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Another Halloween is past and you know what that means my POC friends.  Yup, we just did another round of muttering “that’s racist” over and over again to ourselves.

… and while I fear I might be (ok, am) a minority on this one (see what I did there?):  I don’t entirely get it.

Now ruling out the extremely obviously racist costumes like the buck toothed Asian (a la Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), Jim Crow era Black caricatures, or Islamic “terrorists,” which clearly are unacceptable, I don’t particularly agree with the uproar and activism over “ethnic” costumes.

When I say I don’t ‘get it.’  I mean that I don’t accept the rationale behind why the outcry is focused on the costumes themselves.  I don’t understand why the call is basically for White people NOT to do it.  Full Stop.

I mean why is it that we see costumes based on traditional dress racist?  The usual refrain is:  “we are a culture, not a costume.”  But if this is the case, would it not also be proper for Whites to decry costumes based on horned Vikings (which are historically inaccurate btw) or medieval knights?

Now the answer to my question is obvious: It’s not the same because of the disparity in power relations, and the vicious history of colonization that has imbued on to these images a different connotation.

I get that.

What I don’t get, is why this translates simply into:  Don’t wear that Whitey!  (more…)

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A few weeks back I asked Filipino youth to tell me what they liked and hated about their people.  During Kultura last Saturday, I did this again.  (more…)

A while back I went to a Filipino event at a large Toronto venue. It was an outdoor event and unfortunately it was raining, though luckily the venue had large open air tents to keep the people dry—but for some reason I smelled wet dog.

I was reminded of my youth when I was ashamed of being Filipino. (more…)

Just a little gentle prodding and Canadians are tripping over with racist glee. All someone had to do is use the right politically correct code words for racism in the 21st century.

Canadians are too polite to tell the gooks to go home, that just wouldn’t seem right. (more…)

M. Edwards, M. Tecozautla, P. Garrow, and D. Tso.

M. Edwards, M. Tecozautla, P. Garrow, and D. Tso.

I had the honour of doing the production stills for “The Taxi Project” for PEN-Canada last week (my photos were used in the Toronto Star, NOW magazine, and SingTao Daily). I went to see the show this afternoon, and it really was a moving and inspirational work.

Not only was it able to portray the stories of exiles in Canada that was specific to four cultures—and yet inclusive of the stories of others from around the globe—but it left me questioning my own sense of identity and place in the Canadian fabric. (more…)

Pango means flat nosed.

“Pango” means “flat nosed.”

I was at a famjam yesterday at the Fiesta ng Pateros picnic in Newmarket (Pateros is the part of Manila where my immediate family lived). I decided to test out a project about how young Filipinos and Filipinas viewed their people.

I visited other tables and asked youth to write one positive and one negative about Fils. The horizontal images show what they liked, the vertical pics what they didn’t like.

I told them they could write anything on the white board they wanted, as long as they meant it. I didn’t tell what language to use, nor did I correct spelling.

(more…)

Myk Miranda, Mithi Esguerra, and I were invited to speak on Radio Migrante (105.5FM) yesterday afternoon on the theme of migration and identity. For one hour every Tuesday from 4-5pm, York University Radio with host Marco Luciano of Migrante-Ontario runs this program about the Filipino migrant experience. (more…)