Being a Filipina-American, I have always heard of a common struggle among many Filipinos that have grown up in the States. They feel or have been told they are not “Filipino enough”.
They may grow up in Filipino households, eating Filipino foods, hearing and perhaps speaking one of the many Filipino languages and being instilled with Filipino values. Yet somehow they may experience not wholly being accepted as Filipino by their community.
Many Filipino-Americans travel to the Philippines to explore their heritage, their culture, and to connect with family so they may get a different sense of what it means to be Filipino.
I’m Ok With It and You Can’t Tell Me I’m Not
I personally don’t want to try to fit into the mold of being labeled as a Filipino. I wouldn’t do it justice. I am privileged to be a mestiza. I have a different perspective of the world that I grew up in and the world that handed down the gifts of traditions I love. I wouldn’t change this for anything.
Being Filipina-American gives me the freedom to interpret the values and culture I was given with a 180 degree, American lens. I don’t fit in one checkbox. For me, I am happy to claim that I don’t. I belong to the second largest Asian American population in the U.S. and one of the most patriotic. Filipino-Americans are proud to be Americans and Filipinos.
I don’t feel the pressure of being enough. I am different. I am not and never can be the same. I am a Filipina-American and cannot fully understand the way my cousins grew up.
THINGS I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND… perhaps because I am not Filipino:
- I will never understand how one side of my family can act so entitled toward the other side yet constantly ask for assistance from the family in America.
- I will never understand why they can find it acceptable to complain about not having enough money to repair a leaky roof in the same sentence that they ask for a Louis Vuitton purse.
- I will never understand how it feels to live in an environment with such a wide wealth gap in plain view
- I will never understand the struggle of living in a country with a long history of constant government tyranny.
- I will never understand the warmth and comfort of having so much family always nearby
I am a part of the larger community, the diaspora of Filipinos who continue to share our gifts throughout the world. You can find Filipinos in every country. For goodness sakes! We’ve been in California since 1587.
WE are an adaptable people.
WE incorporate ourselves, our culture into the host culture to create something new and evolved.
WE are always enough.