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Filipino Americans & the Trauma of Being Asian American: A Thread for #FAHM2019.

Being Filipino American means being marginalized within a marginalized group. It means not being Asian enough, while knowing you’re not Latinx or Black, even though you may relate better w/ them.
The first time I learned I was Asian American was when I was in high school. There was an API student club, & I thought I could join because of the PI part. I’d later find many Filipinos felt more PI than A. But I’d also learn PI should be reserved for actual Pacific Islanders.
Prior to this, I was always *only* Filipino/Fil-Am. In California, we’ve had our own box since 1988. Plus, we had unique history of oppression & discrimination within US and AsianAm history. I never felt Asian because I was never treated as Asian. I was treated as a Filipino.
In ‘99, when I was president of @KababayanUCI , we officially broke away from the APSA group and formed our own umbrella group. Filipinos at @UCIrvine had a rich history & deserved our own funding, resources, & recognition. There was backlash, but we persisted. Alyansa does too.
In my Asian American Studies classes at @UCIrvine, Filipino American history was always an afterthought. I legit learned more #FilipinoAmericanHistory in my Chicano Latino Studies classes. I learned how this anti-Pin@y marginalization was not new; it was historic and systemic.
I published Filipino American Identity Development in ‘04 - how many Filipinos didn’t identify as Asian & have historically identified more w/ Black, Latin@s, & Pacific Islanders. I published Fil-Am Psychology in ‘09; thousands of copies sold. I guess Filipin@s related w/ me.
In ‘10 @ejrdavid & I started @FilAmPsych to convene Filipino American Psychologists. I also became a @fanhs_national Trustee. I found my homes. I’d never have to explain or scream for visibility. I’d always feel understood. We all knew what this marginalization was like. #Kapwa
Even as President of @AAPAonline, I always felt marginalized. I was often the angry brown person & lone voice. In advocating for inclusion, I’d usually be met with silence. Thus, a president of underrepresented group means nothing if system is strong & embedded. Hi @BarackObama!
East Asians have often said same things White people say to me: “Why always focus on our differences?” “Can’t you be happy about anything?” “I have no implicit bias” “I treat everyone the same.” “Things are different than they were before.” I am often gaslit. #BrownAsiansExist
This is been my experience in most pan-Asian orgs. #BrownAsians are invisible, invalidated, or tokenized, w/o addressing the East Asian system persistent though time. I’ve cancelled all memberships to each of these; it doesn’t solve problem, but is better for my mental health.
It reminds me of something @imaniperry writes about White people (which I feel similarly about). But I also feel similarly about East Asians. I love lots of East Asian people. But I do not love East Asian systems. I do not love how Filipinos are oppressed in these systems.
When I call out an East Asian on their anti-Filipinoness, they must know they are not the first & are part of a system. Anytime they are silent about our oppressive realities, they are complicit to the system. Anytime they gaslight us or other Brown Asians, they retraumatize us.
When East Asians say affirmative action is anti-Asian, they do not take into account that Filipinos & Southeast Asians actually benefit from affirmative action. In doing so, they take away our access, in order to give themselves more. That sounds pretty much like Whiteness to me.
STOP ERASING US!!! Filipinos were first Asians in America, not Chinese. Filipino Farmworkers were first to strike before - & then with -Chicanos. Filipinos fought in WWII alongside US soldiers. Filipinos fought for Ethnic Studies, alongside East Asians. #FilipinoAmericanHistory
Ps. While you’re here, Happy Filipino American HISTORY Month (not Heritage). There’s an important distinction between the two concepts; please read about it here. #FAHM2019 #FilipinoAmericanHistoryMonth
Want to learn more about the history of Brown Asian marginalization and East Asian dominance within Asian American communities? Here is my recent article on the Brown Asian American Movement. #BrownAsiansExist #FAHM2019 #FAHM #PinoyPower researchgate.net/publication/33…
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