No Longer Ashamed

By Julie Jimenez, FINDink Contributor

 

I’m Asian American.

More specifically, I’m Filipino-American.

What does that mean?

To you?

To everyone else?

Most would probably say that being Filipino-American means your parents are Filipino, but you were born/naturalized in the United States.

But that’s so technical… It sounds almost genetic.

To me, being Filipino-American means you appreciate and respect the culture, the traditions, and value while also forming your own.

But the one word that can throw people off is “American.”

America.

The land of the free, am I right?

The land where minorities like Filipino-Americans are discriminated against, told to go back to “Fillipinoville”, and are made fun of for their accents, and their cuisine.

The land where Filipino-American women are fetishized, objectified, and seen as “exotic.”

The land where Filipino-Americans were once accused of taking White people’s jobs.

The land where Filipino-American men were framed for stealing White women from their White male counterparts.

The land where White men called Filipino-Americans uneducated and worthless.
Most people wouldn’t really know that Filipino-Americans were faced with racism in the past. It’s not something that’s really taught in history classes at school.  

But microaggressions and other racist comments are very much visible in today’s society.

These comments caused Filipino-Americans like myself to hide and try to assimilate with Westernized culture. I grew a distaste for certain Filipino dishes, and felt embarrassed in public when my mom’s accent would slip out.

My mom would have to buy other food for me because I didn’t want to eat Filipino food at school.

I felt ashamed of my culture. I was ashamed of who I was.
And I’m ashamed of that.

I was uncomfortable in my own skin. I wanted to have the fair skin of some of my classmates when I was younger.

I was afraid of people making comments about my identity. I was afraid of what people were thinking of me.

But once I got to high school, our population was so diverse. There was no majority race in my school. I began to accept myself because I felt safe around people of different cultures and different backgrounds.

I wasn’t ashamed to teach some Tagalog words to some of my friends or ask them to come over to my house to try different foods.

When I got to my university, I was terrified of adjustment.  My school is a PWI (Predominately White Institution), and I had a fear of losing touch with my culture again.

That’s when I discovered the Filipino Cultural Association at Towson University.
From that moment on, I didn’t regret going up to their table at the involvement fair.

After each meeting, I felt like I grew even more in touch with my heritage, and I honestly thank my parents every day for giving me the opportunity to share my culture with others here in the United States.

I’m proud to say that I’m Filipino-American, a child of immigrant parents.

I implore everyone to be proud of their culture. We must be proud of the color of our skin, we must be vigilant against hate against us and other minorities in this country (that includes White Supremacy). We must be proud of who we are, how we got here, and how we’re moving forward.
 


Disclaimer: The views of the author do not necessarily reflect the views of FIND, Inc.

A Shout from the Diaspora: Your Filipino-ness is Valid

By Czaerra Ucol, FINDink Contributor

As someone from another large metropolitan city, I actually didn’t expect the change of living in New York City to be a shock to my system. I already understood how to read the MTA map and how to avoid eye contact with someone selling their mixtape on the sidewalk, so I felt that I would be able to fit right in. However, I found myself interacting with a whole other community that I never had back home: Filipino people that grew up around other Filipino people. My boyfriend and his friends told me about a yearly summer camp they participated in where they would learn about Filipino culture and it was like a dream to me - Wet Hot American Summer but for Filipino kids? I’m there! The feeling of “not being Filipino enough” creeped up on me yet again. However, instead of the source being my own family members, this was because of my peers that I should have (and now do) feel more comfortable around.

I’ll provide a little rundown of my beloved hometown/region of the USA for those of you not familiar; While the percentage of Filipinos among total area population are comparable between the Chicago Metropolitan Area and New York/New Jersey (1.38% and 1.15%, respectively, according to the 2010 census), Illinois - and the Midwest in general - is just too big. As someone that lives in the city (Portage Park on the Northwest Side for anyone curious), I think it’s a fair observation to say that all the Filipino people I know live in the suburbs. My own theory is that new Filipino immigrants, much like the rest of you in the US that read/watch the news, are probably weary of “all the violence” taking place in my hometown, in addition to the rampant antiblackness in the community that plays into their fear of the South and Westside. This mentality is what I believe to be a large contributor in why the Filipino community in Chicago is so scattered. There’s practically cornfields between me and the next Filipino person I could possibly relate to. While there are yearly events like Piyesta Pinoy (shoutout to Filipinos In Alliance at University of Illinois-Chicago for letting me dance with them) that I can go to where I can enjoy watching people dance and sing, there’s nothing really comparable to Jersey City and Woodside, Queens. There’s no concrete place in the Midwest I can say matches the level of comradery - perhaps the recently-opened Seafood City which I worked at this summer. My longing for a Little Manila to visit within close proximity like my friends who ventured to Chinatown or K-town after class has been something I’ve wished for my whole life but never realized.

