Monday, December 31, 2012

Stereotypes: The Good POC vs. the Bad POC

ster·e·o·type [ster-ee-uh-tahyp, steer-] noun,verb, ster·e·o·typed, ster·e·o·typ·ing.
Sociology a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group (taken from

Stereotypes often put people of color into an awkward position of needing to overcome these stereotypes and a feeling of self-consciousness that white people have the privilege of not having to worry about.  A black person may feel self conscious just by having to make a choice between chicken and beef, and may simply choose the beef just because he may think he is perpetuating the stereotype mentioned in the horrible meme above.

In reality, stereotypes do appear in people of color and many are ashamed of it but really stereotypes are just a tool used by whiteness to split POC groups.  It pits the non-stereotypical POC against those who exhibit the stereotype of unwanted qualities.  It's all leading to the idea of assimilation and the need for POC to become more white in behavior and culture.

An example of the "Good POC vs. the BAD POC" is if you've ever heard the microaggression, "You're not like a typical ___ person" or "It's like you're not even ____" or some variation of it.  It means that you exhibited qualities that they deem fit to be in their presence when they would not enjoy spending time with anyone who looks like you because they exhibit unwanted characteristics.  Essentially, they're a racist.

It's a fight for assimilation and to assimilate means to be elevated and accepted by our oppressors but in reality we shouldn't be fighting against certain stereotypes but for people to embrace them as to not create this rift between groups of people.  And then stand up against the oppressors together.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Why you can't be racist toward White People

Whenever this topic comes up, white people and people of color alike get all up in arms about equality and being respectful, but racism is exactly as the infographic above states.  Most people see racism as someone simply calling someone names but racism lies within the power structure that backs up those words.

For example, if I call a white guy a "cracker".  Other than maybe getting his feelings hurt, there's nothing else that harms him.  I called him a name but what other effects does it have?  None.

But, if someone calls an undocumented immigrant an "illegal", there is a lot of power behind that word.  It upholds a system where this person is a criminal, doesn't belong and is all around a bad person.  And the use of this word can and has influenced people to hate them, discriminating against undocumented immigrants and creating laws and legislation to get rid of them and doing anything they can to prevent these people from succeeding.

The word holds so much power and influence, there is no way one can compare it to cracker.  I have no power to take away from this white person, but this white person has all the power in the world to make my life as difficult as it can be.  This is what racism is.  It's power combined with prejudice.

This is why reverse racism is a myth.  My words and actions cannot touch the power system that you have in place.  This is why affirmative action is so frowned upon.  It disrupts the system that allows whites to succeed over groups of color, threatening the power structure that they hold.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Campaigns of the Week

"An invisible population stepped forward on June 15, 2012, to stake its claim to the American Dream. On that day, President Obama declared that certain undocumented immigrants — a group simply labeled "illegal" by many — would not be subjected to deportation, under broad-ranging conditions. Suddenly the logjam of immigration reform shifted, as more than 1 million undocumented young people who had been in the country for the past five years found themselves with new opportunities. What is more, the sympathies of other groups of people who have undocumented relatives — and thus are mindful of their plight — may have clearly shifted to a President on a campaign for re-election, as evidenced by the preponderance of Hispanic and Asian-American voters casting their ballots for Obama. Chastened by the results of the vote, the GOP has warmed to a legislative fix, increasing chances of comprehensive reform." - Howard Chua-Eoan

What this means is that the struggles of the undocumented immigrant will not only be recognized by a prestigious and reputable publication but that these struggles are given the same recognition that people such as Martin Luther King Jr. were awarded, further highlighting the importance and historical significance of their overcoming these struggles.

Read our post on The US's Obligation to its Undocumented Residents

Sign Petition here: Justice for victims of the Tampakan Massacre! Cut U.S. military aid to the Philippines!

"Hold the 27th Infantry Battalion(IB) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and X-strata accountable for the October 18th slaying of Juvy Capion and her two sons in Tampakan, South Cotabato, Mindanao.  This is part of a continuing pattern of intimidation and impunity used by the Philippine military, which is supported by U.S. military aid to the Philippines, to violently suppress the growing opposition to aggressive mining development in the ancestral lands of the indigenous peoples of Mindanao." - Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines

To learn more:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Perspective from the Side of a Discouraging Teacher

Facing a class of at-risk students of color is a daunting task.  Most of them can be found in low-income neighborhoods.  A lot of the students are disengaged from school and don't want to participate in class.  They get up from their seats, talk over you and don't respect any of the classroom guidelines given to them.

