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In Napa, California, an anti-Filipino attack backfires

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SAN FRANCISCO – The letter, arrogant, vile, hateful, was clearly meant to provoke.

It called the growing Filipino community in the city of American Canyon, in Napa County, “filthy.”

In a rambling, vicious rant, it accused them of having women with “CAUCASION” (sic) husbands   “to assist in ensuring their half-breed children have ‘straight noses’ in order to be accepted in non-Filipino society.”

It’s not clear who sent it. It also was not clear if the letter writer was white or non-white, or if that person (or persons) even lived in American Canyon or in Napa County.

But whoever sent it clearly knew it wouldn’t be popular. The letter was signed “Concerned American Canyon Neighbors.” That made sense in a way — he/she/they probably knew the reaction would be swift and strong.

In fact, it was.

The city council of American Canyon quickly considered a resolution condemning the attack and embracing a policy of tolerance. And that wasn’t enough for many of the city’s residents and their leaders.

Last week, despite the cold spell that recently hit the Bay Area, about 40 people marched from city hall to a shopping center. They held signs that said, “We (heart) everyone in AmCam.”

One of the marchers was the city’s mayor, Leon Garcia whose wife, Eva, is Filipino-American. A newly-elected city councilmember, Kenneth Leary, was also there. “We don’t tolerate racism in any form,” he told the Napa Valley Register.

And it wasn’t just talk. American Canyon has a fairly Filipino-friendly city government. One can browse the city government Web site in Tagalog. City leaders are known to take part in Filipino events.

It’s a wonderful community. My wife and I once considered moving there years ago. We once joined a city-sponsored fun run.

Part of the reason we liked American Canyon was because it’s in Napa County, famous for its vineyards and wineries and other attractions. Another reason was its huge Filipino community. In fact, we have many friends who live there. One of them is my kumpare Persi Trance who saw the solidarity march as an affirmation of his belief in American Canyon.

“Natuwa ako doon,” he told me. “That made me happy. The mayor and the city councilmembers did something immediately. Then some of the businesses supported the action by providing the sings.”

“I’m not worried,” he continued. “The Filipino community is well-established here. And it’s really diverse. Do I think there could be Tea Party type racist violence here? I don’t think so.”

But he’s lived in the U.S. long enough to know that racism still exists, that it would be naïve to think that racial tensions in American are a thing of the past.

“Sa akin, bahagi iyan ng buhay sa America. That’s part of living in America that there are those who are ignorant and have racist tendencies.”

But he also picked up on the point I raised: the letter writer/writers launched an anonymous attack – because he/she/they knew the backlash would be immediate and decisive.

“Kung alam nilang tama ang ginagawa nila, hindi sila magtatago,” Persi told me. “If they knew what they did is okay, they wouldn’t find the need to hide.”

I found out about the letter on “Positively Filipino,” the new online magazine based in the Bay Area. That’s worth noting, in a way.

The magazine’s name comes from the infamous sign at a hotel in Stockton in the 1940s. It said: “Positively No Filipinos Allowed.”

The sign was clearly displayed in a public place, clearly aimed at intimidating, humiliating Filipinos. Whoever put up the sign knew it was okay to convey its message of hate, a message made even more abhorrent with the word “positively.”

No need to hide. No need to use false names.

That positively was not the case this month in Napa County, in a city called American Canyon.

On Twitter @BoyingPimentel. Visit (and like) the Kuwento page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/boyingpimentel


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Tags: Features , Filipino Americans , Global Nation , Racism

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KZYUJY2URJQY7UHGYY2MVGREKU kalium

    stop this nonsense! lets love our country the phils. if we love our country, we will also love our countrymen. nobodys perfect, every country, family, group,etc has defect, lets understand each other again like we used to be. someday we will rise again. im a patriotic filipino

    • kanoy

       YOUR VOTES SCREAM ”I DON’T GIVE A FLOCK” RE ELECT THE DICTATOR MARCOS THEN ELECT IMELDA AND THE REST OF THAT FAMILY ELECT GMA PAMPANGA ELECT THE DROP OUT PACQUIAO ALMOST RE ELECT ERAP PRESIDENT AND NO DOUBT NEXT MAYOR OF MANILLA,,,THE VOTERS ARE TO BLAME FOR THE IDIOTS IN POWER

    • vinzerx

      LOL

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Roy-Rosales/100000230754515 Roy Rosales

    filipinos living in u.s.a,should realized that all ,i mean all u.s.citizens living there are all immigrants,except the american indians whether apache,sioux,navajo or other tribes are the true americans.some immigrant like the irish just so happen to be there first from the rest because of the potato famine.they dominate the economy.we are quite late in coming.most filipinos which immigrated there are not the cultured class.they openly critisizes the philippines way of life.wala ng magaling kung hindi america.shame on them.whereas,majority of other immigrants from other countries show their love to their country of origin.they are nationalistic

  • chuggy

    “Tea Party type racist violence”???

