Ethnic discrimination towards Filipinos in America was evident during the American colonial period in the Philippines. Filipinos were often labelled as half-civilized or half-savage, worthless, uneducated and unscrupulous. Filipinos were perceived to be taking the jobs of white Americans. They were accused of attracting white women which led to the passing of an anti-miscegenation law. Crime and violence were likely to be associated with Filipinos and they were shunned for their substandard living conditions where, in one instance, there were as many as twenty people sleeping in one room. These were merely racial prejudices. Filipino immigrants in America were affected by various socio-economic factors. The majority of Filipino immigrants of that era were men. The gender ratio of Filipino males to females in California then was approximately 14 to 1. Filipino workers were forced to live in poor conditions since they were poorly paid.
World War II was a significant turning point for American views towards Filipinos. During the early period of the war, Filipinos were prohibited to join the army. However, in 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt allowed Filipinos to serve in the armed forces. Many Filipinos fought with Americans in Asia and Europe while some opted to be civilians involved in mobilization efforts during the war. Filipinos earned acceptance and admiration by the end of the war. The United States recognized and affirmed the Filipinos' right to citizenship with the amended Nationality Act of 1940. Through the amendment, non-citizens who joined the military were given opportunity to attain citizenship. About ten thousand Filipinos became American citizens through the amendment.
Between 1970–80s, Hong Kong saw the rise of Filipino population. Many of these Filipinos are working as domestic helpers. The increase number of Filipino population there has created clash between Hong Kong residents and Filipino workers. The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong launched an advocacy that Filipinos were causing a significant rise of local unemployment in Hong Kong and costing billions in welfare treatment.
Anti-Filipino sentiment in Hong Kong rose after the 2010 hostage crisis, in which a bus full of mostly Hong Kong tourists was fatally besieged by a disgruntled Filipino police officer, and where subsequent investigations found Filipino officials' handling of the hostage crisis to be directly responsible for the hostages' deaths. Tensions eased after Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras and Joseph Estrada secretly went to Hong Kong to talk to officials and the victim's families.
In 2016, anti-Filipino sentiment exists within the Confederation of Indonesian Worker's Unions (KPSI) organization after the recent kidnappings of Indonesian citizens by Sulu-based terrorist group, Abu Sayyaf. A protest was held by a group of Indonesian protesters of KPSI when they gathered in front of the Philippine Embassy in Indonesia, holding banners that read "Go to hell Philippines and Abu Sayyaf" and "Destroy the Philippines and Abu Sayyaf" to demanding more action from the Philippine government to fighting terrorism in their country which has since affected neighbouring countries.
The anti-Filipino sentiment is most notable in the state of Sabah in Malaysia due to a large presence of Filipino Moroillegal immigrants causing simmering resentment in the state. The Sabahan locals refer to the illegal immigrants from the southern Philippines as "Pilak" which means (Filipino illegal immigrants) pejoratively. The cause of this anti sentiment is due to the Muslims Filipino illegals immigrants who arrived in the 1970s from the Southern Philippines insurgency bringing along their social problems, culture of crime, and poverty conditions as well as taking away jobs, business opportunities and allegedly stealing Sabahan native land (NCR) in the state. This hatred was further strengthened when many of these illegal immigrants were involved in crime mostly robbery, murder and rape. Locals became the main victims which has affected the security of the state as evidenced by the recent 1985 ambush, 2000 kidnappings and 2013 standoff. Large amounts had been spent for these Filipino illegal immigrants life maintenance and the amount remains unpaid until today despite attempts to recover the monies. Sabah Health Department said that infectious disease among the illegal immigrants was on the rise resulting to more expenditures, as well as provisions for more funds to accommodate the logistics such as medical officers and others.
The estimated number of Filipinos working in Singapore tripled in the past decade to about 167,000 as of 2013, according to Philippines census data. Amid increasing general resentment towards foreigners, a backlash towards Filipinos has taken place in Singapore. In 2014, a plan to hold a Philippine Independence Day celebration on Singapore's main shopping street Orchard Road was cancelled following online complaints by some Singaporeans who said the space was special to locals. One blogger called the move "insensitive", saying: "Celebrating your Independence Day openly in the public (especially [at a] iconic/tourist location like Orchard Road) is provocative".
Anti-Filipino sentiment has continued to swirl online, culminating in a blog titled "Blood Stained Singapore" suggesting ways to abuse Filipinos, calling them "an infestation". The suggestions, which included pushing Filipinos out of trains and threats to spray insecticide on them eventually caused the blog to be taken down by Google for infringing content rules.
Anti-Filipino sentiment in Taiwan was noticeable in 2013 as a result of the Philippine Coast Guard killing a Taiwanese fisherman. Subsequently, there was widespread discrimination towards Filipino workers with Taiwanese businesses taking off any Filipino related products from their shelves and some shops refusing to welcome Filipino customers. Sanctions placed by the Taiwanese government were removed after an official apology from the Philippine side was made.
Following a poisoning incident in a United Kingdom hospital in 2011, hundreds of Filipino nurses complained of a rise in racist attacks and discrimination towards them. This was especially true after a report by British tabloid, the Daily Mail with a headline of “NHS still hiring Filipino nurses” was published shortly after a Filipino nurse, Victorino Chua was found guilty of murdering two patients and poisoning 19 more.
There are a variety of derogatory terms referring to the Philippines and Filipinos. Many of these terms are viewed as racist. However, these terms do not necessarily refer to Filipinos as a whole; they can also refer to specific policies, or specific time periods in history.
Huan-a (Chinese: 番仔; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: hoan-á) – a pejorative term in the Hokkien or Minnan languages literally meaning "foreigner or non-Chinese". Used by ethnic Chinese from Taiwan and other parts of South East Asia to refer generally to non-Chinese Southeast Asians and Taiwanese Aborigines. In the Philippines, this term is used by Chinese Filipinos to refer to those of Filipino descent.[better source needed] It is considered by some to hold the same connotations as the word gaijin in Japanese.
Gugus (also spelt Goo-goos) – a racial term used to refer to Filipino guerillas during the Philippine–American War. The term came from gugo, the Tagalog name for Entada phaseoloides or the St. Thomas bean, the bark of which was used by Filipinas to shampoo their hair. The term was a predecessor to the term gook, a racial term used to refer to all Asians.
Flip – used to refer to American-born Filipinos. The term has vague origins with many hypotheses regarding its origin. It is suggested that the term originates from the World War II era. The term was allegedly an acronym for "fucking little island people" causing some Filipinos to avoid referring to themselves by this term. However, the term is also being reclaimed by some by changing the alleged originally meaning of the word to "fine looking island people". Some are convinced that the term is just a short version of the term "Filipino".
Pilak – a term in Sabah Malay used pejoratively by the Sabahans to refer to illegal immigrants from the Philippines.
Indio – literally, "Indian". The term was used to refer to native Filipinos during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, and developed negative connotations due to the mistreatment of people with the label. "Filipino" was meanwhile originally reserved to Spanish persons living in the archipelago.
^"Filipino American". Emory University Postcolonial Studies. Archived from the original on 30 August 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2015. Since 1996, Deepika Bahri has created and maintained content for Postcolonial Studies @ Emory with her students. In 2011, she won a Mellon grant from Emory's Digital Scholarship Commons (DiSC) to redesign the site in collaboration with the DiSC staff.