I've been on the other side of the classroom for about two months now as an authority figure within the classroom.  An untrained teacher can spell doom for all the students in it.

"You are going to amount to nothing!"

The frustration was evident in her voice.  A brief silence swept across the class.  The pause was so brief you could have easily have gone on without noticing it.  The chatter began again.

Seeing the scenario unfold before me was difficult.  On one side, I felt the frustration of the teacher.  The sounds of thumping, yelling and laughter always filled the room to the brim.  Insults were always constantly thrown across the room, alongside the occasional pencil or notebook.  Racial remarks were made on all sides.  The tapping of pencils echoed throughout the room as every insulting statement was followed up by "YOLO!"

I felt for the teacher.  These students needed a kick in the ass.  But I really felt more compassion for the students.  This teacher was not prepared to handle a class with the needs that this class did.  And for this, all the students had to suffer and be insulted and belittled back.  While the teacher is frustrated and has the options of finding a new career or teaching different students, the rest of these students' lives are steered by the classes they are taking right now, resulting in their success or failure.

Neither the teacher or students are at fault.  The teacher is suited for different students and the students need a different teacher that knows how to handle their needs.  It's like putting a teacher trained in math and expecting them to excel as an English teacher.  They have no idea what they're doing and in turn, the students have no idea how to learn or function in that environment, resulting in a disastrous relationship.

The educational system is what is at fault here and more often than not, teachers really have no idea how to handle a class like that.  And often these partnerships are a result of a white savior mentality where a white teacher of a higher socio-economic background has seen Dangerous Minds and Freedom Writers one too many times.  They see themselves as the solution for these students of color's problems but don't really know where to start once they're in the classroom.

Teach for America is hugely responsible for promoting these thoughts to the white savior.  Teachers for TFA are more often than not, not from the same backgrounds as the students they teach, are not passionate about education, are unskilled and untrained, and have no idea what they are getting themselves into.

These students often want to see what they can become and more often than not, their teacher is not a person they can see themselves in.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Overt Racism

In my Ethnic Studies Social Science Methodologies class, one of my fellow classmates gave a presentation about how the Asian American pan-ethnic identity has transformed through the years. She acknowledged that "Asian American" was an identity that developed during the Asian American Movement of the late 1960s-early '70s, where Asian Americans united together through pan-ethnic lines in the fight for civil rights. Her research question centered around whether the "Asian American" identity could still be relevant today, and homegirl came to the conclusion that it was no longer needed because Asian Americans do not face "overt racism."

Wait, what?!

By "overt racism," she meant "institutional racism." You know, the type of racism that prohibits Asian Americans from sitting in the same section of a movie theater with whites, the racism that forced hundreds of Japanese Americans to leave their homes and become incarcerated in concentration camps. Just because there are no longer any laws that segregate and legalize the discrimination of Asian Americans, my classmate believes that Asian Americans no longer face "overt racism."

First of all, racism is racism. Whether openly shown or not, there's no denying that Asian Americans and other people of color are subject to violent and discriminatory actions everyday merely because of the color of our skin. Do y'all remember Alexandra Wallace? Some people argued that her video complaining about Asians in the library was not racist at all, that Asians are truly loud and there are too many of them in the university. Not only does this view reinforce and support Asian stereotypes, but it also promotes hate and condescending attitudes towards Asian/Asian American students and anti-Asian sentiments.

Secondly, institutional racism still exists today. For instance, if you were to disaggregate the Asian/Asian American category in university admissions, you would see that a number of minority Asian groups are marginalized and under represented. For instance, Pilipin@s only make up around 3% of UC Berkeley's undergraduate population, even though we are the second largest population of Asians in the United States. Even though there are no laws that explicitly say that Pilipin@s should not attend university, this country's refusal to establish affirmative action programs prevents Pilipin@s and other disadvantaged groups from pursuing higher education. This is institutional racism--the fact that institutions like the educational system do not support the recruitment of students of color into higher education.

