Among “Other” Things. Last night, I went to a work-related dinner/reception for the Human Relations Commission (HRC). My supervisor and section chief are both Executive Members and they invited other prosecutors to tag along. Basically (from my understanding of it), the HRC is an organization whose mission is to promote diversity, cultural understanding, and improve race relations in Hudson County. They do this by helping other groups create programs within their own communities. For example, the funded this high school organization called ERASE (Erase Racism and Sexism Everywhere); ERASE had programs like World-Day, etc in their school to try to help students understand and appreciate different cultures. During their speeches, I realized something about racial identity that I never really thought about before: you’re only an “other” if you are a minority in a country with a majority race (generally speaking). Pretty simple really. This of course, I knew about (being a minority myself), but I never really thought much about it. This totally explains my own actions like joining a Filipino Students club at school, or working for an Asian American non-profit organization. When I was younger, I had wanted to learn more about my culture within the context of a larger framework of racial identity in the United States. But now, I’m so over this whole dialogue on race and ethnicity for the most part. To me, I’m Filipino, period. And I live in America, period. I was never one to say “I’m Filipino-American” and I don’t particularly like the use of that hyphenated term. I think attaching the term “-American” is a misnomer (within the Filipino/American identity context). I think it’s being misused and attached in order to promote the idea that one should be considered “American” in terms of using it as a status symbol (by some people), or of being patriotic, or of having allegiance, or being adoptive of the cultural and socio-economic idealisms of this nation. I personally don’t think you need to say “I’m Filipino-American” in order to convey the notion that you have ties to this country. Yes, I live in this country and I appreciate a lot (but not all!) of its ideals and the opportunities it has given me. I don’t think I need to “prove” that I’m American enough (or patriotic enough) for anybody by attaching “-American” next to my ethnicity. Hm…perhaps I may be going off in a tangent. In any case…essentially, I think you just have to be comfortable with your own sense of identity period, whether if it’s through your ethnicity, your hobbies, your gender, whatever. That’s just my own opinion.
TGIF. I am so tired already. I don’t think I got enough sleep, and I know that I’m going out tonight to a party. One word: coffee. I also wanted to go to an acquaintance’s show tonight, but it starts at 7 pm. I don’t get home until 6 pm and I know I won’t have enough time to go home, change, then go out again and be there by 7 pm. Perhaps next time. But I’m looking forward to tonight because I haven’t gone out dancing and socializing with my friends for a while. Whooohooo!