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I look at my boyfriend with such anger, but I feel a little sympathy too, as I notice a part of his chin dripping with blood. Tears stream down my face. I am scared out of my mind.

“Everyone take off your seatbelts and put your hands up or on the dashboard where I can see them,” I hear a cop say.

The first time I ever get in trouble, it has to be SDPD.

“The passenger in the van, get out of the car with your hands up and walk backwards toward the sidewalk,” came through the megaphone.

That’s my cue.

It all started six months earlier, in 2002, on the south side of San Diego.

I walked into my ninth-grade, fifth-period PE class at what was then Bell Jr. High School in Paradise Hills. Standing on the hot black pavement, our names were being called in alphabetical order for roll. I heard Toney’s name. As I looked around, I saw him hanging onto a girl by her waist.

What a flirt, I remember telling myself. I knew he didn’t have a girlfriend at the time because my best friend Joann was on his jock. But I didn’t care. I found myself beginning to feel an attraction toward him.

At Bell, I was a cheerleader with straight A’s and Daddy’s angelic little girl. Not some hood-rat rule-breaker or badass. I was more about academics and socializing.

But I am also a Filipino. We eat with our hands, drive crazy on the road, point with our lips, and have fathers in the Navy and mothers who are nurses, both speaking with broken English.

My parents moved to San Diego from Bohol, Philippines, when my dad got stationed here more than 23 years ago. Like many Filipinos before them, they left all their family and friends behind but brought a few things along with them: their hopes for a better opportunity, their accents, and their Filipino rules.

We have to do well in school, graduate from some college, get a good job, and visit our parents’ homeland with 20-plus balikbayan boxes full of stuff as pasalubong for our cousins, which seem to increase by the thousands every few years. We’re not supposed to move out or have kids until marriage, which isn’t expected until age 30. No staying out too late, no calling older family members directly by their first names, and no “disco-disco.”


My older sister is ten and I am eight when the lectures start. “No boyfriends till you graduate college” is what my parents emphasize.

Four years later, my sister is an eighth-grader at Bell. She walks to my elementary school every day after class because that is where we get picked up. We usually have to kill time before our parents come to get us because of their work schedule. I find it an opportunity to play with my friends or join after-school programs. My sister uses her time otherwise.

One day, I am about to walk down the ramp toward the big kids’ playground when I run into my dad. It ended up as his day off, so he’s come early.

“Where’s your sister?” he asks.

“I don’t know,” I start to say, when I notice out of the corner of my eye that my sister is sitting on some guy’s lap at the bottom of the ramp.

They’re both in their school uniforms. He wears his like a wannabe gang member who’d run at the sight of real danger. My dad sees them and storms down the hill. I am scared for my sister but so glad it isn’t me. Every Filipino kid knows to stay clear of an angry father; you don’t want to be beaten with a slipper. Although I am some distance away, I have a good view of this potential Jerry Springer episode. I can smell the popcorn. I watch intensely. I hear loud shouts. But I can’t make out the words.

I see my sister quickly try to remove her short little body off this guy’s chunky lap, and I can’t help wondering if my dad’s intimidating behavior is going to scare the toughness right out of the round-faced deviant.

My dad directs his yelling at the guy, who just sits there. I can tell my sister is trying to defend him because of her constant attempts to get between them. My dad then grabs her arm and pulls her up the ramp. Her arm and face turn red as she struggles to break his grip.

The yelling gets louder the closer they come.

“Sitting on his lap, Heather?”

“Dad, just stop!”

“You can’t see him anymore! Break up with him!”

“But I love him!” Her sobbing gets heavier.

“Let’s go!” he yells at me.

I can’t help smirking at my sister’s comment and laughing about her embarrassment as I follow them to the car. I couldn’t care less that I am being inconsiderate. It isn’t me getting into trouble, it is her.

We get home in what feels like two minutes. I’m not sure how we survive the car ride. There is a lot of yelling, jerking, and swerving on my dad’s part and crying, sobbing, and whining on my sister’s part.

My dad goes into the house and straight to the phone to call Mom. I watch my sister attempting to pack her stuff to run away if Dad continues to forbid their relationship. How far could she get? I think. She’s only 14. If my dad was angry earlier, he will be the Hulk now! But my sister dares not test his strength. Instead, she locks herself in her room.


Three years after my sister’s great love affair, I am a ninth-grader at Bell. I decide to go on a trip to Disneyland with people from a neighborhood rec center. Toney was going, so of course I wanted to. We’re in the same group and ride almost all the rides, but one in particular makes me cheese it every time I hear its name.

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Comments

kuyaeyan March 4, 2010 @ 12:05 p.m.

I am a filipino and i can relate to this 100% i just had to grab it as soon as i saw the cover :) Great Job.

email me if ya can :D kuyaeyan@gmail.com

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justulip March 5, 2010 @ 1:43 p.m.

I don't understand the point of this article. How dare you call this ‘Filipino Rules’. YOUR story DOES NOT represent Filipinos. If anything, YOU represent a spoiled, selfish, ignorant, delusional and disrespectful individual who obviously is shaming her family and making HERSELF look like a complete ASS!
For those who are not Filipino and reading this article; please do not let this young punk’s OWN story be a true portrayal of the Filipino race. This is obviously a CHILD who has no clue, who has no respect for anyone or anything, someone who NEEDS attention and by gosh, she was going to get it somehow! Congrats to that, pathetic one! AND to the San Diego Reader, seriously!!!! WTF!

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PistolPete March 5, 2010 @ 2:32 p.m.

Sounds like she's not Filipino at all but American, which is what happens when you move to America and have kids. DUH! This one's a no brainer, justulip...

1

JlynRex March 5, 2010 @ 7:18 p.m.

I'm seriously embarrassed that this months edition of the Reader has "Filipino rules" on it. I specifically signed up for an account just so I could respond to this article and say how ridiculous and poorly written I think it is. I'm Filipino so I know what you were trying to get at, but it came out completely absurd. Did you have anyone read it before you submitted it? You should have! Nice way to start off your career. Best luck to you in the future.

Oh by the way, great job using all those stereotypes!

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mpearson March 5, 2010 @ 7:46 p.m.

When I saw the cover of this week's issue, I was very excited. I grabbed it, read it and was sorely disappointed. Of all the stories that could feature the Filipino culture this was by far the WORST. The writer has no clue about what she's writing or why. Her story has no point (well said justulip) and represents all the negative stereotypes that Filipinos have had to face. The generalizations are degrading and ridiculous and have no bearing on the story.

You are very naive if you think that this article is going to gain sympathy for you because of your strict parents. Many Filipinos growing up in San Diego have similar backgrounds but have embraced that fact that their parents have come here with the intent to provide a better life for their children. Instead of rebelling and blaming them for our problems, we respect them and have grown to be grateful and appreciative for everything they have done and continue to do. We make decisions based on the strong morals and ethics they've instilled regardless of ethnicity or cultural upbringing. We choose colleges, careers and spouses because that's what adults do.

I know that you are very young but GROW UP. Your father's rules are strict because you obviously need them and disregard them constantly. All of your "stories" are examples of how you and your sister behaved inappropriately and how your father reacted. Of course your father was angry. ANY father from ANY ethnicity would be upset if his "angel" was brought home in handcuffs. What did you think was going to happen?

Wehn you're mature enough to see that your own actions and selfishness is the problem, not your father, I'd love to see you grace the cover again. Until then, good luck...you'll need it.

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PMB March 5, 2010 @ 11:01 p.m.

I received an e-mail today that linked me to this article. I must say that I was quite surprised at reading these so called "Filipino Rules".

Firstly, I would like to articulate how poorly this article was written. Not only did it have several grammatical errors, but contextual errors as well. With numerous sentence fragments and incorrect use of the past and present tenses it was really difficult to read and understand what the writer was trying to convey.

I would say that the title is misleading. Titling this article as “Filipino Rules” is deceptive and imprecise. I myself am a Filipino born and raised in Europe and immigrated to the United States and I can relate to this topic. It’s obvious that the writer had numerous negative experiences and decided to relate them to the Filipino culture instead.

Currently I am pursuing a Communication major and have no interest in joining the Military. My father did not join the military either and my mother is not a nurse. According to your statement, “But I am also a Filipino. We eat with our hands, drive crazy on the road, point with our lips, and have fathers in the Navy and mothers who are nurses, both speaking with broken English.” This is your definition of what a Filipino is. I myself, along with several others that have commented, believe that it is pretty stereotypical to say the least.

Upon moving to the United States I noticed that the majority of Filipinos within my age group (18-25) do not speak Tagalog or any other Filipino dialect. I soon realized that they have been acculturated to the American social norms. I believe that what it is to be a Filipino is to retain one’s cultural values. If you haven’t noticed, the Filipino culture is very spiritual and family oriented, none of which you mentioned in your article. What you mentioned are your personal experiences of living with strict parents. No relation to the Filipino culture.

I grew up with my parents speaking to me in Tagalog, simultaneously learning and speaking German in school. Later on I learned English and moved to the United States. Yes, my parents were really strict with me when I was young and I didn’t like it either. However, it did teach me how to conduct myself properly in difficult situations. By proving to my parents that I can abide by the rules, I have earned their complete trust with my decisions in life.

To those non-Filipino readers, please take this article with a grain of salt. To attain a more complete experience of what Filipinos are all about I would suggest going to a Multicultural Festival such as the Carousel of the Nations and see the Filipino culture at its finest.

A short message to the writer of the article: If you are serious about writing as a career, I would suggest taking a refresher course in English, perhaps ESL. Your writing needs a lot of work and I am wondering how this even got published.

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MaySDLV March 5, 2010 @ 11:43 p.m.

Damn it!

I had a good comment but my computer crapped out on me.

Pretty much what everyone else said.

Please do yourself a favor (and please take this in the sincerest way possible) do some introspection and find what your true (cultural) identity is. In addition to that, talk to your parents and find out what they had to go through so you could have the opportunity to treat them the way that you do. As a 2nd generation Filipino-American I did just this and it is AMAZING what your parents are willing to let you know. I also think that you might be confusing your parents speaking with an accent for broken English; there is clearly a difference between the two.

From what I read, a lot of your issues stemmed from the guys that your sister and you dated. No self-respecting parent, regardless of race/ethnicity, would want their "grown" daughter to date a BOY who isn't contributing to society in any way. Plus this kid is getting you arrested?! Oh hell no, make better choices, girl. That guy's a loser. It sounds like you were behaving pretty disrespectfully to your parents. I think an apology is in order.

If it weren't too late I would ask you to re-consider the title of this article to "Rejas Family Drama" as it does not represent Filipinos as a whole. Yes they're strict but as PMB said, many if not most of us are family-oriented and spiritual.

I laughed to myself at the part where you said you didn't want your parents to think "Toney" was ghetto. The little prick stole a car? How the f*** would you describe that? CLASSIC!

Maybe you're a little young. After a few years you might look back on this article and understand what we're talking about. Definitely not a cover-worthy article, even for a free publication. Perhaps you're taking the saying bad PR is good PR to the "n"th degree. Great job Kanye West of the publication world.

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RosesAreRed March 6, 2010 @ 12:36 p.m.

LET ME SHARE YOU ONE OF THE COMMENTS I HAVE RECEIVED... This is very disrespectful to the Filipino culture – how sad for this person to degrade Filipinos like this – she should be speaking for herself and not for the entire Fil-Ams – she does not have the right to speak for my kids – or other kids who are responsible individuals – I pity the parents of this spoiled brat! YOU'LL HEAR MORE FROM ME!!!

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guest123 March 6, 2010 @ 5:07 p.m.

I am not Filipino. However, I can see why people were offended. I too have parents who came from another country, and I wouldn't want someone writing a story with my heritage plastered all over the cover - as if they represented ME or my culture. By plastering "Filipino Rules" on the cover, the article becomes less about the individual author and more about Filipino culture in general - and who made this girl a spokesperson for Filipino culture? She does not speak for all Filipino people, and her story might not represent other Filipinos' experience. Her culture is a strong part of her background - I get that - but I don't think they'd print a cover story bluntly called "Jewish Rules" or "Black Rules" or "Mexican Rules" - as if the writer represents the whole culture - so I'm a little surprised that they would print this. They should have just called it Maecel's Rules - or [insert her father's name] Rules, which is more accurate. However - I did like her writing style, think she has talent, just a poor editorial decision.

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magicsfive March 6, 2010 @ 5:22 p.m.

What am I missing here? I read this and saw it as an account of HER life as a young Filipino woman. This is HER story. What is wrong with that?

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PistolPete March 6, 2010 @ 7:07 p.m.

When you are from another country, and you move to America and have kids, they are NOT Filipino-American. They are just simply American. ANYONE born in this country is considered Americans. If you don't believe me, ask all the Mexican women who cross the border illegally and have their babies here.

This story is titled, "Filipino Rules" for the simple fact that the author's father is a Filipino-American. It's his rules, not her own, that she broke.

Get it? Got it? GOOD!

As for stereotypes about the Filipino culture and how true they are, one just needs to look no further than Manilla Mesa. As much as this country likes to deny it's citizen's have certain racial stereotypes, we all know their called stereotypes for a damn good reason-THEY'RE TRUE!!!!!!!!!!

1

marie142 March 6, 2010 @ 7:48 p.m.

Apparently after reading this article, I came to realize that this article is really about her life and what she has been through, this story is not generalizing us Filipinos but simply telling how she sees it! She has made incredibly bad choices in her life and who hasn't? I'm a Filipino American and I learned that living in the society we live in can be hard. As kids, are parents would raise us towards their cultural beliefs but as we age, we sometimes get caught in between what society tells us and the native culture we belong to. It's a constant battle between the two! Who knows, maybe she was brought up in a bad neighborhood with constant drug dealings and gang activity. The environmental factors are probably what shaped her to do things she did. Plus parents are never with there kids 24/7 and who knows what happens! Going back to the article, she did also use a lot of stereotypes but I found them to be pretty amusing! Also just to let everyone know as a Journalism major, the title might be presented as it is to get you to read the article. Sometimes titles don't even relate to the story at all. Plus stories are constantly edited to appeal to the readers and so perhaps she added some comical twists to it to try to make the readers laugh or the Reader might have changed some things. So to those that are bagging on the writer, be open to what she has to say and realize that maybe she's probably lost in that constant battle between being a Filipino and a American. Also know that all Filipinos are different and are brought up differently, some good and some bad.

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SDaniels March 6, 2010 @ 7:58 p.m.

re: #8: "YOU'LL HEAR MORE FROM ME!!!"

Let me guess: "Violets are blue?" Sorry, lame, but couldn't resist, and we could use the laugh, I'm sure :)

Let's all relax for a second (assuming we are just ignoring #13--it's useless to beat one's head against that wall):

The author is writing about her experience, and the title does express her particular experience, just as the story outlines her feelings about and reactions to the culture she is a part of, but does not understand. Just like a racist who hates through ignorance, so does she. The piece is valuable from this perspective--someone who is clearly embarrassed by her parents' ethnicity and heritage-- whether or not it is intended. I can't see how anyone (of moderate intelligence) reading this piece would see it as anything but evidence of this immature, self-hating point of view, which affords us a glimpse of how racism is internalized and rearticulated within the context of and against the facile judgements of a dominant culture--not stated directly, but everywhere we feel this author's angst over not fitting in exactly as she thinks an "American" should.

For writing on a more generous variety of Filipino and Filipino-American perspectives, check out Jessica Hagedorn's work. A play of hers is titled "Dogeaters," but would you dismiss it because she chooses to conceptually explore rather than repress this epithet? Because she tackles the difficult topic of internalized ethnophobia and racial hatred?

http://www.amazon.com/Dogeaters-Jessica-Hagedorn/dp/1559362154/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267933902&sr=1-1#noop

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SDaniels March 6, 2010 @ 8:02 p.m.

re: #14: Hey, very well put, marie142!

"...Plus stories are constantly edited to appeal to the readers and so perhaps she added some comical twists to it to try to make the readers laugh or the Reader might have changed some things. So to those that are bagging on the writer, be open to what she has to say and realize that maybe she's probably lost in that constant battle between being a Filipino and a American."

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jojo March 7, 2010 @ 2:37 a.m.

I agree that this cover story could have been better written with A LOT more focus on the so-called "rules" that us Filipino-Americans had to grow up with rather than a story about her boyfriend getting in trouble with the law (and she being involved in that hot mess).

I am also Filipino-American and was born and raised in San Diego from parents that moved here after my Dad joined the Army in the early 70's. Although he joined the military (after obtaining a college degree in mechanical engineering), he got out after two years after it served its purpose of bringing my Mom and then two-year old brother here to the U.S. (I was later created). =)

Basically, my family was not your stereotypical Filipino family that was described in this story. My Dad was not in the Navy, we didn't shop at the Navy Exchange, MCRD or Commissary, my Mom was not a nurse, my brother didn't join the military after he got his G.E.D. and nor did I become a nurse or accountant when I got my business degree from Cal State Long Beach. Nor, thank goodness, did I think my parents were super strict with me and my brother as we grew up. I thank them for that because my teenage years might have been a little different with more sneaking around; which later turned out to be unnecessary since I was allowed to have a boyfriend while I was in high school and they simply trusted me.

I was sadly bummed out because the title didn't quite deliver and I felt like we, as a reader were left hanging. I was like, "That's it?! Really?"

Basically, the article didn't provide the wow factor to gain the cover story it was awarded. The stereotypes were mentioned, haha, I've heard it a gazillion times before, but I think it was exaggerated too much, especially with the Balikbayan box comment.

You get an "A" for effort Mae, but this article was more blog-appropriate, not meant to be the cover story of the San Diego Reader.

If you really wanted to focus on the "Filipino Rules," here's my two cents of the rules I personally had to grow up to:

-go to CCD (catechism school) every Saturday morning starting when I was in kindergarten until I got my first communion, went to confession and got confirmed in the tenth grade, - don't get pregnant until I got married and finished school, - no sleepovers at friend's houses (they were allowed to sleep at our house though), - don't do drugs, - don't answer back to my parents (although I admit that I had major 'tude at times and deserved a slipper or two thrown at me, but it hardly happened), - do my chores around the house (do kids even do this anymore??) to earn my allowance, - try my best in getting good grades in school, - don't join a gang, - come home at the time we agreed on and on time when I'd go out with my friends, - don't smoke, and - don't get pregnant (mentioned twice for emphasis)

These were my rules, probably many homes can relate to my list regardless of being Filipino-American or not. =)

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allierabbit35 March 7, 2010 @ 12:23 p.m.

I am a Mestiza, Raised solely by my filipina mother here in South East San Diego. Yes as a child I didn't understand why she was so strict while my other non filipino friends had more freedom. Now as an adult and have children I totally understand what she was trying to instill in me. She just wanted us to be sucessful and able to take care of our families, which includes, mother, father, grand parents aunts and uncles. She wanted me to be responsible Even though sometimes the lesson came with a pinch on the back of the arm or an ear twist, I got the message! LOL!!! I am grateful for my heritage and love and miss her dearly. Mahal Kita Mommy!

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allierabbit35 March 7, 2010 @ 12:30 p.m.

@Jojo, Yes, I find myself being the same way that my mom was with me with my children! I lecture them about staying out of trouble, not having kids, doing your chores, all of that! I find myself saying a lot of the things my mom used to say! And doing a lot of the things she used to do. :)

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pats_girl March 7, 2010 @ 12:44 p.m.

I couldn't help but to leave a comment after reading this article and the comments thereafter. I could appreciate that she used comical twists to keep the reader engaged--I admit that I do the same--and some of it was funny because it reminded me of my parents. But there was a certain point where it just got out of hand. There was a certain point where it seemed as if she was feeding to the ignorant negative stereotypes that haunt Filipino-Americans. It was to the point that I felt bad and embarrassed for her parents.

I personally was not a fan of this article. I thought it was disrespectful to her parents and poorly represents our generation of Filipino-Americans. This further feeds to the argument that we as a culture have a sense of loss cultural identity. What we should all understand is that although we are Americans through and through, we should be reminded of our Filipino heritage. Moreover, we should take that extra step to appreciate our heritage and appreciate the struggles that our parents went through. Appreciate them and their accents because they learned a second language and left everything behind to work hard and make a life in the US so they could bestow the opportunities that are laid in front of us.

I was that angel with the halo over my head. I did everything "right". Not because I didn't want to disappoint my parents, but because I owed it to them. I grew up knowing that I HAD to go to college because why else would my parents settle for anything less? And yes, I did join the military. But on my Dad's terms and because of that, I'm a commissioned officer in the US Army. Not a single day do I forget the struggles my Dad went through as a young immigrant Soldier in the 1970's when he was discriminated against. Of course my Dad didn't want me to enlist as a private. He saw that as me settling with the same opportunity that he had--the only opportunity he had. He wanted more for me and I SHOWED him what his 23 years of hard work did for me.

And lastly, I'd like to add... (1) thanks a bunch for the cover photo of a girl wearing a Morse High School cheerleader outfit. That really is a way I want my alma mater to be represented (sarcasm); and (2) where is the conclusion in the article. What was the point? Where is the WOW factor? Nothing tied this together and at the end I was left with... "ok, and?"

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PistolPete March 7, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.

Ya'll might want to look at the definition of the word American...especially jojo since he/she claims to have born and raised in Sandy Eggo yet contradicts his/herself by calling his/herself a Filipino-American... 5.a native or inhabitant of the Western Hemisphere. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/american Key word being native...

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CAMM719 March 8, 2010 @ 9 a.m.

Wow. Seriously. This girl is Filipino and the way she degrades her own nationality... Girl, wake up. You're Filipino too. Simply 'cause you were born and raised in the "States" doesn't mean you have the right to degrade your own culture like that. Your parents came to the US to make sure you had a better education. They didn't travel here to change your perspective on Filipino morals and values.

I'm Filipino myself and the fact that this writer would talk about this just made me shake my head. I, for one, feel embarrassed that she would even question the reason why her parents set those rules out. I could go on and on about the reasons why we have these "Filipino Rules".

^^justulip. I absolutely agree with you.

^^PistolPete, you should realize that simply 'cause people make it to the US, doesn't mean their kids disregard their roots. If anything, they should be proud of where they came from. Without their roots, they wouldn't even be here. So honestly, I would shut your mouth. You've got no clue what you're talking about.

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jojo March 8, 2010 @ 9:20 a.m.

I don't think I'm contradicting myself PistolPete. Yes, I was born and raised in San Diego and my parents have instilled (and continue to instill) our roots of where they were raised by bringing us to monthly gatherings with fellow Caviteños that migrated from the Philippines to San Diego as we grew up. I've been on a few trips back to the Motherland and I came back feeling even more humble.

My parents taught both my brother and I how to understand Tagalog, but speaking it was rather difficult, but yet I still try to learn to this day. You don't know me, so don't ASSume I'm lacking the Filipino culture I grew up with.

CAMM719- I totally agree with you!

I am Filipina-American whether you or anyone may think otherwise. So what should I claim, that I'm only San Diegan and only that? Yeah, sure buddy.

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PistolPete March 8, 2010 @ 11:16 a.m.

I'm not saying ANYONE should deny their cultural background. I just think that most people don't or won't take serious those people that hyphenate their cultures to try and be proud of something. I come from a mixed blood background. Should I then call myself a Native American-Irish-Scotish-English-American? I laugh at people who tell me they're African-American unless they were actually born in Africa. Filipino-American just sounds to me like you deny your pride in being born in the states. If you're not proud of your country of birth, I have a plane ticket back to the country of your choosing.

A couple of posters asked why this article was called, "Filipino Rules" and I explained why. It's the father's rules she's broken-NOT her own. If it was her own rules she had broken, a more appropriate title would've been, "American Rules".

It's hard for any minority to claim racism here in the USA when they self-categorize themselves as a minority. Bottom line? If you were born here, you're an American. NOT (whatever nationality your parents are)-American. Just American.

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jmtrudeau March 8, 2010 @ 2:07 p.m.

"drive crazy on the road" its funny cause its true.

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SDaniels March 8, 2010 @ 2:14 p.m.

Pete, maybe you'd like to explain to everyone here exactly why--beyond all of the issues you've already mentioned--this issue is SO important to you. It's interesting that you pop up whenever ethnicity and race are discussed, and have to try and get people to salute the flag, even while you continue to disrespect it by not paying any taxes like the rest of sheep who actually pay for the public works you enjoy, right?)

So what if people consider themselves to be of multiple heritage, and practice culture other than what you think to be "American?" As Americans, that is their right--to claim or not claim any ethnic heritage.

I'll clue you in: The reason you don't go around claiming you are Scots-Irish whatever is because you didn't grow up either in another country or with the presence of another culture in your household. Being Scots-Irish was not relevant to your life, or intimate to your consciousness the way it would have been when some of your ancestors took the boat. It is perfectly natural to claim Filipino-American or Mexican-American identity, as well as ancestry, when you have had that experience.

Of course, you'll start harping on why people claim to be African-American, then. I can't believe you haven't yet attempted to understand issues around this practice, beyond your own shallow and bigoted views. People claim to be African-American out of pride because they have already been labeled as such, as "other" through a complex psychological reality we are all dealing with in some way, and from one side or another.

Here's an elementary example of how people get "othered" through description, which is the beginning of definition, by the way:

When you are telling a story of what happened the other day, you say "A black guy stopped me on the street and asked for money" or "A black guy works at the deli."

You don't just say "A guy.." You say "A BLACK guy." If the guy is identifiable as "white" or Caucasian, you don't say "A white guy."