To better gauge feelings on “feeling Filipino enough” amongst my peers, I released a survey requesting that they share some of their experiences growing up without resources like a Filipino summer camp, or active community center in order to learn more about their culture. The general consensus seems to have begun actively pursuing their identity as a Filipino during their late high school/early college years. Many note that most of their high schools didn’t even have a Filipino club, and could only find a sense of community during an event like Simbang Gabi every December. But, as we are not a monolith in terms of religion either, the latter also alienated parts of our community. “I feel like I missed out on a lot growing up because of [embarrassment], like joining Filipino communities (although, one other reason why I rejected these communities was because they were church-based, but the popularity of Catholicism among Filipinos is a whole other thing that I grappled with),” writes Julia from Colonia, NJ.

Others mentioned their attempt at trying to fit in with other Asian people in their community who were non-Filipino; “I used to be so jealous of west coast Asians because they had a cool group of Asian friends. Looking in retrospect, I loved that I grew up in the Midwest. I have such a diverse friend group and I'm glad I didn't grow up in the infamous Asian bubble.” says Isabelle S. from Chicago, now attending college in California. Kyra Y, also from Chicago, writes, “As a Filipino person I hated when people try to define Filipinos as "somewhat Spanish" or "somewhat Asian" when Filipino is its own independent and fully developed race and culture.” Trying to fit in with these non-Filipino groups were even harder for others, as noted by respondents who are of mixed ethnicities. I think it’s interesting to note these early realizations of the complexity of the ethnic background of many of today’s Filipino population.

I think every respondent - and to a larger degree, the entirety of the Filipino-American community, will have some sort of resonance like I did with this quote from Paul* from Chicago, who wrote, “...I felt like a stranger when I lived back home in the Philippines and even then back here in America.”

The biggest thing to gather is that there is no one way of being Filipino. You don’t have to write for FINDINK. You don’t have to be good at tinikling. You don’t have to love balut. You don’t have to be a one-stop shop on current events in the Philippines for others. You don’t have to speak Tagalog. You don’t have to be fully, ethnically Filipino. You don’t have to attend Catholic Church every Sunday morning. You don’t have to go to your college’s Filipino club’s parties if you’re more introverted and/or not really into drinking. You don’t have to read every book Jose Rizal has written. After reading the responses to my survey and talking to many Filipino-Americans, I’ve come to realize something that could basically be the lesson of a Disney Channel Original Movie: You’re never alone in your struggle to find out who you are. Hell, Moana, Mulan, Hercules, and dozens of other children's’ films have already shown us that we’ll be successful in the end no matter the struggle. It’s pretty cheesy, but I refuse to be a gatekeeper for who is and isn’t Filipino, and no one else should be one either.

My basic rule of thumb: You have a right to your salient identity as a Filipino-American, and are able to claim that in any way that you want. In times like now, where many Filipinos claim that being colorblind is the best route to take in a world filled with hate-fueled speech and racist marches, we cannot ignore who we are. Through our colonized last names and “vaguely Asian” features, we carry our people’s history - and we should be proud, not fearful.

 

Thank you to everyone that participated in my survey!

*Name has been changed for anonymity reasons.

Disclaimer: The views of the author do not necessarily represent the views of FIND, Inc. 

The Call of the Times for Filipino Youth

By Chrissi Fabro, FINDink Contributor

On the morning of September 5th, I sat at my desk in my office job awaiting the Trump’s announcement regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Saddened to not be on the streets rallying alongside thousands of undocumented youth, their families, and allies, I decided to watch the actions live on Facebook.  As soon as I opened the video, a young woman, a DACA recipient, was crying on the bullhorn. I knew from that moment that DACA was repealed.

