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Open Access Publications from the University of California

My Parents’ Immigration Stories as a Microcosm of American Colonialism


The purpose of this study is to outline the prevalence of American colonialism present within the values of Philippine culture and the Philippine identity. Aspects of colonialism and assimilation into American culture are highlighted through my parents’ immigration story. Many Pilipinos/Pilipino-Americans struggle with a sense of identity, especially growing up or being exposed to a bicultural environment. I utilize the idea of identity conflict to examine how aspects of identity are represented through Philippine cultural values. The value of historical texts regarding American colonization, assimilation, and topics confined under the complexities of the Pilipino-American identity are investigated and evaluated. My parents’ stories and their conformity to American culture/ideals as an exemplar for how this social phenomena manifests itself in those who identify with an identity related to the Philippine culture. Primary texts and secondary texts are evaluated to describe the impacts of colonialism on Philippine culture. It is also important to note my identity as a second-generation Pilipina-American. I was not raised in the Philippines, but raised with Philippine culture through my parents. I tie in my parents’ immigration story and the values they had imposed on me growing up. I was raised with these values; many of them are a part of my identity, which I argue, are rooted in American colonialism. My parents’ identity is rooted in American colonialism, therefore my identity is also rooted in American colonialism.

keywords: assimilation, colonial, colonialism, imperialism, American colonialism, Filipino, Filipino identity, Pilipino, Pilipino identity, identity, immigration, ethnic identity, ethnic studies, assimilation

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