Black Americans and native Filipinos discover "an affinity of complexion"|
John W. Galloway, Twenty-fourth Infantry, San Isidro, Philippine Islands, November 16, 1899; from Richmond Planet, December 30, 1899. Galloway's record of conversations with Filipinos reveals the extent to which
an "affinity of complexion" existed between them and the Negro
American soldiers stationed in the islands.
Dear Mr. Editor:
We received the copies of the Planet sent to us at this point. You
can imagine how much we appreciated them when we had not seen a paper of any
kind for weeks, and as for an Afro American paper, I can not remember
when I last laid eyes on one. The address of Mr. [Booker T.] Washington is
the talk of the camp. Since coming here the boys' bosoms have expanded greatly.
Their ideas have indeed broadened. They all say in chorus that Mr. Washington's
ideas are destined to revolutionize America educationally, and as to the Negro,
we feel the depth of his advice and feel the path of action outlined by him
is the only practical one for colored youth.
Since dropping you a few lines from El Deposito, we have been constantly on
the jump. First, at San Fernando, then Mexico, Santa Anna, Prayal Cabial, San
Isidro. Advantage was taken of these "hikes" to study the Filipino
and the Filipino question from the point that follows. The whites have begun
to establish their diabolical race hatred in all its home rancor in Manila,
even endeavoring to propagate the phobia among the Spaniards and Filipinos
so as to be sure of the foundation of their supremacy when the civil rule that
must necessarily follow the present military regime, is established.
I felt it worth the while to probe the Filipino as to his knowledge and view
of the American colored man that we might know our position intelligently.
What follows is a condensed account of the results. The questions were put
to the intelligent, well-educated Filipinos so you may know the opinions are
those of the sort who represent the feelings of the race, and may be taken
Ques. Do the Filipinos hold a different feeling toward
the colored American from that of the white?
Ans. "Before American occupation of the islands and before the colored
troops came to the Philippines, Filipinos knew little if anything of the colored
people of America. We had read American history in the general, but knew nothing
of the different races there. All were simply Americans to us. This view was
held up to the time of the arrival of the colored regiments in Manila, when
the white troops, seeing your acceptance on a social plane by the Filipino
and Spaniard was equal to, if not better than theirs, (for you know under Spanish
rule we never knew there was a difference between men on account of racial
identity. Our differences were political.) began to tell us of the inferiority
of the American blacks-of your brutal natures, your cannibal tendencies-how
you would rape our senioritas, etc. Of course, at first we were a little shy
of you, after being told of the difference between you and them; but we studied
you, as results have shown. Between you and him, we look upon you as the angel
and him as the devil.
Of course, you both are Americans, and conditions between us are constrained,
and neither can be our friends in the sense of friendship, but the affinity
of complexion between you and me tells, and you exercise your duty so much
more kindly and manly in dealing with us. We can not help but appreciate the
differences between you and the whites."
Interview of Senor Tordorica Santos, a Filipino physician. By the difference
in "dealing with us" expressed is meant that the colored soldiers
do not push them off the streets, spit at them, call them damned "niggers," abuse
them in all manner of ways, and connect race hatred with duty, for the colored
soldier has none such for them.
The future of the Filipino, I fear, is that of the Negro in the South. Matters
are almost to that condition in Manila now. No one (white) has any scruples
as regards respecting the rights of a Filipino. He is kicked and cuffed at
will and he dare not remonstrate. On to another interview.
Ques. How would the Filipinos view immigration to any extent of American colored
people to their country? How about conditions between them, living side by
Ans. "Of what I have seen of American colored people, as exemplified
in their soldiers, I am very much impressed with them. This in the light of
present conditions, when they have little opportunity to show themselves to
us in a social way. . . is very encouraging.
"I have very little knowledge of what the American government will do
with us in case they elect to hold us as a colony. I have heard that all confiscated
lands will be opened for American colonization under some homestead law. .
. but I had not counted the effect it would have upon us. . . . We are accustomed
to look upon American relations on any basis, other than that of Filipino independence,
as inimical to us. But since American sovereignty is inevitable and American
colonization is a probability, I unreservedly believe that all my people would
look very kindly upon your people as neighbors. What we are resisting is effacement.
Contact with whites to any extent in whatever way we accept them means that
to us. The colored people, being of like complexion to our own, the evolution
that would come to us through contact would not be so radical, can be viewed
in an entirely different light from contact with white people. In your country
you are used to moulding all nations and races of white men into onewhite
Americans-that forms an example of what I mean. The same condition would obtain
between you and my people, they would become good Filipinos.
"I wish you would say to your young men that we want occidental ideas
but we want them taught to us by colored people. In the reconstruction of our
country new ideas will obtain. In American political and industrial ideas we
will be infants. We ask your educated, practical men to come and teach us them.
We have a beautiful country and a hospitable people to repay them for their
trouble. Our country needs development. Unless an unselfish people come to
our assistance we are doomed." Interview of Senor Tomas Consunji, a wealthy
Filipino planter. I wish to add, before closing, that. . . our young men who
'are practical scientific agriculturists, architects. . . engineers, business
men, professors and students of the sciences and who know how to establish
and manage banks, mercantile businesses, large plantations, sugar growing,
developing and refining. . . will find this the most inviting fold under the
American flag. Cuba does not compare with the Philippines. Another thing, too,
when they secure missionaries and teachers for the schools here, see that they
get on the list. They must be represented here. White men have told them we
are savages. We need to be in evidence to convince the Filipinos of our status.
I do all in my power to picture ourselves to them in a good light, but positions
of influence among them is what will tell. They extend to us a welcome hand,
full of opportunities. Will we accept it?
John W. Galloway Sgt. Major,
24th U.S. Infantry