Jul 16, 2006

Diaspora Woe.

Just read this really interesting piece by Pilipino cultural/historical critic E. San Juan about the centennial celebration of Filipinos in the United States. There are many parallels between the Filipino and South Asian diasporas, with professional waves of nurses and doctors who were familiar with English by virtue of colonial pasts entering the U.S. and making it home. Domestic workers and other labor from the Philippines and various nations of South Asia are still the favored import in the Middle East, and American call centers are popping up in the Philippines just as they did in India.

The intro:

What signifies this Centennial? Could it be the rebirth of the Filipino as multicultural citizen of a borderless world, as zealous hawkers of the nomadic, multivocal, heterogeneous Pinoy contend? Certainly it is not the resurrection of the "Flip" or the "little brown brother" as a refurbished Stephen Fetchit in a non-stop minstrelsy "Pilipino Cultural Night" of tinikling, kiyeme and Maganda dogeaters.
But there are also differences in the 2 communities in the United States - with histories of colonization and the residual patterns of migration (professional and otherwise) impacted by the specific relationship of the United States to their nations. The Philippines, after all, was "conceded" to the United States in 1898 after the Spanish-American War, with Puerto Rico, and Filipinos have had a remarkable relationship with the colonizing nation for more than a hundred years. Perhaps South Asians in the U.K. are a better analogue for pinoys in the U.S.?

Regardless, the piece is well worth checking out.

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