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A Soldier Reports on Filipino Perceptions of White and Black Americans

John W. Galloway, a member of the 24th Infantry stationed in the Philippines, reports his findings from discussions with Filipinos regarding the issue of race to an African-American newspaper at home. This letter highlights American concepts of race that were attached to the U.S. occupation of the Philippines, and the Filipino reaction to white and black Americans.

Dear Mr. Editor:

...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 as solid.

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."
Source | John W. Galloway 24th Infantry, San Isidro, Philippine Islands, "Letter to the Editor, November 16, 1899" in Richmond Planet, 30 December 1899.
Creator | John W. Galloway
Item Type | Newspaper/Magazine
Cite This document | John W. Galloway, “A Soldier Reports on Filipino Perceptions of White and Black Americans,” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed July 16, 2019, https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/951.

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