Let me start off by saying I am a fiercely proud mixed-race, Filipino-American woman. Growing up, I had the wonderful and rare opportunity to live in the Philippines. I try and visit as much as I can — because as any true Filipino, family-time is important to me. Every trip starts off the same way: After a 14+ hour flight, I am greeted by my cousins, aunts and uncles. Their first words to me are tumaba ka ‘you got fat’ as they simultaneously squeeze my “arm fat”. My excitement for coming home instantly fades, and I immediately want to hop on the next America-bound flight — I know that this is just the beginning of a summer filled with unsolicited commentary pertaining to my body. via Erica Dawn
Actually this is what we call “lambing lang” when we greet a family or a close friend. We (Filipino) are naturally shy and we (most of us Filipinos) don’t use this kind of greetings if you’re not a family member or close friends (barkada).
Our kababayan in the Philippines will be able to relate to your story. Sometimes we laugh by saying “Ang Ganda mo naman” (or Pangit) even it’s not really true but because we’re close we can play the word shaming between us.
In the US, the word “racist” will be part of it even not intentional. Again, it’s lambing lang to our family members or close friends.
Photo by Erica Dawn