Document 43a: Filipino Tragedy Continues

The Philippine Review (Seattle), Vol.1, no. 10 (February 1931), 8.

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"Filipino Tragedy Continues"

Another scene of the Filipino tragedy on the Pacific Coast flared up in this little town of Kent, Washington, recently. In this scene twelve American young men enacted the usual role of a raiding party and raided several Filipinos sitting peaceful in a house rented by them from a Japanese farmer. Besides beating three of the Filipinos who were unable to run away from the unexpected attackers, they demolished some of the victims' furniture and robbed some of their belongings such as clothes, watches, money, and musical instruments.

The usual circumstances followed. Arrests were made as a matter of course and a little too late; their aiders were brought to trial at the instigation of the victims who were able to recover on time to testify in court; and the court took up the case in a brisk manner. The scene was completed. The judge handed the verdict of six months "suspended sentence in the county jail" to ten of the raiders who pleaded guilty, and the Filipino victims passed out of the courtroom amidst a contemptuous crowd of American people. By this time, perhaps most of those who have read the "news" of the raid have forgotten what it was all about, until another case turns up again.

So goes on the tragedy act after act and scene after scene...Past acts of the tragedy shown in the last three years are too sad to relate with their gruesome details. It is for us to mention the more serious ones to show that the tragedy should no longer be tolerated. For us in the State of Washington the recent Kent raid is the sixth since 1928...All these things put together present a pathetic picture which evokes a mixed feeling of indignation and hopelessness. No immediate remedy could be had at this time of depression. However a few things may be done to prevent the tragedy to get more serious. Filipinos who are planning to come to work here should be discouraged, at least for several months. A Filipino Labor Commissioner on the Pacific Coast might be able to avert labor troubles. Filipinos in this country should organize themselves against the discrimination, which is the source of much of the labor and social troubles.

Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest