MONDAY | 04/24/17
❥ Instead of going to class, we had the opportunity to go to Lane Wilcken's presentation on Filipino tattoos in the Multicultural Center. Although I didn't get to stay the whole presentation, I still obtained some fascinating knowledge about the origins and stories behind the artistry.
❥ Lane discussed how tattooing was so integral to the Philippines that the islands were originally called "Las Islas de los Pintados," The Islands of Painted People. Then after years and centuries of colonization, the traditional tattooing in the Philippines is leading to cultural extinction.
❥ Everyone has a different reason to why they want a tattoo or image on their body. He explained not only why Filipino and other indigenous people choose specific symbols and where these symbols were created. For example the top right photo has symbols from different islands of the Philippines. I think I can recall that the inner circle represents the inner darkness and the lines around represents the light of the islands, and the curvy lines represent birds or freedom.
❥ He told the story of how the Philippine islands were formed and in a way correlated to the movie Moana, showing how (in the far left picture) Maui got his true name. Lawig means to voyage, which is exactly what Moana and Maui did to restore the heart of Tafiti (fun fact) :)
❥ I really enjoyed Lane Wilcken's presentation because he basically was trying to express how he feels about getting and inking tattoos. For colonized individuals, it is a process of role of memory: remembering your culture, your identity, your ancestors and their journey to how it lead you to your own journey as of now. It is also (as Rod mentioned in class) a process of healing.
FRIDAY | 04/28/17
Today, we had guest speakers: Jimmy and Beemy from "Project Ohana" come in. What they had our class do was split into two groups, one group being "Asian American Native Hawaiian & other Pacific Islanders" and the other group that I was in, entitled, "Substance Use". They had us write down any words, phrases, places, terms, and stereotypes that could be used to describe the topic. After doing that with our groups, they basically combined these two charts and made a venn diagram. Beemy had mentioned how we humanize substance abuse and how our Asian American community can influence our decision making.
❥ Taking the negative/racist slurs and stereotypes of our ethnicities can end up leading to experimenting with these substances and which could lead to depression, anxiety, and even overdosing. "Bad drivers, good at math, act ghetto, small d*cks?"
❥ Peer Pressure &/or Pressure in General leads to stress - Jimmy had asked what type of pressure causes us to lead to substances thus, the topic of parental expectations rose about. How we are all expected to be nurses or doctors. This is when Beemy asked us what we do in order to succeed. Our social pressures and our parent's expectations have people taking drugs such as adderall to extreme measures just for that A. Being curious about drugs and being exposed to it within your friends or just to socialize at family parties also plays a role.
There is always good things (to an extent) and bad things about substance use. Under the community for both, such as drinking at weddings or birthdays, it's good for celebration. However with taking it as an escape of stress or life, thats where it's dangerous.
❥ What Jimmy and Beemy were trying to demonstrate that these two subjects are relative and it's not just a particular group or ethnicity, it involves everyone. Substance abuse and stereotypes affect our culture. There are internal and external social norms that we feel we have to meet that piles the pressure on us. "Yeah we want to save face, but we want to save lives".
"...make the invisible, visible."
This whole week, the week before Spring Break, consisted of our midterm presentations. Our group went on Monday, Tselogz went on Wednesday, and finally Tubig went on Friday. All of the presentations were great, and working on this presentation really made me appreciate all the work that teachers do. Even with our team of six, it was difficult to come up with a lesson plan for just thirty minutes.
One of Tselogz's main points during their presentation was the importance of retaining Filipino cultural and historical knowledge. In order for our culture to continue on, we need to know what it is. Filipino Americans have been "whitewashed," meaning they have adopted the practices and ideals of the white man as their own. We were (and are) whitewashed through the educational system. American schools focus mainly on American history, whether or not it is representative of the overall population's educational needs. We were (and are) made to feel inferior to the white man, with Filipinos being seen as "less civilized" due to their way of life. We were (and are) pushed to follow a standard of beauty that we cannot possibly attain. And we were (and are) taught not the culture of our people but of the white man. Because of all these aspects of whitewashing, we forget (or sometimes never even get the chance to learn) about our rich Filipino culture. Whitewashing may have been an "invisible" issue - it may not be recognized as an issue, perhaps due to lack of malicious intent on the whitewasher's part - but we need to make it visible. Now that we are able to see that whitewashing is an actual problem, we can bring it to light and begin to take the steps toward a solution. I believe one of the biggest steps we can take is to simply embrace the Filipino culture (or any culture that has suffered from colonization), realizing how rich and beautiful it truly is despite what American ideals tell us to feel about being Filipino.
Tubig's presentation really brought to my attention the idea of whitewashing or whiteness being "invisible". I had always assumed that being American was a part of me, due to me being born in and growing up in the United States. However, the truth is that all of these things I thought of as "natural" - the Americanized culture I practiced, the standard of beauty I tried to follow, the "otherness" I felt from being Filipino - were all imposed upon me one way or another. Now that I realize this, I feel like I can be more critical of my own thoughts and actions as well as the thoughts and actions of others. Taking the time to really reflect on what colonization has meant in my own personal life will help me to uncover the invisible effects of colonization and whitewashing.
It is our collective duty to make the invisible, visible.