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Is race only about the color of your skin? In The Latinos of Asia, Anthony Christian Ocampo shows that what "color" you are depends largely on your social context. Filipino Americans, for example, helped establish the Asian American movement and are classified by the U.S. Census as Asian. But the legacy of Spanish colonialism in the Philippines means that they share many c Is race only about the color of your skin? In The Latinos of Asia, Anthony Christian Ocampo shows that what "color" you are depends largely on your social context. Filipino Americans, for example, helped establish the Asian American movement and are classified by the U.S. Census as Asian. But the legacy of Spanish colonialism in the Philippines means that they share many cultural characteristics with Latinos, such as last names, religion, and language. Thus, Filipinos' "color"—their sense of connection with other racial groups—changes depending on their social context. The Filipino story demonstrates how immigration is changing the way people negotiate race, particularly in cities like Los Angeles where Latinos and Asians now constitute a collective majority. Amplifying their voices, Ocampo illustrates how second-generation Filipino Americans' racial identities change depending on the communities they grow up in, the schools they attend, and the people they befriend. Ultimately, The Latinos of Asia offers a window into both the racial consciousness of everyday people and the changing racial landscape of American society.


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Is race only about the color of your skin? In The Latinos of Asia, Anthony Christian Ocampo shows that what "color" you are depends largely on your social context. Filipino Americans, for example, helped establish the Asian American movement and are classified by the U.S. Census as Asian. But the legacy of Spanish colonialism in the Philippines means that they share many c Is race only about the color of your skin? In The Latinos of Asia, Anthony Christian Ocampo shows that what "color" you are depends largely on your social context. Filipino Americans, for example, helped establish the Asian American movement and are classified by the U.S. Census as Asian. But the legacy of Spanish colonialism in the Philippines means that they share many cultural characteristics with Latinos, such as last names, religion, and language. Thus, Filipinos' "color"—their sense of connection with other racial groups—changes depending on their social context. The Filipino story demonstrates how immigration is changing the way people negotiate race, particularly in cities like Los Angeles where Latinos and Asians now constitute a collective majority. Amplifying their voices, Ocampo illustrates how second-generation Filipino Americans' racial identities change depending on the communities they grow up in, the schools they attend, and the people they befriend. Ultimately, The Latinos of Asia offers a window into both the racial consciousness of everyday people and the changing racial landscape of American society.

30 review for The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    an interesting look at how Filipinos bend and break the rules of race in America. Ocampo argues that Filipino-Americans often feel (and are read as) more Latinx than Asian, because of the Philippines’ Spanish colonial history and similarly mixed cultural heritage. homing in on California, where Filipinos are often in close proximity to Latinx communities, he carefully examines when this identification is most intense and when it’s weakest and how it varies across class, gender, and age. this wou an interesting look at how Filipinos bend and break the rules of race in America. Ocampo argues that Filipino-Americans often feel (and are read as) more Latinx than Asian, because of the Philippines’ Spanish colonial history and similarly mixed cultural heritage. homing in on California, where Filipinos are often in close proximity to Latinx communities, he carefully examines when this identification is most intense and when it’s weakest and how it varies across class, gender, and age. this would have been even more interesting had he considered other states, which are outside the scope of the study.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book and unfortunately it seemed to emphasize the feeling of otherness that I have never quite be able to shake. I am not from a large family. I did not grow up on the west coast. I did not participate in any Filipino organizations nor have I ever been misidentified as being anything other than Filipino. I liked the book but I didn't love it. I wish the author ventured outside of Southern California. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book and unfortunately it seemed to emphasize the feeling of otherness that I have never quite be able to shake. I am not from a large family. I did not grow up on the west coast. I did not participate in any Filipino organizations nor have I ever been misidentified as being anything other than Filipino. I liked the book but I didn't love it. I wish the author ventured outside of Southern California.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Leo

    I had so many mixed feeling when I was reading this. There were times that I thought "Hey, that was me too!" and others I was like, "What?!?" What I wished throughout the book was that Ocampo included Filipinos from other communities. All of the Filipinos that were interviewed for this book were from either Carson or Eagle Rock and their experience was much different than mine. These are cities with huge Filipino communities and are synonymous with being Filipino. I grew up in Hacienda Heights, w I had so many mixed feeling when I was reading this. There were times that I thought "Hey, that was me too!" and others I was like, "What?!?" What I wished throughout the book was that Ocampo included Filipinos from other communities. All of the Filipinos that were interviewed for this book were from either Carson or Eagle Rock and their experience was much different than mine. These are cities with huge Filipino communities and are synonymous with being Filipino. I grew up in Hacienda Heights, which had greater diversity in the Asian community than Carson and Eagle Rock. This helped me develop a stronger tie to an Asian American identity than the Filipinos in the book. I found it odd that they were so adverse to checking Asian on forms. Overall, even though I found it frustrating at times, I enjoyed this book. I thought it was an interesting look at how we view race and how Filipino Americans define what it means to be Filipino. The section on Filipino clubs on college campuses and PCN was spot on and I loved reading it because it was a common experience I shared with the people in the book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    In THE LATINOS OF ASIA, we learn how places, life stages, and people around us mold our racial consciousness. How the rules of race differs from place to place. And how for Filipino Americans shifting social worlds requires assessing which rules apply, a factor that plays a big role in how we perceive our racial identity. Anthony Ocampo’s research focuses on the experience of middle class, second-gen Filipino Americans living in Eagle Rock or Carson, CA. As a first-gen Filipino American living ne In THE LATINOS OF ASIA, we learn how places, life stages, and people around us mold our racial consciousness. How the rules of race differs from place to place. And how for Filipino Americans shifting social worlds requires assessing which rules apply, a factor that plays a big role in how we perceive our racial identity. Anthony Ocampo’s research focuses on the experience of middle class, second-gen Filipino Americans living in Eagle Rock or Carson, CA. As a first-gen Filipino American living near Los Angeles, I found myself relating to a lot to the people interviewed in the book. And interestingly, I also found a lot of differences in our experiences in the US. Like many of the Fil-Ams interviewed, I also joined a Filipino club in college and found a sense of home. But unlike most, that was the first time I’ve felt a sense of Filipino community among my peers in the US. Most of the people interviewed grew up in a multiethnic neighborhood, in which roughly 20% are Filipino. My first look of the US was a neighborhood predominantly white and Latinx. The race demographics of my old HS is currently 45% white, 40% Latinx, 10% Asian (includes Filipinos), and 4% Black which also reflects the demographics of the neighborhood. These differences motivated me to deeply reflect on the panethnic moments I grew up with and currently experience. How my own racial identity changed over the years. If I was asked which race I would choose form the options: Asian, Latinx, Pacific Islander, or other, before college I would have checked the box for Pacific Islander. Given the race demographics of the neighborhood I grew up in, I distinctly saw how different white, Latinx, and Asian peers socialized and presented themselves. I hung out with a multiethnic group, but in many ways felt like an outsider because of my experience with immigration. I distinctly remember not wanting to select ‘other,” because I didn’t want to perpetuate my feelings of already being the “resident alien.” If presented with the same question today, I would probably select ‘other.’ But I’d look at the Latinx option, thinking of all the cultural parallels from the shared history of Spanish colonization, and really consider it. I find my own experience reinforcing the author’s point that racial identity is fluid and dependent on shifting social contexts. This book is also reveals how panethnic moments can influence and shape negative stereotypes we overtly/covertly hold. There were times when some Filipinos interviewed blatantly used negative stereotypes when referring to Latinx and Asian American communities. Anthony Ocampo highlights the need to be aware of this. These stereotypical tendencies and the topic of race in general aren’t commonly discussed in the Filipino community. But it’s important we talk about it and hold ourselves accountable, to stand up for BIPOC communities -because ultimately, we’re all beating against a society that prizes white supremacy. Overall, I’d recommend this to anyone who wants to learn more about the Filipino diaspora in the US.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Raquel

    A much needed book in the dialogue of Filipino-ness. While knowing that race is an artificial construct, Ocampo utilises the modern Filipino-American narrative in weaving a complex and adaptable Filipino identity, that struggles in a society of categories and checkboxes. I was a little disappointed that the book's studies were entirely with second-generation Filipino-Americans and not in a wider, more international context (I am Canadian myself). However, hopefully this will be a conversation sta A much needed book in the dialogue of Filipino-ness. While knowing that race is an artificial construct, Ocampo utilises the modern Filipino-American narrative in weaving a complex and adaptable Filipino identity, that struggles in a society of categories and checkboxes. I was a little disappointed that the book's studies were entirely with second-generation Filipino-Americans and not in a wider, more international context (I am Canadian myself). However, hopefully this will be a conversation starter to the complexity of being who we are: Filipino is a distinct, overlapping ethnicity that escapes neat categorisation.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    would have loved an expanded geographical focus instead of just southern CA, but nevertheless this book really made me feel seen. reading this helped me realize key formative moments in my own life and sort out the mixed feelings i’ve always had towards the identity of asian-american, both in terms of what people recognize it as (usually only east asian), and how i apply it to myself (why have i always felt different, whether among whites or fellow asians, and who have i tried to emulate and why would have loved an expanded geographical focus instead of just southern CA, but nevertheless this book really made me feel seen. reading this helped me realize key formative moments in my own life and sort out the mixed feelings i’ve always had towards the identity of asian-american, both in terms of what people recognize it as (usually only east asian), and how i apply it to myself (why have i always felt different, whether among whites or fellow asians, and who have i tried to emulate and why?). overall would recommend to everyone as an intro on why filipino-americans are so populous yet underrepresented/ignored/simply not present in the consciousness of the rest of the US.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    a solid read. thinking abt the tshirt my aunt got me when she took my grandma back several years ago - it said "ZAMBOANGA CITY: ASIA'S LATIN CITY" anyway, very interesting stuff here! very hyperlocalized to southern california but i'm ok with that for this sort of initial foray despite the v ambitious sounding title. i enjoyed this sort of explorative sociology. def wanna read more, some personal interest here given my family background. a solid read. thinking abt the tshirt my aunt got me when she took my grandma back several years ago - it said "ZAMBOANGA CITY: ASIA'S LATIN CITY" anyway, very interesting stuff here! very hyperlocalized to southern california but i'm ok with that for this sort of initial foray despite the v ambitious sounding title. i enjoyed this sort of explorative sociology. def wanna read more, some personal interest here given my family background.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    In his acknowledgements, Professor Ocampo addresses the anonymous interviewees that provided the substance for his work: "please know that your stories have made an impact on the lives of countless Filipinos, who rarely get the chance to read about themselves." Count me within that number, and allow me to also express my gratitude. This book is a very localized contemplation of the Filipino-American diaspora that focused on the experiences of the communities in Eagle Rock and Carson in Los Angel In his acknowledgements, Professor Ocampo addresses the anonymous interviewees that provided the substance for his work: "please know that your stories have made an impact on the lives of countless Filipinos, who rarely get the chance to read about themselves." Count me within that number, and allow me to also express my gratitude. This book is a very localized contemplation of the Filipino-American diaspora that focused on the experiences of the communities in Eagle Rock and Carson in Los Angeles. I've never been to either and, despite growing up in SoCal, had to look the communities up on a map. Yet, there is quite a bit within the descriptions of individual experiences that rings familiar. For reasons I had been previously unable to articulate, I have generally identified myself as a Pacific Islander when given the option. For reasons no one else seemed to grasp, I insisted on being a member of both the Asian-American and Latino student organizations in college. Every person who has ever had a discussion with me about pinoy heritage has been forced to listen to a recounting of all the ways in which Filipino culture has more in common with Mexican culture than it does with other Asian cultures. I've lived within and amongst Filipino communities in SoCal, Chicago, New York/New Jersey, and the DMV and there is nothing necessarily universal about what Professor Ocampo describes as the characteristics of Filipino-Americans from Eagle Rock and Carson to those in the rest of the country. But the limited perspective affords Professor Ocampo a perfect backdrop to explore the fluidity of racial identification for Filipino-Americans throughout the country. I absolutely loved the experience of reading this book and am thrilled that it exists.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    This book by Anthony Christian Ocampo is a fascinating look into Filipino-American identity. It really opened my view to the many ways Filipinos identify and then navigate their lives in America, a country so heavily focused and dictated by race and racial perceptions. In his final chapter, Ocampo closes out by writing that his hope for the book was that we can better address the social problems that continue to hinder the full inclusion of the Filipino American community within the imaginary of This book by Anthony Christian Ocampo is a fascinating look into Filipino-American identity. It really opened my view to the many ways Filipinos identify and then navigate their lives in America, a country so heavily focused and dictated by race and racial perceptions. In his final chapter, Ocampo closes out by writing that his hope for the book was that we can better address the social problems that continue to hinder the full inclusion of the Filipino American community within the imaginary of American society." And I do think that if more people read this, not just everyday people but sociologists, activists, academics, and more, we could definitely fulfill Ocampo's goal. He gives an example of the Asians for the National Marrow Donor Program Registry group at UCLA handing out flyers for organ donation to students they perceived as Asian - which meant they ignored several Filipinos who walked by, including Ocampo himself. This narrow view of Asian identity ends up harming Filipinos who could benefit from Filipino students' donations. On the other hand, many Filipino Americans themselves don't identify as Asian at all, instead more closely tying themselves to Latino groups. Many Filipinos are also often perceived as Latino or more Latino by outsiders, including Latinos themselves. Racial and ethnic identity is so complicated, and Ocampo really explores how magnified that is for Filipinos. It even made me look into my identity as a Filipino, and threw me into a bit of an existential crisis, wondering whether as a Filipino, I was Latino and not Asian, as I have identified for my whole life. This is one drawback to the book, in my opinion. Ocampo does say at the start that he hoped to learn "how Filipinos carved out their racial place within American society" and that he was "especially interested in studying Filipinos in Los Angeles, because the region, in many respects, foreshadows the America of tomorrow." But it feels strange to give a book such a broad title when the focus is on such a small, specific sample size (85 second generation Filipino Americans in two LA neighborhoods). I found myself often wishing that the book's scope was broader. Do Filipinos in Texas feel the same way? What about the Filipinos in Jersey? Are they as unlikely to identify as non-Asian? What were their experiences with white people like? Ocampo's findings are definitely interesting, but I worry that readers may forget that they reflect only general sentiment among second-generation Filipino Americans in LA, and instead apply these findings to all Filipino Americans as his wording often suggests. It was also interesting how Ocampo didn't dive into Filipinos' penchant for glorifying and idolizing whiteness (thanks to years of colonization) especially in chapter 6 '"Filipinos Aren't Asian" and Other Lessons from College' when talking about Fil-Am college students experiencing whites en masse for the first time. These students were culture shocked, rightfully so. But Filipinos have a history of craving proximity to whiteness, wanting their kids to marry whites, wanting more Caucasian noses, etc; it's such a big part of the culture that it feels off to ignore. Finally, as a small nitpick, even though it's an academic book, Anthony does offer uncited commentary at times, and so I do wish that he had pushed back on some of his interviewees comments when they veered towards closed mindedness or even racist. He shows he can do it (pg 148) for his readers, when categorizing an interviewee's generalizations of "other Asians" as "reductionist and problematic." But that's really as far as he goes, and I think it would be beneficial for readers (especially other Fil-Ams) to see him push back.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Belle

