Positively No Filipinos Allowed: Building Communities and Discourse

Positively No Filipinos Allowed: Building Communities and Discourse

Positively No Filipinos Allowed: Building Communities and Discourse

Positively No Filipinos Allowed: Building Communities and Discourse

Synopsis

From the perspectives of ethnic studies, history, literary criticism, and legal studies, the original essays in this volume examine the ways in which the colonial history of the Philippines has shaped Filipino American identity, culture, and community formation. The contributors address the dearth of scholarship in the field as well as show how an understanding of this complex history provides a foundation for new theoretical frameworks for Filipino American studies.

Excerpt

Lisa Lowe

Writers, artists, and scholars—from Alfrredo Salanga, Angel Shaw, and Carlos Bulosan to Oscar Campomanes and Reynaldo Ileto—have commented that forgetting characterizes the Filipino encounter with the United States, both in the Philippines and in the United States. Nations, collectivities, and individuals have forgotten wars, eras of colonial rule, sojourns, settlements, sufferings, and survivals. With memories left unrecorded, locations destroyed or abandoned, and sequences of events disrupted, the past is lost to narrative history. Yet while a past defined and constituted by such forgetting can never be made available whole and transparent, it may often reappear in fragments. It may perhaps be read in the cultural practices, social spaces, scholarly and political work of immigrant formations. the immigrant presence in the metropolis itself may be the revisiting of the empire by its imperial past.

The essays collected here in Positively No Filipinos Allowed are written against the injunction to forget. They are eloquent testaments to the dialectical necessity that inscribes the project of remembering, committed, as Walter Benjamin was, to the idea that “nothing that has ever happened should be regarded as lost to history.” the work here discusses the legacy of U.S. colonization of the Philippines, the manong as a U.S. immigrant labor force in the early part of the twentieth century or that of the female domestic laborer in the latter half, or the many social spaces of political activism and organizing by Filipino immigrants in the United States. in doing so, the essays demonstrate that however delayed, partial, or allegorized, the social identity of Filipino Americans forces a reckoning with the past, a revisiting of U.S. empire. the situated knowledges of Filipino Americans mediate the history of U.S. empire through the memories of “differential inclusion” as immigrants or foreign nationals and as a racialized labor force within the United States. All too often, the periodization of immigration to the United States presumes AngloEuropean immigration as the nation’s originary past, while racialized immigration is temporalized as if it is a recent event, following the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. the history of Filipinos in the United States demonstrates, to the contrary, that the long-standing phenomenon of racialized Filipino immigration is indeed, along with U.S. empire, part of a longer history of the development of modern U.S. capitalism and democracy, a longer, more notorious past in which a nation intersected over and over again with the international contexts of not only the Philippines, but also Puerto Rico, Mexico, Samoa, Guam, Korea, and Vietnam. I have argued elsewhere that the material legacy of America’s imperial . . .

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