Heritage?

Poetry On Odyssey: Heritage?

A poem about not knowing your heritage, from the black perspective.

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Heritage, what's that

I'm black

I'm black

I'm black

I'm black

I have no other answer

I draw blanks

Embarrassment

Confusion

I don't know

I don't know

I don't know!

There's this emptiness

Like something is missing

As though a continent shape hole

Was carved into my mind

Into my soul

I don't know

Who I am

Where did I come from

I WISH I could take a trader finger

And draw a map that charts where I began

I feel ignorant yet I pride myself in my knowledge

There isn't an index or glossary

For the uncharted

The unmentioned

The undeclared

The undone history

Of what I see in the mirror

My family looked at me with tilted heads

And squinted eyes when I asked how do you define tradition? What is our heritage?

One family member responded

Heritage, what does that mean?

So now I know that knowledge is beyond my reach and I apologized and left feeling defeated



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Dear Filipinos: We're Not Latino, We're Southeast Asian, Get Over It

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This is going to be a harsh post, but I'm sorry, sometimes you gotta get harsh on people to get 'em to swallow the red pill, and wake them up from the fantasy world they live in.

Also, this isn't meant to show any hatred against Filipino culture, as a matter of fact, just doing the opposite. Neither am I trying to dictate what you consider yourself, I simply have two words for what I'm doing: being realistic.

As Hispanic Heritage Month progresses, I feel very compelled to write this article.

One thing I get so (x1000) sick of is when Filipinos claim they are Latinos. My blood, which contains no Spanish or Latino ancestry, boils whenever I hear my cousins babbling on about our mythical Spaniard or Latino descent, neither of which, run in my family, like at all....or for this matter, in most Filipinos.

Yeah, I'm not claiming to be innocent, I used to be guilty of this too, buying Mexican flags and what not, and putting it alongside my Filipino flag years and years ago. Then going around school telling people I'm Hispanic-Filipino and that type of non-sense.

Eventually thanks to years and years of obsessive research, I've woken up and have come to actively despise this entire "Latino" pseudo-identity among Filipinos.

And thus, this is probably why I don't join Filipino clubs, since the majority of these "Filipino clubs", especially the college ones, are a bunch of fake rainbow hippy clubs that do not know or embrace ANYTHING about Philippine history or culture.

Are there Filipinos with Spanish and Latino descent? Yes there are, but the majority of Filipinos don't, and unfortunately are the ones that like to spend their energy raving about this mythical Hispanic ancestry of their's.

Firstly, let's define, what exactly the Hell is a "Hispanic"?

"Spanish" vs. "Hispanic" "Latino"

For one, "Hispanic", "Latino" and "Spanish" aren't the same. "Spanish" people and culture come from SPAIN, like directly from Spain. So if you're not from Spain, you're not Spanish, period. Even if you're a non-Spaniard born in Spain, you're a "Spanish citizen" but you're not ethnically Spanish.

"Latino" people and culture comes from the area that comprises of Latin America, which is defined as where Spanish or Portuguese are predominantly spoken in the Americas. The groups belonging to Spanish Latin America are the "Hispanic", much like the way American, Canadian and Australian are off-shoots of Britain.


Then "Hispanic" culture in of itself, branches off into different distinct cultures such as Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Argentine and etc. Now, the term "Hispanic" has no fixed legal term, and it is for this fact, that Filipinos often like to abuse the term without any credible knowledge of Spanish history or culture.

Because many of our politically-correct American institutions encourage people who consider themselves Hispanic, regardless of race, to consider themselves so. This unfortunately gives many people the green-light to go around proclaiming that they are something they have no idea or knowledge about.

There unfortunately, is no other group that is better at it than Filipinos and Fil-Ams.

But I can tell you right now, we are definitely NOT "Latinos". Since the Philippines is NOT in Latin America, we're automatically disqualified from being considered as such.

So then, let's observe the people of the Philippines and their culture.

So yes, we've got the Spanish names, the Roman Catholicism and party lifestyle. So that makes us Latinos right?

Nope.

Saying that just because we have Spanish names and are Catholics makes us Hispanic, is like saying being Orthodox makes you Greek or Russian.

Origins and Ancestry of Filipinos vs. Latinos

How about the origins and ancestry of our people? Aren't we just descendants of Latinos?

This is one of our first myth busters. Many of the Filipinos that claim we're "Latino" live in a rainbow fantasy world where the people of the Philippines are descendants of Latin Americans and Mexicans.

Yes I'm serious, apparently tens of millions of Mexicans sailed to the Philippine Archipelago and became Filipinos and apparently just decided to drop the "f" and "v" pronunciations.

