The ways in which whiteness has forever damaged the lives of my loved ones and myself is a level of trauma that will be will myself and comrades for the rest of our lives. I’m angry, because within a handful of seconds, a day that was productive, energetic, and full of light went down the drain. I’m so angry, a level of frustration I haven’t felt for months, that I refuse to even write about it tonight, undeserving of anymore of my life. Instead of reliving the trauma of the moment, I’m going to tell you what I told them. I’m going to tell you how whiteness hurts us all.
I am the product of the white savior complex. My mother came from a poor, farm family in the Philippines. She was robbed of her parents at a very early age, 12 and 18, and worked her ass off to get the degree she had today. My mother is a brilliant, kind woman who has been taken advantage of from the first breath she’s taken. The INC, Iglesia Ni Cristo, was a Marcos based church. Gaudy, towering chapels would be strategically planted in the most impoverished areas of the Philippines, brainwashing its member to give almost, if not all, of their money and livelihood “for the good of the church.” This church was also my mother’s sanctuary, where should could mourn with hope. My mother throughout her life in the Philippines has looked the devil in the eye, and as continued with a level of resilience I can’t even begin to imagine.
She never was able to work in her field. Degree in third world countries are never valued in the global market, and in a time where Labor Export Policy was thriving and hope for a better life was overseas, she left to Hong Kong to be a domestic worker. This is where my biological father, a cisgender, heterosexual middle class man, comes into the picture. My father was in the Navy and met my mother in Hong Kong. With him, he carried his orientalist views and “fell in love” with my mother. My mother, who documentation status in Hong Kong is unknown, seized the opportunity for a better life and married my father soon after in Hong Kong.
My father comes from a predominantly Republican family. They rejected my mother as my father’s wife and looked down on her brown skin. When I was born, they rejected anything Filipinx about me and looked at me as an abomination. They saw my father has a shame to the family, “not good enough for a white woman.” In contrast, my father, considers himself very “progressive”, in line with liberal politics and the mess that is the Democratic Party. He can’t see past his own ego and emotions to even start to understand the role whiteness has on people of color, much understand me.
The level of fetishization and idealization practiced by my father is exactly why whiteness is so toxic. My father doesn’t understand why my mother misses home and our family, encouraging a life forever in America. When my mother offered me the chance to go back to Philippines and study there for high school, I remember seeing my father swell up into a ball of anger and lash out on her for even suggesting it. In my own discussions with him about how violent and traumatic his liberal politics were to me, he continued to yell as I cried and let myself go numb until he finished speaking.
My father will never understand or fully know how to love and support me as a brown child, something I’ve come to accept in these past few months. Family is a concept alien to me, when the majority of them are thousands of miles away. Even within my relationship with my mother, it’s painstaking. Her alignment with whiteness is deteriorating and I see it in her own physical and mental health. I see it in the way she looks at me, her mixed raced child, and the way she touches my skin. I hear it in her voice, every time she says “I’m going to get too dark” whenever she stays in the sun too long. I feel it as I write about my mother now, tears swelling up and blurring my vision.
I hope one day that I will see our liberation. I hope that one day my mother is freed. I hope that one day we all relived from the weight of whiteness that is on each and every shoulder of brown and black people.