While on facebook, I stumbled upon a facebook status that Filipinos are Hispanic. I was like wuhhhh. Curious reader that I am, I clicked on the link posted:
According to the article posted, how a person identifies his or her background is a personal choice. For anyone that is thinking about defining himself or herself Hispanic, that person would also need to define “Hispanic” for himself or herself. The US Census Bureau says that a person is considered Hispanic as a person of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin, also meaning that the person has “ancestors who originated in Spain and/or Latin American countries that speak Spanish today as their main language.”
If you choose the definition of Hispanic that the US Census Bureau offers, then no, Filipinos are indeed not Hispanic. We originate in a country in Asia and few of us speak Spanish as our main language.
HOWEVER, in her article “Are Filipinos Hispanic?” Barbara S. Gaerlan argues that Filipinos can be considered Hispanic if one “prioritizes the definition that countries colonized by Spain are ‘Hispanic’ because of that historical influence” regardless of where that country is geographically located or what their main language is. Further, she includes other ways in which we can consider ourselves Hispanic:
- migration from Spain through Suez Canal
- Roman Catholic religion
- Spanish names (Santos, Diaz, Santiago, Ocaña, Ventura, Bautista, Ramirez ect.)
- Spanish musical traditions
- family values, gender roles
- Spanish words in our language
- colonized by Spain for about 400 years
- taught Spanish
And so on, and so on, and so on.
Well, if someone is going to identify oneself as Hispanic because of the influences that Spain has had on us due to colonization and occupation, one can easily say that we’re Japanese too. We were occupied by Japan in the 1930s. They’ve turned our women in to comfort women, raped, and abused our people. Or one can call us American since, until this day, their troops continue to occupy us under the Visiting Forces Agreement. A lot of the laws and policies in the Philippines mimic those of the US. Here are a few for example:
- Philippines’ Oplan Bayanihan is modeled after US’s Counter Insurgency Guide of 2009
- Philippines’ Human Security Act of 2008 is modeled after the US’s Patriot Act
- K-12 educational system in the Philippines is modeled after US’s educational system
- Philippine Foreign Policy is modeled after US Foreign Policy
- Philippines’ position on Israel-Palastine, War on Terror, and the Vietnam War is indeed the same as the position of the US.
Google both and you will find that the policies there are much like ours here in the US.
Anyway, if your going to consider migration from other countries to and influences on the Philippines, you can easily call us Thai or Malaysain or Chinese or African or Indonesian. We can make that argument for India and call them English, yeah?
At the end of the day, it still is a conscious personal choice to identify yourself as whatever. To me, Filipinos are Filipinos. I acknowledge that we were colonized and heavily influenced by Spain, but I choose to define Hispanic as having origins in Spain and I do not have origins in Spain. Maybe their blood was mixed in with ours (in terms of reproduction between Filipinos and Spanish) when they colonized us, but I ground my roots in the soil of the Philippines. I identify myself as a Pinay, a Filipina women. I identify with our history, our heritage, and our culture of resistance. I identify my struggles with the struggles of my brothers and sisters and nanays and tatays and lolas and lolos in the Philippines.
It is Filipino blood that runs in my veins.