Category Archives: Uncategorized

To this year’s Filipina/o Graduate

Dear Filipina/o American graduate,
I see you. 
At the end of my first tenure track year at San Francisco State University, it was you that reminded me that I’m exactly where I need to be. No matter how long and hard the journey has been just to get here and how much harder it’ll be to stay here, you reminded me that I not only belong at State but that I have so much to look forward to. 
As you all walked across the stage yesterday at Fil Grad, I, alongside my amazing Filipina/Filipino colleagues at SFSU had the honor and privilege to shake your hand, hug you and bid you our deepest congratulations, sending you on your way to your next chapter. 
And you gave me life. 
Mostly because when you crossed the stage, I had the most beautiful view: your family and friends screaming at the top of their lungs, holding up their homemade banners, blow up pictures of your face and vinyl tarps made from the Philippines with “Congrats [your name here].” They were/are so proud. 
You, the beautiful Queer Pinxy flawless in your gender non-conforming everything. Your singing voice clearly marking the moments in the program as yours with your unabashed talent. 
You, the MA graduate with your extra special knowledge and extra special years behind your name. You braved the whole, “you’re going back to school question?” from your family and came out winning. 
You, the hot-cheeto-Christmas-lights-paper-origami-lei wearing Pinoy donning the weight of the world and your homemade decor on your shoulders. 
You, fly Pinay with your make up on fleek and heels, a set of gold fronts to boot, just so so fly with your degree in hand. 
You, the ones who had a little choreo prepared, strutting on stage to Mac Dre or E40. Pop po’ your collar, bounce-walkin’ like only Bay Area bred cats can on the way to collect your diploma. Reppin’ you and the Bay so. Damn. Hard. 
And even, you, the Filipina/o grad who didn’t walk the stage yesterday at Fil Grad–I see you. 
You, the ones who filed into ATT park to experience the big shebang. Remembering it through an Instastory, Snap or FB filter. Sending a text to me with fellow Filipino/a students to let me know exactly what time it is. 
Thank you. Thank you for shining. 
Yesterday, was my first Fil Grad back at State. Last time, I was graduating just like you. The road ahead unbeknownst to me. But like you, I had the world to win. 
I’ll have plenty more Fil Grads but yesterday, I want to remember just how beautiful, brilliant and full of potential you are. I hope you have a good celebration and then also remember to #StandwithMarawi and make sure you join the rest of us to say #NeverAgaintoMartialLaw. Because we need you. Your spirit and your will. 
Congrats graduate!

And they are also always breathing…

Its taken me a while to figure out what I wanted to write about Alex Tizon’s story about Eudocia Tomas Pulido, better known to Tizon’s family as Lola. Reading Tizon’s account of Lola’s life brought up different emotions for me. One of which was to question how the life of Lola was being written about; authored by another and in confirmation of the decades long story about Filipina domestics as victims. As a scholar writing about the lives of domestic workers and their families, I often struggle with the ways in which I write about their lives and how people may read the lives of the Filipino women (who I admire) as confirmation of the normative tropes about Filipina migrant domestics–as victims or powerless. I’m also often in conversation with other Pinay and Pinxy activist, scholars and poets and writers who are also trying to navigate that dynamic (see Barbara Jane Reyes’ blog post about Critical Pinayisms and a discussion we had about this very issue). Reading Tizon’s writing jettisoned me into the eyes and thoughts of people who couldn’t understand the nuance in domestic servitude in the Philippines, as a vestige of Spanish colonialism and then US imperialism. I felt uncomfortable that we were left bare for people to judge.

The rational side of me had similar reactions as other writers and thinkers about a number of issues in the story that Tizon penned: the problematic conflating the enslavement of Africans to the relationship of indentured servitude in the Philippine context and also, kinda rolling my eyes at the defensiveness of Filipinos (including my own knee jerk reaction of shame or “hiya”) about our “carried over” treatment of Filipino servants. Additionally, I agree with grassroots organizations like GABRIELA USA that criticize the feudal patriarchal Philippine society that relegate women to domesticity which only leave migration as the viable social and economic path. It was also systems of imperialism and capitalism that enslaved Lola.

