Singkil and the Tagalog Language: Reflections On Being An American-Born Filipina

In junior year of high school, I was asked by a group of Filipinos to participate in a folk dance performance called “Singkil” for our school’s International Assembly and Night performance. I was thrilled because it was the first time I would be a part of traditional Filipino dance performance… EVER! Yes, you heard me right, prior to this event, I had never been asked to be part of any traditional folk dance performance, primarily because I had always been regarded in our community as “too American.”

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On Being the “Black Friend”: Or My Uncomfortable Relationships with White Women

Picture it. I’m in Iowa visiting with two friends of mine, both white women. We sit in a booth at a local supermarket eating deli food and discussing various issues. One friend tells us about a recent classroom debate she had with her professor and others over the terms “African-American” versus “Black.” I recall discussing the issue with her and telling her I tend to use the term Black until told otherwise if only because not all Black people are, in fact, African-American. She jokes that she “Black friended” me when shutting down her professor on the issue using what I’d told her. I laugh uncomfortably, internally debate whether to call this out, and ultimately decide to let it go this once. Continue reading

Tumblr May Be Right: Why Newt Scamander Should Be a PoC

Newt Scamander will probably not be a person of color in the recently announced Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them movies. When some relatively “unknown” white British male of medium height and with floppy, hipster “I don’t care” hair in his mid-twenties to mid-thirties gets cast, the internet will fall all over themselves to find out every detail about this man and begin worshipping him blindly. The fans who supported casting an actor of color will be resigned to the fact that yet again, the opportunity for “progressive” or “risky” casting is dismissed in favor of safe casting choices in a guaranteed box office smash. Continue reading

Classic Woman-centric Movie Review: Imitation of Life (1959)

Welcome back, Persephoneers! This week’s classic movie pick is a sort of follow-up to some of the discussion sparked by the Miss Representation documentary. Imitation of Life, made in 1959, stars Lana Turner, Juanita Moore, Sandra Dee, Susan Kohner, and John Gavin. The film is based on the 1933 novel by Fannie Hurst and was directed by Douglas Sirk. It was one of the highest grossing films of 1959 and dared to tackle the controversial topics of how society perceives race and gender and how these perceptions can shape people’s lives. Continue reading