DACA is a program established through an executive action by the former President Barack Obama. It provided temporary relief to undocumented youth:  a 2 year protection from deportation and a work permit. DACA did not grant them a pathway to citizenship nor was it inclusive of their parents and families—which is entirely another conversation.

The repeal of DACA took all of that away. Despite this announcement, which now makes undocumented youth targets again for deportation and ICE raids, they refused "to go back into the shadows." Hundreds of undocumented youth, families, and supporters took to the streets outside Trump Tower to demand permanent protection, dignity, and respect for all 11 million undocumented people in this country. Completely led by undocumented youth and supported by their allies, about a dozen of them peacefully made their way to middle of the intersection outside the Trump Tower and, acknowledging the risks of arrest and deportation, sat down and held hands. Two of them,brother and sister, were people that I knew from community organizing.

It was an intense moment to watch. My heart raced for them as I listened to the sound of police sirens barge into the roar of chants.  The youth continued to sit on the street peacefully. The police came out of their vehicles and, one-by-one, arrested the whole line of youth. Supporters cheered them on and continued to chant "Undocumented and unafraid!"

Later that day, all of those arrested were released, undoubtedly from the pressure of supporters rallying outside as jail support.

I was extremely moved by the actions of these undocumented youth, who were so ready to put themselves at risk. Knowing the consequences, they conducted a civil disobedience action because there is nothing else that they could possibly lose in a country and its immigration system that refuses to recognize their humanity, a country that refuses to give them permanent protection, dignity, and respect, while benefits off of their exploited labor, while sends the military to bombs the countries from which they came in the first place.

The Impacts on Filipinos

There are more than four million Filipinos living in the United States with one million of them are undocumented.  Out of the four million, roughly 22 thousand were eligible to apply for DACA. With this, an estimated eight to ten thousand Filipino youth are directly affected by Trump’s termination of DACA.

Filipinos, like many migrants across the world, migrate for a better life for their families.  The conditions in the Philippines do not allow for our people to survive.  Many suffer poverty, landlessness, and lack of jobs or sufficient enough livelihood.  From the countrysides of the Philippines, farmers are forced to migrate to the cities to find work.  When they are unable to find work, they leave their families and migrate abroad.

Even while abroad, Filipino migrants continue to face exploitation.  The process of obtaining a job in other countries sometimes includes trafficking, and many workers do not realize they are being trafficked. If not trafficking, then wage theft and horrible working conditions.  Even with visas, the immigration system creates conditions for people to be trafficked.  There is barely support for migrant workers.  The cycle of exploitation continues until our communities are united to fight back.

The Call of the Times: Filipino Youth United for Change

Over the past several years, we have seen major attacks on marginalized communities. From Black Lives Matter against police brutality to Standing Rock fighting to protect and defend their indigenous people’s sacred lands to the ICE raids and deportations—we have seen people outraged by what injustices have plagued our world.  More recently, we have witnessed the Trump administration’s attacks on immigrant communities with the Muslim ban and the repeal of DACA.

These times of injustice have awakened the consciousness of many youth across the country.  In all of these social movements that are arising from injustice, we have seen youth at the forefront fighting for a brighter future for our world, where our communities no longer must suffer.  The times call on youth to be united to change the world for the better.

Filipino youth all over the country have been responding to the burning issues of our times.  To come together and take collective action will only strengthen our power to push for positive changes in our communities.  We have seen Filipino youth march in solidarity for black lives and black power.  We have seen Filipino youth stand in solidarity with Standing Rock.  We have seen Filipino youth express their outrage over the Trump administration and take to the streets.  We have seen Filipino youth alongside undocumented youth fighting for genuine immigration reform.

To build more unity among Filipino youth all over the US to channel our energy to positive changes, the Kabataan Alliance will be launched on October 1, 2017 as the national Filipino youth alliance dedicated to collectively advancing the rights and welfare of Filipinos in the US and abroad.  I encourage all youth to take part in this historical launch of the alliance It is only through engaging in collective action that youth are able to grow into the leaders that this world needs.

 

Disclaimer: The views of the author do not necessarily represent the views of FIND, Inc. 

