Georgia and ‘No Filipinos Allowed’ on my mind | Inquirer
Emil Amok!

Georgia and ‘No Filipinos Allowed’ on my mind

/ 11:46 AM December 06, 2022
Georgia election: Vampires vs. Werewolves?

Georgia election: Vampires vs. Werewolves?

I used to go to visit family in Albany, not in California, but in Georgia, the deep south, hours from Atlanta in the southwest part of the state. They don’t have a Golden Gate Bridge. But my favorite tourist spot is in the  town square where a statue of native son Ray Charles sings “Georgia on My Mind.”

Tonight, I’m humming that tune and rooting for Georgians to make the right choice.


Rev. Rafael Warnock? Football Star Herschel Walker? No, Vampires vs. Werewolves. You heard that. Not donkey vs. Elephant. Vampires vs. Werewolves.

Last week, President Obama added to the list of why Herschel Walker was unfit for public office.

Obama mocked Walker saying the footballer was talking about issues of great importance to Georgia and the nation “like whether it’s better to be a vampire or a werewolf.” To which Obama confessed he had that debate himself when he was seven.

“As far as I’m concerned,” Obama said, “He can be anything he wants to be except a United States Senator.”

Immediately, I wondered whether Obama was making that up. It can’t be true, can it? Walker talking vampires or werewolves?

But there is this clip of Walker on the campaign trail. “Yeah, I was watching a stupid movie late night,” Walker said of a movie about vampires. “Let me tell you something I found out. A werewolf can kill a vampire. Did you know that? So I don’t want to be a vampire anymore, I want to be a werewolf.”

Yes, we don’t mind a little joking around. But this is for real.

The sad thing is Walker is more credible on this issue than he is when he parrots the anti-Biden talking points handed to him by Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp.

Walker is only sincere when he says he wants to be a werewolf. And that choice is clearly wrong.


You’ve got to be a vampire. Have you seen “Reginald the Vampire”?

Filipino vampire star

The star of “Reginald the Vampire” is a bald, fat and unlovable Filipino American guy who works at a slushie store, and who in an unusual set of circumstances, becomes a vampire and lovable.

A Filipino American Vampire? I am drawn to this show more than your new season of “White Lotus.”

This is brown Batalon. Jacob Batalon, the guy who plays Reginald.

I am admittedly late in the game singing the praises of Jacob Batalon. Forgive me, I love “Spider Man,” but I got lost in the franchise somewhere around Kirsten Dunst.

Kirsten Dunst?

So I missed the emergence of Batalon as the best-friend of Peter Parker a/k/a Spiderman, and didn’t realize the young actor was a “thing.”

Batalon is what you’d call a plus-sized Filipino from Hawaii, who in real life loves his loco-moco and ukulele.

This year, by accident, while watching the World Cup, there were numerous ads heralding a show with a bald, fat Asian guy. And of course that always perks up my interest. Then I find out he’s Filipino, and the star.

I only know general stuff about vampires. But the metaphor of a Filipino vampire works for me. We look young. forever. But Batalon is also different by being a fat vampire. Lizzo would not be a good vampire. The org would want her out.

It’s not enough to be Filipino. The struggle has evolved. You must also be a fat vampire. And that’s what makes Reginald so endearing. He’s a nice guy.  But he needs your blood.

I’m hooked. It’s on the SyFy channel on Wednesdays. And, coincidence of coincidence, Batalon and I share the same birthday.  And on top of that, it’s created by a guy I knew from college.

To Harley Peyton and Jacob Batalon, a toast of my reddest  homemade cran-beet juice. It was a sign. In Georgia, the vampires will beat the werewolves.

Okay, now back to serious things

To see a young Batalon rise in film and TV is inspirational for an older fellow like me who, when I was Batalon’s age, saw no roles for an emerging Filipino thespian. Not even in college, where I played the white guy in Black theater.

Filipinos are always in a battle for inclusion. Remember the sign that hung on a hotel door in Stockton, California in the 1930s that said “No Filipinos Allowed”?

We’ve got to keep walking through that door. Unless, a comeback is in the offing. And it could be.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the  303 Creative Ltd. Vs. Elenis on Monday, whereby a Colorado web designer, Lorie Smith, refuses to make wedding websites for LGBTQ couples because it infringes on the website designer’s artistic free speech.

The attorney general of Colorado has argued that a business open to the public must serve all of the public. That essentially was the conclusion in the high court after a similar 2018 ruling over wedding cakes in Colorado.

The wedding cakes were easy for the Supreme Court to rule on. But I guess they didn’t consider the scripted frosting and decorations on a cake as a First Amendment right.

It’s a different story for a wedding website. And now we have the insertion of the First Amendment rights of a business owner that would allow discrimination based on that owner’s free speech rights.

It could be the pathway to legal discrimination in the land. Think about how that would apply to private universities whose trustees and board members believe as the website maker does.

Are you ready for Affirmative Discrimination?

If the court upholds a website designer’s assertion, what is to stop a college, its administrators and professors from saying, they cannot teach or serve LGBTQ people on the First Amendment that include both free speech or religious grounds.

And, of course, why stop there? Too hypothetical for you?  Or too Many Pacquiao for you? (The boxer is a conservative Christian with anti-LGBTQ beliefs).

There were a lot of hypotheticals that came up  among the justices questions on Monday, which only revealed  a clear division between the conservatives and the liberals when it comes to religious freedom.

The court’s ruling is expected sometime next year. I don’t know how the justices will rule on this case. But we know how they ruled on abortion.

The ACLU, which heretofore has been absolutist on free speech rights for even the most odious, has reportedly released a statement that warns:

“If 303 Creative wins here, we will live in a world in which any business that has an expressive service can put a sign that says, ‘Women Not Served, Jews Not Served, Black People Not Served.”

Is that the world for us?

You better hope there are more vampires than werewolves in the Congress to offset whatever the conservative court might do.

Jacob Batalon is a sign to cheer. A return of a “No Filipinos allowed” sign is not.

NOTE: I will talk about this column and other matters on “Emil Amok’s Takeout,” my AAPI micro-talk show. Live @2p Pacific. Livestream on Facebook; my YouTube channel; and Twitter. Catch the recordings on

Emil Guillermo is an award-winning journalist and commentator. He writes a column for the North American bureau of

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