Brown Skin, White Minds


Filipino Americans have a long and rich history with and within the United States, and they are currently the second largest Asian group in the country. However, very little is known about how their historical and contemporary relationship with America may shape their psychological experiences. The most insidious psychological consequence of their historical and contemporary experiences is colonial mentality or internalized oppression. Some common manifestations of this phenomenon are described below: 


*Skin-whitening products are used often by Filipinos in the Philippines to make their skins lighter. Skin whitening clinics and businesses are popular in the Philippines as well. The "beautiful" people such as actors and other celebrities endorse these skin-whitening procedures. Children are told to stay away from the sun so they do not get "too dark." Many Filipinos also regard anything "imported" to be more special than anything "local" or made in the Philippines.


*In the United States, many Filipino Americans make fun of "fresh-off-the-boats" (FOBs) or those who speak English with Filipino accents. Many Filipino Americans try to dilute their "Filipino-ness" by saying that they are mixed with some other races. Also, many Filipino Americans regard Filipinos in the Philippines, and pretty much everything about the Philippines, to be of "lower class" and those of the "third world."


The historical and contemporary reasons for why Filipino -/ Americans display these attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors - often referred to as colonial mentality - are explored in Brown Skin, White Minds. This book is a peer-reviewed publication that integrates knowledge from multiple scholarly and scientific disciplines to identify the past and current catalysts for such self-denigrating attitudes and behaviors. It takes the reader from indigenous Tao culture, Spanish and American colonialism, colonial mentality or internalized oppression along with its implications on Kapwa, identity, and mental health, to decolonization in the clinical, community, and research settings. This book is intended for the entire community - teachers, researchers, students, and service providers interested in or who are working with Filipinos and Filipino Americans, or those who are interested in the psychological consequences of colonialism and oppression. This book may serve as a tool for remembering the past and as a tool for awakening to address the present.




Welcome to E.J.R. David's Books Page



"Simply put, Dr. David's work is an act of psychological liberation. Through his command of the research, his skillful integration of both history and psychology, and his self-evident passion, he challenges Filipinos and Filipino Americans to look in the mirror and examine the psychological impact of Spanish and American colonialism. More importantly, his work is also an act of hope...hope that rests with the invitation to decolonize ourselves and our communities and to see ourselves and our histories with both clarity and pride. Frankly, it's an invitation we should all be accepting." 
Alvin N. Alvarez, Ph.D., Professor of Counseling, San Francisco State University
Co-Editor of Asian American Psychology: Current Perspectives
Past President of the Asian American Psychological Association
"Dr. David's work is passionate to the extent that it arouses many collective emotions - anger at the centuries of historical oppression of Filipinos, sorrow for the lives lost to suicides and depression, dismay at the insidious and long-lasting nature of the legacy of colonialism, and the urgency to right the course for the community's psyche"
Sumie Okazaki, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, New York University
Co-Editor of Asian American Psychology: The Science of Lives in Context and 
Asian American Mental Health: Assessment Theories and Methods 

"Brown Skin, White Minds is an accessible text...because the author understands the need to communicate beyond the discipline of psychology even while grounding the discourse within its parameters. This book is readable and palatable, for academics and the general public, which paves the way for mass decolonization to take place."
Leny Mendoza Strobel, Ed.D., Professor and Chair of American Multicultural Studies, Sonoma State University
Author of Coming Full Circle: The Process of Decolonization Among Post-1956 Filipino Americans and 
Editor of Babaylan: Filipinos and the Call of the Indigenous
"Brown Skin, White Minds is an important contribution to the ongoing debate and discussion about the afterlife of colonialism in the lives of Filipinos and Filipino Americans.  This book is bound to be a major reference and a source of inspiration for future research on the topic." 
Martin F. Manalansan IV, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Anthropology and Asian American Studies
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Author of Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora

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