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Jul 20th
Home Columns A Cup O' Kapeng Barako "FLIP" and "Pinoy": Are These Words Racial Slurs for Filipinos? A Conversation on Cyberspace ...
"FLIP" and "Pinoy": Are These Words Racial Slurs for Filipinos? A Conversation on Cyberspace ... PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - A Cup O' Kapeng Barako
Friday, 05 April 2013 18:25


Columnist and Editor Clash Even on the Use of “Pilipino”


By Jesse Jose

A Cup O' Kapeng Barako


To me, those words "FLIP" and "Pinoy" are not racial slurs at all.  The word, "FLIP" is the shortened word for Filipino, and the Tagalog word, "Pinoy" is also the shortened word for “Pilipino.”  


Just like my first name is Jesse, and when shortened, becomes Jess.  Or, if my full name, Jesse Jose, is shortened, it becomes my aka, JJ.     


But anyhoo, this conversation begun when Bobby Reyes, who I fondly call, LOLO Bobby, the editor/publisher of my stories on this online publication, wrote that "in this age where the use the use of politically-correct terms and phrases are in vogue, Americans of Filipino descent and Filipinos should not be using 'Pinoy' or 'Pinay' or worse, 'Flip.'"


LOLO Bobby further contends that the word "Pinas" is also offensive.


"People from the Philippines," he said, "do not like to hear their country being called 'Pinas,' for obvious reasons.  Would an American like his country to be called 'Ica'?  That would not only sound right but it would also be grave political error to use it."


"In regard to the ill-advised use of 'Flip' as the name of the Filipino-American Library's e-newsletter," said LOLO Bobby, "an earlier article that I wrote generated quite a tempest.  Twenty-four out of 26 comments condemned the use of 'Flip,' as being derogatory to the Filipino and insulting more so from historical perspective."


LOLO Bobby also said that the Filipino-American Library is now "comatose because of its decision to adopt the term 'FLIP' in its e-magazine name.  Many community leaders voiced their opposition to the use of 'FLIP.'"




"LOLO Bobby, may I beg to differ?  I personally don't take offense being called 'FLIP' or 'Pinoy.'  I don't consider those words as 'derogatory' or demeaning at all.  What's in a name, anyway?  It's not a reflection of who you are and what you are as a person.


"Just like President Obama's name.  People call him, "'BHO,' a name shortened from his full name, Barack HUSSEIN Obama.  But that shortened name of his, does not in any way lessens him as a person.  He merely smiles and laughs at those people who call him 'BHO.'  Though I am one of those people who calls him 'BHO,' I laugh with him, on the lam. 


"I think Fil-Ams and Filipinos who resent the names, 'Flip' and 'Pinoy' have a deep sense of inferiority complex in them.  Especially, the loudest among us,  As that old cliche says, 'the loudest drums are the empty ones.'"


"To me, if you're sure of yourself of who you are and what you are, no derogatory names, imagined or not, will and can ever bother you."


LOLO Bobby's reply:


"Ka Jesse, you're entitled to your opinion.  But I tell my seven grandchildren (six of whom were born in the USA) to call themselves as 'Americans of Filipino descent' first and foremost.  I remind them also that 'FLIP' was originally coined by US soldiers in 1899 as 'Fu_king Little Island People' and that is the reason why it has been ruled as 'derogatory' and banned by the Los Angeles Police Department and the LA County Sheriff's Department."


LOLO Bobby added:


"Now, Ka Jesse, please ask your son, Chris, a celebrated news anchor of FOX News in Denver, Colorado, if he would like to be introduced on TV as 'FLIP Broadcaster.'  If your handsome and brilliant son would agree to be called 'FLIP News Anchor,' then let us move for US congressmen and senators to pass a bill identifying Filipino-Americans as 'FLIPS.'  If your son doesn't want to be called 'FLIP' or even as 'Pinoy' FOX News announcer, then I rest my case. (Smiley).


My reply to LOLO Bobby:


"That's true, my son, Chris, is truly a handsome and brilliant and popular broadcast journalist on FOX News Denver.  Thank you so much for your kind words that you've heaped on him.  He's my pride and joy. 


"And I dare say that Fil-Ams and Filipinos all over world should also take pride in my son as he truly brings in the phrase: 'Ang Pilipino angat sa mundo,' magically comes true.       


"During his daily news broadcast, he's introduced simply as 'Chris Jose,' that's it.  His ethnicity as 'Flip' or 'Pinoy' as you said, is never mentioned.  Or, will it ever be mentioned.  But the Filipino community there in Denver all know that he's of Filipino descent ... dahil pogi, like his dad.  That the Filipinos there in Denver have 'owned' and embraced him as one of them. 


"And, being Asian looking, other ethnicities in the whole state of Colorado, have also 'owned' him as one of their own ... like the Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and the Latinos, too, because of his last name, 'Jose.' 


