Some Filipinos told critics to be cautious in their use of derogatory words to describe Alex Gonzaga after she drew flak over an icing-smearing incident.
Alex was in hot water after she smeared cake icing on a server’s forehead during her 35th party celebration. This moment was captured on video and shared on Dani Barretto’s Instagram Stories.
Dani had since removed this footage from her posts.
This incident prompted calls to respect service workers.
This also inspired PGAG, a popular digital content company posting memes and humorous videos, to release a parody version of Alex’s actions.
The team reimagined the server retaliating to the birthday celebrant after his forehead got smeared with cake icing.
Amid the online buzz, some Filipinos addressed critics who throw derogatory words “squatter” and “uneducated” at Alex.
They pointed out that these are often used slurs to insult and belittle people living in impoverished conditions.
“Reminder lang. Huwag gamitin as insult kay Alex Gonzaga yung ‘walang pinag-aralan’ o ‘squammy/ugaling squatter.’ Kasi maraming wala ngang pinag-aralan o nasa squatter ay mayroong respeto sa kapwa nila. Also, ‘squatter’ is a derogatory term,” one Twitter user said.
“Iyong inasal ni Alex Gonzaga, hindi ‘ugaling squatter’ ang tawag doon. Marami sa mga gaya kong laking squatter ang alam at naisasabuhay ang GMRC [good morals and right conduct]. Hindi rin pwedeng ‘ugaling walang pinag-aralan’ kasi hindi por que hindi nakapag-aral ay wala nang respeto,” another user tweeted.
The Filipino phrase “walang pinag-aralan” refers to people who did not receive or undergo formal education due to different circumstances.
The Philippine Statistics Authority, meanwhile, defines a squatter as “one who settles on the land of another without title or right or without the owner’s consent whether in urban or rural areas.”
The politically correct terms used for these individuals are “informal settlers” or “illegal settlers.”
The word “squammy” is a jargon usually seen in online conversations.
Using ADHD and autism as insults
A fellow at Brown University named Kevin Cuevas also addressed speculations that Alex might be suffering from a neurodevelopmental disorder.
Cuevas expressed this tweet given that he has both ADHD and autism.
“I have both ADHD and autism but I never do that to service workers. Let us not box people based on their illnesses. Let’s not do it to Alex Gonzaga, let us not do it to anybody,” he said.
“If they do wrong, attribute it to the person: not to the illness,” he added.
ADHD, which spells out “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder”, is a type of disorder that causes behavioral problems.
Mayo Clinic, a medical website, stated that these problems include “difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.”
Autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), meanwhile, is a disability that causes people to have “challenges” in supposedly normal human functions.
The American Psychiatric Association stated that people with autism have “persistent challenges with social communication, restricted interests, and repetitive behavior.”