But I’ll leave those discussions be. They’ve already been rehearsed.

Tonight, I want to acknowledge the breathing, human side of Lola. Her dreams. Her desire. Her fears. There are always many sides to one story right? I wonder if Lola would’ve written her story (just like Barbara Jane wonders in her processing of Tizon’s story), would it have been so melancholy. Would she have been the victor? Would her complexities have shown? I wonder what teleserye she liked. And what was her guilty pleasures? What made her laugh? Was she funny? Did she have a mean streak?

In my work (both political and academic) with Filipina migrants who work as domestic workers (for Filipino families and non-Filipino families), I have learned that their work as nannies, housekeepers and caregivers is an important part of them. Their answer to the question, “what is the hardest and the best thing about your work?” was often tied to their role in the families they worked for. The hardest thing was being a nanny. The best thing was being a nanny.

But it was one part. They also found joys and fulfillment in other things. They loved singing karaoke. They traveled to Cherry Blossom festivals. They watched teleseryes and chatted with other Filipinas as they waited for their charges to be dismissed from class. They took pride in their fish lumpia–a regional delicacy. They loved to send money back for fiesta in the Philippines. They cried together when loneliness overtook them. They found halo-halo and ate it in the middle of snowstorms, reassuring one another that below zero degree weather was better than Manila heat.

The hardest part about reading Lola’s story was that we weren’t allowed to see the community of Filipinas that may have been in her life. Even if they weren’t close, there were Filipinas who were doing the same work she was. She ran into them at the store or at the playground. I’m sure of it.

Filipinas, who are mothers, daughters, aunts, grandmothers and sisters, working as domestic workers are always breathing and living for one another. They are often building their communities and fictive kin abroad to not just survive, but thrive. Their jobs do not define their lives, although it is constraining. They are individually and collectively multi-dimensional and colorful and at times, victims and other times, victors.

Yes, Filipinas working as domestic workers live under horrifying conditions (see Mary Jane Veloso’s continuing struggle on death row in Indonesia). But they are also creative in the types of resilience they conjure. Below are just some examples of Filipinas on the forefront of rallies to demand justice for their fellow Filipina migrant or Filipinas at the center of cultural productions and political organizing to build up their own leadership in their own organizations.

So as much as I lament the seeming slow suffocation and death of Lola as presented by Tizon. I want to always acknowledge her breath. And acknowledge that others like her are also always breathing to get through a day, a year and a lifetime away from their families and in service to other families.

What’s the point of protesting Donald Trump?

rise-resist-unite

Dear Papa,

Yesterday, over dinner, you asked me an honest question,”If you go protest, will it stop Donald Trump’s inauguration?”

In that question, I heard so many people’s despair and hopelessness. 

I answered, “No, it won’t.” And then I took a couple of minutes, taken aback by your very real question, to muster up an answer to why my husband and I will take our 2 year old daughter and our 33 week old unborn child to the streets to protest on Saturday morning. 

I know you believed in the potential of Ferdinand Marcos, a cruel dictator that took so many lives and advantages of our people when you were young, but when it came to oust him–you took us out in those streets didn’t you? Well, we’ve got pictures to prove it. Why did you go protest then?

Perhaps it’s the simple act of claiming your own power in a time of powerlessness that pushed you. It pushes us now. 

I’ve been in the streets marching in protests for years. Under the Obama and Bush administrations, under the Macapagal-Arroyo, Aquino and even the Duterte administrations, and in those times, I’ve found that even if it doesn’t stop a war or extrajudicial killings or systematic racism in its tracks, that when I stepped out I did it in community. Alongside people who didn’t agree, who didn’t want to feel like we didn’t have a choice in any of it. In collective voice, we found one another! A new way of feeling like we’re part of something bigger.