Even though many Asian Americans have become successful in the United States, there's no denying the fact that racism is still a big issue in our community. Whether it's hidden under the guise of the model minority myth or openly visible like the racial slurs written on Jeremy Lin's Facebook page, racism is racism, and the more we deny our oppression, the more our tolerance for it grows.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

No Matter Who Wins the Elections, the People Must Continue Organizing for Genuine Change—BAYAN-USA

Press Statement
November 5, 2012

Reference: Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson, BAYAN USA, email:

No Matter Who Wins the Elections, the People Must Continue Organizing for Genuine Change—BAYAN-USA 

As the corporate media zeroes in on the 2012 US Presidential election, which will determine who will assume the role of the main spokesperson and commander-in-chief for the largest imperialist superpower since the turn of the 20th century, people's resistance against the US government's foreign and domestic policies continues both around the world and within the United States itself. BAYAN-USA, an alliance of 18 Filipino-American organizations across the US working for social and economic equity, asserts that, no matter who wins this year's US presidential election, people in the US must organize and fight for real and lasting social change and not rely on traditional Washington politics.

On US Foreign Policy

In the midst of the worsening global economic crisis spawned by imperialism's neoliberal economic agenda, the two US presidential candidates and their political parties may represent different factions of the US ruling elite, but they both loyally serve the interests of the powerful 1%. Both have committed to intensifying the US neoliberal economic offensive abroad, through such tools as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), which would aggressively expand a US-dominated free trade zone in the Pacific Rim a la NAFTA.

At the same time, both candidates intend to maintain or even accelerate US military aggression under the camouflage of national defense. Both support US drone attacks against innocent civilians and intend to maintain brutal US military occupations in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, while consolidating military control over the Asia-Pacific region. The two candidates antagonistically referred to China a combined 32 times during the last presidential debate’s 90-minute span, pointing to the increased importance of the Asia-Pacific region to the imperialist objectives of both parties.

For over 100 years, presidents from both the Democrat and Republican parties have used the Philippines as a reliable overseas military hub for the projection of US military might, a dumping ground for cheap surplus US goods, and a source of cheap labor and natural resources. From the Filipino people's perspective, both candidates will perpetuate the US State Department's goal of maintaining the Philippines as a loyal neo-colony in the Asia-Pacific. Under the guise of “military training and mutual support,” whoever wins on November 6 will still also adhere to Washington's pursuit of counterinsurgency operations in the Philippines aimed to suppress people's movements for democracy and genuine national sovereignty. 

On US Domestic Policy

Both candidates plan to maintain a war-dependent US economy and to continue funneling billions of public funds into defense spending rather than into domestic industrial job creation, education, healthcare, housing, and other social services. In the name of national defense, both candidates remain uncritical of a growing wave of repressive and unconstitutional legislation in the US, such as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and state immigration laws such as Arizona's SB 1070.

By pledging to continue neoliberal policies that will drive more people to migrate to the US due to economic desperation, both candidates have abandoned any pretense about overhauling the US immigration system. The system as it stands seeks to divide the working class by creating a surplus of foreign and largely undocumented labor in the US to be exploited by big business for maximum profitability.

Filipinos comprise one of the largest and fastest-growing immigrant groups in the US. Most are new immigrant wage workers and one out of four are undocumented. Many cases of labor trafficking have surfaced in the Filipino community, including stories of migrant workers who arrived in the US with H1-B temporary visas but then were forced into undocumented status by their employers. Despite the optimism surrounding President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) initiative, it still leaves out significant portions of the undocumented immigrant population, offers limited reprieve, is a long and expensive bureaucratic process, and criminalizes immigrants.

Like the vast majority of those affected by the economic crisis in the US, Filipinos are part of the 99% fighting for greater socio-economic equity. In order to create change, this fight must continue past US elections and remain primarily based on the streets. 

