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

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  269 ratings  ·  40 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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Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, recs
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 ...more
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. ...more
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
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Feb 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: important-imo
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 ...more
Dec 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
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.
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 ...more
Oct 03, 2020 rated it liked it
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
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
Isabella Endrinal
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
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
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: non-fiction, 2018
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
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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 ...more
Angela Soule
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
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).
Alexandra Baradi
Dec 16, 2020 rated it liked it
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!
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.
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good, fast read of anecdotes and surveys that pry into the sometimes odd and complicated identifies of Filipino Americans.
Beyond Book'd
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-read-list
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. ...more
Mary Servidad
Jan 14, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nick Jack Pappas
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Insightful, often moving. It will help you understand why Pinoys in America have such complex identities.
Jul 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-challenge
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.
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
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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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