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How “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” made me proud of my heritage

Mingle Media TV

If you haven’t watched “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”, you should.

It’s the type of comedic show that is unbelievably good at thinking outside the box. This series begins with Rebecca Bunch (portrayed by Rachel Bloom), a young and successful lawyer in her mid-twenties, who hates her life. Wondering if this is the happiest she can ever be, she runs into her ex-boyfriend from summer camp. She sees this as a sign to move on with her life, by literally moving to SoCal, where he lives. In turn, Rebecca starts a new life there, with undeniably quirky characters who will pull at your heartstrings, whilst she figures out who she is and how to win over her childhood sweetheart.

Fun fact? This entire series is a also a musical.

However, it’s not just the catchy tunes and shameless crude humor that has allowed me to really, really like the show; one of the most important themes integrated into the plotline is her love interest, Josh Chan (portrayed by Vincent Rodriguez III), and his ethnic background.

She makes a point of respecting his upbringing by learning about the language, the food and the lifestyle of his cultural background

He is Filipino. Now while that may not be a strikingly interesting fact at first, think about it: How often do we get an Asian male playing the lead role in a romantic comedy?

Josh Chan is a normal dude who works in retail at a tech shop. He grew up with a supportive Filipino family, and he’s got a passion for dancing. In one particular episode, Rebecca is invited to share Thanksgiving with his family. Feeling excited about this invitation, she makes a point of respecting his upbringing by learning about the language, the food and the lifestyle of his cultural background. HOW OFTEN DO YOU SEE THIS?

Now, you may be wondering why I’m so attached to this idea. As you may have guessed, I have Filipino roots myself – and let me tell you, growing up was difficult because of it. Back home in Montreal, Canada, where I was born – a lot of Filipino immigrants took on jobs as cleaners, nannies and nurses. People ridiculed me about my race because of these factors – when there should not have been any form of discrimination in the first place. I think one of the most shocking moments in my life was when I told a friend from college about my ethnic background. Her response? “Oh that’s cool, I have a Filipino.”

Have. A. Filipino.

That moment still resonates with me quite a bit, as I cannot fathom the amount of ignorance we have in this world. When I look at myself as a person, I truly believe that who I am is heavily influenced by my cultural upbringing. However, I am fully aware that whilst I value my own beliefs and traditions, it is absolutely important to learn about how other people were raised as well.

When I look at myself as a person, I truly believe that who I am is heavily influenced by my cultural upbringing

With a show like “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” that can take charge and combat the discrimination, ignorance and stereotypes, I have hope. Rebecca’s efforts to educate her viewers about Josh’s native background not only demonstrate a sign of respect for him and his family, but bring light to a culture that is often ignored in the Western World.

Rebecca tries cooking ‘Dinuguan’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzX02MM47GA

We have to take the time to remember that while we are all individually unique, and while we may have things in common, there are still so many wonderful things to learn about one another. Education is key no matter where you are. Beyond the classroom you can find voices and works of art that are willing to share new information about international cultures. We have a whole world of new ideas, talent and flavours to explore. Look for them. Create them. Learn from them.

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