People Power

History proves that fundamental social change is never borne out of the ballot box. Women's suffrage, civil rights for African-Americans, and even the defeat of the 2005 Sensenbrenner Bill all came from people's struggle in the trenches built by years of community organizing. If we want to realize our vision of all people--in the US and worldwide--having a decent standard of living, full employment, adequate and humane working and social conditions, and dignified standards for health, education and housing, we must continue the struggle against US imperialism.  Let us be inspired by examples such as the Arab Spring, the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, Latin American social movements, the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa, worker and anti-austerity strikes in Europe, and continuing people's revolutions of US neocolonies throughout Africa and Asia. Let us also build strong solidarity ties among struggles abroad, within the US and with the Filipino people’s fight for national democracy. Let us develop a people's platform for change that can unite our communities in the US. Let us embody the true essence of people power and keep up the fight in the parliament of the streets.


Friday, November 2, 2012

"What kind of Asian are you?"

"What kind of Asian are you?"

One of my students asked me this as she bowed her head down in shame covering her eyes.

She was ashamed.  She knew it wasn't right.  Her hands covered her eyes, attempting to hide her discomfort at the dreaded question.  Her curiosity had gotten the better of her and she had to ask.

The white people at the table held a collective groan.

Her teacher tried to alleviate the situation.

"No, ask where your family is from."

"America."  I responded that we are from America.

The perpetual foreigner stereotype lives on as strong as ever today.  What is it about me that says I'm not from the United States?  Is it my slanted eyes?  Is it the brownness of my skin?  Why is it assumed that I'm not from here?

Yes, I was born in the Philippines, a country many people know absolutely nothing about despite having had American influence injected in it since the early 1900's and despite us being the second largest Asian immigrant group in the United States.  I've lived in this country for 19 of my 21 years and I'm still not accepted as being part of the United States population.

The perception of Asian Americans is that we are all still outsiders to this country.  We are all viewed as not belonging here.  There's something about being an Asian that makes people assume that you are not from the United States despite our presence in the United States since the 1500's.

"Are you permanent?"

My co-worker is on a student visa in the United States from South Korea.  In response I was asked if I was permanent.  Am I permanent?  I obtained my US citizenship when I was in 6th grade.  I have lived here for 19 years.  I'm here to stay.  I am an American.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

National Women's Day of Protest

Today is the Philippine Women's Day of Protest. On October 28, 1983, hundreds of Pilipino women took their struggle to the streets after Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in the Philippines. Pilipino women contributed heavily in dismantling Marcos's dictatorship. They showed the world just how militant and revolutionary Pilipino women can be. Lorena Barros, a Pilipina activist who established the all-women's organization, Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (MAKIBAKA), put it this way:
The new woman, the new Filipina, is first and foremost a militant. The new Filipina is one who can stay whole nights with striking workers, learning from them the social realities which her bourgeois education has kept from her. She is a woman who has discovered the exalting realm of responsibility, a woman fully engaged in the making of history. No longer is she a woman-for-marriage, but more and more a woman-for-action.
A year later, GABRIELA, named after Gabriela Silang, the Pilipino woman who led a revolt against Spanish colonizers, was established. GABRIELA, along with Anakbayan, the League of Filipino Students, and other organizations that fight for the advancement of the National Democratic Movement of the Philippines, continue to arouse, organize, and mobilize the masses to stop the extrajudicial killings and forced kidnappings, overturn the recent Cyber Crime Prevention Act, get justice for overseas Pilipino workers who experience harsh working conditions, and all-in-all liberate the Philippines from the corrupt and unjust government. Take this day to remember all the activists who fought to eradicate martial law. Take this day to remember all the women who were killed, kidnapped, raped, and tortured while they were fighting for their people. Take this day to educate yourselves about what's really going on in the Philippines and help extend the Pilipino women's mass movement.

(Note: This post was also written for Maria's Pinay Power Daily blog.)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fun Fact Friday: Tampakan Massacre, Oct. 18, 2012

Juvy (bottom row, center) and her son
(bottom row, left) were victims of the massacre.
The indigenous B'laan community has long been in opposition to the mining operations of Sagittarius Mines Inc (SMI) on their ancestral lands, not having given them permission to destroy their land.  They have long been fighting to keep their land, with Daguil Capion leading two attacks on the miners.

On October 18, 2012, Capion's wife, Juvy, and two sons were killed in a military raid of the village of Bong Mal in Tampakan, South Cotabao.  One of his daughters was also injured.

The morning of October 18, the 27th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army entered the house and gunfire was heard throughout the village.  Entering the house, Erita, Capion's sister, described the blood and brain matter splattered all around the house, leaving the bodies unrecognizable.

