FCN Co-Chair ’18-’19, Timothy Ramos
Sophomore in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Do you identify as Filipino or Filipino-American? What does that identity mean to you?
Being Filipino-American or defining it rather has eluded me up until now. Every time I feel like I start to have a bigger grasp on being Filipino-American it always seems to get more and more complicated and in all honesty I don’t know what it means. Although I can’t sit here and give you my definition of what being Filipino-American means to me, I can tell you a lot of the problems we’re currently suffering as a product of being immigrants born in the Philippines or being the children of immigrant parents.
A lot of our current problems (e.g. lack of visibility, cultural disconnection, generational gap with our parents, etc.) is a result of being immigrants or children of immigrants. It’s one thing being able identify these problems, but it’s completely different addressing them and trying to find solutions to these problems. We’re still in the process of trying to address them and gain awareness, but it takes one step at a time.
A lot of our current problems (e.g. lack of visibility, cultural disconnection, generational gap with our parents, etc.) is a result of being immigrants or children of immigrants.
Do you or any of your family members speak Tagalog? If you do, how does speaking another language change how you participate/take in your culture?
All of my direct family members, including myself speak Tagalog. Although I’m not 100% fluent in Tagalog, being able to be conversationally fluent gives me a deeper connection to the culture that not many have the privilege of feeling. Growing up I didn’t have a lot of Filipino friends simply because there wasn’t a big Filipino population where I grew up so I thought speaking Tagalog in a Filipino household was normal. But as I made more Filipino friends, most of them were surprised that I was able to speak Tagalog. The older I got the greater my appreciation for being able to speak Tagalog grew.
In my experience, speaking Tagalog has a weird stigma in relation to the generational gap with immigrant parents and their children. I would often hear parents jokingly poke fun at Filipinos my age about not being able to speak Tagalog. The conversation would always be something along the lines of, “You don’t speak Tagalog? Are you even Filipino?” And although Filipino parents don’t have any malicious intent behind their questions, it’s something that has caused many Filipino-Americans to question their identity simply because they’ve been ridiculed for not being able to speak Tagalog.
Although I’m not 100% fluent in Tagalog, being able to be conversationally fluent gives me a deeper connection to the culture that not many have the privilege of feeling.