This past weekend, I led 85 UCSB students to UC Berkeley to participate in the annual Students of Color Conference. As an Pilipinx, I had always known about the hxstory of my people, the story of our fight for freedom, and my experiences of being a Generation 1.5 immigrant. In a caucus specifically for Pilipinx-Americans, I was blessed to share a space and feel comfortable being a in a sphere where my experiences were validated and relatable. One of the main things I discussed was how my/our existence is political and how that goes against the stereotypes that are constantly put against us.
“Keep your head low, don’t make noise, your only way to success is by being the best, BUT DON’T STIR TROUBLE” was internalized in me right from the get-go. This Model Minority Myth that established this totality that I can succeed is based on the eurocentric perspective that APIs can experience upward mobility if we just lay low.
I grew up in a conflicted position where loving my culture and hxstory was okay as long as you didn’t challenge the status quo with it. I was caught in between wanting to spread the awareness of my people and making sure I stayed in rank of society.
Upon entering college, I was welcomed into spaces that allowed me to fully express myself, to love my identity and see where it fits in the intersectionality of other oppressed peoples. Furthermore, college was the first time in my life where I understood and recognized that my hxstory fuels the larger progressive movement.
So no, I will not keep my head down. I will not let the white man recolonize my identity. I will continue to fight for the black and brown bodies. I will continue to fight for my people today and for everyone before me. The fight it not over. My existence is political and I will not remain complicit.