Pinoy Pride: Superiority Complex vs Racism

I rarely talk about current events these days. First because I’ve become out of the loop ever since cutting down my Facebook time. And second, I just don’t want to be bothered by the goings-on in the world for the time being.

Not that I don’t give an iota about what’s happening but it just came to a point where all the crap has gone extremely migraine-inducing that I just could not give it so much as 2 seconds out of my 24-hour day.

Believe me, I still care. Because no matter how hard I try to change myself, I’d still be that person who cares way too much about things that most people in my generation don’t. And it sucks when you’re surrounded by these people who make it seem like you’re at fault for having an opinion about certain stuff.

But, whatever.

So last weekend, I got extremely bored that I decided to open my Facebook app to see what’s up. I stumbled upon this post going viral — photos from the supposed pre-nuptial shoot of local celebrities Billy Crawford and Coleen Garcia.

They were beautiful photos and the couple looked stunning. But when I read the caption, I knew there was some sort of uproar about one or two of the photos because the poster edited his caption to say that he took down the photos in question.

The curiosity got the better of me so I decided to look for those deleted pictures and here they are.

The photoshoot took place in Ethiopia (a country in Africa) and the locals situated in the background of the celebrities caused so much debate from the local Filipino community (not sure if it has reached the international scene) that I was like, “what the fuck is going on here?”

Once again, I had to search for the cause of commotion since I obviously did not see anything wrong in the photos that they were all claiming to be racist.

First of all, I honest-to-goodness don’t think both Billy and Coleen are racist; neither are the photographer and crew behind the shoot. I seriously don’t think that their intention by putting these locals in the background and making them seem like “accessories” or “backdrops” are nothing less than wanting to be creative and simply showing off the beautiful people of Ethiopia.

But we all know how people perceive things differently. And I, for one, know very well the Filipino superiority culture. And while I don’t think that the celebrity couple are being racist and I do think that their main intention was to show off the culture and people of the country they were at, I can’t help but feel the superiority seeping off of their skins.

Let me tell you some things about the Filipinos and how we do things around this part of the world.

Bosses usually (more often than not, really) require their subordinates to call them boss, ma’am, and/or sir.

As in Boss Victoria; Ma’am Victoria; Sir Victor, lol). If you don’t, you come off as disrespectful because to these people, you’re supposed to act beneath them and not verbally referring to them as such means that you’re blatantly disregarding the fact that they’re above you.

Celebrities get a free pass at almost anything.

This is one of the things that irks me the most. In the USA, you hear about celebrities getting DUI tickets or going to jail for doing this or that and yet here in the PH, celebrities are treated like gods. So of course, they can’t help but get in their own heads and think that they really are above us “regular people”.

Of course, the same goes for politicians – they get a free pass, too.

I remember this one news about an enforcer who gave Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista a traffic ticket (not sure if it was for beating a red light or speeding) and when the enforcer got called in to the Mayor’s office the next day, he was fucking terrified. Because yes, we all know that giving violation tickets to politicians is a big NO-NO.

Well, the meeting turned out to be positive as the enforcer was rewarded. But still, the fact that he was terrified in the first place should tell you something.

Blue collar¹ and red collar² jobs are often looked down upon.

Usually, when a middle-class or upper-class person hires a carpenter to do some house work, the hired help is seen as exactly that – a hired person which means that s/he’s inferior beyond all means.

And there’s also the fact the house helps are sometimes seen as slaves (ha! Let’s not get into the fact that some rich people require their house helps and nannies to dress in a uniform to separate them from the rich family.)

Feeling superior in the Filipino culture is not at all surprising. When you’re someone who’s at a certain level in life, you can’t help but feel that there are people beneath you.

So going back to the issue at hand, while I don’t think that Billy and Coleen are racist, they did come off with this “look at me; look at us; we’re fabulous and we’re the shit and we’re better than y’all” aura.

The photos were distasteful, yes. But I don’t think the intention was to be racist.

And sure, I cannot fault them for the bad taste of the photos, as people who are able to reach a grave majority of Filipinos with the “celebrity voice” that they have, they could have done a better job. If all they wanted in the first place was to show off the culture and people of Ethiopia, they could have taken the photos to a different light and a whole new level.

But they didn’t. And that’s where their fault comes in. Most Filipinos of stature already have this superiority complex as it is and this couple could have steered the boat to voice out some very important issues but ugh, I guess we have to live in this fucked-up world for a few more years.

No, the image above does not feature Filipino people but features Ethiopian people.

¹construction workers, carpenters, factory workers, etc.
²farmers, fishermen (let’s include here market sellers and house helps)

Pinoy Pride is something that I intend to continue working on to highlight the Toxic Filipino Cultures that have been plaguing this country and its people for years. Of course, it’s not something that we should be proud of and the title of this series is very sarcastic.


  1. I have 2 thoughts re: the Billy+Coleen photoshoot. Thought #1, I personally think that the photo execution was a bit tasteless. For something aiming to promote tourism, the couple stands out too much against the locals in the background. However, and this is thought #2, I don’t hold it against Billy, Coleen and their entire team because their experience whilst doing the shoot was significantly different. They were warmly welcomed, the locals were uber friendly and saw no offense when they were shown some of the photos. Hence, I don’t think there is any need for the excessive backlash and people saying they’re “cancelledt” (man I hate these Twitter slangs)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same same same!!! Like I mentioned, I don’t think it was their intention and I especially don’t think they’re racist. The photos just seemed off because of the way the locals were put on the background.

