This past Monday, I was interviewed by a Hunter College student on how my identity as a Filipinx American Womxn impacts my political engagement. Her first question was “How do you define ‘politics?'” Thank goodness I had the questions beforehand because it took me a while to develop an answer. My definition is a long-winded response produced by my lifelong and on-going process: Continue reading
Today, the day after Election Day 2016 (one of the heaviest days of my life, I experienced the most genuine human interaction with strangers since I moved here over a year ago.
As I walked through Bed-Stuy to the subway (and really all day), I noticed that everyone was looking at everyone. When I first moved to the city, I developed a habit of greeting people because acknowledging people is important to fostering community. Unfortunately, gentrification is slowly shifting that culture. After the winter, I grew cold and my willingness to open up and acknowledge people decreased out of fear. Many experiences of cat calling and being followed made me wary of who I talk to. So I grew accustomed to having few daily human interactions despite constantly being surrounded by people.
Today, everyone was glancing at folks around them, as if to determine one’s political leanings from their eye contact. I noticed that most folks of color greeted me with assuring smiles and hellos, while most white folks kept their heads down as they blasted music or kept their nose in a book. Granted, this discrepancy is usually how my encounters are but today, folks seemed to be intentionally making efforts to acknowledge each other. Continue reading
Barely four months into his term, the new Philippine president, Duterte is making moves and shaking the world’s political landscape.
Duterte has become a tricky subject of conversation among my Filipinx family and peers here in the United States and with my family in the Philippines. My Facebook newsfeed is filled with articles about his sexist remarks and the Philippines’ recent suspicious drug-related extrajudicial killings (which are viewed by many as a consequence of his administration’s war on drugs).
I quickly dismissed him as a Trump-like character, doomed to bring the Philippines into a deeper level of corruption. It’s easy to do so. I’m miles away from my family’s homeland, this new president, his administration, and these killings. The majority of information I receive on his presidency is from the mixed perspectives of family members and U.S. and Philippine media, a majority of which, paint Duterte as a villainous threat to the current state of our world.
And when I heard about his move to break ties with the U.S., it was easy to dismiss him as crazy and a threat to the “peace” between the United States and the Philippines. Continue reading