Monday, April 15, 2002


SUBJECT: "PINOY" and "FLIP" are RACIAL SLURS FROM: ROBERTO REYES MERCADO, a member of the Media Breakfast Club We notice that quite a few participants in this newsgroup like to call themselves "Pinoys" and/or "Flips" in their postings. They think these are cute terms of endearment. Well, they are dead wrong. According to our research, some American soldiers started the use of "Flip" as a racial slur during the Filipino-American War (1899-901). "Flip" is the equivalent of the "N" word that is derogatory to Black Americans. "Pinoy" on the other hand came about when some workers from the Bicol Region were "imported" by American farms in the early 1900s. Whenever these Bicolanos were asked by strangers where they came from, some of them answered, "P.I., noy." Many Bicolanos up to now like to end their sentences with "Noy," which is short for "Nonoy" (the term for the youngest sibling or son). "P.I.," of course, meant the Philippine Islands, which was the official American name of the archipelago at that time. Some of their fellow workers from the other regions of the Philippines started mocking the Bicolano answer. They would announce, "Eto na si 'P.I., noy,'" ("Here comes the guy who always answers 'P.I., noy'") when they would see a Bicolano worker about to approach them. Since there is no long "I" in any Filipino dialect, "P.I." was corrupted to a short "I" as in "pee." Some Americans noticed this "P.I., noy" ribbing and they thought that it was the colloquial term for a Filipino. So some of these Americans started using the term, especially when they cursed the Filipino workers. In fact this practice extended even to the waning days of World War II. Some Filipino veterans told of incidents when some American officers called, and even cursed, them as "Pee-noys." The Filipino and Filipino-American members of the Media Breakfast Club (MBC) of Los Angeles do not like to be called "Pinoys." They also consider "Flip" an insult. We think they are racially-offensive terms. We do not understand why some Americans of Philippine ancestry like to call their men "Pinoys," their women "Pinays" and their former homeland "Pinas." They have beautiful names in "Filipino," "Filipina" and "Filipinas," respectively. This is a free country, of course, and people have the basic right to make fools of themselves. Incidentally "Filipino" is always spelled with an "F," unless you refer to the national language, which is "Pilipino," as the present Philippine constitution provides. According to Poet-pundit Fred Burce Bunao, an MBC co-founder, the reason some Filipino Americans like to spell "Filipino" with a "P" is to mask their inability to pronounce the "F."


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