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Archive for the ‘Filipino Americans’ Category

(Part One)

photo from New York Theatre Wire website

The following quote is from Dylan Rodriguez’s article “The Condition of Filipino Americanism: Global Americana as a Relation of Death”: [pdf]

At the nexus of a prevailing Filipino American discourse that celebrates the Filipino-American as a cooperative participant in the United States nation-building project sits an “unnamable violence” that masks the genocidal preconditions of “multiculturalist white supremacy to which this discourse unwittingly subscribes…It is as if being empowered through, and therefore more actively participating in the structures of U.S. state violence, white supremacy, and global economic and military dominance is something to be desired by Filipinos.

How could these acts of desiring what is in the colonizer’s economic and military interests, specifically on the part of Filipino elite, be explained? Especially when these colonizer interests run counter to their own?

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(Late reflections for Mother’s Day)

Of all the made-up commercial holidays, Mother’s Day, for me, is the least irritating. After all, if I was going to be guilted into blowing money on cards, flowers, and the obligatory brunch, at least it was going to be for Mom. So to moms everywhere, y’all rock.

And this goes double for the moms we do not celebrate on Mother’s Day — the ones  who get painted as fiscally and sexually irresponsible, the deviant  mothers who are subjected to discipline and sanction.

For decades, the deviant mother has served as a convenient scapegoat for state ills. As Anna  Marie Smith has observed, “the State lays the blame for poverty at the door of the deviant mother who is ideologically constructed as black, heterosexual, unmarried, and sexually precocious.” These are the mothers who are somehow painted as undeserving.

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And kamusta to all my regular online friends. Yes, all six of you 🙂

Wow, thanks for visiting and the wonderful conversations we’ve been having. I am learning a lot a lot from your insights, salamat for sharing.

I’m still thinking about many of the questions raised in discussions in Racialicious and at Womanist Musings. So in the coming weeks, I’ll be writing more about:

  • “double racialization” of Pinoy first-generation and second-generation immigrants
  • how  factors like religion affect one’s racialization experience
  • What does WOC mean? How do we form platforms for solidarity?
  • What does it mean to use “Third World” as a categorization?

I’ll be thinking more about these, and I hope you could drop by so we can continue the conversation.

Salamat!

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As we celebrated the eve of November 4th, I was struck by a comment from New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. He pointed out with pride the role of the Latino vote in Obama’s election. I wish I could say that about my fellow Filipinos.

And yes, I know, the Filipino vote is not monolithic. I am specifically talking about Filipinos like me, who have immigrated here in our adult lives. We’re working to make ends meet. Many of you are raising families, go to church every Sunday, support extended families back in the Philippines. The Philippines that would theoretically be a very red state if it could vote.

So yeah, there are lots of factors behind this particular Pinoy demographic’s support of McCain and Proposition 8, but I will dive into the one that presents the most challenges.

Filipinos can be quite forthcoming when talking about race. In news interviews in the Philippines and in Pinoy gatherings, many immigrant Pinoys have made it abundantly clear that their “discomfort” over Barack Obama is not due to the rumors that he’s an inexperienced, socialist, Muslim politician. Their discomfort is from Obama’s blackness.

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Please read professor black woman’s post about the continued exploitation of migrant farmworkers in California, then sign the UFW petition for farm workers’ rights.

For my fellow Pinoys, please remember that in 1965, led by Larry Itliong, Philip Vera-Cruz, and Pete Velasco, 1,500 Filipino farm workers went on strike in Delano, California. The agribusinesses responded by sending goons to beat the strikers, and by turning off the gas, electricity, and water in the labor camps. When the agribusinesses brought in Mexican laborers as replacements, Itliong turned to the Mexican National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), headed by Cesar Chavez.

Itliong’s group, the Filipino Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) and Chavez’s NFWA later merged to form the United Farm Workers of America.

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We have an image of human traffickers and slavers as a sleazy bunch operating in “uncivilized” regions of the world. But traffickers can also look like former ambassadors who live in swanky townhomes in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

This report details the story of Lauro Liboon Baja Jr., who along with his wife and daughter, are charged with trafficking, forced labor, peonage and racketeering. In exchange for a $4,000 fee, the Bajas promised Marichu Suarez Baoanan a position as a “personal employee,” travel and visa assistance, and help with finding Baoanan a nursing job in the US.

Instead, Baoanan was forced to work sixteen-hour days as a domestic servant in the five-story Upper East Side townhouse that served as the consular residence and office for the Philippine Mission to the UN. She worked seven days a week, was made to sleep in the cold basement with only a blanket for warmth, and was subject to verbal abuse whenever she asked about the promised nursing job.

Sadly, Baoanan’s case is not uncommon.

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In October 2007, Jocelyn Dulnuan was found dead with multiple stab wounds inside the Mississauga mansion where she worked as a live-in caretaker. She was 27 years old, a native of Ifugao province.

Jocelyn migrated through the Canadian government’s Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP), a program which has been heavily criticized by groups like the National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC). The group disputes investigators’ claims that Jocelyn’s death was an isolated incident, because the LCP’s restrictions put caregivers in danger. According to NAPWC executive director Cecili Diocson:

Under this program… Filipino women are allegedly forced to live in the homes of their employers for a 24-month period to perform domestic and caregiving work. . .

The intolerable violence committed against Jocelyn urges us to continue the fight to stop violence against our women and to scrap the anti-woman and racist Live-in Caregiver Program which gives the majority of our women no other choice but to enter Canada as modern-day slaves.”

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