The military did not allow them to claim the remains of the victims and dragged and lined up their bodies, bringing them outside of the house, opposing the traditions of the B'laan people.

Way to celebrate Indigenous People's Month right?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How to NOT be Racist on Halloween

In 7 days will come Halloween, a day full of ghosts, goblins, and a LOT of racist costumes.  Cultural appropriation is the number one crime committed during Halloween.  So here's how to not be racist on Halloween.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Number Crunching

Jeff Tedford
Ever wondered how much money your professor actually makes? How about your advisors? The admin staff at Financial Aid you always bug in the beginning of the year? The food servers at the dining commons?

Luckily for you, there's a website dedicated solely to bringing transparency to compensation at the UC. Below are some key personnel from Berkeley and their gross pay from the 2011 calendar year:

  • Robert Reich, Professor of Public Policy and former Secretary of Labor - $235,791
  • Robert Birgeneau, Chancellor - $445,716
  • Jeff Tedford, Football Coach - $2,884,880

Is Cal winning any games this year? I haven't even paid attention. That seven-figure salary makes me think I should be more invested, though. is your destination for all UC employee compensation information. Click on the drop-down menu labeled "Location" to pick a campus (or if you feel like brandishing a pitchfork, pick UCOP), and enter the first and last names of an employee.

Get ready to waste hours snooping on people's salaries. Yes, even mine.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fun Fact Friday: The International Hotel

A low-cost residential hotel located on Kearny and Jackson, the I-Hotel was all that was left of SF Manilatown after years of “urban renewal” pushed hundreds of homes and businesses away from this area in the late 1970s. Even though this building seemed old, derelict, and dilapidated, it was home to 150 Pilipino and Chinese tenants, most of whom were senior citizens. Almost all the tenants had been living in the I-Hotel for several years and at only $50 a month, the I-Hotel was the only place that offered affordable rent and a community for them to be a part of. So when the first eviction notice was given in 1968, residents, community organizers, and community members immediately responded with protests and demonstrations—it became a movement not only to save the I-Hotel, but a battle for affordable housing and to halt the “urban renewal” occurring in the area.

The residents were incredibly active in the fight for the I-Hotel. Many stood outside the hotel picketing, some rallied outside of Portsmouth Square, and many shared their stories to the public, spreading the word about the injustice they were facing. Even though they were perceived as old, uneducated, and weak, the residents of the I-Hotel were anything but. They were politically active, self-determinant, and resilient. They were activists, advocators, and organizers—an inspiration to the surrounding community. Prominent community members like the poet Al Robles and community organizations like the Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA) from Berkeley joined the fight and soon, the residents of the I-Hotel had mobilized a gigantic group of supporters. Because of their ongoing activism and resilience, the eviction was stalled for nine years.

In 1977, the police were mandated to carry out the eviction. On that night, hundreds of supporters formed a human barricade outside the hotel, protecting the residents, protecting the community, and protecting years of community building and hystory that had gone on in the hotel. Unfortunately, the police was able to break through the barricade, enter the hotel, and evict the tenants that remained. The I-Hotel was then destroyed and although the site was intended to become a parking lot, it was untouched until 2003, when construction finally began for a new I-Hotel, a new low-cost residential project. The new I-Hotel sits in the same spot—Kearny and Jackson—and it serves the same people—senior citizens and the surrounding community. The ground floor of the new I-Hotel was turned into a community center and gallery, where visitors can view Pilipino-American artwork, commemorations of the I-Hotel, and even see brick from the original I-Hotel hanging on the wall. Even though the original I-Hotel has gone and a new one has been built on its foundation, the stories of the residents still resonate within the Asian American Movement. The fight for affordable housing and the fight to retain our community and hystory is an ongoing struggle we face and like the residents of the I-Hotel, we must be strong, united, and self-determinant.

(Note: Maria previously wrote this article for her blog, Asian American Activism.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The US's Obligation to its Undocumented Residents

Undocumented students of California and the United States have been getting some good news with the California DREAM Act and Deferred Action being passed in recent years, but the reality of the situation still exists: they all still run the risk of deportation, something Obama has promised to stop but in reality has actually increased.

