Monday, November 16, 2009

What is the color of blood?

After Manny Pacquiao won the WBO Welterweight Championship last weekend, Facebook was bursting at the seams with status updates from Filipinos all across the globe expressing rabid nationalistic sentiment. I wondered why I felt that my pride in Pacquiao's triumph had little to do with my being Filipino. I do not criticize others for, nor question, their pride. My curiosity begins and ends with my own.

I cannot trace my ancestry very far back, but I'm certain there's a bit of Chinese and Spanish in my bloodline, if only to give reason to my small, slanted eyes, my skin color and my last name. History has enabled Catholicism to sink its roots in our culture for over three hundred years and my mother encouraged religiosity. However, she could not impose it on such an inquisitive mind as mine. Although I was born Filipino and raised on its values, my beliefs take on a somewhat progressive slant. But I go by no name other than Filipino.

I do love being Filipino and have many reasons to feel proud. But I cannot claim nationalism in that I do not believe Filipinos are superior to any race, that it is utterly faultless on its own, nor that it is of any consequence on the grand scheme of things.

Heritage, I believe, is valuable in showing us part of the journey that we have covered. Maybe even showing us in which direction to proceed from where we've established our roots-- whether by birth, by choice, or by circumstance. Heritage does not define us so completely. My sentiments, all that I think matter most, lie in the absence of distinction, at least in race.

As a friend so succinctly and definitively put, albeit in the trivialized form of a tweet: "all cats are black in the dark".

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