While Latino and Spanish ancestry may be true for a portion of the population due to the intermarriage between Latin Americans and Filipinos during Spanish rule, it doesn't apply to the majority of Filipinos. No magical mass migration of Spaniards or Latin Americans took place.

The people of the Philippines have BEEN in the Philippines thousands of years before the first Spaniard even step foot in the archipelago. We were long-discovered by the Chinese before the Spaniards.

Filipinos are descendants of native Pacific tribes, and are closely related to the aboriginals of Taiwan, as well as the people of Indonesia, Malaysia, the natives of Singapore, the Oceanic regions such as Micronesia and even Polynesia (Hawaii, Samoa...etc).

A drawing picture of a native Visayan nobility

We're more distantly related to the peoples of Mainland Southeast Asia, the peoples of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma and etc.

So there you have it, our ancestry and native cultures are rooted straight from the Pacific and Southeast Asia.

Does this look like food you'd find at a Latin-themed restaurant or party? Looks more like something you'd find in Indonesia, or Samoa.

If you go far back enough, you'll start to find our ancestry pointing towards Mongolia. We are very distant descendants of Mongols. But that's going too far.

So given the definition of "Latino", compared to the ancestry and origins of the Filipino people, we are immediately disqualified from even being considered "Latino".

Status & History of Spanish Language in the Philippines

Then there's the simple fact that despite having a lot of Spanish and Hispanic influence in its culture, the Philippines is NOT a Spanish-speaking country.

It WAS at one point a Spanish-speaking country, but a couple factors ranging from World War II and the Ferdinand Marcos regime of the 1960s, it is no longer an official language and neither does it have any significant amount of speakers. Spanish in its true form is spoken by just a little over 2,000 Filipinos, mostly the old generations and those with ACTUAL Hispanic and/or Spanish descent.

Millions more speak a Spanish-based Creole known as "Chavacano", but that doesn't count as "Spanish" since it's only based off of Spanish, but is a Creole. Then there's this woman.......

.....that is the 14th president of the Philippines, Glorya Macapagal Arroyo, who is perhaps one of the only prominent Filipinos that is still fluent in Spanish.

So not only do most Filipinos not speak Spanish, Filipinos don't even embrace Spanish language as the national unifying language of the Filipino people. You will almost never see a Filipino organization overseas raving about the Spanish language, it will always be Filipino language (an off-shoot of Tagalog, a language native to the Manila area).

You'll never hear Filipinos asking their families living overseas, "Do you speak Spanish?" it's always, "Do you speak Tagalog?"

My dad, could have been fluent in Spanish, because he took Spanish classes in the Philippines, and they taught him to speak fluently. But he lost his fluency over time, due to the fact that nobody around him cared about Spanish at all.

In addition, our language doesn't even use Spanish orthography or pronunciation. Yes, we have a LOT of Spanish words in most of our mainstream Philippine languages, but they've been changed to fit Philippine orthography.

For example the Spanish word familia is spelled and pronounced as pamilya.

So sorry Filipinos, we are NOT "Latino". The Latino people are those of Spanish-speaking Latin America, we're not Latin Americans.

However it is correct to say that we are "Hispanic-influenced". Yes, we are Latino-influenced, and I don't doubt that it's part of our history. Much like the way Chinese, Indo-Malay and American influence is part our culture, heritage and history as well.

The First Philippine Republic was found inside this church, the Barasoian Church

We Filipinos are native to Southeast Asia, we are SOUTHEAST ASIANS. Our ancestors are descended from the Asia-Pacific rim. Those tribes then migrated to Southeast Asia and created their own distinct history from the rest of the Asia-Pacific Rim, and that, should make us proud enough. We also have some traces of African in us, since the language family that the Philippine languages belong to, is also present in the African island of Madagascar.

So hey Filipinos, swallow the red pill, you're not Latino, you're definitely NOT Spanish, you're Southeast Asians, whether you like it or not, now accept it and get the Hell over it.

How About Our Food?

But lechón, chicharrón and arroz caldo are all Latin American foods!

Actually.....about arroz caldo, despite the Spanish name, arroz caldo is nothing more but Filipino-style congee, which is a straight-up Asian dish.

Same thing about lechón, yes I understand that the word is from Spanish meaning "roast". But pig roasts are a culinary aspect of MANY cultures, including Greek, Serbian, the Deep South....oh, and many of the islands and regions of the Pacific.

In addition, pig roasts have been a part of Pacific cuisine for hundreds to even thousands of years prior to the Spanish arrival. The Spaniards even recorded the ancient pagans of the Philippines consuming pork and having pig roasts and tattooing practices.

Let's also not forget that many of our other national and cultural dishes such as pancit (crystal noodles), balut, lo mein mami, fish balls and as I just mentioned, arroz caldo, are all Chinese-influenced. Does this mean we are Chinese now?