    This is a comprehensive look at one very specific subset of Filipino-Americans - Ocampo clearly did a huge amount of research for this book, and his writing style is conversational and accessible. Definitely a fascinating insight into this group of people, but like others have said, has its limitations. For me, personally, I went into this book hoping to be affirmed and validated with each page - but it turned out to kind of have the opposite effect. My own experience was pretty much the polar o This is a comprehensive look at one very specific subset of Filipino-Americans - Ocampo clearly did a huge amount of research for this book, and his writing style is conversational and accessible. Definitely a fascinating insight into this group of people, but like others have said, has its limitations. For me, personally, I went into this book hoping to be affirmed and validated with each page - but it turned out to kind of have the opposite effect. My own experience was pretty much the polar opposite of the stories detailed in this book - my family is not family-centered, doing well academically was the only priority, my mom encouraged me to move away and follow my dreams (no pressure to stay close to home), church was not a big deal, there were practically no other Filipinos in my neighborhoods and schools growing up. So I can totally identify with some other reviewers saying that they felt a little alienated by large portions of the book. But I recognize that Ocampo deliberately chose to focus on this small Filipino-American subset, and he even says in the epilogue that the book by no means covers ALL experiences. I did appreciate being able to read about experiences that were so different from my own growing up. On a somewhat unrelated note, I also found myself feeling frustrated by some of the broad generalizations/stereotypes that many of the subjects made about other Asian-Americans, but to his credit, Ocampo made sure to point these out as problematic.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Isabella Endrinal