      Jusko, gurl. Cancelledt, sh00keth, woke… these words are killing me. But I admit, they’re fun to use sometimes hahahaha


  2. I also think there was no intention to be racist in their shoot. We might be wrong, pero in this day & age where it is hip to be woke, there are people who just jump into the bandwagon without analyzing the situation in their own perspective. Especially if the remark came from an influential person – sambang-samba na yung mga tao sa idea.

    I refuse a definition of woke that means being offended by the smallest of things. Para din yung sa H&M na “coolest monkey in the jungle.” Can’t the kid be black and be affectionately called monkey by people who love him? Porket black sya offensive? (stop, off-topic na)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did not know about that H&M thing. Wow. What the hell is the fucking big deal??? Grabe, ang OA ng mga tao ah.

      I support the Black Lives Matter movement but there are times, I admit, that some people are overboard na. Tsaka yes, ang lakas lang maka bandwagonner nung iba.


  3. I agree. It’s kind of problematic that Coleen and Billy are wearing designer clothes and parading around next to everyday Ethiopians. I can understand what they were angling for, but the execution was done with poor taste.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh yes! I didn’t care much for their clothes pero if they were going to wear that and, according to their statement, the people wanted to be included in the photos, they should have just interacted with them instead of the poses that they did.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. exactly, ate. i was about to post something about this but nah, close-minded people will never listen or try to look at it from another angle anw. I really hope I did, tho. so thank you for writing this 🙂

    the aura is “maharlika kami” hahahaha but anw, art consumption is different for everyone. if you are just in it for aesthetic, clearly you’ll see nothing wrong because the photos are too beautiful to be at fault.I asked my Nigerian friend and his first thought was: “what did those black kids doing in the picture”? Lol He can’t say if it’s cultural appropriation since he said “It’s not like they are trying to be black or smthn” but yes, they could’ve done better. He also said “they’d better paid them for the shoot” hahahahahaha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gurl, please. You should still post something about it. You shouldn’t care about other people’s close-mindedness as that reflects on them, not on you.

      TRUDAT sa maharlika kami. The photos are beautiful indeed, some of them just left a bad taste in my mouth (after some major analysis).


  5. Alam mo, ayaw ko na rin makialam muna about life/politics, etc. Kaya lang minsan by some mystic chance, kahit na ang dami ng blocked and muted sa Twitter ko, may mga nakakalampas pa din – that post/issue included.

    Ako naman, wala akong nakikitang masama, kahit nung una kong nakita yung picture. Walang bahid ng superiority or racism. Wala, nag picture lang sila kasama yung mga tao – a few pictures from a whole lot. Kung iaanalyze ko yung pic ng todo, siguro, it could’ve been executed better. Mukha kasing pinaitim yung mga tao compared sa kanila. Especially yung pic na may bata. PERO it’s not enough for me to call them names (dami sa Twitter nun grabe) or accuse them of anything. I’ve also heard read their response about it. Parang okay, mali lang siguro yung pagka-edit pero overall very negligible for me yung issue. Hindi ako knowledgeable sa mga shoots (so educate me if I’m wrong) pero yung mga artista ba have a say? Or wala? Pose lang sila and wait for the final edits?

    I just hate the name calling and shaming. I find it unnecessary. There’s already so much hate in the world and I honestly think this is too small of an issue for all the attention it has gained. I’d be much happier if Twitterlandia (and FB of course) used this incident to highlight a bigger problem – like the superiority complex of most Filipinos or social classes or Ethiopian people, in general. Parang ewan ko lang. Writing this down worries me a little because I know not everyone who will read it will be open to my opinion. “NOOOOO THAT PHOTOSHOOT IS WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS BELIEVE MEEEEE” Ganung levels.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nung una, wala rin akong na-feel. Like, ano naman meron? And then, when I looked at it a different way and truly analyzed it, ayun nakita ko na — the superiority. I guess for us, since we’re so used to things like this, hindi na natin makita right off the bat. But it’s there. And nakakalungkot kasi when you really look at it, mapapansin mo talaga siya sa kultura natin. 😦

      Also, don’t worry about ’em haters. I gotchu, gurl. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just a random question and not trying to start anything pero kung ikaw si Colleen or Billy, papaalisin mo ba yung mga tao kung gusto nila sumama sa pic (assuming totoo yung statement nila ah)? Hindi ba mas offensive yun and mas nakakapakita ng superiority natin? Just asking kasi I want to understand and empathize with them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Nope, I wouldn’t ask them to leave. Pero I wouldn’t pose that way either. Like I would actually interact with them and have THAT photo be take (as in me interacting). Hindi yung parang aura na ginawa nila.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Composition-wise, if the aim was to spotlight Ethiopian people, landscape and culture, as well as spotlight Billy and Coleen, they could have done a better job at dressing the Ethiopians in the photo. I didn’t see a race problem. I saw a class problem. I looked at the photo and I really told myself this: “Clearly the only people who had stylists were Billy and Coleen.” And Metro pulled it off in other photos.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. They really could have done a better job, honestly. It’s just that I see this more of a superiority complex issue like “look at us, we’re better than these people” rather than being racist. I think if they were in Tondo and those Tondo kids were posed the same way as these Ethiopian kids, it would still come off as the same thing for me. Masyadong hambog yung dating.

        As for the other photo, I truly believe that the guys are of stature so they’re dressed differently than the rest of the locals. Kaya they ended up looking like a part of the photo rather than a backdrop.



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