Letters from the Editors
Dear Pinoy Readers,
The idea for this publication was born from an ingenuous conversation with the Founder and Chief Editor of Chopsticks Alley, Trami Cron. We were exchanging stories of family and childhood until we touched upon my Filipino background.
I’ve never really questioned what being Filipino meant to myself outside of the negative connotations. My parents immigrated to this country facing blatant discrimination and did what they could to shield my siblings and I from it: we were taught English first and thoroughly “Americanized.” In my youth, I didn’t resist assimilation. Despite being born and raised in the States, I still experienced microaggressions: phrases such as “ching chong” and the notorious pulling of the eyes, creating an all too familiar stereotypical Asian caricature. I wanted to separate myself from the “other” as much as possible, and I shunned Filipino culture.
Yet, that innocent question sparked a curiosity in me. Not only did I want to discover what it meant to be Filipino but what it meant to be Filipino American.
When I brought up the notion to Rachel, I was met with enthusiasm. I’m eternally grateful for Rachel as she always provides thoughtful insight and constructive criticism. With our writing and communicating with potential contributors, I felt a similar connection with her as well: we both had a desire to establish and explore our ethnic identity. With our research, we learned more about our culture and the struggles of our predecessors. With it, I felt a sentimental pride of being able to claim that history as part of my own.
Chopsticks Alley Pinoy was created with that in mind: all of us gathering under one collective “roof”, sharing and exploring just what it is that makes us Filipino American.
Thank you for taking the time to read our stories. We hope to share yours as well!
Suggestions, Questions, or Comments?
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Dear Pinoy Readers,
With the Chopsticks Alley Pinoy project, my dedication and motivation originated through the curiosity and creativity of discovering my Filipina and Mestiza roots that lead to examining Filipino narratives, full of rich and authentic histories and literature, unveiling the harsh criticisms and years of resistance and survival of the Filipino.
Growing up, I knew very little about my Filipino side because I lacked the resources and opportunities due to the Americanization of my grandparents and great-grandparents at their arrival as immigrants in America. Having lost the opportunity to learn the language and knowing little about my culture, it was challenging to receive acceptance even within the Filipino communities.
Because I am only half Filipino, the challenges of feeling truly accepted were always present. Individuals within the Filipino community would often question my identity as if they owned it. This is where my dedication to this project and the motivation helped stemmed my curiosity of understanding my Filipino identity and why the lack of inclusivity is one main issue that needs to be addressed between the old and new generations of Filipinos.
I discovered in many Filipino narratives like Philip Vera Cruz and Peter Jamero that there were similar perceptions of the consistent themes of the lack of acceptance and belonging. Inclusivity has always been an issue throughout Filipino culture and history, dating back to the colonization and Americanization in the Philippines in which we experience jeopardizing the loss of our Filipino culture and identity.
Having the opportunity to work with Keana on this project, I am truly grateful for the impact she has for Chopsticks Alley Pinoy as she works extremely diligent to keep everything in order as well as providing new and refreshing perspectives. When we first started working on this project, we asked ourselves the question: what does it mean to be Filipino or Filipino American? We discussed our cultural backgrounds and what is was like growing up. I was blown away how our experiences related to the little representation or exposure to our Filipino identity and culture.
On the other hand, working on this project has opened new doors for myself and hopefully for all readers of identifying their own connections to their Filipino and Filipino American identities and culture. Every day my grandmother asks if I am still writing-- that is writing about the Filipino narrative. I realize what her intentions are and appreciate her encouragement and her own stories that she shares as a Filipina woman. This is what I hope for the old and new generations of Filipinos and Filipino Americans to work together in becoming a strong community that is accepting to all and encourages the youth to empower themselves through education, leadership, and freedom of expression.