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"Filipinos Are Preposterously Misrepresented"

This newspaper article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, provided one of the few opportunities for a Filipino to address a U.S. audience about the Philippine Reservation exhibit at the 1904 World’s Fair. The article extensively quotes Vicente Nepomuceno, a Philippine lawyer, member of the Philippine honorary commission, and critic of the U.S. occupation. The honorary commissions was created in response to Filipino protests against the St. Louis fair’s portrayal of the Philippines.

FILIPINOS ARE PREPOSTEROUSLY MISREPRESENTED – Senor Nepomuceno 

“The Moros, Negritos and Igorrotes No More Represent the Filipinos Than the Dying Indian Represents the People of the United States.” 

FRAGMENTARY TRIBES SHOWN FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES 

Honorary Commissioner Declares Mass Meetings Were Held in Manila to Protest Against This Slander of “7,000,000 Civilized Christians.” 

Senor Vicente Nepomuceno, a member of the Philipine [sic] honorary commission, now in St. Louis, declares that the so-called Philippine village at the Fair is nothing more than a coup of Machiavelism on the part of the Republican administration. 

He protests that the exhibition does not reveal the condition of the Filipino, nor was it ever intended that their true state of advancement should be disclosed. 

He asserts that the exhibition is but a foil seeking to justify in the public mind the administration’s insincerity toward the Filipino. 

“There are 8,000,000 people in the Philippines,” said Senor Nepomuceno, through an interpreter, to the Post-Dispatch, “and of these 7,000,000 are civilized Christians, orderly, peace-loving and law-abiding. 

“The remaining 1,000,000 are made up from among the Moros, Negritos, and Igorrotes, and the anthropoids, who live in the mountains in an uncivilized state, and who, like all backward and non-progressive races, are rapidly dying out. 

These Are Only Fragmentary Tribes 

“The Moros, Negritos and Igorrtes no more represent the people of the Philippines than the dying Indian represents the American people, and the Americans would resent such an exhibition for more vigorously than we have. 

“When the Filipinos learned that these fragmentary tribes were being brought to this country to represent the islands at the Fair a mass meeting was held and a protest was sent to Gov. Taft. 

“It was of no avail, but as a sort of sop the Philippine honorary commission was appointed and 50 representative citizens were named to tour the United States. Of course, the damage had been done; the impression has gone abroad that we are barbarians; that we eat dog and all that sort of thing; and no matter how long we stay here we cannot convince the public to the contrary. 

“The Filipino people are being preposterously misrepresented at the Fair. 

“We are entirely ready for self-government and we were not prepared for it by the United States, but the administration does not seem to want to let it go. 

“In furtherance of this determination to hold our reins of government they have gone into the remotest corners of the islands, gathered the lowest types of the inhabitants and brought them to this country to exhibit in an attempt to justify their paternal grip on the islands. . . .

Source | St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 19 June 1904; New York Public Library
Creator | St. Louis-Dispatch
Item Type | Newspaper/Magazine
Cite This document | St. Louis-Dispatch, “"Filipinos Are Preposterously Misrepresented",” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed December 17, 2018, https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/1758.

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