This time around, and in the next four years, I will work tirelessly and protest relentlessly to claim my stake in what my newly acquired US citizenship supposedly provides. I will teach my children that “democracy” doesn’t just live in a big White House, it’s in the messy, streets where people’s feet bang on the pavement everyday on their way to work. Its in the evening meetings to strategize how to regain ground in our local areas. Its in the family circles where we educate our children about their value despite what the politicians may say.

It is not time to rest. Although it’s a tiring idea to think of the racism, sexism, ableism, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic brand of US imperialism that has come to show its face, finally. So truthful and unabashedly. It’s not time to sit down and not protest. 

It’s time to build bridges; find a new language; and act on uniting across communities to move forward boldly. 

It’s time to do the exciting work of reimagining a new world where trans people’s lives are not in danger. Where Black lives matter, to police, towards economic justice, to all of us. A world where women are not seen as sexual objects for consumption. Where immigrants aren’t forced to leave their homelands, where they aren’t criminalized. Where all families can find housing security. Where all Queer people can dance without fear. Where our human dignity can be restored. It’s time to do the work. 

Papa, I’m protesting because there’s no other option. For Aya. For baby. For Melana. For Kanoah. For Jordan. For our future. You remember that feeling right?

#MyAsianAmericanStory

Jason Fong, a high school student in California, created the hashtag #MyAsianAmericanStory in August of 2015 in response to Republican presidential candidate, Jeb Bush, referring to Asian children as “anchor babies” that undocumented Asian immigrants count on for status. A storm of stories that represent the diversity of Asian America followed. In my SJSU Asian American Studies 33-B course, I wanted to populate this hashtag with the important stories of my Asian American students as we connected their daily lives to the course material–the history of Asian Americans in the US and the role they play in the development of the US.

The semester-long project #MyAsianAmericanStory was a process-oriented pedagogical tool that engaged students in multimedia technologies such as images, video, audio recording, creative software apps such as Storehouse, Adobe Slate, Adobe Voice, iVideo on iPads. They collected stories from their elders, friends, communities, classmates to examine present day issues in Asian America.

IMG_5555

Students at work at Little Saigon: Oscar Candelas, Christopher Nguyen, Kyle Wong

In our class, course content is centered on studying U.S. history in the 20th century through a race, class, gender, sexuality lens and with special attention on Asian Americans in the U.S and the role they play in the shaping U.S. politics and the American racial order. When I asked students to explore their own first, second or third generation Asian American experience, I challenged them to situate them in longer historical arcs in the Asian American experience in the US. We used Shelley Sang-Hang Lee’s new text A New History of Asian America to explore themes of imperialism and diaspora leading to Asian migrations (not only just to the US), strategies of survival and thriving and histories of racism that has linked Asian Americans in this country.

Helpful to the project of learning about Asian America was our backdoor sites (literally SJSU was a site of evacuation during Japanese internment!). I encouraged students to connect course materials with the racial and ethnic geographies in San Jose.

IMG_5546 Richie Chan, Kyle Wong, Darien Yong, Christina Cao and friend exploring the history of the Issei Memorial Building

20160416_130404.jpg

Discovering a Filipino Community Center, Cindy Yorza, Jonnel Alcantara and friend

IMG_0572

Dylan Truong, Janelle Duong and Peter Reyes discover a local desert shop owned by Japanese American SJSU professor Steven Doi

The ethnic geography of San Jose at times obscures the long history of Asian Americans  and the indelible mark they have made on the culture and ethnic communities of this city. The story telling project allowed students to venture outside of the classroom and note sites and experiences of Asian Americans in San Jose. Although most of their projects did not directly relate to their ethnic background or history, they were able to learn and deepen their understanding their narratives of Asian Americans and immigrants in their projects.

Video producers: Alyanah Alcantara, Janae Ajel, Janelle Duong, Peter Reyes, Dylan Troung

Sites such as San Jose’s Japantown and Little Saigon became place rich with stories in which students could examine the cultural and practical uses of this ethnic spaces and what types of meaning-making processes occurred there.