Why is that? Because being Black means always being "other" than. There is a lot of significance to this practice--it is very telling about how race relations stand yet today, when we would hope that racial markers no longer define individuals, or impede the social progress of people as a group or as individuals. Fact is, these racial markers still do. Why you, PistolPete, would continue to deny that that is the case, and continue to insist on uninformed analogies to your own anglo background, is not clear, especially when you've had me and AG to give you the 411 many times over.

There is a rich body of theory in anthro, lit theory, cultural studies, sociology, all about this psychological and cultural practice of othering people. Check it out sometime, and get smarter about this stuff if you are really interested. If you explore alternate points of view, you might just change your mind about some of your own.

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SDaniels March 8, 2010 @ 2:17 p.m.

PS: Everyone, forgive my little errors of grammar. In a hurry today ;)

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PistolPete March 8, 2010 @ 3:47 p.m.

I grew up knowing my ancestory, SD. I was also taught that it didn't matter where my relatives came from. What mattered was the fact that I was born an American. This is suppose to be the world's melting pot but the funny thing is, nobody but us true Americans wants to melt into the pot. As for my labeling "that" guy as a black guy or a Mexican guy or a Jewish guy, so what? Many people do that. We're ALL a little racist. Not even you can deny that.

My take on different races is simple:Work hard, live your life and don't pull the race card when the s*** hits the fan and we'll get along great. I have many neighbors from different ethnicities. I talk to them and say hello to them all the time. If one of my ethnic neighbors has the cops called on him and he or she tried pulling the race card out, not only would I call them on it, I'd lose alot of respect for them as well. I'm not saying that there are racist white cops out there. There are. They're the exception to the rule though.

As for this issue being so important to me, why not? People from other ethnicities start the discussion everytime I hear, "Why can't whitey leave us (insert ethnicity here-Americans) alone?"

ANYONE(black, white, Irish, Filipino, Chinese, Haitian) born in this country LEGALLY is an American. There are NO exceptions to that particular definition to the word no matter how the minorities spin it. This is why PC people like you, SD, piss me off. The rule has been established. No matter how hard to try to inflict your willpower to bend or break it, it can't be broken. You can't put a PC spin on the definition of the word American. You can call yourself Hawai'ian-American all you want. I'll laugh at it. Not because I'm racist but because I see through the PC bulls*** that's slowly rotting this country from the inside.

And you're absolutly correct. As an American if I want to call myself a Jamaican-American that's my perogative. However, I have no right to get pissed when people laugh at me.

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acopeland March 8, 2010 @ 6:19 p.m.

If one of the purposes of this article was to garner sympathy from the audience, then the author earns very little, if any, from me. There should have been a fair amount of putting Filipinos in a more positive light, but I frowned the whole way through. Published articles should connect with the audience, and as a Fil-Am at around the same age I did not connect with the author at all. Something like this belongs in a myspace blog. No offense~

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southeastsd March 9, 2010 @ noon

First of all, i am Filipino myself, i attended the same schools as the writer and grew up in same generation. She is a couple years younger than me but i am extremely disappointed at her views of Filipinos. I had to sign up for this account because i really need to put my 2 cents in regarding this so called "Filipino Rules" article.

I can agree with most of the people responding here about how the article was poorly written, blog worthy and negatively misrepresents who Filipinos really are.

Lets just cut it short, and say she should go home to the Philippines see how it really is, and maybe she'll see why her parents are the way they are. She is a spoiled disrespectful little brat who should get disowned by all the Filipinos. Your Family drama should not represent filipino's as a whole community and culture. And you should be in jail for stealing that car.

You are Disowned!!

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MusicMinded10 March 9, 2010 @ 4:18 p.m.

You girl, you are so lucky that you have parents who are taking care of you since your childhood. Both your parents are guiding you for the goodness of your adult life and of course for your good and fruitful future that includes your own family. I understand your situation when you were young, "the strict rules" of your loving parents who worked hard for the goodness of their children. And, I will tell you, that you will realize that what your parents did to you is for the very best of you and your upcoming children soon as you have your own. Please, be aware that is what Parents do..to guide the family for the goodness of your own well-being, and for the community you're living. Hope it worked out for you and your loving parents.

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leftofcenter March 9, 2010 @ 8:39 p.m.

As always, in the grand tradition of needlessly long-ass, 30 page cover stories that do nothing more than act as filler pages to supplement plastic surgery and cannabis ads, The Reader has really topped themselves with a huge stink-bomb doozy this time! And in the even grander tradition of the constant, needless paraphrasing style of one Duncan Shepherd, here's my retort:

As a 42 year-old Filipino/American, reading this article nearly made me puke. This article is downright racist (on behalf of an ignorant writer and an even ignorant editor to put it in print)and self-loathing to say the least. It's loaded with negative stereotypes (amongst them, “Don’t talk to me like dat! I’m your podder!”) and lame generalizations (lots of "we" and "most"). And what about the "dark-skinned" types being bad in comparison to their "light-skinned" counterparts ("My dad was always more intimidating than my mom, based on their looks. He is tall and dark, with unreadable expressions, compared to my short, light-skinned, and jolly mom.").

And Ms. Rejas, may I suggest that you take a second from your seemingly puny intelligence and clarify (read: define) italicized terms such as 'balikbayan' and 'pasalubong' to those readers that don't know what the heck these terms mean.

Either that or perhaps take a remedial writing course down and actually learn how to write beyond a fifth-grade level.

I could go on and on, but doing so would be already be a waste of my time commenting on such drivel. Let me close by saying that at the very best, this along with The Reader's numberous multi-paged cover stories have layered a multitude of bird cages as that's the only use your publication is good for!

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SDxCA March 10, 2010 @ 4:18 p.m.

This article was poorly written and missing its point. I read it and kept turning the page looking for the conclusion. If this girl is a journalism major she's going to be greatly disappointed when she finds out that journalists are supposed to report both sides of the story. Her story was completely one sided and she was self-centered and selfish. If I came home to my Filipino father in handcuffs I wouldn't slam my bedroom door in his face and scream that I wanted to get the F* out of there. And then I wouldn't decide to toss the "Filipino Rules" out the window and move to Long Beach for two weeks to party.

She would have had a better reception to this story if she wrote about what she learned from growing up as a Filipino American. Maybe I would forgive her for having a loser boyfriend and for her disrespectful attitude towards her parents if she said she learned to appreciate why her dad was being strict because he wanted so much more for his daughters than what he had growing up in the Phillipines.

This young lady would be better off trying to become a short story fiction writer. Journalists do not put titles on stories that have nothing to do with the story. Journalists need to report the news and this story is definitely not newsworthy. It's a good thing the Reader is free because I would have asked for a refund had a bought the magazine. Everyone, please know that her "Filipino Rules" story does not represent every young Filipino American.

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SDaniels March 10, 2010 @ 9:52 p.m.

What I'd like to say at this point is that whether or not anyone actually liked the article, we have quite a few new readers and commenters contributing valuable thoughts and opinions that really make me think about the issues here.

On the one hand, there are some who take the piece as just really badly written as well as ideologically problematic (acopeland and leftofcenter). Acopeland is probably right to say that this piece really belonged out in blogland rather than as a cover story for any publication.

I agree it's pretty rough-- there is a basic narrative structure there to be built on, but as jojo said, there simply wasn't enough about the "Filipino rules."

Let me posit this:

I think that the negative reactions are justified, and the positive reactions are hopeful, both with a similar underlying hope. A piece like this is offensive and disappointing just because we DON'T see enough literature from what would be labeled a so-called "minority" point of view--I'd rather say, from a variety of cultural points of view.

And that is the damn shame here--if we had tons of stories coming out in the neighborhood blogs and on cover that revealed different perspectives on Filipino-Am experiences, then this one would just be another, and we could discuss it with less ire and frustration, feeling that it is being totally and irrevocably misrespresented.

The contradiction echoing here is "This represents Filipino-Am experience," and "This doesn't represent Filipino-Am experience," with heavier emphasis on the latter opinion.

I say, write in everyone, and demand to see what you want to read. Contribute some neighborhood blogs with the content missing from this story, and give us your perspective. Tell us about food, ritual, history, family, work, play, friends-- everything that makes up your experience of your neighborhood, family, and cultural life.

As a Reader blogger of about a year, I hope those of you who are new to the Reader online stick around, and continue to enrich our experience of it :)

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Altius March 11, 2010 @ 11:30 a.m.

Re: #27... ahhhhh, it's good to see the old "bird cage liner" cliche. That stopped being a good zinger about 25 years ago.

Ms. Rejas's story is more memoir than journalism, which is fine. I'm puzzled by the Filipinos in this thread. The is Maecel's story about growing up Filipino in America. It's not your story. Maybe your Fil-Am experience has been different. Start a blog and tell us about it.

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guest123 March 11, 2010 @ 12:40 p.m.