    interesting read! i always felt confused as to why the PH doesn't feel close to other Latino communities, and other Asian communities, and this book articulated my thoughts very well. interesting read! i always felt confused as to why the PH doesn't feel close to other Latino communities, and other Asian communities, and this book articulated my thoughts very well.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    Last year, after reading Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay, I realized how little I knew about the Philippines and Filipino Americans. I learned a lot by reading this, particularly about the history of Filipino Americans, as well as their unique racial, ethnic, and historical context in the US. This also helps me expand my thinking about race and the way different contexts can affect self-perception of race. More reading ahead of me, but this was a helpful start. Prompted by reading other r Last year, after reading Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay, I realized how little I knew about the Philippines and Filipino Americans. I learned a lot by reading this, particularly about the history of Filipino Americans, as well as their unique racial, ethnic, and historical context in the US. This also helps me expand my thinking about race and the way different contexts can affect self-perception of race. More reading ahead of me, but this was a helpful start. Prompted by reading other reviews, I'll add that the study was limited to communities in Southern California, so some conclusions might be limited by the scope, but I think this is the nature of research.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This book was very disappointing since Ocampo based the whole book and his research on two neighboring cities in California that he himself admits are anomalies of Filipino- American communities. He then generalizes these findings to the rest of Filipino Americans despite how incredibly different others have lived due to vastly differing demographics and socioeconomic status. Ocampo's argument that Filipinos resemble Latinos far more than Asians would have been stronger if he had also acknowledg This book was very disappointing since Ocampo based the whole book and his research on two neighboring cities in California that he himself admits are anomalies of Filipino- American communities. He then generalizes these findings to the rest of Filipino Americans despite how incredibly different others have lived due to vastly differing demographics and socioeconomic status. Ocampo's argument that Filipinos resemble Latinos far more than Asians would have been stronger if he had also acknowledged the similarities with other Asian cultures and then talked about how Filipinos were still different. But it was like he interviewed a small pool of people who identified with Latinos and then decided NOT to look at any other cultures to see how they could be similar too. It was interesting to learn how Latinos and Filipinos share Spanish culture due to colonialism. In fact the impact of colonialism on Filipinos was the part I got the most out of from the book. But because of the author's failings, I could not continue with the rest of the book. I got almost 80% through and then just felt like because of Ocampo's shortcomings I couldn't see any of his findings as valid.

  14. 5 out of 5

    April Corbin

    While the research behind the book is limited in scope, the overarching issues of panethnicity and identity are fascinating and important. Much of the personal experiences shared in the book rang true for me as a multiracial person who grew up in Southern Nevada.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Eliza

    I wish this book existed over two decades ago when my family and I immigrated to the U.S., and there was so much confusion about which racial category we belonged to. We came from a region of the Philippines that spoke Chavacano — one of the only Spanish-creole languages found in Southeast Asia (and a clear remnant of Spanish colonization.) Our names and faces “looked Latino,” but our birthplace was located in Asia. Trying to determine one’s identity based on a social construct was extremely cha I wish this book existed over two decades ago when my family and I immigrated to the U.S., and there was so much confusion about which racial category we belonged to. We came from a region of the Philippines that spoke Chavacano — one of the only Spanish-creole languages found in Southeast Asia (and a clear remnant of Spanish colonization.) Our names and faces “looked Latino,” but our birthplace was located in Asia. Trying to determine one’s identity based on a social construct was extremely challenging. Some may argue that we should do away with social constructs like race and ethnicity because it promotes othering. The unfortunate reality is that doing so would silence present-day effects of social/historical oppression, and it would not be feasible for non-dominant communities with limited political power and privilege. It’s better to acknowledge what makes us unique — to quote Audre Lorde, “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” One of the purposes of this book is to promote understanding. As diverse as Filipinx-American communities are, we are bound by a common history, how we are affected by public perception, and how our lives are shaped by aspects of our cultural identity. This book is a recognition and an acceptance of our differences, which should be a cause for celebration.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Travis