A Taste of the Motherland

By Michael Marbella, FINDink Contributor

My companion for the night and I shared a look that spoke of our mutual debauchery: pupils glazed, nostrils flared, tongues hanging out ever so slightly—we hadn’t been prepared for the roller coaster of pleasures our night had in store. As my chest shook with each labored breath, he closed his eyes in a futile attempt to reclaim the pleasure that had cascaded over him like a wave….

And then our waiter cleared our plates.

We had just finished our dinner at Maharlika, Nicole DiPonseca’s Filipino bistro in the East Village. After downing three cocktails and splitting the Hangar Bistek (a soy and citrus marinated steak that was easily the tastiest piece of Filipino meat to ever enter my mouth) and Uni Palabok (an oceanic wet dream realized in rice noodles), I felt like being rolled out onto First Avenue like an errant armadillo. As my dining partner excused himself to take a phone call and I lapsed in and out of a neo-Filipino cuisine-induced food coma, I couldn’t help but think of food by another great Filipino woman: my Nanay.

***

Her name was Efigenia Carillo Llagas. She was my mother’s mother—a revered presence who flows through my family’s history like the waters of Bay, Laguna, the town in which she grew up. This legendary woman had little more than a 6th grade education but ran a 5-6 lending business and a wholesale beauty goods supplier to put my mother and her four older sisters through college; she had been in a church civics group with Ferdinand Marcos’s mother and  asked the mother of the Philippines’ most notorious dictator to act as a sponsor at my Auntie Lett’s wedding; and according to family legend, she refused to leave the house unless her hair was coiffed, her face was on, and her nails were manicured—which she demonstrated most adamantly at my grandfather’s funeral.

But according to my family, what my Nanay was best known for were her skills in the kitchen. Everyone mourns the recipes that died with her, the flavors of their childhoods: her Filipino paella made with yellow bomba rice, juicy pork chops, succulent mussels, and garlicky peas; her mechado, made the old way, with chunks of flank steak larded with slabs of pork fat and stewed in tomato sauce with potatoes, carrots, and onions; and her “kalimutan,” a dish named after the Tagalog word for “forget” because, according to my Auntie Neng, it was “so good that you would forget your name.”

Unfortunately, as the second-youngest of her eight grandchildren, my Nanay exists only at the haziest peripheries of my memory. When I was three, my mom and I made a visit home to bury my Tatay, her father. At this point, my Nanay was in a hospital bed with a feeding tube in her nose and an oxygen mask strapped to her face. But I can still make out her wispy blue-black hair, her tattooed-on eyebrows that looked like they’d been drawn on with a ruler, and the heavy-looking gold rings that adorned her pudgy, perfectly manicured fingers.

I know that to some, she sounds more like an actress in a Chinese opera than a Filipino grandmother. But I remember that when she looked at me, I could make out this spark of warmth that reminded me of the black glass eyes of a teddy bear but with a joy and tenderness that I’d only seen in my mother’s eyes before. So, I gently spooned Magnolia mango ice cream into her mouth and smiled back at her toothless grin.

***

Since that night at Maharlika, I’ve scoured my aunt’s cookbooks and the internet for anything that vaguely resembles my Nanay’s recipes.

And nothing felt quite right.

First, I turned to Nora Daza and The Maya Kitchen, my mom and my titas go-to guides when their knowledge of my Nanay’s recipes was lacking. Nora felt like she would be a useful starting point, given that she’d been considered an authority on Filipino cuisine since before my mom was in high school. But I found that her recipes erred toward the needs of housewives and daughters in the 60’s versus those of their mothers, so, I needed more information to help me flesh her ideas out into something that felt more like my Nanay’s. So, like any millennial with decent Wi-Fi, I turned to the internet.

What I found was helpful but not much better: contemporary Filipino food bloggers offered ways to reinvent the rice-covered, vinegar-soaked wheel, something I’m totally on-board with (as my trip to Makarlika demonstrates). But rather than traveling on a new path, I wanted to go where my grandmother’s cuisine had already been.

And when bloggers tried to go in a more homemade direction, I felt like I was eating at someone else’s house: I was sure that it would taste good, but nothing tastes as good as what your mom makes—or, in this case, what my Nanay would have made.

