Hello my shameless readers. It’s near the end of July and I’m finally ready to share some writing again. Since my last post on the term Filipinx, I took time to reflect on the resulting online and offline conversations. I kept hearing the term “decolonized,” which got me thinking, am I decolonized?
Here’s where I’m at with my understanding:
Amongst my peers, decolonization refers to the process of mental and physical labor against the Western empires. Beyond that:
Decolonization is an ethos, a characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community. (S/O to my friend Veronica for introducing the term ethos to me). Decolonization is a dynamic way of being (because we humans are not static). It is a recognition of our colonized history and an intentional and impactful way of living one’s life to move us into a new era, one that is not centered on the systemic oppression of people to increase an empire’s wealth and power. Continue reading
DISCLAIMER: I write this post as a cis-gender womxn of the Filipin* diaspora with the intention that it uplifts a conversation that appears to be happening within the global Filipin* community in small pockets on the Internet. Please note, this post may have an uncomfortable impact for readers who identify as trans and/or as Filipinos living in the Philippines. I write this post — not to provide an answer to whether or not members of the global Filipin* community should self-identify as Filipinx — but rather to shed some light on my own process in understanding the term “Filipinx” and this ongoing conversation within our community, which I have had the privilege of witnessing and being a part of within my own circles.
This post has been nearly a month in the making. It’s taken many conversations and re-writes in an attempt to get to the heart of this on-going conversation and my own process. I hope that by sharing what I have learned and what I know, you find some peace within your own process.
When I started this blog, I intentionally chose to use “Filipinx” American because of a conversation I had with a non-binary Filipin* friend of mine a few months earlier. They had called me into a conversation about why I used the term Filipino in my Facebook posts given its oppressive connotations.
This conversation caused me to rethink how and why I use the term. I learned that though not initially how Filipino/Filipina were intended to be used, the two terms have 1) created a gender binary amongst the Filipin* diaspora community particularly within the U.S. context (from my personal observations within Filipin* diaspora spaces); thus, erasing the lived experiences of many gender-non-confirming Filipin* diaspora members and 2) similar to the term Latino, the term Filipino “assign masculinity as gender neutral when it isn’t.” Continue reading
I have never been a dalagang pilipina, the ideal chaste, modest Maria Clara-esque maiden seen as the epitome of womanhood in the Pilipinx popular imagination, and neither has my mother. We’ve both been accused by past lovers of “wanting to wear the pants” and I know that at less-confident post-failed-relationship points in my adult life I’ve questioned my own femininity, wishing to be softer, less strong-willed, to shine more dimly (these thoughts never lasted long because, F*CK THAT). Because my mom’s relationships never worked out. Because I felt doomed to recreate her patterns. She always attributed our proclivity to quick tempers and drama to our “Spanish blood” – when in fact I now know it has nothing to do with the colonizers, and everything to do with the indigenous warrior blood that runs through our veins, giving us fire and a strong sense of justice, a love of freedom, the willingness to stand up and die for our beliefs, unconquerable, without shame, walang hiya. Continue reading