Video producers: Oscar Candelas, Richie Chan, Kyle Wong, Darien Young

Yet others, took to their own friends and networks to recast the narratives of young people win Asian America. Battling the model minority myth, students created projects that offered a different view of their racial identity in the American racial order.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 8.38.57 AM

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 8.36.04 AM

The full video (below) highlights different leadership positions Filipino American students hold in the university and their motivations for taking up those roles despite the normative narratives about Asian Americans.

The digital story telling project exceeded my expectations for students and the learning objectives for the class. These creative projects brought Asian American history to life in their projects. They were immensely thoughtful and really fun.

Teaching about Transnational Families

22work190.1

(Photo in New York Magazine, 2007)

Teaching about Transnational Families

In my global sociology class, I teach a unit on migration and mobility, both of capital and people. The unit covers the multinational corporation and flexible labor, export processing zones and zones of sovereignty, constraints on people over capital and ends with the transnational family as a permutation of transnational life engendered by increasing global migration.

The teaching objective of the last class on transnational families is to give students a chance to connect global processes and larger social institutions to the intimate micro relations of the family. Often I assign Hondagneu-Sotelo and Avila‘s canonical piece on transnational motherhood, Parrenas’ piece on long-distance intimacy and my piece on the use of Skype and Facebook in Filipino transnational families. But I could also see assigning any number of chapters from Baldassar and Merla’s new volume on circulation of care in transnational families or Joanna Dreby’s article on children and power in transnational arrangements.

But an assignment that I put together to get students to make the connection between the global and the intimate is to write a reflection paper after the reading and attending class discussion with this prompt:

Write a letter to a child or partner or grandparents left behind in countries like Mexico or the Philippines. Using the complex terms in our class (try to use one or two vocabulary words from this week’s readings or past readings), explain to families left behind the structural forces that produce the phenomena of feminized migration at unprecedented rates and/ or transnational motherhood and families in globalization. Why is there such a huge shift in families under globalization?

I tried this for the first time this past week after teaching this class and this unit for the fourth time. And I have just been overwhelmed by the responses of the students. Perhaps because this is where my research and teaching intersect but the reflections have truly succeeded in meeting my teaching objective for this lesson plan.

I think what’s great about this assignment is that it allows students to connect seemingly abstract, global institutions and processes to the most intimate restructuring and reconfiguration of family life. There might be some ways I’m reifying “family” or “doing family” in this assignment, so chime in on the comment section if there are ways to make it better.

Some letters are excerpted below with the permission of my students. The first is a letter to grandparents, highlighting the multi-generational effect of global migration:

Dear Grandparents of a Migrant Mother,

You probably didn’t expect your life to end up like this. You are getting older, and after years of working hard days and having sleepless nights, you hoped that your work might be easier. After all, you have earned it. Your days of not eating so your children wouldn’t go hungry and staying up to take care of a sick child even though you had an 12 hour work day should be over. After all, your children are grown up.

But here you are. In the house you raised your children in, raising more children. But not your own. Your grandchildren are now in your care. Why? Because their mother is away earning money to support both you and her children. The economy in your country is not creating jobs, especially for hands like yours who have seen centuries of hard labor. Other hands have been creeping into your country, introducing cheaper genetically modified corn and building maquiladoras, desolating your local market while creating impossible choices between poisoning your body or feeding your family.

Contrary to some beliefs, globalization has not given you or your daughter the ability to be in “the drivers seat”. It has given you a bus ticket-you can get off at predetermined destinations. These destinations are your predetermined options that depend on many things-your legal status when traveling to another country, ability to speak another language, and your skill set. For your daughter, her bus ticket has few stops. Because her work visa has long expired and her English is basic, she has options such as housecleaning, washing dishes in a kitchen, or low skilled factory labor.

I’m sure that you will feel some resentment. You raised your daughter to have traditional family values. However, it’s your job now to raise your grandchildren. Sometimes it’s hard, because you can’t chase them down, and they don’t respect you like they should.