    As if this is a main feature of the Tea Party? There are many of us Pinoys who support the Tea Party, thank you very much, you bigot Liberal

    • vinzerx

      Hey, it’s Liberal-tagging once again. Republicans are so amusing.

    • kanoy

       SO WHAT IF YOU SUPPORT THE TEA PARTY? YOU ALSO SUPPORT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN CALIFORNIA

      LOS ANGELES — The retired archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, and other high-ranking clergymen in the archdiocese worked quietly to keep evidence of child molesting away from law enforcement officials and shield abusive priests from criminal prosecution more than a decade before the scandal became public, according to confidential church records
       In 1986, Cardinal Mahony wrote to a New Mexico treatment center where one abusive priest, Msgr. Peter Garcia, had been sent.
      “I believe that if Monsignor Garcia were to reappear here within the archdiocese we might very well have some type of legal action filed in both the criminal and civil sectors,” Cardinal Mahony wrote.
      Monsignor Garcia admitted to abusing more than a dozen young boys, most of them from families of illegal immigrants, since he was ordained in 1966, and in at least one case he threatened to have a boy he had molested deported if he talked about it, according to documents filed in court.

      He was never criminally prosecuted, and has since died.

      I STILL THINK A FILIPINO (DRAMA-DRAMA) WROTE THAT LETTER TO SNAG TAGO NANG TAGO COMPETITION FILIPINO

      • chuggy

        I’m not a Catholic, but I’m also not sure how your comment is in any way relevant to this topic…

      • kanoy

         OF COURSE YOU DON’T THAT’S HOW BUSH FOOLED YOU…IN ORDER FOR YOU TO SEE,,,,FIRST YOU WOULD HAVE TO PULL THE WOOL FROM OVER YOUR EYES TO SEE THE DECEIT

    • lucidlynx

      Do you even know the meaning of bigot? You’re just like your Tea Partyists, ignorant, misinformed and intolerant. I’d say the person who wrote that letter supports the Tea Party Movement. A movement that should move on. Obama is President and they couldn’t even get pass the Republican nomination.

      • chuggy

        “I’d say the person who wrote that letter supports the Tea Party Movement.”

        Your conclusion is based on zero evidence, zero substance, just like the statement of the above Persi Trance. Ha, and you call yourself lucid? Another delusional Liberal. Looks like you’re the ignorant one here. 

  • joerizal

    Yung gumawa ng sulat na yon, hintayin nilang dumami ang mga itim sa AmCan at baka kainin nila lahat ng sinulat nila.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000405903680 Garo Ungaro

    Its normal living in a foreign land, sometimes they miss took 
    you for something else…Napa Valley wine country? You never know?
    probably this person has a negative experience with pinoys…in the area
    so…it happens anywhere?…even in school campuses worst…educated
    students but remain ignorant about race…Sometimes  it comes out
    in a very unexpected places…wrong place/wrong time it happens…
    just be aware?…sometimes, people determine the color of the race
    as excuse to vent their environmental upbringings…Thats the price
    We to pay living in a foreign land….?

  • Greg

    ” Tea Party type racist violence”?  Seriously?  Your “kumpare” needs to get his facts straight, Mr. Pimentel.  Maybe he could cite an example of the “racist violence” he is referring to?  How odd that an article about tolerance and compassion towards all races and nationalities would include such an ignorant, uninformed, and stereotypical remark, and that the writer would elect to include that remark instead of editing it out as inappropriate to the discussion.  Nothing like both individuals showing their true colours; they are just as ignorant as the person(s) who sent the  original letter.  Pathetic.

  • Iggy Ramirez

    I hate Americans but sometimes I’m just so surprised at how great and how friendly Americans are. In fact, one of my friends who got to tour the world, said that the most pleasant people he has encountered so far are the Americans. The worst he said, are the British people. I had a British friend once, partly because nobody wanted to be friends with him, and I must say he is the worst friend I’ve ever had. He would talk about other nationalities as if they are the most insignificant people in the world for hours and hours. He was so annoying, but he was still my friend.

    • kanoy

       NO MATTER WHAT OUR NATIONALITY IS….A-HOLE’S EXIST AND WE OURSELVES HAVE BEEN A-HOLE’S MANY TIMES IN OUR LIVES…SOME OF US ARE PART TIME A-HOLE’S…SOME OF US MAKE A LIVING AT IT…WE CALL THEM…..POLITICIANS
      YOU WILL FIND THEM IN EVERY COUNTRY…CULTURE…RACE



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