Real Life Story
It’s Time To End The Stereotype of Gold-Digging Filipinos
The stereotype is tired and untrue. Photo: Wesley Balten, Unsplash
People share why the gold-digger stereotype is problematic and untrue.
Whenever a Filipino is seen dating a foreigner, many are quick to assume one thing: they’re in it for the money or a stronger passport.
The stereotype of the gold-digging Filipino dating an oblivious foreigner has been embedded in Filipino culture, film and TV, and even “harmless” jokes with friends and family. But for many Filipinos in relationships with foreigners, the stereotype is tired and simply untrue.
Like any other relationships, theirs are based on mutual attraction, shared interests, intellectual stimulation, and interpersonal compatibility.
“At the start of my relationship, I was wary about what strangers thought about seeing me with a white man, even though the stereotype didn’t apply to me at all,” said Andrea, a Filipino woman who is now married to an English guy. Andrea preferred to only go by her first name to protect her privacy.
One issue with the stereotype is that it implies an imbalance: that only the Filipinos have something to gain from the relationship, while their partners get the short end of the stick. For example, assuming a Filipino is dating a foreigner simply to increase the power of their passport reduces the relationship into something transactional, painting the foreigner as a “savior” and the Filipino as someone grateful to be saved.
Both Andrea and Maria added that the stereotype also shows how judgmental some Filipinos can sometimes be towards other Filipinos.
It assumes, for example, that the Filipinos in the relationships are incapable of taking care of and providing for themselves. This could be demeaning for Filipinos in general, whether or not they’re in relationships with foreigners.
People like Andrea, Maria, and other Filipinos in relationships with foreigners, were doing fine on their own before their relationships, and would have continued being fine on their own even without them. Andrea works in education and tech, for example, and Maria works in content creation. It just so happened that they did get into a relationship, and their partner was not Filipino.
“I am someone who built my own life and my own journey. Whatever I achieved, it’s because of myself. Maybe the circumstances [of my relationship] would lead to getting, let’s say, a visa, in my case, but I think it’s really unfair to put Filipinos, or Filipinas especially, in this box of [needing] to latch onto someone else in order to be someone in the world or be successful,” said Maria.
For Maria, the stereotype of Filipinos dating foreigners for things like money or a stronger passport nulls all the good things in their relationships. She and her partner, for example, connected through their love of adventures and intellectually-stimulating conversations even if they came from two different cultures. The fact that they can connect so strongly despite being so different, she said, is often undermined in favor of the simple fact that they’re of different nationalities. Maria said that she wishes people would focus on their connection instead of their differences.
Unfortunately, the stereotype is perpetuated by many Filipinos themselves. Sometimes, even Filipinos in relationships with foreigners.
“For Filipinos who are in relationships with foreigners, I think it’s easy to be the first one to make the joke yourself. I’ve definitely been guilty of that. It’s an easy hit among friends but it does perpetuate the stereotype,” said Andrea.
“So for myself and other Filipinos in interracial relationships, I guess don’t demean your relationship that way even if it is in jest.”
Maria agreed that Filipinos who perpetuate the stereotype are being unfair to themselves.
Instead, she reminds herself and others that there’s more to these relationships than what meets the eye.
“You can’t judge and you can’t say that this is what that relationship is just based on [one thing], because there is a whole story behind it,” said Maria, adding that the stereotype of the gold-digging Filipino dating a foreigner focuses on just the circumstantial ends of those relationships, like getting a spouse’s visa, without realizing everything else that had to happen and would have happened even if those ends were different.
She suggests looking at relationships and remembering that they’re likely defined by more than just one thing.
“I think we’d all be much happier that way.”
Source: Romano Santos, VICE
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