Brown and Brown Unity

This Saturday will mark the third installment of the battle between Manny Pacquiao and Eric Morales, two heroes within in their own communities. Thus this Saturday will also mark another installment of the perpetuation of racial tension between the Mexican-American community and the Filipino-American community. Nationalistic pride will reign heavily during the bout as flag wielding fans from both sides will be cheering on their respective boxing hero.

I can't speak for Morales, but Pacquiao has become such an iconic figures in the Philippines (as I have spoken about numerous times) that calling him a "national hero" wouldn't even describe his stature in the Philippines and his effect on the Filipino people. Dude has real clout in the P.I.'s. He's respected and revered. And I have even heard of many stories about how much he has inspired and sparked the interest of many in the Philippines to seek their own boxing careers. He is undeniably a huge influence in the islands, as well as within the diasporic Filipino community throughout the world.

The atmosphere of the arena during a Pacquiao fight has been described to me as "overwhelming" and "adreneline pumping," especially for those within the two representative communities. Luckily, I will be able to get first hand experience of the emotions that will overtake the fighters, but most importantly, the spectators.

While I am all for more unity among communities and the need for cross cultural coaltion building, this Saturday I will be on the side of those who hope more moments like this:

More power to Manny this Saturday, cause his victory isn't as much for him as it is for us. Lets watch and listen to Manny try his best at singing to his people (Though I don't know if I would consider him making this song more of a form of giving back more than as a form of added torture by the establishment of the Philippines).

Manny Pacquiao - Para Sayo (For You)


Follow up - 11.27.2006

I was originally going to do a follow up post on the eventful occassion that was Pacquiao's annihilation of Morales on November 18, but I got sidetracked. But, the atmosphere of the event was so overwhelming and such a cultural experience, I could not leave it left alone.

So here's a few words on my own ethnography of the event that has since placed Manny in the top of the list as one of the top pound for pound boxers.

As arrived at the Thomas and Mack Arena at UNLV, I was greeted with news crews from The Filipino Channel getting pre-fight reactions from a crowd of mostly Filipinos, upon which a lone bald headed cat with white stunnas began chanting "Yeee!!" and proceeded to start giggin' and getting hyphy. And what follows one youngster getting hyphy, but his entourage and others joining in on the celebratory ceremony. This would just be a precursor as to what would occur after the fight. (Though it wasn't as hyphy as what one in the Bay might be used to, or even what the Modesto PD had rallied against.)

Upon entering the arena, tension, thick enough to be cut with a knife, filled the arena as Mexicans clashed with Filipinos and vice versa. I had to maneuver my way through the swarms of spectators carrying their national flags in support of their respective fighter.

Chants of "Manny! Manny! Manny!" were met with "Fuck Manny!" Tattooed Cholos confronted tattooed Pinoys, though no physical contact would ensue at this time, as each showed their own "mark-ass buster" card by yelling at one another, "Come here so I can beat your ass!"

While the racial tension created an unsettling feeling for a person always eager to build cross-culturally, the unity among the Filipinos was inspirational. (I'm sure Mexicans felt the same way, atleast before Morales got mollywhopped.) Filipinos greeted each other as relatives. Social bonds appeared to have existed for an eternity, even though most in the arena were strangers to one another.

Within the viewing arena Filipino and Mexican flags were ubiquitous. The occassional lucha libre mask would also be seen. Chants of "Mexico" and "Manny" came in waves. And we even started up our own satirical "USA" chant that eventually caught on throughout our section of the arena.

A middle aged Mexican man behind me shouted, "I love the Filipinos, they're good people, but Manny will still get killed."

In front of me was a young Filipino guy, early twenties, that likely had recently immigrated to the United States. With his thick accent he shouted out some of the more entertaining lines I would hear throughout the night.

"They dont know, in the Philippines, Manny is a gangsta... Homebooooooyyyy!!!"

"Morales bakla, bading, bading, bading." (Showcasing the homophobic and masculine defining characteristics that exist within the Filipino community)

When Morales appeared on the screen, I responded with my WWE inspired chant of "You suck, you suck, you suck."

Upon which the same guy in front of me looked back and said, "What you dont know I know bout that, homeboy? Thats WWE, homeboy. Kurt Angle. John Cena, you cant see me (this was followed by the shaking of his open palm in front of his face)."

Keep in mind, dude had one of the thickest accents I haver ever heard, this side of the Pacific.

This all occurred before the fight. During the fight, the aura of the place was insane. Filipinos were shouting as if it were another People Power movement protest at EDSA. As Manny finally gave Morales the blow that would knock him down the final time, causing Morales to shake his head in defeat, all the Filipinos became exstatic. Hi fives and embraces among the Filipinos filled the arena along with the deafening cheers. Strangers became brothers and sisters as we all became unified under this single battle.

And while our community celebrated, the Morales fans, most of the Mexicans, exited the arena quietly, heads sunked with their Mexican flags tucked under their arms. I felt for them, especially as I saw a lone kid with his Mexican flag in the hallways being harrassed by the angry bragging of a group of Filipinos celebrating the victory.

As a whole, it was a beautiful time and place to be a Filipino. Only if we could get the same number of people in our community to be just as eager and riled up to scream and protest when the President of the Philippines proclaims a state of emergency in the country.


Anonymous ur archnemesis said...

"Effect" not "Affect"

November 27, 2006 6:49 PM  
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