Laking ‘Tale

Raised in the USA*

In as much as our society strives to be color-blind, we take it that the strength in which America has stood over two centuries is that it is a nation of immigrants; and that strength has heavily relied on the richness of culture brought in by the foreigners to this land-each one contributing his share on the table. However, the societal pressure on new immigrants to assimilate and "vanish into the crowd" constitute a grave danger wherein the very culture that he needs to contribute to this society can all but disappear. Ethnic organizations such as ours do their duty so as to preserve these cultures and pass them on to their progeny. The unavoidable result is that children are often caught in the middle.

As with their parents, first generation Filipino-Americans (or any Alien-American, for that matter) have their own share of grappling with the culture foreign to their parents, perhaps even to a higher degree of difficulty. When they begin to attend school, they start to notice the differences between how they do things at home compared to their friends and classmates. Although incidents of this nature may appear amusing to their parents, they are often confusing to the child’s developing mind. As the child get older, these experiences eventually resolve into the realization of child’s ethnic identity. Depicted in these works, although amateuristic, are the essences of children’s adjustment and learning to create a compromise between the sometimes conflicting cultures they are forced to live through and the internal struggles that eventually surface. Indirectly, the pieces also give poignant introduction to those who have yet to understand what a Filipino is and an honest portrayal of what makes him unique. For mixed race adults who grew up in the US with minimal parental exposure to Filipino culture, they may serve as eye-openers.

*”Laking ‘Tate”; (luh-king’ tuh-te’h, adj. who grew up in the States) is a Tagalog street word for children of Filipinos who were raised in the US, sometimes used tinged with jealous adoration. ‘Tate is a vulgarized contracted form of the word “State” pronounced in Pilipino syllabication.

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