    This was a really good look at how Filipino-Americans identify and why. However, it was a super narrow focus, with the author basically only interviewing Filipinos from two cities in the Los Angeles area. Admittedly these are cities with huge Filipino populations, but it would have been interesting to see how things differ for those in other parts of the country (or even outside of the US, though that obviously widens the scope a whole lot more). The writing was a little repetitive (he's very fon This was a really good look at how Filipino-Americans identify and why. However, it was a super narrow focus, with the author basically only interviewing Filipinos from two cities in the Los Angeles area. Admittedly these are cities with huge Filipino populations, but it would have been interesting to see how things differ for those in other parts of the country (or even outside of the US, though that obviously widens the scope a whole lot more). The writing was a little repetitive (he's very fond of doing the "closing paragraph" type wrap-up for each chapter where he summarizes what he just said, and that could easily have been cut out) but overall an easy and interesting read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Daniella

    This book explores how a certain subset of Filipino Americans (middle-class and from Southern California) navigate the racial landscape. It was really interesting to read about the balance between the Asian American identity and the similarities with Latinos (specifically Mexican-Americans). As a Mexipina myself, I enjoyed digging into the book and comparing myself to the people in the book and his arguments--how I differed and the similarities. The book was not dense at all, and was a fast and ea This book explores how a certain subset of Filipino Americans (middle-class and from Southern California) navigate the racial landscape. It was really interesting to read about the balance between the Asian American identity and the similarities with Latinos (specifically Mexican-Americans). As a Mexipina myself, I enjoyed digging into the book and comparing myself to the people in the book and his arguments--how I differed and the similarities. The book was not dense at all, and was a fast and easy read. I appreciate that his language was more accessible and not holier-than-thou academic jargon.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Bongawil

    Not bad for a moderately researched cultural book! I bought it via Kindle because I was interested in learning more about Filipino-isms and how we may be perceived to non Filipinos. I appreciated the hard work the author did, but I felt like it could have been condensed into a lengthy article for Medium. Also, I was hoping for more examples of Filipino upbringing and not just limited to a few communities in the Southern California LA suburbs. Any way, I hope to see more of the author’s work in t Not bad for a moderately researched cultural book! I bought it via Kindle because I was interested in learning more about Filipino-isms and how we may be perceived to non Filipinos. I appreciated the hard work the author did, but I felt like it could have been condensed into a lengthy article for Medium. Also, I was hoping for more examples of Filipino upbringing and not just limited to a few communities in the Southern California LA suburbs. Any way, I hope to see more of the author’s work in the future and I am thankful for what he has done for the Filipino community and literature. I will continue to support! :-)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Angela Soule

    It was a very interesting read. I could not put it down. I think it was very interesting to see how Filipinos in California see themselves and their experience in this part of the country. I do wish the title was "The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans IN CALIFORNIA Break the Rules of Race." I think there is some parallel experiences for other Filipinos in the US but I don't think the title should be all encompassing for every Filipino-American. It was a very interesting read. I could not put it down. I think it was very interesting to see how Filipinos in California see themselves and their experience in this part of the country. I do wish the title was "The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans IN CALIFORNIA Break the Rules of Race." I think there is some parallel experiences for other Filipinos in the US but I don't think the title should be all encompassing for every Filipino-American.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cjandres

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The book focuses on the Filipino experience of individuals from Carson and Eagle Rock. Though it brought insight on those individual’s personal experiences and designated terms for concepts that are used in Filipino identity, I think I wanted more. I wanted to know why Filipino’s couldn’t choose their identity as Filipinos?

