Impacts of Colonial Mentality Among Filipinos

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INTRODUCTION Despite the rapid growth of Filipino communities throughout the United States, this population remains understudied and underserved by the mental health care system (Sue & Sue, 2003). Based on the 2000 U.S. Census, Barnes and Bennett (2002) reported that Filipinos represent the second largest Asian subgroup in the United States following Chinese Americans, and are projected to become the largest Asian American ethnic group in the 2010 census (Nadal, 2009). Yet, according to Ying and Hu (1994), Filipino Americans underutilize psychotherapeutic services when compared with other Asian American populations. One primary reason for this underutilization may be that Western therapy is not congruent with Filipino cultural values. Researchers argue that Filipino Americans may be neglected in research due to the "model minority" stereotype associated with Asian Americans (de la Paz, 2004; Espiritu, 1995; Nadal, 2009). This stereotype involves sweeping assumptions regarding Asian Americans in general without considering the distinctions among various ethnicities that comprise this generic racial category. For example, many Filipinos have Spanish surnames and most Filipino immigrants speak English, further contributing to Filipinos' invisibility in the United States (Nadal, 2009). Filipinos also have a greater percentage of intermarriage with other ethnicities than do other Asian sub-groups (Le, 2009). These factors may contribute to the neglect of the needs of the Filipino American community. Espiritu (1995) further contends that "the invisibility of the Philippines and Filipino Americans is connected to a historical amnesia and self-erasure regarding U.S. colonization of the Philippines, in particular, and U.S. imperialism, in general" (p. 2). In 1 addition, Filipinos may also be relatively invisible to the psychological community due to their lack of help-seeking. Psychology has started to recognize the significant between-group differences among Asian Americans. Specifically, researchers have recognized that the collective ethnic identity of Filipinos is distinct from the experiences of other Asian American groups because of the pervasive historical impact of Western influences, which include Spanish and American colonization (Root, 1997). The history of the Philippines, with its colonization by Spain and the United States, and the subsequent trends of immigration into the United States form a context through which practitioners can better understand Filipino Americans (Sese, 2008). Nadal (2008) indicates how the colonization of Filipino culture has impacted religion, language, and cultural self-perceptions. It is important that psychologists understand this unique context in order to provide meaningful, professional support that Filipinos will seek out. The goal of the present study was to better understand the determinants of psychological help-seeking patterns of Filipino Americans by examining specific aspects of enculturation and colonial mentality. No research to date has examined how colonial mentality is related to help-seeking attitudes. Filipino Americans and Colonial Mentality As a result of colonization, Filipinos may be susceptible to developing a colonial mentality (CM) (Nadal, 2008) whereby the colonizer's values and beliefs are accepted by the colonized as truths, and the customs of the colonizer are accepted as being superior to those of the colonized (Strobel, 2001). Similar to the concept of internalized racism, CM includes "beliefs about race, ethnicity, religion, language, cultural practices, traditions 2 and standards of beauty," and can lead to hierarchy or within-group discrimination (Nadal, 2008, p. 165). CM may also involve an automatic and critical rejection of anything Filipino and an automatic and uncritical preference for anything American. CM is a multifaceted construct and the manifestations vary by individuals (David & Okazaki, 2006a). Research has found colonial mentality to be...
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