by Nathaniel Nido
Early in the trip, when we were just beginning to familiarize ourselves with Kumasi, we went to the Kumasi City Mall with Mr. Ernest. Inside the ShopRite, I saw some people who I thought were Filipino. I approached them and spoke with them, confirming that they were indeed Filipino. This is funny because earlier that day I jokingly told someone that I wondered where all the “Asians” were.
After we introduced ourselves to each other, we struck up a conversation in Tagalog and engaged in mostly small talk. I learned that they were here for business, and I told them that I was here because I wanted to learn about Ghana and explore the world. However, their response angered me. Essentially, they asked, “Why? Ghana? There’s nothing here.” Another sarcastically said, “You’ll explore a lot of stuff here alright.” These responses were common, and I expected it, but I am always angered by it.
In this case, I was especially angered because they were in Ghana itself, experiencing what it is like to live inside the country. However, they still failed to see that the Philippines and Ghana have so much more in common than not, or at least I thought. For example, the Philippines has Jeeps, which operate and even look a bit like trotros. The Philippines also has many citizens who sell items on the road. The Philippines, like Ghana, is plagued by corrupt and incompetent leaders and politicians. While the Philippines may be marginally better economically, they still have much more in common.
These Filipinos were also very rude and condescending to the Ghanaians. At the movies, they ordered a lot of food, but they spoke down to the workers. At a certain point, they did not speak to the Ghanaian worker serving them food, so the worker left the food on the ground. The feelings of the Filipinos regarding the Ghanaians are an example of the out-group homogeneity effect. My interaction with my countrymen was saddening because I know their sentiments is common among most other Filipinos. My hope is to help develop a positive Black and Asian connection someway somehow to help bring our two communities closer together.
For a definition of the out-group homogeneity effect, click here.