***

Perhaps what I’m looking for is a bit like the holy grail: mythical, improbable, and impossible. As I pore over Nora Daza cookbooks and Filipino foodie blog posts, I can’t help but sigh at my own foolishness. Like the grail knights of myth, I’m on a quest for something I can never truly attain: a mystical, romanticized connection with the grandmother I never really knew. The fragments I have of her recipes and history form this tenuous connection to her, and I constantly hunger for more; like a greedy child in front of a Christmas buffet, I want to binge on everyone else’s memories and indulge in their nostalgia until I can uncover the pieces of myself that once lived in her.

Then again, perhaps I was just looking in the wrong place: whenever I bring home Tupperware overflowing with leftovers and taste my mother’s mechado or my tita’s attempts at leche flan, isn’t that a piece of my Nanay’s legacy? The smells and flavors that have nourished me my entire life would not have been possible without her.

And as I sit at this keyboard, the fact that my hands smell of garlic from the adobo I have simmering in the next room…isn’t that a piece of her as well?  This urge to create? To share? To nourish? Thanks to my Nanay, these desires and instincts have been woven into the very fiber of who I am. And while I may not have a file filled with yellowing recipe cards, that will always be with me—because of her and the women she raised.

The Greatest Barcelona Player You've Never Heard Of

By Noel Alberto, FINDink Contributor

Alcantara in his Barcelona jersey during his playing days. Photo: FC Barcelona

Alcantara in his Barcelona jersey during his playing days. Photo: FC Barcelona

The 2010s: Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Gerard Pique

The 2000s: Ronaldinho, Carlos Puyol, Victor Valdes, and even more of the three 2010 guys

The 1990s: R9 Ronaldo, Pep Guardiola, Michael Laudrup, Gheorghe Hagi, Ronald Koeman, Romario, Hristo Stoichkov, Luis Figo

The 1980s: Diego Maradona, Andoni Zubizarreta, Quini, Bernd Schuster

The 1970s: Johan Cruyff. Hans Krankl, Charly Rexach

In the last five decades, these are some of the biggest names that have donned the famous Blaugrana of FC Barcelona. To most soccer fans, these names are associated with the historic club from Catalunya. But also to most soccer fans, the name Paulino Alcantara has no bearing on them. Well now, it should. The Filipino is the only Asian, as of now, to don the famous Blaugrana stripes, and his folklore only continues to grow. He was the club’s leading goalscorer for 87 years after scoring 369 goals in 357 games before a young man named Lionel Messi went on to break it.

Hidden in His Homeland

Soccer is a sport that plays at best, third fiddle, in the Philippines behind the likes of basketball and boxing. In terms of sports, the names Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire, Efren “Bata” Reyes, Rafael “Paeng” Nepomuceno, Olivia “Bong” Coo, and more stand out for Filipinos. The reason for how hidden Alcantara is because he played in the 1910s and 20s.

Goals Galore

Alcantara was born to a Filipino mother and a Spanish father, who was an officer in the military. At the age of three, he moved to Spain with his parents and first tasted the game of soccer when he joined FC Galeno. He was then discovered the Swiss-founder of Barcelona, Joan Gamper, a decade later. He made his debut for the Blaugrana at just 15 years and 4 months old, scoring a hat-trick to become the youngest-ever scorer for the club, a record that still stands today.

His goalscoring prowess earned him the suitable nickname “El Romperedes” (The Net Breaker).

After claiming a Copa del Rey, Pyrenees Cup, and a Catalunya Championship in his first full season, Alcantara went on to help the Blaugrana claim one more Catalunya Championship in 1916 before his family moved back to the Philippines.

Alcantara made his Barcelona debut at the age of 15. Photo: FC Barcelona

Alcantara made his Barcelona debut at the age of 15. Photo: FC Barcelona

Forcing His Way Back

After moving back to the Philippines, Alcantara continued to study medicine, which was his plan for life after football and found another club to play for, Bohemians Sporting Club. He helped the club claim two Philippine Championships in 1917 and 1918 as well as earning his first cap (international call-up) for the Philippines National Team. He helped the Azkals claim the Far Eastern Championship Games title with a 15-2 win over Japan, which still stands as the Philippines’ largest-ever international victory.

