As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, let us be thankful for the wonderful opportunities and rewards that this country has bestowed upon our families, our communities and the homes we left behind in the Philippines.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, let us call to mind the noble individuals, organizations and communities of people that this great country has produced – people who fought for equality and justice; people who fought against ignorance, bigotry and hate; people who fought using all the means at their disposal, whether political, economic or otherwise.
As immigrants to this great land, it is incumbent upon us to contribute to the ideals of America because there is still more work to be done – more hearts to convert, more minds to enlighten.
Unfortunately, the powers behind ABC & Disney are among them.
Why? Because when Terri Hatcher's character in ABC's "Desperate Housewives" expressed distrust of physicians who received their diplomas from "some med school in the Philippines," the producers exposed their bigotry towards Philippine-educated professionals by subliminally and unfairly suggesting to its millions of viewers that these professionals' training and background are suspect.
This callous remark which harnessed the power of suggestion has unleashed a pernicious and dangerous poison. Just ask any advertising executive who knows that product placements in popular shows carry more power than real commercials!
The producers of the show did this notwithstanding the over 22,000 Filipino-American physicians who have dedicated their lives to serve not only those in dire medical need, especially those in the remote and underserved areas of the country, but also Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton! The producers of the show did this notwithstanding the millions of us who graduated from Philippine schools!
After the episode was shown, ABC was besieged with angry phone calls, emails and letters from Filipino-American viewers and their friends throughout the US. In response, ABC predictably issued a short, meaningless and very insincere apology . True, they promised to do more, but so far, it is just that – a promise.
The Disney Group is a powerful conglomerate which owns ABC along with many other powerful companies. Thus, while we urge everyone to not contribute as much as possible to the Group's revenues while they hem and haw about rectifying the wrong they inflicted upon our larger Filipino-American community, we realize that doing so may be difficult and impractical.
Thus, we believe that we should focus our boycott of the Disney Group instead on one specific target: the local Disney Stores in our local malls!
Boycotting your local Disney Store is relatively easy and painless. After all, there are many alternatives to the products they sell.
But we should not just refrain from buying from the Disney Stores.
We have to talk to the individual managers and employees of these stores, all of whom are deserving of courtesy and respect, and we have to tell them why we are exercising our democratic rights to boycott their goods.
We have to tell them that what the powerful people of Disney did was unfair, unjust and un-American!
We have to tell them that the Disney Group's apology and promises are insufficient – that they must do more to undo the damage.
And we have to tell them that until they do, we'll keep saying, "Thanks, but no thanks"!
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!
Primo A. Andres, MD, FACC, FSCAI
Chair, Filipino American Leadership Council (FALC)
P.S. If you approve of this message, please forward this to your families and friends, along with your and/or your organization's endorsement.
P.P.S. If your organization is interested in joining the Filipino American Leadership Council, please contact us at:
Filipino American Leadership Council
455 Hospital Lane
Terre Haute, IN 47802
Telephone: (812) 238 1521 | (800) 722 4378
Facsimile: (812) 232 6335