And Barack Obama is still deporting a massive amount of people and there are large numbers of people who believe that these people should not be here. Little do they know that it's the US's fault to begin with.

The United States has a huge ego. It believes that it has the massive obligation to spread its awesomeness to other countries by essentially telling their people that they are uncivilized little brown people. Yup, it's all colonization's fault.

The United States' idea of "benevolent assimilation" included the introduction of capitalism and the global market.  This lead to the mass amount of wealth in the country to be carried by a very small percentage of the population.  The introduction of the global market also paves the way for exploiting the local people with outsourced jobs and sweat shops paying well under our standards of minimum wage.  These, along with many other factors, led to the widespread poverty and a weak economy.

The United States also put themselves on a pedestal, westernizing as many countries as they can, creating a desire to become more "Americanized" and to live in the United States.  Combined with the poverty they created, this is the perfect formula to create widespread desire and sometime desperation to immigrate to the United States.  Though this obligation is relatively unseen by many Americans, it exists..  The effects of colonialism today are ignored and the citizens of these victimized countries are constantly blamed and degraded when the United Stated owes them so much for all of the atrocities they committed upon the people.  The lasting effects of colonialism are subtle but are widespread and have a greater effect on the world than many seem to notice.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

We're on Facebook!

We're now on facebook!  Remember to like us for regular updates on our blog and for relevant articles in the media.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fun Fact Friday: US Waterboarding in the Philippines

During the Philippine-American War, or the "Philippine Insurrection" as falsely stated by US textbooks, allegations of US military atrocities began to appear in the United States from concerned soldiers, who of course requested anonymity.

One of the allegations was the use of the "water cure", where prisoners were forced to intake large amounts of water to extract confessions.  This practice along with evidence of "reconcentration" camps and massacres created public condemnation of the war.

The American military was on the defensive and William Howard Taft even stated that some Pilipinos had asked to be tortured so that their confessions looked to have been forced out of them.  Some claimed that Pilipinos performed it on each other and brought "evidence" of how uncivilized the Pilipino soldiers were, claiming that civil warfare was not in order because the enemy was not "civilized".

Monday, October 8, 2012

Indigenous People's Day (Columbus Day for the colonizers)

Today marks the day that Christopher Columbus began his onslaught against the indigenous groups of the United States.  This day is marked to "celebrate" the "discovery" of America, which, by default, celebrates the mass genocide of the Native Americans in the pursuit of colonizing their land.  Not cool.

Columbus is the one who created lasting contact between the Americas and Europe, spreading disease and creating pandemics.  They enslaved the native peoples and systematically killed whole ethnic groups.  He introduced these people to Europe and destroyed the way of life they once knew.

This movement for Indigenous People's Day was started in Berkeley, CA in 1992 and is meant to be a counter celebration to Columbus Day.  The renaming of Columbus Day has moved to other cities and some have taken up the name Native American Day.  Some cities even name the day after their own indigenous ethnic groups.  Conservative groups consider this renaming as revisionist history but considering everything the United States has revised and excluded from our knowledge, this is simply the opposite.  It's the truth.

Do you celebrate Indigenous People's Day or Columbus Day?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fun Fact Friday: St. Louis World's Fair

Often being taught in text books as a place where great inventions were revealed, the World's Fair came around at a time that the United States was rapidly expanding and acquiring territories and the Philippines was one of them.  Untold in text books though is that through these new territorial acquisitions, the United States created a "human zoo", an exhibit "showcasing" the people they "recruited" from these areas.

Over 1000 Pilipin@s, mostly from the indigenous tribes, showing the spectrum of Pilipin@s from "uncivilized" to "civilized".  The Igorots were a top attraction due to being labelled as dog eaters and being provided dogs to eat.  They performed their sacred songs and dances daily, reducing their meaning to nothing but entertainment for white masses.  They were giving their own Igorot "villages" to showcase how "primitive" they are.  Overall, the effect of the exhibit was to make the viewer feel superior to the "uncivilized" savage, showing the world their need for benevolent assimilation.


Hi folks, Maria here! I'd like to share a poem with y'all that I performed at a CalSLAM event called "Home is Where The Art Is." This piece is about the many struggles going on in the Philippines and what I hope to achieve as a poet and activist. I titled it, "Makibaka" which means "dare to struggle" in Tagalog. Hope y'all like!

