Racism

Undocumented Filipinos Are Living a Special Nightmare in Trump’s America

[Read Alyssa Aquino’s article: http://fpif.org/undocumented-filipinos-are-living-a-special-nightmare-in-trumps-america]

Surprising numbers of undocumented immigrants are coming from Asia. Filipinos are one such group.

Many US residents simply do not realize that the annual limit on permanent resident visas has put some families and individuals waiting for a decade or more. Using simple arithmetic, one can determine that a family reunification visa applicant from the Philippines could potentially wait over 20 years before the pending application is approved.

A long-standing relationship between the nation of the Philippines and the US began with the end of the Spanish American War. Student called Pensionados arrived first; welcome and even sponsored to come study at US Universities. Laborers came next. In the vacuum left unfilled with the Chinese Exclusion laws on the books, and the push to remove Japanese labor from the fields of Hawaii, California and Washington State, laborers emigrated to work in a number of industries. Farming, canneries, fishing, railroads, were just a few of the industries where Filipinos, men only, found themselves.

They too would lose this status in 1934 and the passage of the Tydings-McDuffie Act which included a clause allowing for Philippines independence after the Second World War. This made it possible for 50 (fifty) Filipino immigrant applicants to be admitted into the US annually. Subsequent laws would change that to 100 persons annually; and that too was changed. However, the number of applicants denied or unprocessed each year adds to the number of people left waiting.

Creating this backlog has repercussions, and the nation is now seeing that effect.

Memory and Renewal: Tanforan Assembly Center

2017 marks 75 years since the first Japanese Americans we forced into assembly centers and then to concentration camps throughout the United States.

Here in Western Washington American citizens and their parents were held at the Puyallup Fairgrounds– renamed Camp Harmony and then most were sent to Minidoka camp in Idaho. “Except in Portland, Pinedale, Sacramento, and Mayer, large fairground or racetracks were selected to minimize the need for building extra housing. At the racetracks, stables were cleaned out for use as living quarters. At the Portland Assembly Center over 3,800 evacuees were housed under one roof in a livestock pavilion subdivided into apartments.” (Densho Project Website)

Tanforan was a racetrack.

When we consider the events and the rhetoric of today’s electoral race, the importance of memorializing this tragic era of American history is not simply a message for those whose families share the direct legacy: It is for all the country to consider whether we will be complicit in this happening again, or not.

 

El Cerrito: WWII Tanforan Assembly Center story mirrors today’s issues

A Unique Culinary Blend– Only in America

In 2006, following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, New Orleans was a ghost town. In the 9th Ward, houses stood empty as the families who had lived in them for generations fled, were rescued from, or were lost in the surge of water as it breached the levees.

Following the 1975 Fall of Saigon, thousands of Vietnamese refugees settled throughout the United States. Here in the Pacific Northwest it was a tough process to find homes. In New Orleans; the story was no different. In the Parish of Versailles, the Vietnamese took to fishing, shrimping and other industries in the region. The communities they built up relied heavily on community cohesion and creating systems of support.

Following the Hurricanes, Versailles, also affected by the storm surge that hit the 9th Ward, looked considerably different. As the news reports warned of a coming catastrophe, the community stayed put and protected each other rather than evacuate.

On a torridly humid, sweaty March afternoon, a group of African American leaders sat down, most for the first time, in the backyard of their Vietnamese American neighbors and shared in the most aromatic meal that combined Vietnamese spicing with traditional and famous dishes made famous by the legends of New Orleans cuisine. On the table was:

A pot of Gumbo ‘liquor’: This is the excess liquid from the actual gumbo pot that is rich with the flavors of crawfish, shrimp, cayenne peppers and file’.

A Shrimp boil: Infused with anise, black pepper, Zatarain’s seafood seasoning, garlic, potatoes and corn and dumped onto the table atop newspaper.

Bunh: Cold rice noodles topped with crawfish, cilantro, pickled radish and peanuts.

For everyone at the table it was everything they knew, and a world of things they had never considered. The afternoon was spent sharing their experiences in trying to rebuild, sharing skills and knowledge about how to do it.

Food is often the first way to try and connect students to other cultures. How likely are they to connect food to the richness of their own culture?

Here is the story of Anh Luu, a chef who has taken this melding of flavors and created her own take on the cuisine.

Questions we can ask of our students:

  • How do we expect to see Americans of different ethnic backgrounds adopt or incorporate aspects of an “Americanized” lifestyle?
  • What styles of cuisine are combined in Anh’s cooking?
  • How does Anh describe herself; her identity; connection with family?
  • What is the importance of hearing Anh describe her own experience?

 

 

 

Attempting to Close a “Gene-race-nal” Gap

From the San Francisco Chronicle: June 12, 2016

Letters Home: Asian Americans in Support of Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

“Dear Mom, Dad, Uncle, Auntie, Grandfather, Grandmother: We need to talk. You may not have grown up around people who are black, but I have. Black people are a fundamental part of my life: they are my friends, my classmates and teammates, my roommates, my family. Today, I’m scared for them.”

So begins a powerful letter involving hundreds of Asian American collaborators from across the country in support of the Black Lives Matter, co-written in the aftermath of last week’s fatal shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and five Dallas police officers.”

Check out the actual letter here. There is a companion video as well.