(....though let the record show, the ancestors of modern-day Filipinos migrated from southern China.....just saying.....)

Okay...So What if the Philippines Became Spanish-Speaking Again?

Even if most of us Filipinos, both in the Philippines and abroad, somehow magically learned to speak fluent Spanish, that still doesn't make us Latino, since.....we're not of Latin American descent. We would still be Southeast Asians, but considered a descendant of a marriage between Spanish and Southeast Asian culture.

The people of Western Sahara and northern Morocco speak fluent Spanish, alongside Arabic and/or Berber, and not a SINGLE one consider themselves "Latino" or "Hispanic". They either consider themselves Arab, Berber or both. Didn't even know that you did you?

That's right, that's just what happens when you don't do your research.

It's the same story as if Vietnamese people still spoke French, does it make them French or Europeans? No!

In order for us to ever be considered "Latino", the legal definition of "Latino" would have to be changed from Spanish Latin America to just a former colony of Spain.

Or, if Patrick Star helped us move the Philippines into Latin America, given that we are Spanish-speakers.

So, if "Hispanic" simply referred to anybody from former New Spain or the former Spanish East Indies, that also mean that the people of Samoa, Micronesia, Morocco, Western Sahara and Maluku in Indonesia would all be "Hispanic" - since these areas were also once under Spanish occupation.

It wouldn't make sense since just like Filipinos, the respective groups of these places do not embrace Spanish language and culture as their unifying culture identity.

I am more-than open to the idea of Spanish becoming re-officiated and taught to the mass population, because after all, our historical documents such as the Malolos Constitution and the works of José Rizal, were in Spanish.

I'm also open to the idea of some form of Malay being officiated, since after all, the earliest document written in the Philippines was written in a mix of Old Malay, Old Tagalog and Old Javanese. Plus, all three languages, Malay, Filipino (Tagalog) and Javanese all belong to the same family of languages. Plus, the native cultures of the southern Philippines isn't Spanish-influenced, and rather Malay-influenced.

So there you have it.

Dear Latinos and Hispanics - Happy Hispanic Heritage Month.

Dear Filipinos and Fil-Ams, you can wait 'till Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.



Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Dear Beautiful Black Girl, Never Forget Your Worth

An ode to all the beautiful black girls.

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We live in a society where societal standards greatly define the way we view ourselves. Although in 2019 these standards are not clear cut, some things are not easy to change. Not to play the race card, but this is true for women of color, especially black girls.

As much as I'd like to address this to all women, I want to hit on something that I'm more familiar with: being a black girl. Black females have a whole package to deal with when it comes to beauty standards. The past suppression and oppression our ancestors went through years ago can still be felt in our views of beauty. It is rare to see young black girls be taught that their afros and nappy hair are beautiful. Instead, we are put under flat irons and dangerous chemicals that change our hair texture as soon as our hair becomes too "complicated" to deal with. The girls with darker skin are not praised, but rather lowered in comparison to their peers with fairer skin. A lot of the conditioning happens at a young age — at the age of 8, already you can feel like you're in the wrong skin.

As we grow up, there are more expectations that come here and there, a lot of very stereotypical and diminishing. "You're a black girl, you should know how to dance," "black girls don't have flat butts," "black girls know how to cook," "you must have an attitude since you're black" — I'm sure you get the idea. Let me say this: "black girls," as they all like to say, are not manufactured with presets. Stop looking for the same things in all of us. Black girls come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and talents. I understand that a lot of these come from cultural backgrounds, but you cannot bash a black girl because she does not fit the "ideal" description.

And there is more.

The guys that say, "I don't do black girls, they too ratchet/they got an attitude" — excuse me? Have you been with/spoken to all the black girls on this planet? Is this a category that you throw all ill-mouthed girls? Why such prejudice, especially coming from black men? Or they will chant that they interact with girls that are light-skinned, that is their conditioned self-speaking. The fact that these men have dark-skinned sisters and mothers and yet don't want to associate with girls that look the same confuses me. And who even asked you? There are 100 other ethnicities and races in the world, and we are the one you decide to spit on? Did we do something to you?

Black girls already have society looking at them sideways. First, for being a woman, and second, for being black, and black males add to this by rejecting and disrespecting us.

But we still we rise above it all.

Black girls of our generation are starting to realize the power that we hold, especially as we work hand in hand. Women like Oprah Winfrey, Lupita Nyong'o, Chinua Achebe, Michelle Obama — the list is too long — are changing the narrative of the "black girl" the world knows. The angry black woman has been replaced with the beautiful, educated, and successful melanin-filled woman.

Girls, embrace your hair, body, and skin tone, and don't let boys or society dictate what is acceptable or beautiful. The black girl magic is real, and it's coming at them strong.

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