Living in a country other than where you are from makes you a foreigner. You are different. Living in the Philippines, it is obvious that you are a foreigner in most cases. I mean, if you are white or black, all people have to do is look at you and they know you are not from here. After you’ve been here for a while, it’s not even hard to pick out other Asians and know that they are foreigners. For example, it’s easy for me to look at somebody and know that they are Korean or Japanese. Some other countries are harder to instantly know to be foreigners – nearby places like Indonesia or Malaysia for example – the people from there can blend in more easily. Most readers of this site, though, are Westerners – British, Americans, etc. When it comes to us, if we live in the Philippines there is no masking the fact that we are in a foreign land.
One thing that I’ve known for a long time, but my other Caucasian friends tell me all the time is that no matter what country they are from, since they are white they are considered Americans here. And, as I said, this is something that I’ve been aware of for some time, so it’s not a surprise to me. Some of my friends from other countries, though, get quite upset when they are pegged as Americans, and rightly so, since they are not. When it comes to people of other races, black people for example, I am not sure if they are so quickly categorized as American or if they would be called African, or what. It is something that I wonder about.
The real question on my mind, which I am leading up to, though, is this…. since any of us Westerners are so easily known to be foreigners when seen by people here, are we also classified by the actions of our respective Governments? In other words, if a person (Filipino) here doesn’t like some action of the US Government, does he apply that feeling toward Americans that he sees on the street? Or, are we considered as individuals by the average person here? Certainly, the US Government does things that I don’t always approve of or even like, so why should people’s feelings about me be influenced by the actions of my government? Can you image the feelings of a person from Denmark or the UK when he is considered as an American, and treated in a way based on the actions of the US Government? That certainly must be distressing to that person, I would imagine!
But, even for an American, I feel that we should not be defined by what our Government does, since opinion is quite diverse in our Country, and we may or may not agree with the action in question.
Honestly, the average Filipino is fairly pro-American, so this isn’t a big concern. A few militant type people (those who are always demonstrating and such) are anti-American, but that is a small minority.
For those of you who are reading this who are not American, yet considered to be American just based on your race, how do you feel about this?