Monday, February 23, 2015
An Incident of Mistaken Identity and Ethnic Stereotyping
While I was browsing in the Web today, I saw an article that the Rancho Bernardo Tennis and Swim Club in San Diego has closed. I thought this was the same place as the Rancho Bernardo Inn Resort also in San Diego that my wife and I attended (Tennis Vacation package) in 1982. I guess I made a mistake.
Anyway today, the above article reminded me of an incident that happened to us in 1982 when Macrine and I attended a 3-DAY of Tennis Class and Vacation Package at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, which at that time was a five star resort. The following article (excerpt in Chapter 10 from my autobiography, written in 2009) is an example of an ethnic stereotyping based on my skin and appearance as an Asian man and a Filipino. The article is as follows:
"Life in Pinole, California would not be complete, If I do not write about our tennis activities as related to our 25th Wedding Anniversary in 1982. As part of our community activities, Macrine and I played tennis almost everyday after work. On weekends. I also played double with the men's team at Contra Costa College. So, as one of my silver wedding anniversary gift to Macrine, we decided to attend a 3-day tennis academy package at Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego. The five star resort is home of one of the best tennis academy in California at that time. For the three days, we played tennis 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. In between tennis we had gourmet meals and entertainment at night. The cost of the tennis package was very expensive, comparable to the cost of playing golf and staying at Bellarocca Resort here in Marinduque today.
The cost of the trip was not my concern, since it was my Silver Wedding Anniversary gift to both Macrine and myself. An incident at the resort is why I am mentioning this trip. As soon as we check in, Macrine stayed at the front office to smoke, while I carried our luggage to our room. On my way to our room, an elderly white couple approached me and requested that I also helped them with their luggage as soon as I finished what I was doing. I gave them a surprise stare and blurted out, "I am just checking in myself,and I do not worked here". They apologized profusely.
Later on, I realized why I had been mistaken for a porter. About 90% of the resort porters, janitors and maintenance workers were either Filipinos or Mexicans. This incident is an example of how people judged you with the color of your skin and not what you had accomplished or what is in your head".
The above tennis vacation package, a post 25th wedding anniversary gift to my wife and myself, we will never forget, because it reminds us of our younger days. Moreover, the above incident also reminds us that most people first impression of you is your external appearance and not what is inside your heart and head.
If you are a Filipino-American, have you experience a similar incident in your life?