Sunday, August 05, 2007

Young Fil Am artists in LA redefine 'decolonization"

Marjorie gave me permission to post these excerpts from her manuscript for my babaylan book project. I share them here because I think young Filipino American artists are breaking new ground in thinking about this concept and they need all the space they can get. I'm happy to oblige. Thank you, Marjorie!

Irene: When I hear 'decolonization,' I'm thinking of the experience for many Filipino Americans, or even Filipinos in the Philippines, or wherever they're from, when they realize the richess of their history, and how they think, make decisions, carry themselves in the world, were informed by Eurocentric ideas. When the person goes through decolonization, it's finding out that they were operating under that. And it's about going back and finding, unearthing our history, things that are hidden, not spoken about.

Dino:...We have this general insecurity about ourselves constantly aspiring to be Western, or lately here in LA trying to be hip-hop or something, what I'm trying to say is not become a Filipino fascist or anything, just give your culture a fair shake as something to be regarded well, and we stand equally among everybody...

Giovanni: We do come from indigenous tribes, possibly thousands in the Philippines. But it's been 400 years spent morphing it into something...For example in Spanish culture, a lot of it actually came from Gypsies. And there's a spirit there, too. And then American culture. Some of those colonizers had native American blood, too, so that has spirit, too. When you think about it there are all these spirits in us, so that makes us a stronger people.

Alison: I really think that on a certain level it is about decolonization, but I also feel like there's a new word, there's a new concept,, there's a new feeling that is beyond this process of the "de" colonizing and I don't know what it is yet...at a certain level as human beings our humanity is really at stake, our existence as a species, our existence as a planet is at stake.

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