Barack Obama and History: Black Soldier Joins Our Nationalist Revolutionaries During Philippine-American War
Anti-Obama email messages have recently made its rounds across the Filipino-American netizen community. But little do many know the historical connection of Filipinos and Black-Americans, proving these broadsides give injustice to a bond that is almost legendary.
It is impeccable the role of African-Americans in the Filipino-American war of 1899, which is almost non-existent in history books. Many scholars, however, have written dissertations about the dilemma of Black-Americans during this era. One lesser known "hero" posed as an epitome of this quandary faced especially by soldiers who fought for a mother nation where they experienced harrowing discrimination and dealt with a debilitating identity crisis.
Meet David Fagen.
Corporal David Fagen is a man whose name is rarely known today. But slightly less than 100 years ago, this young, Black soldier was the subject of sensational headlines in American newspapers.
Serving with American forces during the Philippines insurrection of 1899-1901, Fagen defected from the U.S. Army, accepted a commission from Filipino insurgents, and embarked on a career as a guerilla who, as one author put it, “for two years raised havoc with the American forces.”
More on Corporal Fagen's story here.
I was going through Yahoo! Answers when I stumbled upon a question from a Black-American, who was to travel to the Philippines for business, asking about discrimination in the country.
Many, if not all, of the replies purported the absence of racism in the Filipino culture, mainly indicative of the hospitality delivered to foreigners. Although evident, it is not entirely accurate in some cases. A blog entry from Bert Drona says:
We so-called educated Filipinos in the USA tend to unconsciously think we are white and adopt a racist (i.e. superior, as Humpty Dumpty would say ---my definition of the term "racist") attitude and behavior towards Blacks. So today, we Filipinos exemplify such by sending each other anti-Barack Obama emails and video attachments.
We have become racist towards and thus unquestioningly prejudiced against all or most Blacks, thanks to our ignorance (of Black History) which is bolstered by our blind acceptance of Hollywood stereotyping; this latter due to our intellectual shallowness (despite our intelligence/competence in our professions). We display our ignorance by pointing out the statistics of crime committed by Blacks without seriously thinking deep down why they happen.
The Philippines' national hero, Jose Rizal, once said that (loosely translated) "a person who is ignorant of his past, is negligent of his future".
Next: Hillary Clinton and the Philippines (when I gather substantial information)