Reader protests ‘very offensive’ nanny comment in Toronto Star story on Pacquiao

Opinion & Analysis Uncategorized May 8, 2015 at 2:43 pm

(Note: Following is Patrick Ruiz’s letter to the Toronto Star Public Editor Kathy English. It was shared by Ruiz with The Philippine Reporter for publication. Link on DiManno’s column at end of this letter. Update and link at bottom on the Star’s reply.)

I’m writing because I take offense to a section of Rosie DiManno’s recent article, published in this Sunday’s edition. In particular;

“F: Filipinos, 138,000 of whom live in Nevada, mostly in Vegas, and all in thrall to Pacquiao. Guess there’s a high demand here for nannies. (Oh relax people.)”

As a Filipino, I find the comments very offensive, advancing a negative stereotype and are fully ignorant of the feelings of a substantial community within Toronto and in Canada. There are over 800,000 Filipinos in Canada. The President of the Philippines is coming on official visit this week.

It is truly puzzling the Star would knowingly offend a substantial reader base. By closing with “Oh relax people” suggests Rosie along with some editorial authority was well aware that this comment may offend. And it has!

“Filipino Nanny” is often used in a derogatory manner and is a common way to denigrate Filipinos. This term is one of the primary ways our community has experienced racism.

Comments like these are especially hurtful because as a community, we are known to be hardworking, loving and welcoming, many of us are NOT nannies, we are doctors, lawyers, business owners, teachers, chefs, barbers, accountants, writers, politicians, writers.

Being inclusive and welcoming is a hallmark of our culture. Those of us more fortunate praise the work of our mothers (or ina) sisters (or ate) and aunts (tita) who work tirelessly as Nannies here in Canada and all over the world.

Comments like these have the ability to drive a wedge within a community ~ how dare you publish them without any care or conscious of the potential implication. Plainly, the comments are racist and mean.

Nannies in Canada work especially hard and deliver a critical service to all of the families they support. Nannies save diligently, NOT only sending money home to support others “back home” but also paying their share of taxes, consuming goods and paying rent, supporting both business and investment.

The Star is a significant platform within Canada as well as Toronto, the country’s most diverse city. The Star has wide distribution and is made available in schools.

I am deeply concerned that the Star has published very hurtful and negative comments about the Filipino community which for example will be read by kids, who will now be armed with these views to advance and express racism to those who are Filipino.

Growing up Filipino in Toronto was at times difficult for me. There was a struggle to fit in, a nation of people not well known and culture easily lumped in with “other Asians” with few role models to identify with. There was no Manny Pacquiao to serve as a role model and global ambassador.

As a new father, my concern and fear is these negative views persist, advanced by a reputable publication which could now expose my daughter to racism, in particular “hey Nanny”, “please clean up the room Nanny”.
Its comments like these I have heard about my sister and my mother.

The thought my daughter could be subject to this in the future is frightening and disconcerting, especially when published in the Star as lighthearted and “tongue and cheek”.

I have shared the article with friends and family who ALL agree the comments are racist.

I kindly ask you retract the article and have Rosie DiManno issue and publish an apology. An apology made prominent in the Toronto Star, across all platforms made available to your readership and in particular, the Filipino community.

I will not “relax” until a sincere apology is issued and published across your platforms.

Thanks,
Patrick Ruiz
Toronto

Here’s the link to the DiManno column:

http://www.thestar.com/sports/2015/05/02/mayweather-pacquiao-from-a-z-and-beyond-dimanno.html

Here’s the link to the Toronto Star’s Public Editor Kathy English’s column on the DiManno’s column:

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/public_editor/2015/05/08/hurtful-stereotypes-dont-belong-in-toronto-star-public-editor.html