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FILIPINOS


ARE WE ASIAN AMERICANS?

Should we be categorized as Asian Americans or prefer to be Pacific Islanders?

I came acrossed this question a lot of times when filling up job applications 
and questionaries. Though easily we could say that we are Asian Americans which
is the more popular term for Americans who are of Asian descent, however, if 
you may recall we are coming from an archipelago like the Philippines, our 
islands' location can also be classified as Pacific Islanders. Which we are 
sometimes lumped with the rest of other minorities.

Our researched showed that in most University of California campuses we are 
classified as a distinct category of people - Filipino American. However, at UC 
Berkeley, Filipinos are classified as Asian Americans. So which is which? I 
would say depending on the preference of the statistician or who ever 
developed the demographic clasification. I wonder if the UC system will ever 
come up with a true picture of our numbers if no specific figures are out. I am
sure they have broken down number of each minority group but Berkeley prefer such 
category for some reason. I don't care what category we are in but it should be
consistent in all campuses.

In government entities we are classified as Asian Americans or Pacific 
Islanders. Big cities like Los Angeles has set us as Asian American/Pacific 
Islanders. Is it because there's less of us in the county? 
Again no specific reason for us to be called by other classification but 
rather than this category will be sufficient enough for them to classify us. 
Filipino Americans does not have the numbers to be counted as a group that's 
why were lumped with the rest? So if there's 100 or less of us are we going 
to be categorized as Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders or Asian American/Pacific 
Islanders. Just being curious.

Do we really wanted to be called Asian Americans or South East Asian Americans 
or Pacific Islanders?
Reading magazines that are supposedly Asian Americans, I can not help but 
noticed the features to be mainly East Asian related. Koreans, Japanese and 
Chinese (includes Taiwan and Hong Kong) dominate the news and subjects of the 
articles. Filipinos and other South East Asians are less featured. Maybe they 
are less newsworthy, maybe not a good business practice as most readers are mainly 
East Asians or maybe the writers and contributors are East Asian descent that 
they only write what they experience and know, just like me. Maybe I am wrong 
but these are just observations. Why don't you check it yourself?

Let us analyze our situation in this issue.

What makes us Asian Americans? The Philippines' continent is Asia, the staple 
food is rice which is Asian, the cultural and origin of people are Asian. 
However, being made up of islands in which the eastern part faces the Pacific 
Ocean are we part Pacific Islanders? Manila's Spanish colonial rulers for 
centuries has been governing the island of Guam - in the middle of the Pacific 
Ocean and considering as well that a lot of Guamenians are of Filipino ancestry 
and remain close to their Filipino relatives and culture - does this classify 
as culture and origin related? Guamenians are Pacific Islanders even their names 
are similar to Filipinos rather than Pacific islanders names. Older Americans 
called the Philippines as the 'islands' -referring to our geographic origins. 
You see the Philippines along time ago is called 'The Philippine Islands' does that
mean we are Pacific Islanders. Now you're getting confuse, which is my objective 
here. Because that's what they are too - confused as we are, I mean the people 
setting the demographics standards. 

In my opinion, we are neither Asian Americans nor Pacific Islanders, we are 
both. Other minorities can easily be classified as Asian Americans as they are 
located in the continent itself.That's why others have a hard time categorizing us. 
But we have to make a decision not others trying to define our classification 
instead. That also happens when we let others define us as a country - like 
letting our colonizers named our country and people after King Philipp of Spain 
- not that I wanted differently but let us have a say on this matter this time. 

So what are we. Let's us make a survey as to what we really are:



       


Interesting Links:
University Of California Office of the President website Asian Population By County in 1997


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