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shaina

    Most of the narratives here certainly differed from my own experiences as a second-generation Filipino; however, I still feel seen. It’s so rare to find any sort of dialogue exclusively focused on Filipinos, so that alone made this an enjoyable and thought-provoking read for me.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Yang

    A fascinating presentation of the ambiguous position of Filipino Americans. Very vivid accounts based on interview self-narratives (the author did a great job weaving his own narrative, either letting his own voice overwriting his interlocutors nor letting the interviews stay scattered).

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Baradi

    This was a good book to read to see the similarities/differences in experiences in the US as being a Filipino American. I wish the interviews weren’t solely in California, but beggars can’t be choosers!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ysa

    Loved this book bc, for me at least, it was an accurate depiction of my racial identity as a Filipino American.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    Good, fast read of anecdotes and surveys that pry into the sometimes odd and complicated identifies of Filipino Americans.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Beyond Book'd

    As a Californian, I found this insightful. It's hard to really imagine how other people feel when you don't live those experiences so it's nice to see a different perspective. As a Californian, I found this insightful. It's hard to really imagine how other people feel when you don't live those experiences so it's nice to see a different perspective.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary Servidad

    Eye-opening read! Pretty relatable as a fil-am that grew up in San Diego. Good read for fellow Fil-ams that are try to understand more about our culture.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nick Jack Pappas

    Insightful, often moving. It will help you understand why Pinoys in America have such complex identities.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Afsha

    This is an academic study by the author who began his research in graduate school. If you’re used to academic style of writing interwoven with interviews, then is book is for you. It is a narrowed subject looking at a piece of a larger study. I liked learning about this subject and I’m used to reading studies that come out of a thesis. The author can definitely write a second book, as there is so much more to explore and I would read that book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bookworm

    Interesting book but too narrow in scope. After hearing about the book via an NPR interview with the author it sounded like an intriguing read. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are increasingly visible and were recently projected to surpass Latinos as the largest immigrant group to the United States. So this seemed like a good read. Author Ocampo looks at a groupf of Filipino adults in Southern California and basically has them share their experiences. Childhood, school, growing up, g Interesting book but too narrow in scope. After hearing about the book via an NPR interview with the author it sounded like an intriguing read. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are increasingly visible and were recently projected to surpass Latinos as the largest immigrant group to the United States. So this seemed like a good read. Author Ocampo looks at a groupf of Filipino adults in Southern California and basically has them share their experiences. Childhood, school, growing up, going to college, etc. How they fit in (or not) with their families, friends, neighbors, classmates. What set them apart from other groups. Why they might feel an affinity with other people of color (Hispanic, African American) rather than Asian Americans or not.   It was really fascinating. It filled some gaps that I had (such as why more than a few Filipino classmates had European family names despite being fully Filipino as far as they knew), the influence of being a colony (and the affects of colonialism), why they might differ from others in the AAPI group (or why they might not identify as AAPI at all), etc. Or why some might "pass" as Chinese or others "pass" as Hispanic, etc. Although I lost touch with many of those classmates and arguably didn't know them all that well, a lot of this was quite interesting to learn about.   That said, there are gaps. The group the author studies is very small, very narrow (all in Southern California), were second-generation, and were mostly middle-class. I have spotted reviews here and there that point this out and am glad I was not the only one who wasn't comfortable with the rather small group of respondents.   I also didn't find the writing-style very engaging. My interest in the subject matter carried me through but sometimes it felt like the author could get a wee bit academic (Ocampo is a professor at Cal Poly Pomona) and sometimes repetitive. Even though it's a short book (with references at the back) I occasionally felt really bored with the text.   But overall I thought it was a good read. I somewhat wish I hadn't bought it (not available at my library, had a coupon) and I think it probably has a relatively narrow audience for it. But I think it might make for a great basis for a larger and broader examination of Filipinos and possibly the larger AAPI group overall. Would recommend borrowing it instead but if you have an interest in this group I think it's definitely worth a read.

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