Try and understand that your daughter is one of many. One of many mothers torn away from her children because of economic hardship. One of many children leaving their parents and worrying that they will not be able to come to their funeral if they should pass away because of their legal status. One of many women who are scared and vulnerable in a new country where laws and societal norms are often inherently biased against them. Try and remember your daughter as your daughter-the one who you raised, rather than the faceless money order that comes every month. Understand that this is bigger than you or her, a broken hierarchical system entrenched in racism, imperialism, and greed. Raise her children like your own, even though you are tired. Because love has no borders. Family has no borders.

Sincerely,

J

This excerpt is about connecting broken immigration systems and racialized immigration policy in the US:

Maybe your mother is working at a hotel.  She may be changing bed sheets and cleaning bathrooms for people not wealthy by their own country’s standards but with enough money to make it worth it for her.  Maybe she is in a field, picking vegetables so that Americans can have cheap produce.  Either way, she is likely to be earning less than a legal wage in California or wherever else she is.  There’s the curious thing about all of this: here is a woman leaving her home country and family to earn less money than those who grew up there consider suitable, all because this is still thought of as being better than whatever prospects exist at home.

In all likelihood, she is also undocumented.  This means that she is technically in the country illegally and so has little recourse should she be exploited in such a way.  Obviously, you and I both know that she’s done nothing wrong here.  American laws are not written by people like her.  Because of this, she has to contend with avoiding alerting authorities while paying back what she owes for transportation and placement.  She may not even be doing what she figured she would be doing.  Maybe she came to this country thinking that she would be taking care of the sick or elderly and ended up having to do housekeeping work.  This is not uncommon.  The ways the laws are written here allow people like your mother to be exploited.  As is the case with produce especially, much of the American way of life is built on the backs of people like your mother.  We have her to thank, whether she is here legally or not, for the low cost of our luxuries.  The cost is low because it is passed on to her and you.

This excerpt is about the constantly shifting gender ideologies in what RW Connell calls the “world gender order”:

In addition, you may wonder why it is your mom migrating to the US for work and not your father. The best explanation that I can give for this is that larger social constructions of culture see polarize and generalize traditional gender roles between men and women. Women are seen as more submissive and vulnerable, therefore attracting large multinational corporations to favor them as labor workers than men because they may listen more and not resist orders. Because of the “typical nature” of women, they may not form unions as often as men, to fight back these companies as well. Even though your mother has more of a chance here to make money, she is making a sacrifice being away from home and missing family.

Here’s a piece on the history of neoliberal policy in Mexico:

In order to make sense of this I must begin by explaining to you a little bit about your history. Back in the 1990s, the Mexican government agreed to sign NAFTA, and that is an agreement between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, that would allow for cheaper and easier production and consumption of products and other goods among the three countries. However, NAFTA failed to provide living wages that would allow for families to survive and buy their day-to-day necessities.  NAFTA also undercut social programs like education, health care, and pensions for everyone. As a result many men lost their jobs or were paid so little that the idea of opportunity elsewhere to earn more money, made them risk it all and leave Mexico.

Your mommy then was left behind trying to provide for you and the rest of your family, in the absence of your father. She tried to work at the local companies, but the conditions under which she worked were so terrible, that she could not bear it. Within the local companies, worker’s were paid very little to make tiny things, day after day, without any protection for their well being, knowing that the failure of one worker could easily be replaced by another. Rather than risk getting sick, and not being able to provide for you, your mommy made the difficult decision to find a job in los Estados Unidos.

America Is In the Heart

Empire Bulosan Conference Poster-fullsize

My journey with Carlos Bulosan has been a windy one. I was acquainted with “Allos” (as Bulosan refers to himself in America Is In the Heart) in an undergraduate class called Filipino American literature taught by the indomitable Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales. We had a book a week to read and if my memory serves me correctly, AIH was one of the first books assigned. I remember struggling through the book, just reading it to ensure that I could do the work for class. Not really taking the time to absorb the words, the significance of this man’s writing at the time when he wrote, not losing myself to the history he penned, really, for me–future generations of Filipinos/as in America.

