I can’t speak for all Filipinos as anyone of an identity shouldn’t be expected (in general it’s a good idea, but we really should start using the noggins more than eyes about what is good for people). I’ve European heritage, have lived only in the US. I hash together vlogs about Filipino kids books I wish I knew existed as kid. I wrestle with my experience of the only Filipinos I know seeming incredibly reactionary and in what/who their interests are tied.
It’s difficult to come from a background whose poverty is fetisized not only by external paternal forces but those in our own culture, our individual selves. Pageants over policy. It describes not only what garners the retweets but what’s considered “pride.” Stick a flag emoji in your handle and share a video of sob story answering trivia.
I’d heard of bell hook’s Rock My Soul: Black People & Self-Esteem, and my mind would come back to it when I’d see such kind of contradictions. How can there be so much of this excitement for a people yet unwillingness for the betterment for the lesser statused of them? I don’t mean to take a black woman’s work and just insert myself into it, but 1) I’d have no idea where to turn for any kind of Filipino work like this 2) While specifics may be for black people, others can probably relate to more general themes and probably should connect how they’re related 3) That’s kind of what I intend to do.
1: Healing Wounded Hearts
In the opening chapter, bell hooks introduces why it’s no wonder black people may have “wounded” self-worth. Slavery and segregation have imposed observable white supremacist violence, but because self-esteem or the wellbeing of peoples’ souls aren’t very valued, the psychological impact of things like beauty standards and more namely, integration have not been studied and discussed.
2: Lasting Trauma
Although science has been a tool of racism that can be suspicious, mental health must be a part of liberation. Everyday violence reenacts trauma and without proper strategies that include decolonized thinking, healing can’t take place. hooks also critiques conservative blame and denial of black pain by noting their failure to connect ongoing trauma (like PTSD) to certain behavior and a perpetuation of racism by judging black people more harshly for this.
3: Ending the Shame That Binds
The shame of this chapter is that being (physically) ugly in white supremacist patriarchy. Shame conditions to intimidate especially vulnerable lower-statused people. The author wonders if black employment gains have come at the cost of psychological ones. Colonized minds value the imitation of acting and looking white.
I hate to bring this up but seeing as how white people have no problem, I’m reminded of mail-order brides. I can’t say the degree to which it’s encouraged culturally, but just from existing in the US, when you look at who is famous, who is rewarded, who has resources, who receives justice (who is denied), who is fawned over for doing the which actions, whose actions are met which such unmatched animosity, it’s easy to imagine the need to keep women impoverished financially and psychologically to pimp out for cheap labor. And how is this working out? Are we still getting beaten, raped, and stuffed into the backs of freezers? It’s no wonder that men that buy women stand with macho politicians.
4: Living With Integrity
Integrity is defined by Stephen Carter and Nathaniel Branden as being able to tell right and wrong and acting on it. Unfortunately, we live in a world where it seems like greed and other unethical behavior is rewarded. So to exist or even succeed, people must assimilate to bad behavior. However, if one comes from decolonized background, the imbalance of behavior and values create crisis and hypocrisy which Branden says is self-invalidating. There’s no integrity without honesty; lying spreads to other areas of one’s life.
I know it’d be nice and clean to end at chapter five, but this is already 600 words, and I’d like to include thoughts from the preface where hooks wonders why she and her siblings, who were more economically and academically privileged than their parents, were more psychologically fragile. I totally relate seeing my mother and others uproot their lives across the world, yet I have severe anxiety. I can only attribute it to Mom and at least one other woman I’m thinking of grew up in environments where everyone is literally family. Obviously, family is not synonymous with support, so I wonder about how toxic behavior is dealt.
I probably could’ve written a lot more but I read and didn’t write and already started 3 other books on here and don’t want so many posts on one book, so perhaps in the future when I re-read!