Brown Skin, White Minds: Filipino -/ American Postcolonial Psychology

Brown Skin, White Minds: Filipino -/ American Postcolonial Psychology is now available for advanced purchase through the publisher’s site. The actual release date in February will be released soon!


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.

Foreword, Sumie Okazaki. Preface. Acknowledgments.

Part 1 – In the Beginning.
Chapter 1 – The Tao: Pre-Colonial History.

The rich, complex, sustainable, and highly advanced indigenous culture of Filipinos are discussed to highlight the fact that something special and something to be proud of existed prior to Spanish and American colonization; an empowering view of Filipino history.

Chapter 2 – The Catholic Convent: Spanish.

The maltreatments and injustices Filipinos experienced under Spanish rule are discussed as the beginning of when indigenous Filipino culture was replaced by Spanish culture, and when colonial mentality or internalized oppression began to develop.

Chapter 3 – Hollywood: United States Colonialism.

The maltreatments and injustices Filipinos experienced under American rule are discussed as the time when attitudes of Filipino inferiority and American/Western superiority were further solidified in the minds of Filipinos. Similarities to the African American and American Indian experiences are also discussed.

Chapter 4 – Neocolonialism and Contemporary Oppression.

Filipinos’ long history within the United States (dating as far back as the mid-1500s), the early Filipinos’ experiences of oppression in the United States (circa early 1900s), and their experiences of contemporary forms of oppression within both the United States and the Philippines are discussed as reasons for how colonial mentality or internalized oppression have persisted through many generations.

Part 2 – The Aftermath.

Chapter 5 – Colonial Mentality: Psychological Impact of Colonialism

Classical colonial theory is described and manifestations of colonial mentality or internalized oppression among various groups throughout the world and various minority groups within the United States are discussed. The scientific measurement of colonial mentality or internalized oppression among Filipino -/ Americans is also described.

Chapter 6 – Automaticity of Colonial Mentality

A more subtle and scientifically-sound method of measuring colonial mentality or internalized oppression is described, and the theory that this phenomenon may exist and operate outside of awareness, intention, or control is supported by empirical data.

Chapter 7 – “Walang Kapwa”: The Loss of Indigenous Values

The core Filipino cultural value of Kapwa is described along with how it may be damaged among many Filipino -/ Americans because of colonial mentality or internalized oppression. This loss of Kapwa, which in the Filipino worldview is what makes a person a person, is considered to be the worst form of cultural loss. This chapter is a nod to Sikolohiyang Pilipino (Indigenous Filipino Psychology).

Chapter 8 – Colonial Mentality and the Filipino -/ American Identity

The Pilipino American Identity Development Model is described and extended by further contextualizing Filipino identity development within colonialism and contemporary oppression. More specifically, the chapter describes how colonial mentality or internalized oppression damages Kapwa and affects Filipino identity development.

Chapter 9 – Mental Health Implications of Colonial Mentality

This chapter describes several empirical studies suggesting that colonial mentality or internalized oppression may lead to various mental and behavioral health concerns such as low self-esteem, depression, suicide, alcohol and drug use, school drop-outs, and gang involvement, among other things.

Part 3 – Decolonization in a Modern World

Chapter 10 – Clinical Services for Colonial Mentality

This chapter uses the most popular theory in psychotherapy (Cognitive-Behavioral Theory or CBT) in conceptualizing and addressing colonial mentality or internalized oppression, with the hope that such a discussion will be more understandable and easily acceptable to service providers.

Chapter 11 – Filipino -/ American Decolonization Experience (FADE): FADE-ing Away Our Colonial Mentality

A year-long experience that integrates components of traditional clinical psychology practice (CBT) and community decolonization efforts is described. Narratives reflecting the process and results of such an experience are provided to serve as a decolonization model for other communities.

Chapter 12 – Postcolonial Psychological Research

How psychological research in non-western cultures were colonized and, thus, how psychological disciplines in such cultures also have colonial mentality are discussed. A conceptual framework for how various indigenous psychologies throughout the world need to develop and what the dominant Western psychology discipline need to do in order to develop a balanced global psychology is proposed.

Epilogue. Afterword , Kevin L. Nadal. Commentaries: Nilda Rimonte. Andre Philip Paves. Leny Mendoza Strobel. Aqpayuq James W. LaBelle, Sr.. Martin F. Manalansan IV. References. Glossary of Terms. Contributions. About the Author. Subject Index.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE ORIGINAL BOOK “Filipino -/ American Postcolonial Psychology” AND THE NEW “Brown Skin, White Minds”?

The publishing rights for the original book was picked up by a new publisher – Information Age Publishing – and is being re-titled to “Brown Skin, White Minds.” The original book is no longer being printed, which is the reason why whatever circulating copies of this book is still out there is pretty expensive. In a way, the original book is now a “collector’s item” and those of you who supported it now has a pretty valuable item in your hands. 🙂

Content-wise, the new “Brown Skin, White Minds” is 99% the same as the original book. The biggest difference between the two is that “Brown Skin, White Minds” has five commentaries from other scholars and community leaders, which are very powerful. The new publisher will also make the book available to more people around the world, and will allow the book to break into the academic market. “Brown Skin, White Minds” is still reasonably priced at $29.99 (paperback) and $49.99 (hardcover).

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About The Author

Executive Editor & Founder

Ligaya is the Executive Editor & Writer at She lives in NYC with her two dogs and spends her time reading, writing, collecting and buying books online and in safe haven, Strand Bookstore, watching her guilty tv show pleasure Vikings, and overdosing herself in coffee as a certified caffeine addict. Her book, Diwatahan: A Look Into the Precolonial Beliefs, Practices, Myths, & Folklore of the Philippines, is currently in progress and is scheduled to be published in Summer of 2017.

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