Dude, I am not Mexican.
And speaking of that, I ain’t Indian, never was a Latino salsa sensation and definitely not a terrorist…or so I won’t publicly admit. (Hopefully I didn’t just black list myself)
I’m a half flip, half mafia jet setter. (American-Italian roots)
Raised in America, the land where there’s a fascination to define people based on skin color, people were confused the hell out of me.
I’m not white.
I’m not black.
What the hell? Brown?
Oh he must be Mexican
Apparently bringing lumpia, siopao and chicken adobo to school wasn’t enough to prove otherwise.
I definitely had my fair share of being referred to as Mexican, especially growing up in a very small suburban town, being able to run fast and playing baseball. People used to call me Speedy Gonzales, a famous cartoon based on a Mexican mouse that runs like a bullet.
As I started winning more and more in neighborhood games, the jokes got more intense, “Go back to your country!” “Go cut my lawn”, the list goes on. But all in all, I knew they were just for laughs or maybe I just didn’t care. And yes, these are rude stereotypes that unfortunately do exist.
But really, they had no clue what the heck a Filipino was.
The Filipino culture is one hardly knows where I come from. We don’t have Filipino restaurants, and food playing such a big part in knowing or defining a culture, the two that actually tried to set up shop failed miserably. “Too greasy” is the basic feedback if you ask Filipinos who knew the restaurants.
There are hardly any Filipino celebrities beyond the lead singer from the Pussy Cat Dolls that people can somewhat associate to the Philippines. What’s her name again? And btw, I don’t really think people know her for being Filipino or half that. If you’re in a group using the word “pussy” with dance moves like that…I think your mind tends to think of other things. Or maybe that’s just coming from my man’s peanut brain.
The older generations know Filipinos a bit. They are nice and respectable. They are good caretakers, nurses and housewives. They don’t bite children.
But getting back to my half-n-half life, just as people have had difficulties defining what the heck I was, I’d say I was just confused on what side I should lean more towards. Having one parent that comes from the so-called “Western World” and one from the Flip land, I definitely encountered a lot of culture clashes that set me apart from my Americano friends.
Search stability, not freedom.
My mom, who’s the Filipino, was the stricter force. Speaking of my curfew, I was always forced to come home the earliest. Spending the night at friends was practically impossible. Winning permission to go to parties…I think this is how I truly developed my negotiation skills.
I laugh now but I think my mom and her Filipino friends concluded that the American youth is freaking crazy, disrespectful and a bit too on the “wild side”, especially watching MTV and seeing how pop culture says it’s okay for little teenie boppers to jump around in their underwear. “Pussy”…”cat”….sorry my mind wandered there.
Then when you talk about life decisions, I had two choices: 1) doctor or 2) lawyer. “Because they are stable jobs” is what I was always told. From my mom, I was always taught that I should be a good provider that will afford me to take care of myself, eventually my family and then the friends around me.
Btw, I’m almost 30 now and every Filipino mother I encounter asks when I’m getting married. It’s practically becoming the question after “What’s your name?”
But all these types of values have a twist from my dad’s side. From him, there’s more of an individual’s quest to find whatever makes oneself happy. “The American Dream” the pursuit of happiness, seeking Zen, the “do what makes you happy” attitude, I think these mentalities are what really make the western world different for me.
You are taught to find whatever in this world inspires you, and by performing your very best at that area, you naturally have a positive impact or net gain in the world. If I understood correctly, it’s as if being selfish, thinking what’s best for me, can actually be the best for the world.
Maybe there’s a limit of good coming from either side.
Well the karaoke gene didn’t get passed onto me, but I just want to say that I’m grateful for the half flip blood that I have. People get jealous of my tan skin color and I’m recognized as a decent dancer, which to me feels like a twisted reality.
I just wish that the Flip culture would get the immediate recognition for such traits…as opposed to being brushed off as some Mexican.
And for the record, I hold no bad sentiment toward Mexicans…that’s another fun story to tell.