My opinion is that the article is derogatory towards immigrant Filipinos, whether it is written by a Filipina-Am or not. The lines where her father is talking ("I am your podder") are clearly aimed at mocking her father and his accent. The technique of repeatedly focusing on his accent is reminiscent of the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's, where Mr. Yunioshi's thick Asian accent was one of the "comical" elements in the film - simplifying and stereotyping him while differentiating him from the elegant and refined Audrey Hepburn.

The key here is the author's tone and style - the accent is conveyed in such a way as to prompt the reader to laugh at her father, rather than understand where he is coming from. As a result, it denigrates her father - who represents her old-world Filipino values and culture. It's fine if she feels this way, but writing it down and distributing it to thousands of people who might know nothing about Filipino culture is disrespectful to say the least. Imagine if a non-Filipino person wrote these exact same words to describe her best friend's father for example - would people still brush it off as just that person's experience, or call it for what it is?

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MusicMinded10 March 11, 2010 @ 10:50 p.m.

Hello everyone.. In my opinion, this young lady made her life story an open book. I am not really sure if she meant to tell the whole world how her life was been when she was on her teen life or she is making fun of the Filipinos here in America. Was she trying to prove herself that she can write articles out of her own upbringing without looking back where she is from or looking forward of the consequences that may happen. Or, this could be a wake-up call of some Filipinos here in America or from all over the world especially the parents, guardians, relatives, and that we cannot predict the outcome of the children or relatives that we have been taken care of or how we raise our own children. How much we love and sacrifice for them, and in the long run, they ended up of hurting us in return. Sometimes, we can ask ourselves, what I have done? Or maybe, I can say or believe the saying "Life is not Fair" If this young lady want to be a Journalist, she need more time of practice or read and read first or question herself, "Am I right" Or, she can ask advice from some experts. I think, she was writing this article very sloppy. And, maybe this is her first article... that she can learn from it. Good luck, and please ask from experts first before you write something especially if you are hurting your own loved ones. More power to you.

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rvvargas March 12, 2010 @ 9:33 a.m.

I went to high school with you. Coming from the same place that you're coming from, it's a shame that you had to use your personal life as a representation of what goes on inside Filipino homes because your story is your own and cannot speak for others as a whole.

There is no such thing as "Filipino Rules." I never even heard about this until now. It is through media outlets like this that plant the seed to a garden of stereotypes. Thank goodness plenty others are smart to see this and are quick to pull out the roots of unfair portrayals. Proof of this are the many comments that critique this article as a poorly written personal narrative.

You say journalism is something you want to get into but you fall short to provide readers with an objective approach to tell a story. Instead, you use your own subjective opinions and a few pages out of a popular SD magazine to implant your own agenda, perhaps against your father and family. Your article lacks depth, a message, and insight.

It is my hope that the next Filipino writer who gets an opportunity to get published will do a better job, will actually address community issues at hand, and not use up editorial space to let the world know about their own personal problems.

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deux March 12, 2010 @ 11:58 p.m.

Seeing the words "Filipino Rules" and the uniform of my alma mater immediately grabbed my attention. I would say this simple instance gave me more excitement than actually reading this article.

I had the pleasure of knowing Maecel in a distant way. Though she was two years older than me, I went to the same elementary, middle school, and high school. My friends' older brothers and sisters were her circle of friends. While it disappoints me that her words cannot come out of the mouths of every other Fil-Am she is trying to represent and write to, I will contest that she is a beautiful woman and has contributed her knowledge in other ways in spite of this.

I agree she made a huge error in trying to represent her culture. It surprises me as someone younger (20 y/o), I am able to embrace my heritage. However, I will admit that the process to digging back to my cultural roots took a great amount of examination, discussion, and of course, education.

The problem that comes apparent to me is often a language barrier. Despite the fact that many Filipino immigrants were taught English and can 'get by' quite well, conversations between parents and children are quite minimal and basic. The influence of American culture absolves these new generations of Fil-Ams, and Mex-Ams, Chinese-Ams, Somalian-Ams, etc, to an ethnocentric level.

Add the factor of current media consumption behaviors, where the youth are relentlessly connected online. Effects of constant online communication leave users unable to hold basic conversations in person and the necessity to feel 'updated'. Adding this to the natural generation gaps between parent-to-children, the youth have no interest in historical heritage.

Filipino parents are often unaware their American born children are raised with multiple identities. American ideals of independence and privacy conflict with Filipino values of collectivity and openness so representing your culture or heritage in America in any way is subject to disputing your social standing. Children have no other outlet to discuss these cultural frustrations and may sometimes subject to mischievous behaviors, as Maecel described.

I hope that readers look beyond this memoir-like article as it poorly represents the general experiences of Filipino-Americans. Such stereotypical views often mitigate the actual experiences of immigration and its related areas. It is up to educating ourselves in creating a more tolerable culture of diversity, otherwise ignorance will undermine the human experience.

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SDaniels March 14, 2010 @ 3:34 p.m.

Altius and anyone else who wondered why people would have trouble with this article, but doesn't feel like reading back up the thread, listen to new responses coming in now from guest123, musicminded, rvvargas,...

--but MOST of all listen to deux @ #40:

"Filipino parents are often unaware their American born children are raised with multiple identities. American ideals of independence and privacy conflict with Filipino values of collectivity and openness so representing your culture or heritage in America in any way is subject to disputing your social standing. Children have no other outlet to discuss these cultural frustrations and may sometimes subject to mischievous behaviors, as Maecel described."

Bravo/brava, deux for the most deeply insightful posting here!

Altius, I will also repeat what I said earlier:

I think that the negative reactions are justified, and the positive reactions are hopeful, both with a similar underlying hope. A piece like this is offensive and disappointing just because we DON'T see enough literature from what would be labeled a so-called "minority" point of view--I'd rather say, from a variety of cultural points of view.

And that is the damn shame here--if we had tons of stories coming out in the neighborhood blogs and on cover that revealed different perspectives on Filipino-Am experiences, then this one would just be another, and we could discuss it with less ire and frustration, feeling that it is being totally and irrevocably misrespresented.

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girasole March 15, 2010 @ 10:46 p.m.

I created an account today because I received an email from a Filipino organization at UCSD regarding the offensiveness of this article.

I read the article to form my own opinion and I was sad to agree with the organization that sent the link to me.

The language and presentation of Filipino stereotypes is very demeaning to other Filipinos and it is misleading for those uninformed about the culture. This article serves to uphold those negative stereotypes as true and undesirable features of a culture, rather than objectively describing the "Filipino Rules" that readers were expecting to read about.

While I appreciate an attempt at describing a culture in detail, I do not believe that culture should be subject to such ridicule and embarrassment without any objective information.

I would hope the San Diego Reader would show much more sensitivity about publicizing and promoting racial slurs in degrading articles.

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SDaniels March 16, 2010 @ 1:51 a.m.

Hi girasole, can you provide any info on the organization's conclusions about the article? Anybody write anything you can forward a link to?

I agree with your conclusions, but get the impression that the article seems to have been published as example of an author's memoir of "callow youth." I think this is how the article would have been perceived, had not representations of Filipino--or any underrepresented--culture been at stake. By the way, I'm not trying to spin this, but just to understand the situation from as many angles, and as fairly as possible.

Instead of posting your comment here, I suggest you put it in the "Letters" section, where it is sure to make it into print in the hard copy. :)

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David Dodd March 16, 2010 @ 2:32 a.m.

I don't think this thing can be spun, SD, but I'm honestly surprised that anyone would see bad in an article about a young lady coming to terms in a culture her parents grew up in, trying to relate it to one that she's faced with having to live with. I thought it was pretty brave. None of us choose where we're born and very few of us have an option when it comes to cultural change and adaptation when we're young. Were she my age, maybe you shake a stick at her, but still under her parent's roof, it's a different story.

Taking pride in one's culture is an awesome thing, but you sort of have to define it in the new terms you're presented with.

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David Dodd March 16, 2010 @ 2:36 a.m.

"Surprised" is a bad word choice here, disappointed would be a better one. I expected her to get blasted, but I'm not sure that she deserves it.

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jfrmsd March 17, 2010 @ 7:29 p.m.

Wow, where do I start?!

First of all, I would like to address all the people who think that Filipinos are being too sensitive or that this article isn’t offensive. I understand that the author is writing about her experiences with her strict Filipino parents. If she feels the need to try to change the way MANY, BUT NOT ALL, Filipinos raise their children by writing this article, then so be it. However, I don’t think it’s necessary to include certain stereotypes (wannabe gangster boyfriend, driving crazy) in the article. Sure, they make the article more interesting, but are they really necessary to get her point across? Plus, I don’t think Filipinos have gotten enough media exposure, compared to other ethnic groups, to allow the general public to see the bad and the good in Filipino culture. Therefore, including these negative stereotypes, without positive ones, is harmful to the Filipino image.

