Category Archives: Language

Decolonization: An Ethos

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

The Conversation Around “Filipinx”

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

Why I Speak English

The idea behind “English” was from an earlier poem I wrote called “Dad,” [comma intended] which was written in June 2013 for a writing workshop and open mic leading up to Queer pride.  The prompt was to write a letter to your dad, in light of father’s day.

In 2010, I was a first year at CUNY Hunter College.  I joined Pilipinos of Hunter (POH), to be part of a Filipino community.  I participated in a workshop called “Personal Migration” which was given by GABRIELA New York to see how our personal stories of migration are actually a part of the larger history of migration from the Philippines to the US.  The workshop made participants reflect on the attitudes, beliefs, and actions that our immigrant families have that are shaped by US imperialism’s domination over the politics, economy, military and culture of our people in the Philippines.

After that workshop, I began my journey to discover more about my roots by having conversations with my parents.  One day, I asked why my siblings and I did not grow up speaking Tagalog.  The question came from my wanting to connect with my dad who  spoke and understood English, but could not express himself as completely as he could in his dialect.  It was then that I found out that my older brother had speech problems at an age where you should already start speaking. It was concerning to my parents because my sister and I were already reading and talking and my brother, being the eldest out of the 3 of us, was not.  At the time, my parents were actually teaching us both English and Tagalog, so there was a short amount of time that I spoke and understood it as a child.  But because my brother was still having trouble speaking, the doctor said to to teach only one language to us so it wouldn’t be confusing. Continue reading