Mabuhay readers, alam mo kung anong oras na?
October is Filipino-American History Month. While I would like to just share a few Filipino brands like my last post for Hispanic Heritage Month, since it is my… community, this would just not be the blog of me and my heated aries self if I did not Get Into It.
Maybe it would’ve been different if I’d grown up somewhere with a larger population, but the sights are of exploitation— WWII, lightening creams, submissive wives, travel brochures (the OG travel bloggers). Maybe not. I’ve had a draft for a while about my reaction to Invocation to Daughters by Barbara Jane Reyes. Right now it starts with how I never really had any Filipino friends much less any interested in politics or organizing. I don’t have path to follow or support to create one. Sure, light-skinned and mixed white celebs can grace the cover of Philippines magazine, but does that make me proud? Do all of these compliant party hosts that dance to not step on any toes help us?
When Janet Mock was on The Daily Show, Noah mentioned how a friend cried seeing the latest Wonder Woman film. I can’t relate to that, but I think of only finding Ruby Ibarra this year, how she’s the first angry Filipina I’ve seen. I cry when I see her “make it” onto television.
If I were some fucking weird (Fil-)Am that romanticizes brown poverty, I’d say some shit like, “My mother’s house was always brimming with lumpia for all of the neighborhood, lumpia, karaoke, simple, giving, simple (maybe some sort of accent joke)…” But my mom’s apartment smells like cat piss, and she turns down invites now because cooking is actually expensive, and her work is cutting not just hours but days. There are only so many hours in those, so I don’t really follow data that much, but statistically, I don’t think Fil-Ams are disenfranchised in the same way as other minorities. So it’s just seems real toothless to me when people don iconography when they could just tell their parents that Trump is a shithead, blackface is racist, and bakla people aren’t a joke. Not only do I gotta proactively sniff out those that get a whiff of “other” in the air, but now I gotta keep my guard up the other way about fellas flexing but are just as volatile as the other side when you point these things out.
Obviously we should be able to live our lives without having to be advocates for them and those of our families, without having to spend every waking moment dedicated to educating and mobilizing against injustice. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying Pinoy performers on reality competitions or cutesy prints like from Gunita Designs. But there’s a taste on my tongue that tells me people think shouting pride the loudest can garner reward from even the most slightly famous. And no matter how much you looooovee sinigang, it’s a bitter flavor.
Hopefully I don’t come off as a certain Fil-Am Fox News anchor (or whatever she is). While I think there should be more critical thought about “pride,” I truly despise mixed white, 1st gen, or anyone else approximate to privilege using it punch down. I’d elaborate, but let’s just say such limits can be alienating. That’s why no matter how much oldies complain or how stressful social media can be, I’m honestly thankful for the Internet because it’s allowed me to see Fil-Am organizations like Anakbayan-USA, Bayan USA, and Gabriela USA, their work and ideas. I can see Arkipelago Books offer more than just travel books!!! And even if I can’t afford them all, I can use this system my library has where I can borrow books from other states. I may feel isolated, but I don’t feel alone.
I don’t know what one would call this. It’s not exactly a poem. IDK where the senses came from, but senses make up one’s perception which fit kind of nicely, no? It’s not exactly a celebration of Fil-Am history in general, but I’m part of history… And I managed to seek in a bunch of plugs for other people. So I am truly unstoppable, lmao. Can someone please tell my parents that? May we all buy a bunch from Arkipelago and dance at all the protests.