As a second generation Filipino, growing up in San Diego with conservative Filipino parents, I can understand where the author is coming from. However, I have used my parents’ teachings, along with my hard work and sacrifice, to allow myself to graduate from UCSD and to obtain a professional degree in health care. I have made MANY sacrifices in order to advance my career and to break down negative stereotypes about Filipinos, so it HURTS to see how one article can potentially tarnish the image of my community, which has supported me throughout my life and career.

To PistolPete, I agree that the reason stereotypes exist is that they are true, for the most part. However, people forget that there are reasons for those stereotypes. For example, and readers please correct me if I’m wrong, Filipinos have historically joined the navy or entered the nursing field in order to speed up their immigration to the United States. Of course, the public will see many Filipino in the navy or nursing and assume that these are the only occupations Filipinos are qualified to have. Stereotypes are harmful and shouldn’t be presented in isolation.

To the editors of the San Diego Reader, what was the reason for sharing this article? Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for bringing things into the light even if it’s not pleasing to hear (for example, pollution in the Philippines or human trafficking), but how does this article help Filipinos or anyone else? Was it just to make fun of Filipino stereotypes?

Lastly to Maecel, I don’t know if you’re just trying to change how Filipino children are raised or if you are trying to separate yourself from the Filipino community. Just remember, when you’re walking down the street, YOU ARE STILL BROWN WITH BLACK HAIR. You may have gotten the sympathy of the non-Filipino readers through this article, but when they see you on the street, you will just be another crazy driving Filipino who points with her lips.

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southeastsd March 18, 2010 @ 9:27 a.m.

Apparently Maecel and her sister are trying to back themselves up on facebook saying that they were not the ones who choose the title FILIPINO RULES.They claim Maecel submitted the article which the Reader in turn edited(If you call it editing, more like glanced) and determined a proper title. She said her article had nothing to do with with Filipino Rules. Really? My problem is, doesnt Maecel have final say as to whether she agrees with the Reader's title choice. I mean what if, they titled it, "breezy from Paradise Hills" or "Disrespectful daughter" She would most certainly not agree to that. I demand a public apology from Maecel and the Reader! Maecel, you should man up and publicly apologize to all the Filipinos you have offended! And go Manny Pacquiao!

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CuddleFish March 18, 2010 @ 10:38 a.m.

jayallen or anyone from Admin, before this devolves, please let us know who selected the title "Filipino Rules" for the article and whether it was edited, how extensively, and by whom.

(Pls. note that this is a technical question only. I have not posted on this thread but have followed it with much interest.)

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Russ Lewis March 18, 2010 @ 12:09 p.m.

As a matter of fact, Southeast, no, reporters don't pick their own headlines. Headline writers and editors do that. Journalism 101.

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CuddleFish March 18, 2010 @ 3:16 p.m.

Maecel isn't a reporter and this isn't a news article, russl. Does the rule still apply under those circumstances?

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David Dodd March 18, 2010 @ 3:29 p.m.

southeastsd: There are very few exceptions, but the editors of newspapers, weekly, and monthly publications almost always apply their own title to stories and articles. They do not consult the author. This is standard industry practice. The exceptions are for regular columns where the author is part of the publication staff, and even then an editor often changes the author's title against the author's will. It is almost certain that, in fact, Maecel's claim is accurate.

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CuddleFish March 18, 2010 @ 4:13 p.m.

jayallen or anyone from Admin, before this devolves, please let us know who selected the title "Filipino Rules" for the article and whether it was edited, how extensively, and by whom.

(Pls. note that this is a technical question only. I have not posted on this thread but have followed it with much interest.)

By CuddleFish 10:38 a.m., Mar 18, 2010

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Jay Allen Sanford March 18, 2010 @ 5:36 p.m.

Feature titles are usually set by editorial - as for editing, many staffers work on prep for publication, from line editors thru fact checkers. Probably only the author can say "how extensively" edits were applied -

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jfrmsd March 18, 2010 @ 6:23 p.m.

Mindy4dogs, I don’t know if your post was a response to mine, but let me explain what I said if it wasn’t clear. First of all, I have to admit that forming stereotypes is something everyone does and is part of learning about your environment. For example, dog A bit me. Therefore, I should probably stay away from dog B because it might bite as well. For human classifications, such as ethnicity, forming generalizations are more complex. White people usually have more media exposure compared to other ethnic groups, so the public can see both their achievements and their flaws. Therefore, if the news reported a white person stealing a car, no one will usually associate white people with stealing. However, for ethnic groups with minimal exposure, most people will associate the particular act (usually the negative ones) with that ethnicity and your car-stealing story was an example.

Getting back to the article, as I said earlier, I don’t mind if a person’s ethnicity is called to attention if it would be a benefit. If we were looking for a criminal, then ethnicity would be important to mention for identification. Or if we tried to correct a problem, such as gang affiliation amongst Filipinos and other groups, then bringing up ethnicities would be appropriate. However, I don’t feel that this article was meant to help anyone out. Seriously, are the “flaws” in strict Filipino parenting (which has actually benefited a lot of second generation Filipinos) really a big enough issue to publish in the Reader? Considering how influential stereotypes are for people of color, why bring up these harmful stereotypes? Is it too much to ask to minimize the amount of negative exposure until the media is ready to show our positive qualities at the same time? This is why I’m offended. This article just makes Filipinos look bad and in the end, no one was able to benefit from it. What a complete waste at the expense of my people.

By the way, I don’t think anyone was pointing fingers only at non-Filipinos. I’m the most angered by the Filipino author and then the editors, whether they are Filipinos or not.

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CuddleFish March 18, 2010 @ 7:39 p.m.

jayallen, I didn't ask who usually gives titles to articles, I asked who selected the title "Filipino Rules" for the article.

To be clear, Maecel did not pick the title for this article?

That would be yes or no.

Someone from the Reader's editorial staff picked that title?

That would be yes or no.

I can understand why you are reluctant to answer the second question. But I think it is an important question, and deserves a straightforward answer. Further, I think it would not be right to let people get the impression Maecel chose it, if indeed she did not.

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Jay Allen Sanford March 18, 2010 @ 10:25 p.m.

I'm not an editor, so I don't know, other than what I already stated. Rssl has also offered his best info. Only the author or someone who edited the article can provide more specific replies (it's a good bet that MANY editors were involved).

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SDaniels March 18, 2010 @ 10:47 p.m.

refried wrote @44:

"I'm honestly surprised that anyone would see bad in an article about a young lady coming to terms in a culture her parents grew up in, trying to relate it to one that she's faced with having to live with. I thought it was pretty brave."

refried, I do agree with you, but I also agree with those who are posting in dismay over this story. For your answer, I urge you to reread some of my posts on this thread. As you know, representations of culture are always more complex than we give credit, and when you are talking about a negative representation of a culture that doesn't get much exposure in the media, there are real dangers to consider. The short answer is to be found in the quotation I have excerpted below, from jfrmsd's excellent post, which makes the same points I made in post #35, but perhaps more clearly:

jfrmsd wrote @56:

"Considering how influential stereotypes are for people of color, why bring up these harmful stereotypes? Is it too much to ask to minimize the amount of negative exposure until the media is ready to show our positive qualities at the same time?"

jfrmsd makes it clear: It is potentially harmful to present a culture that hasn't had enough positive representation (or much of any representation at all) in a negative light. When that culture does receive enough representation, the negative can emerge, and a balance can be struck, because now, that culture has enough exposure that it is 'naturalized;' we are far less likely to form harmful stereotypes that could lead to dangerous backlash against that culture's people, whether it be in the form of violence on the street, or failure to trust its people with employment or educational opportunities, etc. Bigger things are at stake, and it isn't a matter of suppressing truths; it is about responsible and sensitive reporting and public relations.

However, I think we should also consider again, deux's point made at post #40:

deux @ #40:

"Filipino parents are often unaware their American born children are raised with multiple identities. American ideals of independence and privacy conflict with Filipino values of collectivity and openness so representing your culture or heritage in America in any way is subject to disputing your social standing. Children have no other outlet to discuss these cultural frustrations and may sometimes subject to mischievous behaviors, as Maecel described."

[end quote]

(cont)

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SDaniels March 18, 2010 @ 10:47 p.m.

