Multiethnic identity Miscegenation and Filipino America
White love • 1902 – 1934: 1st major wave of Filipino immigration into US • Recruitment of plantation/agricultural labor • Previous anti-Asian exclusion + noncitizen national status = need for cheap labor • Filipino immigrants as womanless community due to legal and social barriers • Spanish Catholic gender norms • Page Act of 1875 • Anti-miscegenation laws • CA Civil Code Section 60 (1880) • Roldan v. Los Angeles County (1931) • Contradiction of white love and benevolent assimilation
Fil Am Sexuality • “You can realize, with the declared preference of the Filipino for white women and the willingness on the part of some white females to yield to that preference, the situation which arises… California in this matter is seeking to protect the nation, as well as itself, against the peaceful penetration of another colored race” (V.S. McClatchy) • 3 vectors of anti-Filipino sentiment: • Destruction of wage scale • Public health threat • Sexually rapacious • 1929 Watsonville Riots • Solution to “Filipino problem” = independence
Mex – Fil Alliances • 1763 – “Manilamen” of Louisiana • First entry of Filipinos into US made possible by Manila Galleon trade • 1930s Taxi Dance Halls sites of racial mixing, class alliances, violation of gender norms • 1965 – Larry Itliong, Philip Vera Cruz, Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez lead Delano Grape Strike
Chicano & Pinoy Parallels • Spanish colonialism • US expansionism • Position as cheap racialized labor • Shared struggles against marginalization • Immigrant experience in US • Southern CA as contact zone: • The space in which peoples geographically and historically separated come into contact with each other and establish ongoing relations, usually involving conditions of coercion, radical inequality, and intractable conflict. . . . A 'contact' perspective emphasizes how subjects are constituted in and by their relations to each other. . . in terms of copresence, interaction, interlocking understandings and practices.
War brides • July 4, 1946 – US recognition of Philippine independence • Soldier Brides Act of 1947 – Asian spouses of military personnel allowed to enter US • “Insofar as the expansion or retraction of any foreign power’s overseas bases increases or decreases the demand for women’s sexual availability to male soldiers or sailors, the Pentagon’s changing Asian strategy is a ‘women’s issue’” – Cynthia Enloe
1965 Immigration Act • Unmarried children under 21 years of age of U.S. citizens • Spouses and unmarried children of permanent residents • Professionals, scientists, and artists "of exceptional ability" • Married children over 21 years of age and their spouses and children of U.S. citizens • Siblings and their spouses and children of U.S. citizens • Workers in occupations with labor shortages • Political refugees
Questions • Why do you think their mother, Ika, insists that she is more American than Filipino? How can we compare her character to the Ma from The Gangster We Are All Looking For? What are their similarities and differences? • How would you describe the brothers’ relationship to each other? Why do you think there is so much conflict and silence between them? • Why does Tomas want to pass as Mexican? What type of visibility does this grant him? What type of invisibility does he gain? Why does he feel so much animosity towards Asian Americans?