While Alcantara was bringing home more silverware, Barcelona struggled to find success without him, failing to win a major trophy in the three years he was gone as the club pleaded for him to comeback. After contracting malaria, Alcantara refused to take the prescribed medicine until his parents allowed him back.

Yes He’s Back, Back Again

Once he returned to Spain, former teammate and then club manager Jack Greenwell tried testing out the Filipino as a defender. After much uproar, he was then switched back to his original position which helped Barcelona claim their first trophy, the 1919 Catalunya Championship, since Alcantara’s first stint at the club. Barcelona won their first Copa del Rey in seven years after claiming the title in 1920 with the help of the Filipino.

Alcantara earned a Spanish National Team call-up in 1920 as well to participate in the Olympics but chose to take his medical exams instead. He eventually made his Spain debut in 1921, scoring two goals for the country against Belgium.

Finishing in Style

Barcelona and Alcantara continued to roll in the silverware. In 1922, he famously earned the moniker “El Romperedes” after scoring vs France for Spain and literally breaking the net. Alcantara retired from football on July 3, 1927, to become a doctor and played his testimonial on the same day.

He finished his Barcelona career with two Pyrenees Cups, five Copa del Reys, and 10 Catalunya Championships (he was a part of four straight winning teams from 1924-1927 and helped the club win eight of nine titles after his return with 1923 being the exception). He served as the club director between 1931 and 1934 and coached Spain for three games in the 1950s.

Back in the Spotlight

At 17-years-old, a young Argentine named Lionel Messi scored his first Barcelona goal in his career. It would take over a decade, but “The Atomic Flea” broke the goalscoring record of Alcantara after bagging a hat-trick vs Osasuna in March 2014. After the record was broken, the floodgates opened about who exactly was Paulino Alcantara.

Lionel Messi with the match ball after scoring his hat-trick vs Osasuna in March 2014 which broke Paulino Alcantara’s Barcelona goalscoring record. (Miguel Ruiz/FC Barcelona)

Lionel Messi with the match ball after scoring his hat-trick vs Osasuna in March 2014 which broke Paulino Alcantara’s Barcelona goalscoring record. (Miguel Ruiz/FC Barcelona)

And with that, they found out he was, one of the greatest Barcelona goalscorers ever, the only Asian to don the Blaugrana shirt, and most importantly for us, Filipino.

 

Disclaimer: The views of the author do not necessarily represent the views of FIND, Inc. 

15 Questions that Every Filipino-American Has Been Asked At Least Once

And suggested responses for each one! By Julia Termulo, FINDink Contributor


1. Can you speak “tag-a-log?”
It’s /təˈɡɑːlɒɡ/ or tuh-ga-lug. And no, I can only understand it.

2. Why do you have, like, four names?  
My parents just had a really difficult time picking only one name, so they went with all of their favorites.

3. Your mom’s a nurse, right?
No. She’s a software developer. My aunt is, though. Or rather, the entire side of my father’s family works in the medical field. Why would you just assume that my mom’s a nurse?

4. Are you Mexican?
No.

5. But like, if you’re not Mexican, why is your last name Lopez?
There’s this like, super cool dude named Ferdinand Magellan. He brought chicken adobo from Spain to the Philippines and they all went CRAZY. From that point on, Filipinos became obsessed with Spanish culture. It’s totally not because of centuries of colonization or anything like that.

6. Are you a halfie?
First of all, thank you. But no. Full Filipino.

7. Are you actually Asian though?
Yes. Don’t let the brown face fool you. East Asians, in fact, are NOT the only denomination of Asian! You learn something new everyday.

8. Why don't you point with your fingers instead of with your lips?
My hands are always full. Typically with ensaymada or chili cheese-flavored Boy Bawang. 

9. Where is the Philippines?
Right next to the B- on your report card for sleeping through that lesson on Magellan during your 7th grade social studies class. Also, I’m pretty sure I just went over this?

10. Asian or Pacific Islander?
This question marks a contentious debate among Filipinos and I’m not really looking to get into that right now. In short: Asian. But don’t tell my mom I said that because she’ll fight me on this.