SD here:

Maecel's frustrations are abundantly evident, if not totally clear, and I think we can read some along with deux some issues of struggling with conflicting identities that result from being a child of immigrant parents whose cultural values conflict with those their children encounter in their country of birth. There is a kind of cultural disconnect that deux is invoking here, one that involves difficulties of translation of values: the child has experienced parental values as inherited, perhaps she has never even set foot in the Philippines, while the parents struggle to translate--sometimes even in a language new to them-- values that are in some ways meaningless to the child, and the translations fail. The child yearns to somehow belong where is she IS, and doesn't want to hear about her belonging elsewhere. This is why so many people who grew up here as second generation write about their experiences from a child's perspective; this is where the struggle with identity begins, though I don't know if it is the hardest--I haven't had this experience, so it is for those who can to tell it.

I think Maecel's boyfriend perhaps represents to her what it means to cross a particular line culturally and to take a fall; he now inhabits all of the negative stereotypes in the dominant culture he failed to conquer and learn to live in, the most cliche being the Fil-Am kid who steals cars and belongs to a gang. Gang life is a planet away from mainstream culture--he is lost to it unless he can do more than just dress the part of a responsible kid for her parents. Her narrative is full of these ideas of 'acting' or dressing for the part, which again shows her frustration over identity.

I hope people can see how much more constructive it is to just discuss the story as honestly as we can, from our different view points, rather than just condemn it out of hand, and ignite controversy and namecalling that go nowhere. We can look at the subtext of this story and read the problems it is communicating, and talk about them. Frustration and anger should be expressed, but then there is a next step toward understanding--many posters here have taken that step, but there is always more to do and more to be said...

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David Dodd March 18, 2010 @ 11:48 p.m.

SD, I've read all of the posts on this thread, many more than once. When an editor names a piece "Filipino Rules", and the story isn't exactly flattering of the Filipino culture (in the eyes of Filipino readers at least), the outrage is to be expected (I wrote a proper letter to the editor, I predicted the controversy while praising the author, the Reader printed it).

One question: Did the editor name the story improperly?

"From that day on, I decide to screw the Filipino rules and do what I want to do — of course, while still trying to be respectful toward my parents."

That's a turning point in the story, and that's where the editor decided that the story was defined. If the intent was to enrage Filipino reader ship, the editor would have almost certainly included the two words preceding the title in the title. If the title had been, "A Young Girl Coming To Terms With Her Cultural Upbringing", I wonder how many would have even bothered to read it.

It is the job of an editor to edit and name stories primarily because the editor is very familiar with what attracts the readership of their publication to whatever story they're editing. Writers tell stories, editors try to make sure that stories are read. Editors often make writers unhappy with their decisions. But they're an intrinsic part of the process, and most of the time the author gets over it.

"But I am also a Filipino. We eat with our hands, drive crazy on the road, point with our lips, and have fathers in the Navy and mothers who are nurses, both speaking with broken English."

I found this endearing. The author was playfully pointing out that she realizes that her culture in the U.S. has been marginalized and stereotyped. All cultures in the U.S. are marginalized and stereotyped. All cultures everywhere are marginalized and stereotyped. In the P.I., there is no way that Americans are not marginalized and stereotyped.

But I think we know the difference between what's harmful with such stereotypes and what's playful about them. At least, I also eat with my hands, drove quite crazy on the road when I was younger, had a father in the Navy, and my Spanish could always use some improvement.

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SDaniels March 19, 2010 @ 2:39 a.m.

Refried:

You pose two issues:

  1. The title: I felt the editor’s choice of title was apt, considering the way yes, the content pivots on the idea of the Filipino father’s “rules.” I also agree with the posters who said the concept of these “rules” was a little muddy. Aesthetically, it would have been better to structure the story more cohesively on the rules mentioned early on, and I think the editor’s choice of title was an attempt to pull the story together under the aegis of the “rules,” to help mask the internal narrative problems. Of course, without totally getting into it, the structure overall suffers greatly from the non-ending—as one poster pointed out, it is much more like a blog entry than a cover story.

  2. refried wrote:

“I found this endearing. The author was playfully pointing out…”

As you’ve witnessed, clearly “endearing” is not the word used by many of the Fil-Ams writing in. “Racist,” “shameful” and “self-hating” are probably more accurate descriptors. “Playful” might be something I’d agree with in the author’s attitude at times, but unfortunately, the incendiary content just isn’t going to let my brand of critical breakdown and enjoyment of a narrative work here. The kind of distance it takes to analyze an aesthetic is not going to be ok, and I understand that. I think you do, too.

“…that she realizes that her culture in the U.S. has been marginalized and stereotyped. All cultures in the U.S. are marginalized and stereotyped. All cultures everywhere are marginalized and stereotyped. In the P.I., there is no way that Americans are not marginalized and stereotyped.”

“All cultures in the U.S. are marginalized and stereotyped?”

Are you quite sure you understand what “marginalized” means here? We are talking about a serious issue. African-Americans were ‘marginalized’ through a denial of many basic human rights, as well as civic rights. I think I’ll wait to comment further on that one, until I understand your definition of the word. I will say that I am a bit confused at these statements coming from you, and the attempts at false cultural analogies—the sheer relativism of it.

Americans in the P.I. are bringing with them the legacy of cultural domination of the West. Of course they are marginalized and stereotyped as Westerners and as fat, lazy tourists, but they are also recognized as carriers of great deals of money, so they will also be catered to. There is little relation of comparison/contrast here that can be valid.

Refried wrote:

“But I think we know the difference between what's harmful with such stereotypes and what's playful about them. At least, I also eat with my hands, drove quite crazy on the road when I was younger, had a father in the Navy, and my Spanish could always use some improvement.”

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SDaniels March 19, 2010 @ 2:41 a.m.

I don’t think we fully know the difference between what’s harmful with stereotypes and what’s playful about them. If we did, well, let’s just say that a lot of tensions over expressions of culture and race in this country would resolve quite easily, and we’d live in the perfect “melting pot” fairytale we’ve all grown accustomed to seeing played out in our kids’ television programming. Unfortunately, that is just not the case, and the passage you quoted from the story is a perfect example of the extremely complex ambiguities and ambivalences that coalesce around uses of cultural or racial stereotyping in America. Let’s break it down:

"But I am also a Filipino.”

The author first claims her Filipino identity, something she spends most of the story disavowing, and then she lists a few ideas why she might disavow it or be unhappy with it.

“We eat with our hands”

Eating with your hands, presumably at table, is considered crude and primitive in the U.S. refried, in order to validate a comparison/contrast with your own habits at table, you would need to relate it to your current status as a gringo, as a minority in the culture you live in. You would need to be able to relate that in this culture, you are stereotyped as lazy and crude and primitive for using your hands to eat, rather than using the Western eating implements of knife, fork, and spoon. Something tells me that is not the case. Moreover, you do live in a border town, where the values of the dominant culture on the other side may have leaked over, and a gringo—along with values accruing to ‘whiteness’—might garner a little more respect for being gringo than he might deep within another region of Mexico. Let me know what you think of this idea? You have mentioned this before with the example of telenovelas, in which whiteness is seen to be favored in the form of a higher respect for lighter skin.

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SDaniels March 19, 2010 @ 2:42 a.m.

“drive crazy on the road”

The accusation of bad driving is one that I have personally seen leveled at many different groups—whatever group was considered to be the ‘minority’ of that region—not in number but in terms of power; where I grew up in Southern California, it varied town to town. In one part of Orange County, it was Vietnamese people, and all Asians by extension. In another it was Mexicans. In northern Canada it was South Asians (Indians) and Chinese. And so it goes. The accusation of bad driving appears to function as an easy and quick way to stereotype a people as capable or not capable. Driving is an activity that demands physical and mental acuity, namely a quickness of reflex; there is an underlying question of whether the crazy driver may not be mentally sound or able. If we consider how rage and power play out on our roads—dissertations could and probably are written on the subject—the way this mode of stereotyping functions becomes clearer. For example, it is interesting that “crazy” driving differs from offensive (in the sense of vs. “defensive”) driving; while “crazy” drivers are seen to be oblivious of (too stupid to understand) the rules of the road, it is understood that offensive drivers know the rules, and break them in slick, arrogant ways, while taking territorial control over the road. The anatomy of this stereotype breaks down to reveal a young white male (teens to early thirties), quite often in the military (most often Marines) driving an SUV-style car that may be jacked up to give the impression that this driver has the best vision, and so may lord it over everyone else from his throne, which is a foot or more higher than everyone else. As for road rage, no one is immune, but the offensive driver makes sure that the object of his rage understands his objection to their driving. Again, it is not likely that you would be able to complain that your race and cultural affiliations have been slighted through stereotyping of your driving habits.

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SDaniels March 19, 2010 @ 2:43 a.m.

