Faculty, students and alumni said the “Berkeley Scholars in the Philippines” exhibit highlights scholars David Barrows and Bernard Moses, who are known to have bolstered colonization of the Philippines.
The protest, initiated by student Alex Mabanta, argued that it should have recognized the men’s harmful legacies — seeing as their names were already being stripped from the university buildings.
In response to the outcry, the school added an addendum to the exhibit, however many people felt it was forced and they weren’t satisfied.
The student government has demanded that the university not only “acknowledge and apologize for the harms it perpetuates in surfacing the colonial period from the colonizers gaze,” but advocate for recognition and celebration every October as Filipino-American History Month. They also called for further commitment to campus resources to create a more inclusive environment for those of Filipino descent.
Catherine Ceniza Choy, a Filipino-American professor, said she was alarmed and disiturbed.
“What happened here at this exhibit is yet another example of the persistence of U.S. national amnesia about colonialism in the Philippines and the violence of that colonialism,” she said.
“There’s a way in which these representations also perpetuate how white American men specifically are historical agents and actors and that the Philippines’ peoples and Filipino Americans in the diaspora — we are of the past. We are not dynamic. We are not actors who are central in this history,” said Choy, pointing out Berkeley’s immense population of students and staff of Filipino descent.