Manufactured "Traits"

What can we conclude from these specialists' opinions? Cultural or national "traits" strike
Calhoun as a "vexed" question; are seen by McCrae and Costa to be "universal structures"; appear to Ashkenazi as requiring "very careful methodology"; are seen by Mendoza as best considered from a framework that embraces "a plurality of ethnic identifications"; and are re- jected by Blum as a theory that "has long been assaulted as nothing but a set of stereotypes." Her conclusion: if these "traits" are 
inapplicable to the Japanese and the Chinese, who have very powerful national majorities, then this discredited theory ought to be immensely more inappropriate when applied to the Philippines, one of the world's most culturally fragmented countries. In a word, we have been lied to --- once again.

Does our central government, its agencies, scholars, researchers, and writers --- do they realize what they're doing? Are our elite-supported anthropologists, sociologists, and political scien- tists aware of what they're perpetrating? But of course. Will they put an end to this falsehood?
I doubt it. They have become 
obsessed with nation-building --- "state-building" to be precise ---
because, to Benedict Anderson, "it is the cultural ascendancy of the ruling class that essentially ensures the stability of the capitalist order." And that is an order that they intend to maintain. Because most have come to believe their own fabrications, while the rest appear to be intoxi- cated by an awesome authority: 
the power to define us. 

But whether impelled by pure mistake or sheer malevolence, they have usurped and appropri- ated for themselves the right to tell us who we are, reminiscent of the Spaniard indoctrinating 
the Indio about who he was fated to obey, or the American "educating" the Filipino about whose culture he was expected to emulate. Our self-appointed "cultural guardians," by preferring the transient single to the perennial plural, would deny us the right to define, and thus determine, 
our separate selves. The dark, driving force behind this destructive deception? Nationalism.

The purpose of [nationalism] then is to define ethnocultural characteristics that can be gene- ralized to all components of the society's population, promote their importance in maintaining national identity and in some cases create similarities in characteristics between different sec- tors of the population where they may not exist in reality. 

This brazen, disgraceful deceit will continue to be foisted on us by those who have not hesitated to raid the cultural riches of our myriad nations in order to manufacture and reinforce their vi- sion of an allegedly unified, unadulterated "Filipino" identity. As we've seen, they've already imposed Tagalog as a "basis" for Pilipino/Filipino, our "national" language. Then they would have all of our nations venerate Rizal or Bonifacio as our "national" hero: either way, however this debate is resolved, if at all --- we end up with a Tagalog. Then they imposed the 
baro ng Ta- galog on the Mangyan, the Ibanag, the Manobo, the B'laan, and the rest of us, as our national
costume. Then they pilfered, among many other dances, the tinikling from the Waray and the
singkil from the Maranao and told us that these were ours as well, prying loose and cannibal- izing the treasures of our diverse cultures for useful and exotic identity-building components. Finally, to provide their manufactured man with distinct and archipelagic "features," they've appropriated the clannish loyalty of the Ilocano, the dignity of the Tagalog, the perseverance
of the Cebuano, the hospitality of the Ifugao, the gaiety of the Hiligaynon, the courage of the Waray, the fortitude of the Bukidnon, the pride of the Tausúg, and so on, in order to fabricate the charming but counterfeit rubric of "Filipino values."
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