11. Why are you always late?
Filipinos are SUPER talented so we’re very accomplished members of society. If we’re fifteen minutes late, it’s because we’re busy doing Great Things. Definitely not because of this stereotype called “Filipino time” which is totally untrue and in no way an accurate reflection of punctuality among the Filipino community.

12. Why do you guys like karaoke so much?
We’re just really good at singing.

13. Why can't you use chopsticks?
Because Filipinos traditionally use forks and spoons...or their bare hands. It's just most efficient. Okay honestly I'm just really uncoordinated. 

14. What's balut?
A really cool and delicious dessert that you should definitely try. Its presentation is a bit unsettling but don't worry about it! It tastes great.

15. Will you marry me? We can have the wedding in your home country!
1) I have never lived in the Philippines 2) Divorce is illegal there so no thanks 3) I literally just met you?

 

Disclaimer: The views of the author do not necessarily represent the views of FIND, Inc.
 

On the Perspective of the DACA Elimination

By Miguel Locsin, FINDink Contributor

It was only in 2012 that President Obama established an addendum to the nation’s immigration policy through executive action entitled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, widely known as DACA. The order protected thousands of Americans who were brought to the US illegally as minors. Specifically, any undocumented persons who entered the country before their 16th birthday would receive a renewable two-year period of deportation protections and a work permit for a processing fee of about $500.

Recently, the Trump administration acted to rescind these protections, with a full rescission coming in March of 2018. Although the attorney general stated that “this does not mean [the undocumented Americans] are bad people or that our nations disrespects or demeans them in any way” he still stated that “[DACA] was inconsistent with the Constitution’s separation of powers.” His full statement is available on the Justice Department’s Website, and the President’s own thoughts are famously and unfortunately available on Twitter.

The rescission puts many Americans in effectual limbo, as they now must live with terrible uncertainty until the legislative branch acts. Nobody knows if Congress will even act or what they plan to legislate.

Some of the most recent statistics say that as many as 10,000 Filipino-Americans live under the DACA protections. At my own College of William and Mary, there are about two dozen who live under these protections. At our own Filipino American Student Association, each of our members knows at least one person under these protections.

Let us be clear: many of these people have been living in the US since they were small children, and many do not know countries other than our very own United States. To deport these youthful, talented contemporaries of ours is a careless political action that can only serve the backward agenda undertaken by the current administration.

The arguments on both sides may be endless. However, it is incredibly clear which side possesses the tenants of sympathy and basic human tendency.

Now, many may see this act by the Trump administration as a setback for immigration rights. There is a better way to view it, however, which requires a change of perspective. This may be an opportunity for big change. The void created by the repeal leaves open the door for a better, more secure policy in place that serves our undocumented friends. For those against the side of the Trump Administration, let us speak up and argue loudly in favor of progressive legislation. Learn the arguments supportive of the repeal. Learn how to counter these arguments. Refute them immediately.

On the argument that the nation simply cannot stand to support these undocumented immigrants, that it takes away from American jobs: this is such a pessimistic view. For an administration that ran on America’s undeniable greatness, an administration that has a several hundred-billion military budget, an administration that argues for the possibility of bringing back obsolete coal jobs, surely they can support the about 800,000 Americans that are as American as the 66,000 working in the coal sector. We live under a great capitalist economy. If a DREAMer is holding a job position instead of someone else, it is probably because he or she is hardworking and qualified. Plain and simple.

On the argument that undocumented immigrants are criminals, thieves who literally steal, murder and rape: a google search will immediately disprove this. An extensive body of private and government research has proven that undocumented Americans living under DACA are law abiding, educated, and have lower incarceration rates than many born in America. They certainly don’t buy tiki torches from a local Walmart and march around, violently disturbing the peace.

On the argument that DACA was an illegal act carried out by the Obama Administration: all it takes is the opening of a history book. Not only have multiple presidents granted full amnesty to undocumented immigrants in the past, but multiple lawsuits against DACA have gone nowhere. Again, try google searching.

On the other hand, if you are on the fence on where you stand on this repeal, or are silently supportive of this DACA repeal, talk to people on the other side and at least learn their arguments. Everybody can stand to benefit from stepping out of their own opinionated bubble in the name of sharing information.

We are the next generation, and the laws will be ever-changing.

 

Disclaimer: The views of the author do not necessarily reflect the views of FIND, Inc.