By: Royd Guyon
Ethnicity is more than just skin color and physical traits; it also encompasses language, song, and dance. It is a composite whole expressing a person’s historical experience, goals, and world perspective. It is the embodiment of values, institutions, and patterns of behavior.
If you take away a person’s ethnicity, their culture, you also completely remove their sense of direction and purpose. Ethnic communities that have withstood colonialism are now confronted with change. The traditional way of life, beliefs, and culture have been updated, and it is unfortunate to hear that some young children from ethnic groups face discrimination when they share their ethnicity.
I had an encounter when I was questioned if Igorots have tails, black complexion, and practice head hunting because I belong to an ethnic group known as the Igorots. People who have preconceived ideas based on books and stories are astonished when I tell them the truth about the Igorots who live in the highlands and wear ‘bahag’ (one of our traditional garments). Then they became intrigued and wanted to learn more about Igorot customs and why they are still practiced today.
This experience taught me that there is a lot of misinformation about ethnic groups that needs to be corrected. I hope that we continue to respect other people’s ethnicity since it is a part of their identity and to share correct information about them.