“point with our lips”

Honestly, this one throws me for a loop. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that this one, which stereotypes both gesture and physical attribute, belittles through the idea that instead of communicating with words, one is doing something more primitive in pointing with the lips. The shape of the lips are perhaps being made fun of as well, though I have not noticed any particular shape of lip in any Filipino person I’ve known. Perhaps Filipinos tend to have fuller lips than everyone else—in racist “sciences” of physiognomy perpetrated upon Africans between roughly the 17th and 19th centuries, the larger lips of Africans were seen as of a “brutishly” “sensual” nature, and indicative of a crude obsession with sexuality as well as a lower IQ. It would be great if someone were to write in and let us know if there is anything else to be known about a stereotyping of Filipino lip shape or size. (Ironically, anyone with narrow lips in the Los Angeles film industry has surely considered injections).

“have fathers in the Navy and mothers who are nurses”

Speaking of the military, Maecel reveals the stereotype of Filipino fathers in the military and mothers in nursing. Here, in times not imbued with patriotic fervor, the military is more viewed as a career choice of the desperately poor with no other choice and no college aspirations, due to lack of funds and/or unsuitability for college. I’m sure the plight of the military wife, who receives less and less upon which to sustain a family, has much to do with this perception. The mother in nursing: nurses are perhaps somewhat more respected, but again, it is a job requiring much hard physical work and very long hours. The perception of the blue-collar as lower class is still functioning. And either way, there is an assumption that like the Chinese medical student or the Japanese business major, there is a lack of individualism (read: smarts, ingenuity) in the predominance of one race or ethnicity in the jobs of a single field.

both speaking with broken English."

Refried, let me ask you this, and I know you will answer honestly: Have you had the sense that your—let’s call them ‘developing’—Spanish skills have earned you more jeers or more respect from Mexicans? Would you say you’ve met with more impatience and disdain, and people telling you “Learn to speak Spanish or go back where you came from!” or with more surprise at your mastery thus far, and genuine delight that you would take the time to learn the language? I’ll leave you to guess which attitudes Filipinos might encounter here—they will be similar to the attitudes encountered by Mexicans in the U.S., whose lack of skills in English may invoke hostility, ridicule, and a lecture about who ‘deserves’ to be in the U.S.

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SDaniels March 19, 2010 @ 2:50 a.m.

...Of course, the reception of those English-speaking skills is directly proportional to the size of the wallet and bank account of the speaker. Money speaks really good English, and Tagalog, and Spanish, etc. etc. ;)

So. refried, I’m not sure why you would answer the way you did, and I more than suspect this breakdown was completely unnecessary, as I don't often have this much new to teach you, but you asked. It seems that we may have vastly different lexicons and ideas when it comes to culture and interpretation of the reception of cultural practices in the U.S., as well as how cultural power and the language of bigotry affect remaining racial tensions here. However it may be, I do hope that our exchanges may be useful for others, or provoke some more discussion on these issues :)

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David Dodd March 19, 2010 @ 4:05 a.m.

"So. refried, I’m not sure why you would answer the way you did, and I more than suspect this breakdown was completely unnecessary, as I don't often have this much new to teach you, but you asked."

Well, no, you invited, "..just discuss the story as honestly as we can, from our different view points...", and that's what I did. I wasn't aware I was asking for a lesson. Next time I guess I'll be more careful.

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SDaniels March 19, 2010 @ 4:37 a.m.

Oh come on--why do you have to interpret my words this way? Do they deserve this kind of dismissal, after I clearly worked hard on my answer?

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CuddleFish March 19, 2010 @ 8:07 a.m.

Daniels, thank you for that analysis, excellent work, as always.

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SDaniels March 19, 2010 @ 11:53 a.m.

Thanks, Cuddle. I'm interested in your opinion too, if you feel like jumping in. Anything, by all means any weak points in the argument, too ;)

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David Dodd March 19, 2010 @ 2:47 p.m.

69: You suggested: "I hope people can see how much more constructive it is to just discuss the story as honestly as we can.."

I began to answer, at 3:15 in the morning, a long response to your many issues, but about a half-hour into it, I realized that the story was simply a pretext to a different issue. I'm not dismissing it, SD, but you're not analyzing the story, you're analyzing my comment.

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SDaniels March 22, 2010 @ 10:24 p.m.

Yes, I was analyzing your comment gringo, because it merited analysis. I am still hoping you will decide to give your thoughts on it. :)

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SDaniels March 22, 2010 @ 10:29 p.m.

"...but about a half-hour into it, I realized that the story was simply a pretext to a different issue."

Oh, I see what you're saying--well, of course it is about the issues. The debate has been too hot to stay with some kind of literary analysis of the story per se. I wouldn't try to make people stick with that, when it has become a site of contention in cultural matters. I am not using the story as a "pretext," and my comment urging folk to respond to the story is just that--not some kind of pretextual or hypocritical statement. Very often literary analyses of this kind of story turn into sociopolitical analyses or debates; it is only natural, don't you think?

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nan shartel March 24, 2010 @ 4:32 p.m.

someone told me i could some Panzit here...er..um..i guess they were wrong

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nada March 25, 2010 @ 3:02 a.m.

HAHA I can't believe people are still getting all uppity about this. The girl was just was stating her point of view on her own culture,life experiences,and the world whether you like it or hate it. Sometimes the truth hurts.

DEAL WITH IT.

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aginaya April 10, 2010 @ 1:35 p.m.

my comment is directed towards the editorial board.... how strict are you at the kind of articles you accept? this one is very badly written. it's too boring i just had to open my eyes for me to finish it.

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paradisevalley858 May 8, 2010 @ 1:49 a.m.

I am so sick and tired of hearing how terrible Filipino parents are with their children and how strict they can be. Perhaps they do not want their children to turn out to be the promiscuous, lazy, impolite, insincere, rude, godless, tasteless, uneducated, immoral, sacrilegious, spoiled brats they see "American" parents allow their kids to turn into.

They have had to endure being looked down upon and ridiculed at work. They are known to toil with earnest and resourcefulness, yet not promoted as steadily or readily as their "American" counterparts. They work hard, long hours, only to come home to ungrateful children who openly mock their accent and shamelessly correct their english. Your "Podder" and Modder left all that they knew to come here to better their lives. They endured decades of humbling service in jobs that most "Americans" would not even dream of taking. They had to prove to the society that they could provide the same level of competency as any other native born "American" in spite of their thick accent.

What saddens me, is that given this great opportunity to write an article honoring her parents and their victory over the "American" dream, she chose to write an expose chronicling the inability of her parents to understand and properly nurture her.

I have experienced the "Pinoy Power" movement that markets "Pinoy Pride" t-shirts and touts Manny Pacquio as one of the true ambassadors of our people. They fool our youth into thinking that by wearing these t-shirts, cheering for Manny, hanging out with other pinoys, and eating filipino food....these things are what makes us strong as a people. HOW SHALLOW... most second generation Fil-Ams do not speak the language, nor do they know any of our heros beyond Rizal, Bonifacio, and Lapu-Lapu. They are a generation who openly disrespect their parents (whether it be a joke or not...it is disrespectful to mock someone's accent), and whose cultural ties weaken with every generation born after them.

This "author" doesn't address any of the redeeming qualities her parents have obviously adhered to in raising two out of control daughters. How painful it must be for them to see their underaged daughters overtly sexual at ages far below what their society says is acceptable. How is it a distinctly Filipino trait not to want your daughter to fall in love with man who is neither working, studying, nor even planning for the future? I think any father, in any culture would find a problem with their children falling in love with people with no future.

I am just so sad this article was even written and published. Some person with no real knowledge of Filipinos, will pick up this article and read it, thinking this "author's" plight must be a common generalization of how Filipinos parent their children. This story is not a representation of my household. I challenge the reader to post the many responses the community has given about this article.

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dee Aug. 15, 2010 @ 3:17 a.m.

Pointing with lips sounds classey.... NOT!

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yourstruly Jan. 16, 2013 @ 5:28 a.m.

I will cut to the chase since I have to work in a few hours. Filipinos are like any other culture- there are good ones and bad ones. And some individuals are born with overbearing crazy ones as parents. Culture is important however we should learn how to change with the times especially when you move to North America. For those overbearing parents, please stop trying to make your kids live out your failed dreams. Yes they appreciate the hard work you do for them but make them grow as their own individuals. Filipinos whose parents are supportive are LUCKY. And please paradisevalley858 do not degrade how the whites raise their kids it makes you a racist with that awful comment. Mind your own family. I always hear my relatives say that its a hard life in North America, that you have to slave your life away and be the stereotypical cleaner, nanny, care aid, etc. Please don't think that way- temporarily yes but improve yourself otherwise you look like you have no ambition at all in life. I am a Canadian who grew up in the Philippines and I can relate to many of the comments here. There is hope. Live your dreams. Salamat po.

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