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Filipino or American

Updated: Mar 12

The hardest part about being Filipino-American is being American

I can talk about how unfair it is that gas prices are higher everyday

Or I can talk about the incidents involving girls who end up dead before they realize the man at the wheel isn’t their Uber driver

Or I can talk about what a hassle it is to go to a busy supermarket during COVID season

I call these situations struggles

I call them disasters

And they are, but they pale in comparison to what happens abroad

Where over a third of rural inhabitants are living in poverty

Where the evil that is Human Trafficking is a household name

Where thousands of children are forced into prostitution rings

Where suspected criminals and addicts involved in drugs are killed on sight

Even if stray bullets turn children into collateral damage

I’d never wish these tragedies upon myself

I just wish I could share the burden of the pain

Because if I’ve learned anything about my people it’s that even in the most tempestuous of storms, we endure

But how can I endure when I’ve never really known struggle?

How can I weather this storm when I’ve never seen real rain?

My Filipino spirit recognizes the sun, but not this California climate

The blood that runs through my veins has been filtered by American oxygen

My skin is barely painted by the sun

Still brown, but not quite the color of the land my ancestors toiled over

And the language of my people, though not foreign to my ear, comes out broken on my tongue

No matter how many Pilipino teleseryes I watch, I will never be able to say,



I will never be able to say those words without stumbling on the first syllable

So how can I even dare to share the burden of their pain when the burden isn’t mine to bear It’s my American mentality to put my ego on display and call it “sharing my point of view”

But there’s a difference between putting yourself in someone’s shoes and leaving them to walk barefoot

How do I take ownership of my culture without stealing it from those it truly belongs to?

It is not only an ocean, but experiences I could never comprehend that separate me from my people in the islands

How do I get closer to a culture that roots thousands of miles away?