviewed publication integrates knowledge from multiple scholarly and scientific disciplines to identify the past and current catalysts for such self-denigrating attitudes and behaviors that are common among Filipinos and Filipino Americans. Combining cutting-edge scientific methodology with sound theoretical bases, Dr. David demonstrates how such attitudes and beliefs may exist among many Filipino -/ Americans without even them acknowledging or knowing it. Furthermore, Dr. David also explores in detail how such attitudes and behaviors may negatively affect various aspects of Filipino -/ American psychology such as kapwa, ethnic identity, and mental health. According to Dr. David, his book “may serve as a tool for remembering the past and as a tool for awakening to address the present.”
Some community leaders and prominent ethnic minority psychologists have expressed their praises for the book, including the following:
“Simply put, Dr. David’s work is an act of psychological liberation. Through his command of the research, his skillful integration of both history and psychology, and his self-evident passion, he challenges Filipinos and Filipino Americans to look in the mirror and examine the psychological impact of Spanish and American colonialism. More importantly, his work is also an act of hope…hope that rests with the invitation to decolonize ourselves and our communities and to see ourselves and our histories with both clarity and pride. Frankly, it’s an invitation we should all be accepting.”
Alvin N. Alvarez, Ph.D., Professor of Counseling, San Francisco State University Co-Editor of Asian American Psychology: Current Perspectives Past President of the Asian American Psychological Association
“Dr. David’s work is passionate to the extent that it arouses many collective emotions – anger at the centuries of historical oppression of Filipinos, sorrow for the lives lost to suicides and depression, dismay at the insidious and long-lasting nature of the legacy of colonialism, and the urgency to right the course for the community’s psyche…When a scholar engages in a work that has the potential to really mean something to the community, as Dr. David has done and continues to do, there is an urgency to disseminate the work as widely and effectively as possible. And this book fully realizes that potential to make a difference in the Filipino-/American community. The book also teaches us – Filipino or non-Filipino –the sheer importance of understanding the historical context for our contemporary psychological experiences.”
Sumie Okazaki, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Applied Psychology, New York University Co-Editor of Asian American Psychology: The Science of Lives in Context and Asian American Mental Health: Assessment Theories and Methods
“Filipino-/American Postcolonial Psychology: Oppression, Colonial Mentality, and Decolonization…is an essential and innovative contribution to the literature…to have a comprehensive text concentrating on the impact of colonial mentality on Filipinos and Filipino Americans is invaluable. Dr. David should really be commended for being one of the most prominent and leading researchers in ethnic minority mental health and the primary psychological scholar on colonial mentality.”
Kevin L. Nadal, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology, City University of New York Author of Filipino American Psychology: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice
If you, or someone you know, had ever wondered why many Filipinos desire to have lighter skin, make fun of FOBs, deny that they are Filipino, feel embarrassed of the Filipino ethnicity and culture, or feel inferior for being Filipino, this book will shed some light to such questions. Filipino-/American Postcolonial Psychology: Oppression, Colonial Mentality, and Decolonization is available through authorhouse, amazon, barnesandnoble, borders, as well as through local bookstores. For more information about these topics and issues that are very common in the Filipino-/American community, please visit www.colonialmentality.com or you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author: E. J. R. David, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He has been an invited workshop facilitator, speaker, and presenter on colonial mentality and other Ethnic Minority, Asian American, and Filipino American psychological issues, and has published in scientific journals on such topics. His work on colonial mentality led to him being awarded the Distinguished Student Research Award by the American Psychological Association Division 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues) for “his significant contribution in psychological research related to ethnic minority populations.”