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This Young Filipino's 1956 Debate Statement About Prejudice Is More Relevant Than Ever

The video, which has since gone viral, is something we all need to hear.
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YouTube, am I right? Most of the time, you get stuck down a nostalgic rabbit hole with suggested videos or sometimes you get cursed videos to watch late at night. On occasion, though, the platform gets it right. Such is the case with this recently unearthed high school exchange students' debate on prejudice from 1956 that popped up on several's suggested videos.

The participants in the debate were Raul Contreras from the Philippines, Yorik Konishi from Japan, Ratnati Iskandar de Nata from Indonesia, and Judith Reader from the United Kingdom. As the video uploader says, the conversation between the high school exchange students is engaging and insightful.

Here's what the young Filipino student had to say about liberty and justice:

In the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag, it mentions something about 'I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible under God, with liberty and justice for all.' Well, the last phrase just doesn't solve everything. I mean, with this segregation problem here and the discrimination against colored people, how in the world could you have liberty and justice for all?

In one of my hospitality periods, I didn't expect that kids would carry it that far. At the, well, privilege I should say, of attending one of the dances sponsored by one of the civic groups, and I just noticed, well, it was a big dancefloor, and all the white kids were assembled on the left side and the most, well, not strategic part of the ballroom were all the colored boys and girls were in there. And, I never saw a white boy asking a colored girl for a dance nor did I see a colored boy asking a white girl for a dance.

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Watch the clip below.

The upload, which has since gone viral, caught the attention of Kate Contreras who says the young Filipino was her father. She said: "Hi the Filipino guy was my father. Was so touched by all the comments and praises. And yes, he was extremely brilliant. Was shocked this video even existed."

On Twitter, the clip started a conversation as some users pointed out that Contreras' eloquence was something missing in today's Filipino youth. Many however defended kids today, saying, "I’d beg to differ. I've seen children his age participate in Debate Societies in the Philippines and speak as eloquently or more! The way this young man was an exceptional speaker, so are many in this generation."

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Watch the full 1956 high school exchange students' debate on prejudice below.

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Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor of Esquire Philippines.
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