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

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  107 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 2nd 2016 by Stanford University Press (first published March 2016)
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Jun 12, 2016 rated it liked it
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.
May 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
April Corbin
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
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
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book bc, for me at least, it was an accurate depiction of my racial identity as a Filipino American.
Aug 07, 2016 rated it liked it
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
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Having both Filipino and latino friends, this book articulated well thoughts I had after seeing them engage with one another and being around both families. It was interesting because even I had made a subconscious separation of Filipino from East/South Asians just because of differences in culture, personalities, family and academic life, as well as appearance.

The part about being treated as 'Asian' in some regards to schooling and then 'Latino' in others was fascinating to see. The book did a
LonewolfMX Luna
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this book & it gave good insight on how the Filipino & Mexican/Latino community have many cultural similarities in the concepts of family, religion, & to a certain extend language.

Even though Filipinos are labeled as Asian, their culture is more in tune in with Latinos. The author makes these observations in with examples from different cities throughout California, but it seems the author is mostly concentrated in SoCal as there are no direct reference examples from NorCal c
The author posits that Filipinos may be more culturally alike Latinos than Asians. His arguments helped clarify my own thoughts over the years about being Flilpino in a cogent way. Most convincing of his argument is the history and impact of the Philippines being colonized by Spain and the U.S. He interviews young Filipino adults who grew up in two California towns with dominantly Filipino and Latino populations. He does acknowledge the focus on this group and that Filipinos growing up in other ...more
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a hapa Fil-Am raised in the Bay Area, reading this felt both incredibly familiar and unbelievably alienating. Ocampo's research showed me moments of "yep, I recognize those elements of 1st-gen Filipino-American families from my interactions with more 'pure' Fil-Am families through my grandparents," alternated with revelations about why my mixed family was mostly not like those described, and how whiteness affected this. Still, even if I still didn't "see ME" in this, it was an informative nex ...more
Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The book deals with the complicated issue of race and ethnicity within the Filipino community. Where ones perceived racial identity are influenced by several factors like environment, education, the work place etc. Highly readable, provocative and informative book that deals on the complexity of what is to be a Filipino in America.
John Sinambal
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great read!

This book affirmed so many of my life experiences growing up as a Filipino in southern California. More importantly, the author also captured experiences where I too felt out of place in different social settings. I will definitely recommend this book to friend's.
Apr 04, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
this is the book i've been wanting to write my whole adult life
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Finally! A book that discusses the uniqueness of the Filipino. A great beginning to the discussion of Filipino-American identity and a much needed discussion in today's world.
Ryan Acebedo
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“There are more than 3.5 million Filipinos in the country, but it’s as if nobody knows we’re here.4 Most Americans have no clue that Filipinos are the third-largest immigrant group behind Mexicans and Chinese.” 0 likes
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