In the past 10 years, since our first meeting, my relationship with Allos has blossomed and withered over and again. Much like the seasons of harvest and planting present in his writing. In the American travels in my heart, from grad school in New York City, post-doc in San Francisco, Allos appeared and disappeared in my classes, in my scholarship, in my imagination. But now, as an assistant professor in Portland, the significance of Allos’ life and words have pushed him to the center of my thinking again as a scholar of Filipinos/as in America and a Filipina American educator working Filipino/a students. Last Monday, at the Filipino American Student Association sa UP screening of the exciting documentary Delano Manongs at the University of Portland, I remembered how powerful it is to connect to Filipino American history and what it meant to me as a 19-something year old to uncover my community’s history as subjugated knowledge, as I learned from the brilliant Dawn Bohulano Mabalon way back when.

In all of this, I reflected about what I’ve been asked to do today at a conference entitled Empire Is In The Heart at the University of Washington, Seattle. I have been asked to reflect back on Allos, his work, his words, and his significance on the centennial anniversary of his birth. What should I say? What could I say about Allos?

Fortunately and unfortunately, I have so much to share. In his short essay called, “The Writer as Worker”, Carlos Bulosan wrote, “…if the writer has any signifiance, it shoudl write about the world in which [s]he lives: interpret [her]his time and evnision the future through his knowledge of historical reality.” Today, I hope to share that the historical reality of migrant farm workers that have their lives and families and communities literally etched into the soil and topography of the West coast of the US, has many parallels to the migrant workers of today who are marking new landscapes of Filipino migrant communities all over the US.

Specifically, the Filipina/o teachers, nurses, hotel workers, and skilled workers  who migrated here in search of stabilizing their families in the Philippines, of a better life for their children and grandchildren. Those who are trafficked into the US, promised one job and then unjustly swapped for another, lower-paid, lower-skilled job. Those who have racked thousands of dollars in debt and are bonded to the obligations to loan sharks, which then gives them no choice but to stay in the US to work in jobs without dignity and become illegalized by the US immigration system.

Allos, this is what I’ll share today. I hope that people will understand that your words, your significance and your writing is still relevant today.

University of the Philippines, Diliman

UPD flyer

On July 2, 2014, I have the honor of sharing my multi-sited research project about Filipino transnational families that have migrant members living in New York City and families in Metro-Manila at a round table discussion hosted by scholars and faculty with the Department of Women and Development Studies at the University of the Philippines. I hope to articulate my arguments about the shifts in the Filipino family form vis-a-vis the Philippine’s Labor Export Policy and forced (and feminized) migration. I’m critical of the Philippine state’s over-reliance on its migration and remittance industry and my aim is to show that, behind its faulty political economics, that families are bearing the brunt of these neoliberal immigration policies.

This opportunity means so much to me because it is so important to me that I can share my work, analysis and theories in the Philippines, where the families in my research study can attend and hear about how I’ve been interpreting their lives in the past years. I am and will continue to be accountable to those who have shared the intimate parts of their lives with me. Moreover, I feel so honored to be in dialogue with the nation’s leading scholars on women and gender studies and development studies.

But of course, I’m excited to be coming home and participating in this round table discussion for other reasons too.

==== Flashback Mode ====

The first time I stepped into the University of the Philippines, Diliman, I felt honored to see the oblation at the entrance, walk the halls of Vinson’s that housed (currently housing and will house) important revolutionary youth and student movements, and see the classrooms of such significant scholars and professors who take seriously the character of “Serve the People”. In 2008, I was just a kid–in my second year of grad school, first time back to the Philippines, first time on an integration trip with the League of Filipino Students (LFS)–and UP Diliman was my first stop. The picture below is of the first UP Diliman friends I made, after a we all marched the streets all day for the People’s SONA. It was not only UP’s educational prestige that took my breath away, it was the way the students and organic intellectuals (such as the Anakbayan chapters organizing in communities on the UP campus, workers and teachers organizing within the UP system, etc.) acted on their knowledge. It was their organizing. It was their commitment to genuine social change that made me a fan of UP. They breathed life into what scholarship looked like and meant for me.