Sharp “p”
Soft “i”s
And a long, distinct “a”
That rolls out from the back of your throat
Click, click
You type “Pilipina” into Google and what do you get?
Mail order brides
“Sexy Pinays!”
“Pilipinas Seeking Foreign Men!”
Dating sites
Eroticized images
Scantily clad
Posing for the foreign men
Who desire the ideal, submissive bride

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cyber Martial Law

In the Philippines today, the Cyber Crime Prevention Act of 2012 was passed which outlaws hacking, online trafficking, file sharing, and spamming.  The biggest reason this law is being actively opposed is that it outlaws "online libel".  Libel is defamation through written or printed words and this part of the law was added last minute by Vicente Sotto III.  There are no rules or regulations attached to their definition of libel, which would make it a free for all in deciding what is libel and what is not.  And those making those decisions are of course, the "leaders" of the nation, who would silence and criminalize all those who are in opposition with the government, government officials and those holding office. Look familiar?  Well, it does resemble the way that Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law upon the Philippines and silenced his opponents.  Fun stuff right?

Not only that, but those who are shown to be in agreement with the statement seen as "libelous" would also be persecuted.  Examples would be retweeting, liking on Facebook, reblogging on tumblr, etc.  So your own families in the Philippines could very well be in trouble.  Political activists have been disappearing and this law further elevates the power they have in making opposition disappear.

It also affects the educational system, that already teaches students to be westernized and to favor all things colonized, and further scaring students from thinking critically about the country they live in.  The government is trying to control their actions and thoughts and limit the exposure that these thoughts and ideas can get.  The Philippines is slowly losing its personal freedoms.

To learn more, check out:

To sign the petition:

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pilipin@ American Heritage Month and Indigenous People's Month

Today marks the beginning of Pilipin@ American Heritage Month, celebrating Pilipin@ and Pilipin@ Americans and the immense contributions we have given to the United States, contributions that are often overlooked and unknown, despite being officially recognized by the California Department of Education.  Started by FANHS (Filipino American National Historical Society) in 1998, October was chosen because it marks the anniversary of the first Pilipin@s to arrive in the United States.

It also marks the beginning of Indigenous People's Month in the Philippines, to help in the fight to preserve the indigenous cultures and traditions of the Philippines that have been under threat due to western colonialism, westernization, and globalization.

In honor of this month, we will be having Fun Fact Fridays to share the accomplishments of Pilipin@/Pilipin@ Americans and to spread awareness of the issues concerning the indigenous people of the Philippines.

To read up on the resolution to recognize Pilipin@ American Heritage Month:

To read up on the resolution to declare Indigenous People's Month:

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Asian and the Pauper

My parents came to visit me this weekend before I started my new job and they wanted to head to the city to go shopping and to visit one of their favorite food spots in the mall.  They decided to try out this Thai place.  The workers were brown skinned Asian folks and one would readily assume that they were Thai folks from obviously working at a Thai restaurant.  My dad went up and they said, "At ano para sa iyo?"  English translation: "And for you?"  But not in Thai... in Tagalog.  Yeah, you guessed it.  They were all Pilipin@.

Why this is problematic:

  1. This clumps all Asians and Asian Americans into one group, assuming that all Asian cultures and people are homogeneous, ignoring the diversity of Asian countries.  WE ARE NOT ALL THE SAME!
  2. This further makes the Pilipin@ community invisible.  Pilipin@s are the second largest Asian ethnic group in the United States and yet people know nothing about us but lumpia!  So that leaves us with the only option of posing as other ethnicities.  We gotta make money somehow and no one wants us represented.  Why can't we cook our own food?
  3. They were most likely OFWs (Overseas Filipin@ Workers), the Philippines' largest export.  While the OFWs themselves are not problematic (they just trying to make money for their families), the system they belong to is.  This is a whole 'nother blog post but plain and simple, the Philippines relies too much on OFWs to sustain the economy and the US exploits the hell out of them and then deports them.
There are many more reasons this is problematic and this has only scratched the list but it gives a glimpse into the attitude the US has toward Pilipin@ immigrants and expatriates and the Asian American community in general.  Funsies.