"But then because he was born and grew up here in America, he doesn't consider himself as a Filipino, per se.  To him, he's an American, period.  No hyphen between the words, 'Filipino' and 'American.'  And I really think that's the way it should be.  His fondness for the sinigang dish though is one obvious trait of his Filipino-ness.


"In my case naman, when someone asks me what I am, I always make it a point to say: 'I am an American.'  Because to me, I am now an American.  I have sworn my allegiance to this country, I have fought for this country and laid my life on the line for this country, and I have lived in this country for over 50 years now, many years longer than I have lived in the Philippines.   


"Of course, my ethnicity is still Filipino.  That I can never change nor do I want it to change.  But I believe that if you've sworn your allegiance to America, you are an American, period.  There shouldn't be any hyphens in between.  


"I also believe that in America there should only be one language, one flag, one national anthem, and that if you've already sworn your allegiance to America, you're an American.  I thank God that I came to America, live now in America, and after so many years of working as an American, at my age, America is taking care of me, as an American.  LOLO Bobby, I say from the bottom of my heart: God Bless America!"


Comments from Ray Burdeos:


Then from the sidelines, Ray, who I consider as a real good friend and an accomplished author of four books, came into the picture and said:


"Jesse ... I like your response to LOLO Bobby about the use of the word, 'Flip,' that almost all the comments from the people he sent the announcement of the new E-magazine, called 'FLIP' that the word, 'FLIP' was a derogatory remark, and it's not.


"It's just a contracted word for 'Filipino.'


"I've heard of that word for the first time when I reported to my first duty station in Philadelphia in 1956.  When I checked in to the Yeoman in Personnel Office as the new TN (steward) reporting for duty, his comment was: 'Oh ... another Flip.'  At that time, I didn't know the meaning of the word that was addressed to me.


"Later on that day, I asked one of the old timer Filipino stewards at the Base what the word meant, and his response was: 'It's just a shortened word for Filipino.  These Americans (whites and blacks) can't pronounce the word, Filipino ... therefore, they just shortened it to 'FLIP.'


"BTW, my second book was titled, 'FLIPS in Philadelphia in the Fifties,' and in the Dedication Page, I wrote: 'Dedicated to all my Filipino-American friends (Pinoys or Flips) who served in the US Navy, US Coast Guard and the US Merchant Marine in the Philadelphia in the Fifties.'


"When I read all those comments from fellow Pinoys ... I don't recall a single one of them, who was offended or insulted by that word, 'Flip,' that I used in my book."


Ray Burdeos's next book: "The Pinoy Ingrates"


"Jesse, I'm on your side, buddy.  What I like about you is your honesty and say it as it is. ... straight, no curve ball.  My next book is about the Pinoy Ingrates, who got their immigrant visas under the immigration law of 1965 that favors the 'professionals' as opposed to 'origin.'  The law was sponsored by Democrats and opposed by Republicans.  And these Pinoy immigrants became Republicans and abrasive critics of Democrat candidates.


"It's simple, they are ingrates, that's what I called them. 


"We, Pinoys in the military, earned our citizenship the hard way as wartime veterans ... we earned it.  But to these Pinoy immigrants of 1965, it was offered to them, as long as they were professionals.  They did not earn their immigrant visas the hard way, but given to them free. 


"And I noticed that these Pinoys who were attacking Mr. Jonathan Lorenzo of FAL for using the name, 'The Flip' for his E-Matgazine, are mostly Republicans.  I support Mr. Lorenzo's choice: 'The Flip.'" 


Comments from David C. Orolfo:


Brother Dave, who is also Knight of the Knights of Columbus, like yours truly, and a former Grand Knight and District Deputy in a Diocese in Austin, Texas ... and a retired Chief Warrant from the US Coast Guard, also came in into this conversation to offer this brief comment:


"My relatives, who came to America in 1929 and as far as they are concern, the word 'Pinoy' was a derivative of the word 'Pilipino.'  And so did the Filipinos who jumped off the Galleon ships in the 1600's and 1800's ... they all called themselves 'Pinoys.'"


So, from all these comments, I, too, like LOLO Bobby, rest my case.  To me and to many others, who have been in America for so long and were warriors of America and laid their lives for America, the words, "FLIP" and "Pinoy" and "Pinas" are NOT derogatory at all.  They are just simply the shortened versions of the words, "Filipino," "Pilipino," and "Pilipinas." 


Thus, this ends this conversation on cyberspace with LOLO Bobby and me, that includes side comments from two comrades of mine ... na walang pikunan.  That's all.  JJ


Editor’s Notes: Here are articles written by Lolo Bobby about the terms “Flip” and/or “Pinoy” and/or “Pilipino”:


Ten Top Reasons Why Overseas Filipinos Don’t Want to Be Called “Flips”




The FAL Will Fall Over its Decision to Name its E-magazine “The Flip”




Will the World Now Call Pfilipfinos the Pfeopfle with Pfunny Names?




Why Many Filipinos Don’t Like to Be Called “Pinoy” (or “Flips” or “Pilipino”)




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