Reports of Asian children being stabbed, their father or elderly shop owners who have been in the neighborhood for years being mauled and robbed, are disheartening.
There have been racist attacks since time immemorial, so long as one group of people believes it is superior to another group.
Is it also a question of identity? Let us get serious here, especially, Filipinos. We know we are heavily influenced by America. It has affected most aspects of our lives and culture since it colonized us in 1898; how the US and the Philippines got involved in World War II and how that panned out, what the GIs brought with them — Coca Cola, chocolate and other American stuff — Music, movies and celebrity culture — these are all imported from the US to the world.
Through no fault of anyone, cultures are mixed. We influence one another and, in my humble opinion, it is all the better. We learn more from each other, especially from those who are so different from us — that is to our benefit.
Do we really know who we are?
The influx of the younger generation researching on our pre-colonial history is fantastic. We are discovering contemporary art, for example, revisiting our ancient customs, such as our own mythology, as subjects. The fact that our Fililpino-American siblings are trying to make their way back here to learn more about our history and trying to make their life in the country is encouraging and makes me downright hopeful.
GET to know who we are from the inside to share it outwardly.
What I am trying to say we should know more about ourselves than others. We should be our own ambassadors and biggest cheerleaders. We should love our own and know who we are exactly, warts, pimples and all. All history, even the “bad” parts, are awesome. They are lessons that should be learned and remembered.
There are admittedly a lot of holes in Philippine history, as there is with everyone else’s, but we can fill those holes by trying to educate ourselves about all the stories of our heritage. Ours is a rich and unique history and just as amazing as our Asian neighbors’. It is interesting to think that we were mostly merchants and did a lot of trade with our neighbors, and that we had our own religion and own way of governance and hierarchy in the community.
How does this tie in with the recent spate of violence against Asians? Well, it is just this: we should try and get to know who we are, from the inside, to be able to share it outwardly. I am not saying the lack of knowledge in one’s own heritage is responsible for all this racism directed at the Asian community, but we do need to know ourselves to ensure that others, or those who are willing to learn, will, too.
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