You know you’re on to something if you make it to a collage (’tis me directly in front of ye olde fireplace). This image is in All Things Beautiful, who has a massive update on the debates sparked by the launch of Open Source Media. Her caption: [Pajamas] Open Source Media Launch, Left to Right: Jeff Goldstein, Ed Driscoll, Glenn Reynolds, Larry Kudlow, Jane Hall, Roger L. Simon, Manuel L. Quezon, Michelle Malkin, Claudia Rosette, Charles Johnson, Clifford May, Michael Barone and Eugene Volokh.
Ah, all things little brown brother like, beginning with Rudyard Kipling’s exhortation to Americans to Take Up The White Man’s Burden, to William Howard Taft’s proclamation of “The Philippines for the Filipinos” and incidentally, that the Filipinos were the little brown brothers of Americans; to the phrase being celebrated in modern art and in modern poetry, made the title of influential books, and there is even a Wikipedia article that says,
The term was coined by William Howard Taft, the first Governor-General of the Philippines (1901-1904) and later the 27th President of the United States.
The term wasn’t intended to be derogative, nor an ethnic slur; instead, in the words of historian Creighton Miller, it is a reflection of “paternialist racism”, shared also by Theodore Roosevelt.
Taft told Predisedent McKinley that “our little brown brothers” would need “fifty or one hundred years” of close supervision “to develop anything resembling anglo-Saxon political principles and skills.” “Fillipinos are moved by similar considerations to those which move other men.”
Indeed, Taft’s comments were enlightened for his times, and he went up against many other American imperialists to pitch for an eventual autonomy for Filipinos. The ones who hooted down Taft’s phrase were not the Filipinos, but Taft’s fellow Americans, the kind who liked to sing:
“The Monkeys Have No Tails in Zamboanga.” Click above to listen. It’s from the World War II film, “They Were Expendable,” and was meant to foster sympathy for the Philippine cause. John Wayne is among the singers. Taft himself was considered, as far as American colonial officials go, a friend of the Philippines.
Now the reactions of Dean Jorge Bocobo to a recent Inquirer editorial have been vehement. He calls it racist, and cowardly (because, it is an unsigned editorial: which is to ignore the nature of an unsigned editorial as the collective position of a paper; though he does more properly object to its tone and content, and to what he considers a violation of the paper’s own ethics, which he has every right to do as a reader). He says it inspires the lust of a lynch mob.
(William Howard Taft, from the Michigan Historical Collection)
However, it seems to me this comment gets the context of the editorial’s title best. There really isn’t any countering possible to DJB’s position, which is internationalist, and comes from a perspective that cherishes two nationalities, and views nationalism as outmoded. My personal view is that the problem isn’t the Americans, who do what they can to defend their own. The problem is with Philippine officials more concerned with being obsequious to Americans instead of their obligations to one of their own.