Add sauce to that: my Mama, favorite aunt, cousins (all of whom are in education at some point or another in their careers) are all alumni of the UP system. And I’m such a big fan of these women, to say the least.

In short, I was on that UP hype.

==== Back to reality ====

So yes, if you or your fam or your scholar homie are in the Philippines on July 2, tell them to come check on me at UP Diliman. Ya heard?

The Luxury of Reproducing Inequality Sociologically

chosen family

On a long drive from Portland to the Bay Area the other day, I was flipping through some news articles and noticed Olga Khazan’s article entitled, “The Luxury of Waiting for Marriage to Have Kids” on The Atlantic. As a sociologist thinking about families and marriage, the titled piqued my interest and I began to read.

In the article, Khazan cites famous sociologist of the family Andrew Cherlin in arguing some not-so-new ideas about having children and marriage which kinda sounded like this: college-educated people because they’re college-educated plan their lives and wait to marry and wait to have kids. Implicitly, the article is arguing that because college-educated people are more educated they are able to think in the long-term, plan their lives and live happily ever after.

It’s sociology like this that I find problematic. Sure, these might be objective arguments backed by statistics but what this article does (and normative sociology like this does) is to normalize a theory of the culture of poverty (See Moynihan 1965, O. Lewis 1966) when it has long been defunct and criticized (See Stack 1974, H. Lewis 1971)  It explains poverty or lack of access to education as a constraint of the “cultures” of the poor, as in their culture of having children early or not marrying at all. This kind of rhetoric crops up to fails to help a collective social imagination connect structural inequality, instead it leaves the burden of non-normative families to families themselves.

What frustrates me even more about these types of “the poor is poor because their poor” narratives is that it fails to incorporate any type of race analysis into its explanation of who is getting married and why. Sociologists have long showed that families of color have used so many different types of family formations to thrive (See Dill, Coontz, Stack, Nakano Glenn) under conditions of racism, discrimination, migration and poverty.

Further, this article upholds a heternomative view that the nuclear, pair marriage family is the gold standard that can be the only type of family that can produce good people in this world. The consequences for proliferating this type of argument is not only dangerous but limiting and harmful to millions of family that operate and thrive with chosen families, adoptive families, fictive and extended kin, non-married families, etc.

Sociologists who forward and popularize these normative narratives and arguments don’t quite understand that from their university institutions, behind their glossy computer screens, in interviews with writers from big-time national magazines, the luxury of reproducing inequality considerably invisibilizes millions of people who are creatively “doing family” and raising beautiful families.

Week of Action for the Philippines at University of Portland

When I arrived at University of Portland, it was one of my hopes to bring the Filipino/a and Filipino/a American experience to the forefront of campus life. I didn’t know exactly how I would do this but I knew it was my responsibility.

After the mega-typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, the University of Portland responded by organizing a week of action for the Philippines to raise awareness about rehabilitation in the Philippines but also about the Filipino American experience. I’m so honored to have helped organize some of these events and even more proud that this is the university’s response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Philippines.

Some events to highlight are:

Tuesday’s panel with Kenneth Crebillo from Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines talking about his family’s experience with the Typhoon as they are from Dulag, Leyet, one of the most affected areas, and his recent trip back on relief mission. Additionally, faculty members of UP will be discussing climate change and disaster relief more generally.

Friday night’s concert with Power Struggle as the main act for the night!

Philippines Week

Tagged , , ,

Critical Filipino/Filipina Studies Collective in SF!

Critical Filipino/Filipina Studies Collective in SF!

In about a month, the annual Association of Asian American Studies conference will be held in San Francisco. For many intellectuals (organic and non, ala Gramsci) in Asian American Studies, this conference is not only a location for cutting edge scholarship but also a safe haven for community building and political engagement.

This year, AAAS will be extra-special because the national assembly of the Critical Filipino/Filipina Studies Collective (CFFSC) will also be happening. The project of the collective is to explore how scholars are already transforming the university through social justice and how to advance oppositional politics to empire and oppression.

AKA. I’M. PUMPED.

Tagged